Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Boris Karloff Blogathon: Day Seven

The end of the Boris Karloff Blogathon.


An Actor's Notebook
Andrew's Weekly Musings
Another Old Movie Blog
Apocalypse Later
Arbogast on Film
Baking with Medusa
Basement Screams
Behind the Couch
Black Hole DVD Reviews
Blogue Macabre
Branded in the 80's
Caffeinated Joe
Caftan Woman
Cavalcade of Awesome
Cinema Styles
Cinematografo dei trash
Daedalus Howell
Day of the Woman
Deadly Movies
Dollar Bin Horror
Dravens Tales from the Crypt
El inconsistente
Fear Fragments
Fernando Rojas on Twitter
Film of the Year
Gary's Goods
Greenbriar Picture Shows
Halloween Shindig 1965
Hammer and Beyond
Heart in a Jar
Hunting Monsters
Iain Maynard
Igloo of the Uncanny
John Rozum
John's Forbidden Planet
L.S.D. - Letras Sin Desperdicio
Lost Eyeways
Love Train for the Tenebrous Empire
Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies
Magia Posthuma
Martin Powell
Men's Adventure Magazines
Monster Crazy
Monster Land
Mother Firefly's Faster Pussycats
My Illustrative Life
My Two Yen Worth
Need Coffee dot com
No More Ghostly Games
Obscure Hollow
Oklahoma Film Critics Circle
Only the Cinema
Orange and Black
Ormsby's Cinema Insane Blog
Panic on the 4th of July
Para Abnormal
Peeping Tom
Periodic Circumspection
Poe Forward's Poe Blog
Popcorn Monster
Radiation-Scared Reviews
Rattigan Writes
Raven Faes Creations
Realm of Ryan
Reanimated Rags
Rob Kelly Illustration
Roque Madrid
Scared Silly
Shades of Grey
Six Shooter
Skræk og Rædsel
Sleaze Blender
Teaessare Illustration and Design
The Amazing Movie Show
The Boris Karloff Collection
The Captain's Ramblings
The Cathode Ray Mission
The Drunken Severed Head
The Futurist
The Groovy Age of Horror
The Horrors of It All
The House that Dripped Blog
The Kind of Face You Hate
The Ladies and Gents Auxiliary
The Lightning Bug's Lair
The Paradise of Horror
The Roads of Autumn Dusk
The Sci-Fi Block
The Vault of Horror
The Zed Word
Things That Don't Suck
This Guy Over Here
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Vade retro me satana
Weird Hollow
Who Killed Orrin Grey?
Wouldn't You Like To See Something Strange?
Writer By Night
You're Only As Good As Your Last Picture
Zombos Closet of Horror


Fonts: Frankensteinia

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Boris Karloff Blogathon: Day Six

Boris Karloff "An Evening With Boris Karloff And His Friends" (1967).

A cool merging of monster talent here; Forrest J. Ackerman
writes a script that Boris Karloff reads with Verne Langdon
& Milt Larsen producing! This LP is a collection of synopses
for the classic Universal films that Karloff figured in so
largely, and mixed in with his narration are sound bites and
musical cues from "Dracula", "Frankenstein", "The Mummy",
"The Bride of Frankenstein", "The Son of Frankenstein", "The
Wolf Man", and "The House of Frankenstein"; all of which must've
blown the collective minds of monster kids dwelling in the
pre-video-on-demand days of 1967. Forrest J. Ackerman's
script (famously written in one sitting) does a nice job of
stitching together all the parts, and while the whole thing
only lasts about 24 minutes it manages to give an appropriately
grand sense of status to the initial Universal horror cycle that
was then still setting the tone for most monster entertainment.

Download the File Now! Click Here.

Boris Karloff "Tales Of Mystery And Imagination".

I've had several requests for this one. Seen in many different
versions, this particular LP was from Pickwick International in
1977. The Script is by Sid & Helen Frank. Music by Frank & Judy
Stein. Arranged and produced by Ralph Stein. The sound effects
were done by Myst-A-Rama / Cricketone Chorus And Orchestra.


Listen to the archive or Download it! Click Here.


Mostly Ghostly Music Sharing Blaaaggghhh
Scar Stuff

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Boris Karloff Blogathon: Day Five

Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.

