Thursday, October 07, 2010

World of the Vampires – review

Director: Alfonso Corona Blake

Release date: 1961

Contains spoilers

Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason...

This film has every reason to be panned in review; a low rent Mexican vampire movie (without a wrestler in sight) and yet I absolutely loved it. I make no apologies… My nom de plume is Taliesin_ttlg and I love El Mundo de los Vampiros… there, I said it… and you are all part of my self-help group…

a hand appears...
It starts with a coffin, engraved on it is the name Sergio Subotai (Guillermo Murray) and the date 1848. The coffin opens slowly and his hand appears in that all too typical vampiric way but… well he seems to fondle the lip of the coffin for an inordinate amount of time – like he didn’t want to sit up until the lid was all the way up. Sit up he does though, resplendent in his evening wear (including a medallion that looks like someone lifted a chandelier and stuck it to his chest).

It can't reach us, I must leave the jeep
He heads down a trap door, into a cave that is spattered with coffins and contains an organ made of bones, which he plays. Outside a jeep drives along the road and the occupants see a plume of smoke, suddenly Subotai is stood there. After a while the driver and his companion, Anna, decide that the weird man might attack them and are going to drive off. A flock of crap bats attack (we’ll get to the crapness of the bats soon enough). Given they are safe in a jeep, Anna gets out and screams – it makes things easier for the nasty old vampires.

Come, my papier mache vampires
A host of vampires appear. Let us talk male vampires… they have papier mache heads with big bat ears, they screech only and have hairy hands with long nails, indeed when a man is bitten by a vampire his hands are the first thing to turn. All look like papier mache monsters, all that is except Sergio and he develops the bat ears during his final battle… but we are far from there yet. The vampires descend upon Anna but do not bite.

multiple bites
Sergio is back playing organ, then gives a screech and a horde of vampires appear. The females flounce in robes and look far more human than the men. They tie the driver to a post, bite him and then leave him to turn. Anna they drag to an altar, Sergio bites her and they waft some incense over her. Okay, backstory time, as Sergio is the sort of villain who likes the sound of his own voice...

My name is Anna and I laugh... hah ha
The vampires worship Astaroth and Sergio was murdered with a certain dagger 100 years ago. He has been ordered to destroy the Colman family by the next full moon (or he will have to wait another 100 years). All the European Colmans are destroyed so this means kill the Uncle, senior Colman (José Baveria), and turn the nieces Leonor (Erna Martha Bauman) and Marta (Silvia Fournier) all of whom are in the New World. Why? At this point it sounds like their ancestor murdered Sergio, but later it appears an ancestor killed an evil Baron 300 years ago and Sergio has been chosen as his avenger. If he succeeds the human race will be destroyed. He uses Anna as an oracle to find them (just down the road). Then stabs her, turning her… at which point she takes up evil laughing as an occupation.

Later he plays for her nightie
Over at the Coleman place Rudolfo (Mauricio Garcés) is visiting – later it sounds as though Senior Colman was matchmaking, trying to get Rudolfo with one of his nieces, but that is irrelevant. He is asked to play piano but he explains that they won’t like what he has to play as he has been experimenting with sounds that will evoke responses – either of emotion or, even, that could kill. Nevertheless he plays. Then Sergio arrives.

where's Sergio?
Marta notices that Sergio has no reflection and then Rudolfo – on a whim – plays a Transylvanian ditty and Sergio reacts violently. Seemingly it was used in the old country to summon vampires. Leonor walks Sergio out, as he says he has to leave, and Marta decides not to tell Rudolfo what she saw (or rather didn’t see). Unfortunately for Sergio he doesn’t get to bite Leonor but does mesmerise her, calling her to his run-down castle later that evening.

Crap bat syndrome
Okay, no need to go on… lets look at lore and first off, bats. Yes they can turn into bats and what crap bats they are. They are absolutely fabulous, I mean absolutely something special and the camera seems addicted to lingering on them. Plus, of course, the papier mache vampire men are actually meant to be bat creatures. But wait, if you think that’s good…

Leonor the bat
Later on Leonor is turned and she can turn into a bat, of course, but when she listens in to a conversation in bat form she actually gets a wee diddy human head on the bat. The thing is, this was played straight – not a bone of comedy about it. Sergio, being a good, traditional Mexican vampire has a mute, hunchback henchman and is prone to throw vampires who let him down into a pit of spikes.

pit and stake... classic combination
The main new lore is the music. It does not kill vampires, as many a pundit seems to think, but hurts them and then knocks them out – selectively, Sergio develops a sudden second wind that allows the film to go to its finale of his own trip into the pit of spikes… but wait, that isn’t quite the end, the filmmakers save a spectacularly dark twist for the very end.

This was wonderfully rubbish and I can’t really say anything else. I am not cured, I still think it’s marvellous. 6 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Zahir Blue said...

This certainly sounds FUN.

Christine said...

Yai, cute rubber bats, jewels of old B&W vampire films! But with human head like in Dracula - dead and loving it? Ouch. Still, doesn´t sound bad at all... well, bad and bad, but you know what I mean!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Guys

Christine, it is absolutely awful, but so much so its great lol :)