Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Slaughter of the Vampires: Voice of the Undead Countdown Minus 47

With Alex Van Helsing: Voice of the Undead coming out on July 26, I'm counting down 60 cool vampire things. Today:
Slaughter of the Vampires, AKA La Strage Dei Vampiri (1962)
There are very few phrases that will bring me running like Italian Gothic. When I was a kid I came across movies like Castle of Blood and was entranced by these black-and-white stories of witches and vampires. True to the form, Slaughter of the Vampires is a dreamy, elegant vampire movie resplendent with dark castle walks and stilted, overly formal language. The movie tells the story of a young nobleman whose wife is quickly seduced and lost to a mysterious stranger, the vampire played by German actor Dieter Eppler.



Movies like this are so simple and sincere as to almost work as fables; they are the vampire story distilled to its essence-- the vampire here seduces the gorgeous Graziella Granata with moonlit poetry: I am from the past, he says. And I carry with me the present and the future. He promises that he sees more in Graziella than she sees in herself, and only he can bring the beauty he sees to life. But of course the transformation he promises is in fact a degraded and dark one.

You don't watch movies like Slaughter of the Vampires the way you watch, say, Blade. When I first encountered Classic Gothic horrors, I felt as though the dubbing were not dubbing but some strange language from another world, a world more real because of its falsehood. I still feel that way. Classic Gothic has to spin itself out and cast its spell.


I caught this movie just this week on Netflix Streaming.

Here's a trailer that uses the garish alternate title CURSE OF THE BLOOD GHOULS.

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