The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration,
with a Complete Filmography of Their Films Together.

Contributors: Gregory William Mank (author)
Format: Hardback, 254 x 178mm , 701 pp, ca. 250 photos
(12 in colour), notes, bibliography, index
Publication date: 15 Aug 2009
Publisher: McFarland & Co Inc
ISBN-10: 0786434805
EAN: 9780786434800

"Dracula" and "Frankenstein's Monster" are horror cinema
icons, and the actors most deeply associated with the two
roles also shared a creative friendship. Bela Lugosi and Boris
Karloff starred in dozens of black-and-white horror films, and
over the years managed to collaborate on and co-star in eight
movies. Through dozens of interviews and archival research, this
book examines the Golden Age of Hollywood, the era in which
both stars worked, recreates the shooting of Lugosi and Karloff's
mutual films, examines their odd and moving personal relationship
and analyzes their ongoing legacies. Features include a fully
detailed filmography of the eight Karloff and Lugosi films, color
inserts of the eight movie posters, and more than 250 photographs.


"Meticulously researched (Mank has been writing on the subject of
classic horror for years and was able to interview many of the people
behind those movies of the 1930s and 1940s in the late 1980s, when
there were many more still around), and entertainingly written, this
book will stand as the final word on both actors....Mank’s book is the
best example of its type.
"--Total SciFi Online

"This is an incredible book. I can barely scratch the surface of the
information and secrets that Mank has uncovered. Suffice to say that
this book is the one book you must own if you are a fan of Lugosi and

"The Mank book, which he calls an "obsession" since his first
interviews with Lugosi's ex-wife in 1974, is meticulously researched
and more than 300 pages longer than the original. It grandly paints a
portrait of the two stars and the spooky past of Universal, Hollywood's
top scare studio of the 1930s and 1940s.
"--USA Today

Explores the truths behind the mysterious Karloff and the enigmatic
Lugosi...brings to life the compelling and complicated saga of the
horror kings...add this to your shelf
”—Library Journal

Excellent...well-written and well-researched. If Mank is behind it,
you know it will be good

>>Author Biography:

Gregory William Mank, a Delta, Pennsylvania, English teacher, has
acted in nearly 100 stage productions. He has written numerous
books on classic horror films.


Gregory Mank

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Boris Karloff Blogathon: Day Four


No one can deny that Boris Karloff was a master villain, but even
the best of actors wasn´t immune to the whims of sriptwriters.
In the 40´s when studios were churning out scripts, mad
writers often threw logic out the windows and came up with some
really freaked out plots. For example take "THE MAN THEY COULD
NOT HANG", well actually they did hang him, but his assistant
brought him back to life with an artificial heart. In "THE MAN
WITH NINE LIVES" he discovered that freezing people can cure
cancer. "BEFORE I HANG" had him discovering that blood cells
carry "the very essence of our behavior". Unfortunately he injects
himself with the blood of a murderer. Go on, guess waht happens.

The four Mexican films he made at the end of his career were
no exception to far out ideas. "THE FEAR CHAMBER", the movie
I´m here to talk about this issue, is the most outrageous of the
four. Of course, it was written by Jack Hill, who also wrote "SPIDER
some of the most wahcked out plots of all time, so Boris was really
doing the best he could with the material he was given. Okay crew,
leave your disbelief at the door and fasten your seat belts. This ride
is gonna get bumpy!.

A scientist (Boris Karloff) and his assistants (Julissa and Carlos
harles] East) are able to pull a piece of stone from an active
volcano. What makes this rock so radical is --now get this--
it´s alive, and by hooking it up to a computer they are able to
communicate with it! The talkative mineral promises to tell the
scientists where huge deposits of gold and diamond are located
if, and here´s the first plot twist, they will provide it with what
it needs to live: human glandular secretions. The gland juice
must be taken from people at the moment of extreme fear to
provide the best nourishment. Is this a totally radical idea or
what? So what do Boris and company do when they hear this?
Do they toss the rock back into the volcano and forget the
whole thing? Do they tell the rock what it´s asking is too
much? No! They all go right to work and build a torture
chamber in the basement! Is that awesome? There´s even
more. To get victims they advertise at an employment
agency for live-in housekeepers. Once thay lure tham to the
mansion thay use the fear chamber on them. With lights,
mirrors, rubber tentacles and Boris himself hamming it up
in a black robe faking a human sacrifice, they scare the
women to a point where their glands produce enough fluid
to keep the rock not only alive, but growing!.

