Sunday, November 24, 2019

Capulina Contra los Vampiros – review

Director: René Cardona

Release date: 1971

Contains spoilers

So, I previously looked at a film featuring Capulina (Gaspar Henaine) when he was in his long-standing double act with Viruta (Marco Antonio Campos), that being El Camino de los Espantos. This later vehicle was following the double act’s split and saw Henaine carrying the vehicle himself.

His character in film was one of an affable buffoon but that does, in many respects, work better with a straight character to bounce against.

reading about Dracula
In this Capulina is in his bed clothes, whilst a storm rages outside. We get a little physical humour sketch of a window that won’t cooperate with him and stepping in a chamber pot. Eventually he goes to bed and starts reading a book about Count Dracula… This then moves to a scene where we see the vampire Count Draca (according to the subtitles I saw), who has astoundingly tusk-like fangs, being staked with a wooden lance.

Draca Staked
Draca turns to dust but the lance becomes wedged into the floor. His companion, Pampa (Rossy Mendoza) spends the next 150 years trying to have the lance removed from the floor as it will allow him to revive and regularly has strongmen make the attempt. Later she addresses why she can’t remove it but citing she might get splinters (!) and no consideration of chipping the surrounding stone is made. We essentially get a (barely thought out) stake/evil-equivalent of the sword in the stone.

Pampa calls the agency
Capulina is at an employment agency where he has driven the owner to distraction as he cannot last more than three days in a given job. He wants to be a manager (as they get to sit on their backsides all day). Whilst he is there a call comes from asking for a caretaker for an old house – a call made by Pampa – and he is sent to the vampire’s mansion. Within there he meets a diminutive good spirit called Carbonata, who is the guardian of the treasure there. Of course, he ends up resurrecting the Count as well.

What follows is a bit of slapstick, mingled with some absurdist humour. Throwing in vampires means a plethora of really crap bats, which are definitely of the rubber variety. Carbonata is able to transport both himself and Capulina in a blink of an eye and the star is safe to a point as the vampires want to know the secret of the treasure. The Count has a group of six vampire women (referred to as slaves, rather than brides) who Pampa is jealous of and who all wear transparent chiffon over black underwear.

anti-vampire suit
At one-point Carbonata recalls that there is an anti-vampire suit, which is a suit of armour. That might protect the neck from biting but not the buttocks. However when two of the vampire slaves try to bite the neck they lose their fangs. The vampires retreat at dawn and Carbonata suggests pulling the Count into sunlight at one point – so we know it is deadly to vampires. Pampa gives the Count a glass of refrigerated blood, making the point that it is as nutritious as fresh when he pulls a face; she stole it from a blood bank. However, there is little other lore to note.

Gaspar Henaine as Capulina
This didn’t work as well as the early film I’ve looked at and I suspect that the Capulina character needed a better foil. Some of the humour hadn’t aged that well either but there is still a charm in Henaine's performance despite working better in a duo. 4 out of 10

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On DvD @ Amazon UK

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