Friday, September 2, 2011

Vampiros Mexicanos: The Vampire

Mexico has gotten in on the act!  After numerous foreign Draculas, I thought it was time to take a trip South of the Border.  Thankfully, a nice DVD company released a pair of films that fit my exact criteria.  The first is El Vampiro or The Vampire.  What's interesting to me about this movie is just how stock it is, but especially because of when it was made.  This film was released just a short time before Hammer essentially re-wrote what a vampire film was supposed to be.  Much like X: The Unknown, it's a piece of film history...even if not too many people are aware of it.  I should also mention that the lead actor is played by the late Abel Salazar, the man who played the lead role in The Brainiac.  This movie was made a few years before that, so he doesn't actually the play the Vampire here.  He's instead played by German Robles, a man who would play one of the heroes in The Brainiac!  Five years is a big deal in Mexican film history apparently!  Since the movie treads a lot of the same material as other films, my synopsis will be a bit looser here.  Find some Mexican garlic to wear before the arrival of...
After an opening scene of the Vampire killing a young woman, we meet our heroes.  Abel is dressed like the guy from Casablanca and hitches a ride to a castle with a comely young woman.
German is ever the inviting host, allowing them to stay for a while.  Just stay out of the basement and don't question why he's shipping boxes of soil to himself.
Mysterious goings on occur in the house and it is often filled with smoke.  It's like they're always ready for a KISS concert!
Our heroine figures out what is going on when she does the old 'checking out the vampire in the mirror' trick.  Classic.
Keep ignoring the woman who warns you about the Vampire.  They never know what they're talking about, right?
It all comes down to a sword fight between our hero and the Vampire.  It comes to an abrupt end, however, and the crazy woman takes out the Vampire.  Not sure how to end a movie, huh?
Our two love-birds end up together, since we can't have too much horror in this horror movie.  The End.
Once bitten.  The plot of this movie is pretty basic, but it works.  It's a simple formula: nice people trapped in a house with a scary monster.  Will they make it out?  Of course, they will.  The fun is watching the action unfold and seeing just how they will deal with it.  As I mentioned before, the plot, pacing and overall feel is right out of the Universal horror films like Son of Dracula and House of Dracula.  The company behind the DVD release did a great job preserving and restoring this 50+ year old film.  The black-and-white transfer is crisp and clean.  As a bonus, you can watch the film in English or in Spanish, with or without dubbing.  Considering how many cheap DVDs there are out there containing old films- i.e. all of those 50 Movie Packs- it's nice to see one like this.  Does this film break the mold?  No, but it does fill it nicely.  That said, Abel looks really silly here...
Next up, the other Mexican Vampire film (that Netflix carries).  This one takes a bit from House of Wax...just because.  Stay tuned...

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