Boris is not the well intentioned but misguided scientist he was
back in the Columbia Pictures "Mad Doctor" series in the 40´s;
he´s totally up the wall here. In once scene he describes how a
soon-to-be victim has a fear of maggots and slugs and says
"Imagine how she´ll feel to wake up and find herself covered with
them." What a relief this scene wasn´t shown, yuck, what a total
gross out!.

Now like the plot is not rad enought to carry the film for the rest
of the running time, get this; a thief breaks into the lab. The rock
knows its personal space is being violated and evolves a tentacle
to pull the female crook to her death. Upon discovering her corpse
and finding out she planned to rob the house Julissa remarks "It´s
not murder, it´s justice." Boris, showing a small spark of humanity
at last, replies "No, it´s murder as surely as if we´d killed her
ourselves." I guess scaring people out of their skins is okay but
killing them isn´t. Anyway, Boris tries to destroy the computer but
collapses from illness. His assistants put him to bed, tha´s about it
for Boris in this picture.

In order for the plot to keep going we have to lose the cast members
who showed any decency. Carlos and Julissa decide they want to go
off and get married, Boris is in his room sedated, this leaves lab
assistants Isela Vega and Verye Beirute, both of whom are deeply
into a heavy grreed trip. They lure victims to the house and bypass
the fear chamber, taking them right to the rock so it can kill them.
Members of the house also become victims. A turbaned swami
who was in the house for no reason I could figure out is stabbed
by Beirute and a mute dwarf (Santanon) is also killed. Carlos and
Julissa return just as Beirute gets way too greedy and kills Senorita
Vega. Beirute knocks Carlos down and declares, "I´m gonna be king
of the world!" (He pronunces it 'kink', and if you think about how
absolutely bizarre this film is maybe he´s right.) and stomps off
toward the volcano.

Boris finally gets out of bed and figures a way to get rid of the
yakety rock. Boris figures that if thay feed the information thay´ve
glommed from the stone to shrink back to its original size. Now
does that rank as the dumbest plot solution you´ve ever heard
or waht? Well, dumb as it sounds the idea works and the rock not
only shrinks but goes dormant again. Oh, and what about Senor
Beirute? Well, the ending of the film is pretty badly edited but you
get the idea that he went scrambling around the inside of the
volcano and falls into the molten lava. Oh well, he was a gorss
character anyway, serves him right.

"FEAR CHAMBER" has plot holes in it that you can ride a horse
through at full gallop. The living rock is millions of years old
but it says it need human pheramones to live. What did it live
on before humans came along? How did it survive buried in
Earth? If it has to be linked to a computer to talk, how does it
communicate with its own kind? How does it know that humans
value gold and diamonds enought to tell us where to find them
and why does it want to help a species so alien from its own?
And why, oh why does that soooo very dumb idea to make the
rock shrink actually work? So, like what did you expect from the
man who wrote "SPIDER BABY"? Oh puh-leeze!

Of all the four Mexican Karloff´s, "FEAR CHAMBER" is the most
deserving of its R rating. There´s one or two scenes that I can´t
even describe in a family magazine like this; but Boris isn´t in
them so don´t freak. Perfomances are way over the top from
everyone except for Boris Karloff, who only overdoes it in the
fear chamber scene and that´s because he´s supposed to.
Verye Beirute shows how he become Mexico´s best brute
villain, and Isela Vega is real...uh...well I can´t say the word in
this magazine, but it rhymes with 'witch'.

"FEAR CHAMBER" was clipped of 5 minutes in the MPI home video
but is complete from Sinister Cinema.


Scary Monsters Magazine

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Boris Karloff Blogathon: Day Three

Boris Karloff with daughter Sarah Karloff aired august 26, 2007.

“Sure, I remember Boris Karloff. He was the monster in

Well, yes, but what about Scarface, one of the finest gangster
films ever made, directed by Howard Hawks … and The Old Dark
House, the granddaddy of all haunted house thrillers, directed by
James Whale … and The Lost Patrol, the template for all the lost
patrol films which followed, directed by John Ford? Not bad, not
bad at all.

