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The Vampires Coffin - 1958

The Vampires Coffin - Released August 28, 1958. Directed by Fernando Mendez

Extraordinarily well-photographed low-budget vampire movie with creative direction and nicely done art and (though often minimal) sets. The film is a Mexican production and there are aspects of the film which may or may not have been intended to be funny, but certainly are in translation.

Abel Salazar is Dr. Enrique Saldivar, doctor at a medical facility, who proves to be resourceful and determined, between being slightly goofy and madly-pursuing Ariadna Welter (as nurse/nightclub performer Marta González "my life is the theatre" she declares before leaving the medical school).

When gathering corpses for dissection at the medical school, graverobbers absent-mindedly bring in the body of Count Karol de Lavud (German Robles) who soon has the stake in his heart removed (it was placed there in the previous film by director Fernando Mendez, El Vampiro, 1957) and then the usual trouble starts.

The Count, dressed in Bela Lugosi gothic fashion, is soon back on his feet and walking the city streets, literally window-shopping until he finds a female victim worth chasing. He then sets his eyes (or more accurately, his necklace amulet's gleaming powers) on star Ariadna Welter, who goes under his spell like so many before. Breaking the Count's control becomes a problem best solved at a local wax museum, where the film's climax is made, after a strange side-trip through a theatre production featuring an odd stage show that looks like its from the 1933 King Kong.

Dr. Saldivar will, of course, prove more than a match for the Count, despite the vampire's ability to appear and disappear at will, and to become a bat when flight seems necessary. Despite the (extreme) lack of originality in the plot, there is frequent funny dialogue and the cinematography by Victor Herrera is first-rate.

Origina Page September 26, 2016

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