Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vampiress Review: "Cave of the Living Dead"

The Gist:  A big city detective comes to a small European village to investigate the suspicious deaths of some of the young girls in the village.

Clarification: One of the few horror films in existence where the main character is as smart as the viewing audience which in actuality makes it not much of a horror movie and more of a detective film.  In fact the lead character Detective Frank Dorin (Adrien Hoven) is very Sherlock Holmes like in a way which makes him pretty bad ass.

As the story goes everyone in the small village knows the deaths are vampire related and blames (righfully so) the professor/scientist who lives in the spooky castle but the towns doctor who doesn't believe in the supernatural proclaims all the deaths of heart failure. When Detective Dorin comes to town he has no issues once all the facts are together in trying to convince the doctor otherwise.

Selling Point:  Detective Dorin is such a bad ass that his reaction to everything down to the vampires trying to attack him at night is modern day action movie style sarcastic one liners and quips and this film was made in Italy in 1964.

Quip example (paraphrased):  John the Butler:   How did you sleep last night?
Detective Dorin:  "Oh I had a wonderful dream where two beautiful women snuck into my room and...well it was just a dream"  He then proceeds to find the secret passageway the vampires snuck in through and searches it with no fear whatsoever.

One liner example (paraphrased): after they find the body of one of the dead (and now turned) village girls in a well wearing a black dress once her body which was in her white death dress goes missing the day before he tells the town police and non believing doctor "She must not have agreed with the white dress she had on before".   

Female Vampire Factor:  despite the premise of the film there are only 3.5 vampires in the film total but 2.5 of them are women.   First you have Maria the nice lady at the Inn the inspector is staying at (Erika Remberg)
Maria rises from her death bed as a vampire
She is seen in another scene with another vamp attempting to bite the detective (the .5) but the other vamp is never explained and never really seen again (we just assume it to be another of the towns victims).  The awkward thing about Maria is that once she dies she is literally only active at night (specifically at midnight).  Other than that she's just your regular lifeless corpse who the town seems to enjoy moving around a lot.  You would think after the first instance of placing a corpse in a location just to find it the next day somewhere completely different wearing different clothes and sporting fangs (which she does when they find her in the well) you might use some extra precautions than leaving the absent minded police squad (there are two officers in the entire force BTW) to guard her.
Maria's body as found at the bottom of the towns well after it goes missing
Since their equivalent of securing the vampires body is placing it on a slab or bed and basically saying "now don't move" she eventually gets out again and kills one of the towns two cops by throwing a perfectly aimed boulder onto him while missing the person standing right next him and then biting that person who happens to be Karin (Karin Field) the would be love interest of the detective (and official eye candy of the film with her lingerie spooky castle night clothes).  That would be if the detective wasn't such a bad ass that he blows off her attempt at hitting on him earlier in the movie (she's also the head vampire/town professors assistant).

This is by far quickest vampire turn I've seen ever and that says something considering how many of these films I've seen and this includes the rather quick turns in the 7 golden vampires, the main victim in Waxwork and Lucy Laweless's turn in the Bacchae episode of Xena. Karin is literally bitten and the second the vampiress (slowly) scurries away she has fangs.  She's also cured of her vampirism within 30 seconds of that with a magic potion.   

If there was ever a film that would probably do well with a modern remake it would be this one.  I can imagine what this could have been with a more solid story, better acting and the elimination of the constant reminder that there's a "colored guy" in the town (John Kitzmiller of "Dr. No" fame).  Just food for thought.  As for this one I give it a Vampire Beauty Rating of 2 out of 5.  Tons of potential but at the end of the day its a film about the coolest vampire hunter ever and not so much the vamps.   

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