“Boris Karloff, he was in that horror flick, Frankenstein, right?”

For sure, for sure. But if it’s Karloff and horror, let’s not stop
there. How about 1934’s The Black Cat, a wicked little gem which
teamed Karloff and Bela Lugosi for the first time? Or 1935’s The
Black Room, another nasty gem in which Karloff plays twins, one
good and the other evil (and is he ever!)? Or The Raven, from 1935?
Another Karloff/Lugosi delicious little horror thriller. These three
solid thrillers work surprisingly well even today, 70 plus years after
their releases.

“Boris Karloff, Boris Karloff? Wasn’t he in Frankenstein? Played the
monster, I think.”

Certainly did, more than once. In addition to Frankenstein, he also
played the monster in both Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) and Son Of
Frankenstein (1939). In fact, there are those who say that his
performance as the monster in Bride is the best of his career.

“I know who Boris Karloff was, he had the screws in his forehead, in
that monster flick, Frankenstein.”

Sure did. But the screws were inside his head – and definitely not
screwed too tight – in such enduring dark horror classics as The Body
Snatcher ('45), Isle Of The Dead ('45) and Bedlam ('46). All three are
Val Lewton productions, and each serves as a solid example of
Lewton’s estimable work.

“Karloff, he was always the same, wasn’t he? The Frankenstein

Don’t tell that to Danny Kaye, who played opposite Karloff in The
Secret Life Of Walter Mitty; nor to Gary Cooper, who played opposite
Karloff in DeMille’s Unconquered, both in 1947. Not a monster in
sight, just a very, very fine actor named Boris Karloff.

Or tell that to Broadway theatergoers, who caught Karloff in Arsenic
And Old Lace and Peter Pan opposite Mary Martin and The Lark
opposite Julie Harris.

Or mention it to television viewers who caught Karloff’s Uncle Vanya
on Masterpiece Playhouse, or his title role in Don Quixote or his King
Arthur in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court or his turn as
Father Knickerbocker in The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow.

“Karloff, Karloff? Why do I know the name. …? Oh, yeah, oh, yeah,
he was the monster in all those Frankenstein movies.”

This Sunday night, at 8 pm ET, Sarah Karloff, daughter of Boris
Karloff, discusses her father’s fascinating career on ICONS Radio
Hour with Stephen Bogart and John Mulholland. Ms. Karloff offers
first-hand anecdotes about her father’s approach to acting and,
especially revealing, his feelings about his career in horror films.

Interview Click Here.

Fonts: Icons Radio Hour

The Boris Karloff Blogathon: Day Two

David K. Frasier, Reference Librarian.

Boris Karloff (born William Henry Pratt on November 23,
1887 in Camberwell, London) was a 44-year-old journeyman
actor when director James Whale, unable to convince Bela Lugosi
to accept the role, cast the mild-mannered Englishman as “the
Monster” in the 1931 Universal horror film, Frankenstein. The
actor’s sensitive portrayal of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s
creature made him an immediate star, but forever typecast him
in increasingly low-budget horror and science fiction films from
the 1930s to the late 1960s. In 1966, the veteran actor who had
made some of the most notable genre films in the history of
motion pictures (Bride of Frankenstein, 1935; The Body Snatcher,
1945) had been reduced to appearing in cheapie productions like
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, although that same year he had
done the winning narration for the now-classic animated television
production of Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

In 1968, 29-year-old film critic turned director Peter Bogdanovich
gave Karloff his last memorable screen role as aging horror movie
star, “Byron Orlok,” in Targets. Bogdanovich’s directorial debut
(which he also produced, co-wrote, and edited) was inspired by
ex-Marine Charles Whitman’s deadly 96 minute rampage on the
campus of University of Texas-Austin on August 1, 1966. Hours
after murdering his mother and wife in separate incidents, Whitman
amassed a small arsenal of high-powered rifles, and positioning
himself atop the university’s Tower, killed 13, and wounded 31
before being shot to death by a campus security guard. In a more
sedate scene from Targets featured on YouTube.

Bogdanovich (seated on couch) convinces Karloff to retell
W. Somerset Maugham’s short piece, “Appointment in Samarra”
(1933). Karloff died on February 2, 1969, but not before footage
taken of him in late 1968 was added to four low-budget films
shot in Mexico: Cult of the Dead, Alien Terror, House of Evil, and
The Fear Chamber.

