Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Honourable Mention – Bring me the Vampire


This is a Mexican offering, from 1963, and I pondered long and hard over whether to write this up as a ‘Vamp or Not?’ or as an ‘Honourable Mention’. I plumped, as you can tell, for the honourable mention as there isn’t a vampire in it – though there is sort of. I’ll try to explain but, unfortunately, the plot is an ungodly mess.

We start in the house of McDermott, who has been murdered, though no corpse has been found. In the house are Harold (Carlos Riquelme) and a detective named Bobby (Joaquin Garcia Vargas). Suddenly in walks Julius (Jorge Beirute), to Bobby’s shock as the man is, as well as being McDermott’s brother, a murderer. Housekeeper Eloise is also there and states that Julius was disinherited.

It seems that McDermott left all his money to eight persons of a talented bent, all strangers to the house. Anastasio and LuluThere is Oscar the painter (Pascual Garcia Pena), Thomas an inventor, Martha (Maria Eugina San Martin) of no discernable talent other than being in love with Harold, Albert a dancer (whose appearance leads to an unfortunate dance routine based around sneezing), actress Lulú Parga who plays herself, a magician (I didn’t catch his name but he was played by Roberto Cobo), a pianist and a business man (I think) named Anastasio.

the ghost of McdermottThe lawyer comes in and says that they have forfeit the inheritance as they have left the house (because Julius is there and they are scared of him) and the will stipulates they must remain in the house, but Eloise points out that they have two hours to return by the terms of the will and so it is a mad dash to find them. As this occurs someone tries to distract the inheritors from returning through various methods and McDermott’s transparent spirit intervenes several times to encourage them back.

Once in the house it is revealed that the final clause of the will – the clause that determines how much each gets – is missing but McDermott’s voice announces that they will find out in due course. During this scene Harold is stabbed and spends most of the film in bed recuperating.

a mummy for some reasonEssentially, one by one they are knocked off and as this occurs a note is found revealing how much they would have got. The bodies then disappear. We also get mummies and talking skeletons as well as supposed witchcraft and spiritualism. Eventually the spirit forms of those killed join McDermott on his ghostly visitations… however…

hanging a pianistThey aren’t really dead and neither is McDermott, it’s all a ruse to reveal the treacherous lawyer as a killer using the inventions of Thomas to project themselves. The inheritors only discover this after being ‘killed’ and we only discover it in the last five minutes. Julius has been spurred on to help the dastardly lawyer.

Julius with fangsSo where does the vampire come into this? Julius believes himself to be a vampire. This was not, I believe, meant to be a ruse to scare the inheritors. It seems that he really believes himself to be a vampire. We see him a couple of times with fangs and he is referred to as a vampire by others.

sleeping in a casketWe also discover that he likes to sleep in a casket and his favourite drink is a cup of blood. It must be served before congealing however, when a cup is brought and it has congealed he orders it sent away and cooked for his supper. I said he believes he is a vampire and I think this is explicit in the fact that McDermott refers to him as deranged and he says that he killed when he was ill but he is better. The man is clearly insane and delusional.

The film itself is kind of a take on Ten Little Indians mixed with Mark of the Vampire, in that the supernatural is faked to reveal a killer, though in this the vampire usage is not part of that ruse and is almost incidental – thus the debate over doing a ‘Vamp or Not?’ or ‘Honourable Mention’. In the end we have already established, elsewhere, that belief (either self or third party) that a character is a vampire can be enough to make a film a vampire film. Jorge Beirute as JuliusDespite that the use of vampiric imagery and story impact is just too small, if the use of the vampire had been more pronounced I would have gone for a review.

Unfortunately as well as being a very confused plot the film is a comedy, but the comedy falls very flat being a sub-Stooges rip off. The film is quite atmospheric in places, however. A real oddity.

The imdb page is here.

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