Friday, October 29, 2010

The Horrible Sexy Vampire – review

Director: José Luis Madrid

Release date: 1970

Contains spoilers

Horrible… yes that was a good and accurate descriptor though the word sexy was probably a misnomer – one can’t help but think there was probably a more explicit version of this film doing the rounds, however. Yet the name is probably more fitting for the English dubbed print than the Spanish El Vampiro de la Autopista.

scream until you like it
That said we do begin in a car, on the motorway. In it Arthur drives and his unnamed companion suggests that they stop at the first motel. This they do, though why they got a twin room rather than a double is befuddling. She has the quickest bath in history and then he has a shower. Someone invisible grabs his throat, throttles him and then turns out the lights. The turning out of the lights is only a precursor to her turning them back on, allowing her to find the body in a more impactful way. She screams.

bite mark
The police commissioner arrives at the coroner’s building. The coroner has just completed the autopsy and we see a bite mark on the woman’s neck that actually looks more like an elliptical sucker mark – don’t get excited through, it is just a bite mark. The commissioner believes the assailant to be some kind of sadist. The doctor says no, and alludes to something supernatural and invites the commissioner round for a drink.

the Baron's portrait
Over drinks the doctor explains that he believes the crimes to be the work of a vampire. He has checked his father’s journals and there are flurries of crime, over a 28 day period (which was interesting) every 28 years (which was less interesting) with a one week gap between attacks. Pay little attention to this pattern because this time round the killer attacks over and over again it would seem. Anyway, the doctor even knows who the vampire is – one Baron Winnegar (Waldemar Wohlfahrt), pronounced vinegar. The commissioner is dismissive but gets a warrant for the unoccupied castle. They get the key off the caretaker and explore. They find a portrait of the Baron and then find the coffins of him and his wife. His wife is bones but his is empty. He’s busy killing the cops and, by the end of the night, two cops, the commissioner and the doctor are all dead.

Waldemar Wohlfhart as Count Oblensky
The Commissioner is replaced with a new inspector but he can find no clues as to the assailant (and the vampire theory has died with the doctor). Then the Baron’s heir Count Oblensky (also Waldemar Wohlfahrt) arrives. The castle is sealed and so he goes to the inspector. Oblensky’s father and grandfather never claimed the inheritance due to the will’s stipulations. The heir, the descendant of the Baron’s caretaker (who has now died of natural causes after the murder of the cops) and the heir’s wife are the only ones allowed to enter the castle and the heir must not go into the cellar. These stipulations are quickly ignored.

Waldemar Wohlfahrt as Baron Winnegar
Anyway, it’ll be one night before he can get in the castle and there is a murder that night… Now, let us assume Arthur and his lady friend were the first killed (though it sounded like they were not) and the police went to the castle the next day (and their murders are out of the general pattern). The Inspector was not hired until after their funeral – unlikely the next day – and he had been in town 10 days when Oblensky arrives. Then we have at the most one more murder to come, following which it is likely the 28 day period is up, but there are several more, which is why I said to ignore the pattern that seemed so important. Oblensky is followed so they know that, whilst he took a stroll, he was in his hotel when the murder took place and yet he is still a suspect it seems.

As it is, spooky things go on in the castle until he goes down the cellar and thinks he sees his ancestor stood before him. Let us talk Waldemar Wohlfhart – also known as Val Davis. He is not a good actor, he carries little presence and, from what I can gather, his main trade was softcore flicks. When he sees his ancestor he must have been told “do disbelief” by Madrid and so he rubs his eyes, almost as though he were a child actor in a school production it is that bad. Yet there is something endearing about his performance, in that he seems to give his all – when he is beaten by the invisible vampire (for Winnegar can attack whilst invisible) his acting is so over the top it is ace.

the skeletal Count
Anyway, the inspector gets a warrant and they check the coffins – Winnegar’s bones are there as it is daylight and this vampire is bones during the day and reforms at night. Winnegar approaches Oblensky (whose forename was Adolf, I seemed to catch) and begs his relative to destroy him by stake through the heart – presumably having to catch him at sunup or sundown, in his coffin but not yet bones. Winnegar says that he cannot attack Oblensky as they are related (except to beat him up later).

Susan in the bath
To add to the problem, Oblensky’s fiancé, Susan, turns up and insists on staying in the castle and questioning his sanity. This is clearly a breach of the will’s stipulation (as they are not yet married) and makes her a prime target for the Baron – who plum ignores her at first, going into town to feast, and only attacks her on the night when Oblensky makes a stake.

repelled by the cross
The other lore is really around the cross and this does repel the vampire but we get little else of substance. There is a parting comment by Oblensky about the victims of vampires becoming vampires and the Inspector suggesting that they’d be overrun. Of course, with his ancestor staked he is leaving town – the inspector is happy as an escaped lunatic has confessed to the crimes – so we never get to see this predicted plague of vampires.

The film is awful, a little flesh and a story that drags on and on… but, strangely, it is Wohlfahrt’s performance – as bad as it is – that keeps you watching. He hasn’t the skill or presence to pull off one character, never mind two, but somehow he manages to keep an interest going in between the gratuitous booby shots. 2 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Gene Phillips said...

Thanks for the detailed review. I've seen this title for many years and have been curious as to whether it's as bad as rumored.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

No problem Gene, the rumours are true and yet the wonderfully named Wohlfahrt is surprisingly watchable..l. I guess in a car crash sort of way :)