The Bogdanovich mss, purchased from the filmmaker in 1995 and
periodically supplemented, is housed in the Auxiliary Library Facility
(ALF). Materials must be requested in advance for use in the Lilly
Library by using the Bogdanovich mss. collection description and
inventory in conjunction with IUCAT. Among the collection’s more
than 100,000 items are production materials, research, related
business correspondence, and scripts for his films including Targets
(1968), The Last Picture Show (1971), Directed by John Ford (1971),
Paper Moon (1973), Daisy Miller (1974), Saint Jack (1979), Mask
(1985), et al. Also included are reel-to-reel audiotapes of interviews
conducted by Bogdanovich with directors George Cukor, John Ford,
Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Sidney Lumet, Otto Preminger, Raoul
Walsh, and Orson Welles. The accompanying photos feature a unique
item from the collection: a 3-pound hand painted fiberglass casting
of Karloff’s bust by veteran Hollywood make-up man and F/X sculptor
Norman Bryn commercially available through Classic Creature Craft, LLC.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Boris Karloff Blogathon

Let's take a journey through the art of 10 illustrators who
we show their vision of this great genius that is Boris Karloff
or Frankenstein Monster.

Gregory P. Rodriguez

Wynn Ryder

Juarez Ricci


David Hartman

Lucas Soriano

Chris Bones


Brett Parson

Goldilocks Larson

Happy Birthday "Maestro".

Today begins the Blogathon Boris Karloff, conducted by Pierre
Fournier of Frankensteinia. Going through his website and take
a look at the message Sara Karloff has left the participants of the

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dracula by Tha (2009)

Tha career began in his early life in 1970 in the children's
magazine Patufet "by Bruguera where there happens to be
responsible for inking the pencils of unforgettable designers
and Ibáñez, Raf (Sir Tim O´Theo), Escobar (Zipi y Zape) o
Martz-Schmidt (El Profesor Cataplasma).

Five years later began working in the TBO, where he does
graphic work in addition to their own pages. It is also
responsible for keeping the pages of the TBO to censorship,
to receive the approval of the censor or his instructions on
what to tweak (it was another era, but even today kidnapped

In the TBO meets Paco Mir (yes, the Tricicle) and Sirvent, with
whom they later would create the page weekly "On Wednesday,
the market" in the magazine El Jueves.

August Tharrats (Tha).

By that time already begun to develop the aspect of Tha as a
musician. In 1981 he also began to work alone on Thursday,
where in the course of 18 he published the series "XXI Cycle"
"What People" and "Absurdus Delirium. The collaboration ended
(inexplicably, at least for the writer) but a week later Tha receives
a call from the DreamWorks who intend to work in the display
of characters, including film "Spirit". Subsequently published in
the journal Cimoc Editorial Standard Series "War of the Gods"
Andreu scripted by novelist Martin.

Tha Recent work are closely linked with the artwork: a series of
3 drawings to one disk of "Ojos de Brujo" and especially the
wonderful illustrations she has done to illustrate the youth version
2 classics: "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" published by La Galera on
his label "Petits Universals", examples of which adorn the text.

As a jazz musician, captaining his trio, August Tharrats has released
3 albums: Bluetime (1995), Grand Hotel Havana (1997) and NonStop
(2003), which lead us to the piano boogie-woogie blues via pop.
This master of the brush and keyboard will delight us with their
music, their presence and bonhomie. And we, excited.

Escola Joso
Tha - MySpace

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Boris Karloff Blogathon

The 2009 Boris Karloff Blogathon is set to begin on November 23rd!

Blogs all over the world will be posting about the life and art of one
of filmdom's most famous fiends, Boris Karloff. So far over 100 blogs
have signed up – click here to see a complete list of participating
blogs at the Frankensteinia site.

Beginning on November 23 — Karloff’s 122nd birthday — and on
through the 29th, bloggers far and wide are invited to post something
about Boris, his life and his wide-ranging career.

There is much to explore… His film work spanned five decades. He
clocked some 75 films through the silent era before he landed and
nailed the iconic part of The Monster in Frankenstein, a film that is
almost 80 years old and still seen and admired. The sequel, The Bride
of Frankenstein, is a motion picture classic. In his path through the
history of horror films, Karloff collaborated with James Whale, Val
Lewton, Mario Bava and Roger Corman. He proved equally at ease in
all genres, including comedies.

