A vampire breaks up a graveyard engagement by murdering a younger man and impregnating his fiancée. That girl finally ends up giving beginning to a blood-sucking child. That child grows up and tries to search out his father to kill him; it appears like a mixture between Rosemary’s Child (1969), Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 (2012), and Castlevania (2017). John Haye’s 1972 horror movie Grave of The Vampire is a notable oddity with its mixture of terror, weirdness, and even being fairly hilarious at occasions. Followers of Nineteen Seventies exploitation and vampire movies is not going to wish to miss this forgotten gem.
Grave of The Vampire was launched in October 1972 with a mere price range of solely $50,000. Having solely a 15% on Rotten Tomatoes with one review calling it a “ridiculous low-budget gory horror thriller about vampires,” one won’t suppose to present this movie an opportunity. Extra possible, this movie is so hidden deep within the crevices of forgotten cinema that it by no means bought the popularity it deserves for being a singular and zany tackle this horror subgenre.
The movie stars Michael Pataki (Commencement Day), William Smith (Pink Daybreak) and is written by The Sopranos creator David Chase. The movie follows Caleb Croft (Pataki), an notorious vampire, who wakes up from his slumber within the graveyard simply in time to catch a glimpse of a younger couple’s makeout session within the automotive. Croft kills the person earlier than impregnating Leslie for causes that also don’t make sense (who’s credited merely as “The Unwilling Mom”). The next day Leslie is within the hospital with horrible ache. Rejecting her physician’s suggestions to get an abortion as a result of this child is “not human,” she provides beginning to a child who refuses milk and has relatively gray pores and skin.
In a single particular scene that stands out, Leslie discovers that her child received’t drink her milk as a result of he has a thirst for one thing solely completely different: blood. Within the scene, Leslie cuts her personal breast in order that her child can get a style of her blood. The juxtaposition of her singing a peaceable lullaby whereas her child actually drinks her blood is a chilling but charming second. The scene cuts between a close-up of Leslie utilizing a knife to chop her breast to a close-up of a child’s licking lips because the blood falls upon them.
After a creepy montage of Leslie’s child rising up, the movie cuts to a dim-lit scene in a school classroom. The digital camera zooms in on James (Smith), the blood-sucking child who’s now all grown up. It’s revealed that he has spent years attempting to trace down his dad, all whereas being a self-hating half-vampire himself. To nobody’s shock (as this movie is very predictable), Croft occurs to be the night-time professor educating Mythology, and James sees this as a possibility to lastly kill his dad. On the identical time, they each fall in love with Anne (Lyn Peters), a lady of their class, who simply so occurs to be an identical to Croft’s useless vampire spouse,, Sarah.
Though being a vampire movie, Grave of The Vampire additionally showcases how nobody can escape their household historical past, ugly or not. James needs to be a standard man, however his bloodline (actually) retains failing him. That is proven in a number of cases, notably in his relationship with Anne. He falls in love along with her all through the movie however is consistently haunted by his half-vampire roots. Whereas he lusts for her physique, sadly, he additionally lusts for her blood.
With the movie’s sleazy and zany first half, the second half is much more eccentric. Croft invitations James and Anne, together with a few of their different pals, to carry out a seance to switch his useless spouse Sarah’s physique into Anne. The night time then turns into a blood bath, with Croft killing and sucking the blood of each single individual, in addition to James and Anne, who’re too busy making love upstairs. As James comes downstairs, he does what he’s been eager to do for years: homicide his father. Unable to flee his household historical past but once more, the movie ends with a close-up of James’ face together with his vampire enamel rising in.
With the movie being extraordinarily low-budget, the solid and crew did a captivating job. Make-up, refined results, and the units appear as if untouched, making the movie seem extra like a house video at occasions. The 70s period inside designs, decade-specific garments, and hair, together with the sepia/pink coloring all through, makes the movie extraordinarily pleasing. The gradual tempo, together with the odd however hysterical one-liners, makes Grave of The Vampire extra of a darkish comedy than a horror movie, however nonetheless, it’s a basic in its personal proper.
Grave of The Vampire could also be a peculiar movie with its unusual plot, off-the-wall characters, and tight price range, however director John Hayes makes probably the most of what he has with this cult basic. It’s a good mixture of comedy, blood, and gore, and any vampire fan must sink their enamel into this one.
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