Away from films, Boris Karloff became a Broadway star with Arsenic
and Old Lace, The Lark and he was Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

He enjoyed a successful radio career and he was one of the first
Hollywood actors to embrace television, appearing in live drama,
in his own series — notably Colonel March of Scotland Yard and
Thriller — and as a frequent and popular guest on talk and variety
shows. He was the model and the Grammy Award-winning voice
of The Grinch. He made numerous spoken word records, reading
fairy tales to children and, in print, he lent his name to horror and
mystery anthologies and a line of comic books.

In real life, Boris Karloff was a gentleman, a cricket fan and a brave
founding member of the Screen Actor's Guild.

It’s been forty years since Boris Karloff passed away, yet his star
shines as bright as ever. This November 23, bloggers will come
together and share film reviews, profiles, images, thoughts and
remembrances and, I am sure, surprises. I, as a reader, am looking
forward to it.

Scared Silly

Monday, November 16, 2009

Le Viol du Vampire (1968)

A bewildering fantastique film that showcases all of Rollin's
peculiarities that make some viewers hate his work and
others swear by it. In the good corner, we can marvel at his
superb eye for composition, his ability to invoke a strange,
semi-delirious gothic feel, his choppy editing that makes
the logical discontinuity in the narrative work, his strange
taste in music that somehow manages to carry even the
oddest scenes. In the bad corner, we have hammy acting,
over-the-top dialogue, inane sensibilities, and an
adolescent penchant for undressing women under just
about any circumstances one can imagine. Oh wait, move
that last one to the good corner.

The Rape of the Vampire is Rollin's first full-length feature
and it was based on his short film which now appears as the
first segment in this self-conscious melodrama. The story
goes that the producer was so impressed with that short that
Rollin apparently filmed on lunch money that he financed
expanding it into a real film. The result still carries the
stigmata origins although I am not sure whether this is a
good or a bad thing. As it is, the first segment is by far the
stronger one both because it does not attempt to make much
sense of what's going on, and because it succeeds in creating
this dream-like mood that works best with the subject matter.

And what is this subject matter? Well, there are four sisters
who live together in a ruined château. They may or may not be
vampires although they certainly think they are. One of them
thinks she was raped by villagers decades ago (and we see what
could be interpreted as either flashbacks or extemporaneous
visualization of their alleged past) and she is blind. Another is
afraid of sunlight, and all react violently to crucifixions. They are
all manipulated by a sinister old man who alternates between
admonishing them to kill newcomers that threaten their exposure
and groping their naked breasts. In addition, the four seem to
worship a bestial idol in the forest who speaks to them with a
disembodied voice.

The newcomers are three Parisians who have come to the
countryside to investigate the four sisters. They do not believe
in vampires. Thomas is a psychoanalyst who is determined to
free the poor creatures from their madness which he believes
has been induced by the superstition of the villagers who have
essentially driven the confused women insane with their religious
symbols and persecution. He is quick to demonstrate to the
women that crosses do nothing to them, that sunlight does not
harm them, and that even the blind one can actually see. He
takes all of this to be the rational proof that their vampirism is
nothing but a fantasy. When one of the women succumbs to his
charms, the old man orders another one to kill the Parisians, and
when that fails, he unleashes the peasants who brutally murder
all the women they can find, which unfortunately includes Brigitte
(one of the newcomers).

In the ensuing melee, Thomas asks his lady friend to bit him as if
she were a real vampire and when she does, he discovers to his
amazement that she is indeed one. All his ratiocination, all his logic,
all of his smug self-assurance that had driven him to pity them, all
of this evaporates in an instant as he stands in the middle of the
room, swinging slightly, with two punctures in his neck. It would
seem that he had been misled by his own preconceptions---by the
notions that society has for the vampire, notions as unreal and
incorrect as anything scared people would come up with to protect
their cherished beliefs. Ironically, in his attempt to free the women
from what he believed to be society-imposed insanity, his cure was
based on society-imposed blindness, and so little wonder that it fails.

The two manage to elude their persecutors and flee to the beach
but are shot in the back by Thomas's friend who is distraught by
Brigitte's death. This ends the first segment and the first 30
minutes of the film. What follows descends into gratuitous
exhibitionism, ill-advised sadism, and a somewhat mystifying
attempt to provide a backstory to the entire thing. What used to
be an elegy to ancient powers misunderstood both by peasants
and by those who wield them now turns into pedestrian schlock,
complete with medical experiments, a lesbian Vampire Queen,
an attempt to save the vampiric race by procreating with some
women specifically prepared for that purpose, and two idiotic
minions (the brunette dressed all in black, and the blonde
dressed all in white) whose incompetence is only rivaled by their
perpetual horniness.

Briefly, the Vampire Queen arrives on a boat and beaches on
the rough sands where the dead couple lies. She commands her
hooded cohort to grab the old man and pin him down to a slab of
rock. She then proceeds to sacrifice him, or at least that's what it
looks like, with her peering ominously at him, and then licking
what we should presume is his blood from the blade. She instructs
the leading minion woman to dismember the two corpses in order
to ensure that they do not come back to life and leaves. The woman,
however, fails to carry out her instructions because, as we shall later
find out, she is in rebellion against the queen.

Wouldn't you know it, the blood oozing from the dead old man
finds its way onto the naked (why?) corpses of the couple and
revives them. He is somewhat unhappy with the turn of events:
whereas resurrection is good, having to exist by drinking blood
does not seem that appealing. He and his lady companion also
decide to revolt although we are never quite told where they get
the clothes. At any rate, we are now introduced to a doctor who
runs a demented clinic under the supervision of the Vampire
Queen. He does not appear to be undead himself although his
trusted assistant certainly is: she happens to be the woman in
revolt. Said doctor also resents the fate of eternal bloodsucking
and has been secretly working on an antidote to the vampiric
bacteria (yes, we are told in the film that it involves some

In the meantime, the vampires abduct Brigitte's body from
the cenotaph and Thomas later discovers the apparently alive
former girlfriend in his apartment. He, of course, does not buy
her explanation (which amounts to claiming that he has imagined
their entire trip) but instead follows her to the hospital where he
finds her listening to an instructional tape while two (naturally,
naked) women stand behind blood-coolers sucking on long straws
(don't ask). He stops the tape and instantly kills Brigitte who is not
yet undead so she needs the vocal sustenance of her mistress.
Again, this guy is the instrument of destruction although this time
around he did it unwittingly, simply not knowing what an attempt
to free the unformed undead could do to her precarious existence.

Meanwhile, the doctors' plot is uncovered but nothing much
comes out of it, with the Vampire Queen staging a touching
ceremony to marry the renegade doctor to his assistant, although
she first has her minions strip (naturally) that assistant and whip
her mercilessly on the beach. Of course, the malcontents have not
actually bowed to her rule, and so the revolution explodes in what
looks like a shootout from a gangster film, which ends with lots of
undead actually dead, and the Vampire Queen poisoned. However,
when the doctor administers the antidote to his assistant, she dies
too. Apparently, removing the vampire from the human is impossible
without killing her in the process. Again we are told that the rational
can only doom a soul that has been exposed to the fantastic. Not
original by any means, but a nice touch nonetheless. In an ending
worthy of Poe, Thomas and his lady friend wall themselves inside a
cellar to await death:
they do not wish to feed on the living but are afraid that if they stay
free, their unquenchable thirst will eventually drive them to murder.
So they sacrifice themselves instead, ending their freedom in each
other's arms.

The Redemption DVD is atrocious. The glorious black and white
looks like it was made in the 1930s (and perhaps that was part
of the intent if not the lack of money), but that's not really the
problem. The scratches, the grain, and the noise, all contribute
to an essentially flat presentation that does not do justice to a
film that would have benefited from a luminous restoration.
The 1.66:1 aspect ratio (non-anamorphic) is the only bright
spot, so to speak. The French soundtrack itself is muffled with
occasional drops but at least it is not that distracting. The
barebones disc comes with an untranslated French trailer of
subterranean quality, and a worthless gallery of stills.
Unfortunately, since this is the only way to see this early Rollin
film (and see it you must), this DVD is the way to go. Better than
muddy nth-generation VHS copy, at least.

Fonts: Gotterdammerung