Sunday, 13 February 2011

Mexican Monsters Mighty Vampire Returns ...

El ataúd del Vampiro

Count Karol De Lavud returns, resurrected from his dormant state, to bear fangs once more and to seek out his true vampire bride. The gothic ghoul is back to pursue Marta Gonzalez (Ariadna Welter) and his nemesis Doctor Enrique Saldívar (Abel Salazar), both reprising their roles from El Vampiro (1957). The calm and aristocratic count, with a lust for blood, also returns in the original form of Germán Robles. It lays once again upon the broad shoulders of Doctor Enrique Saldívar to protect his love interest, Marta Gonzalez, from succumbing to the hypnotic lure of Count Karol De Lavud. For all concerned there is a great deal at ‘stake’ !.

A cracking start to the movie sees two men breaking into the crypt at the residence of the hacienda from the first movie. The estate is still watched over by Marta’s aunt María Teresa, but she is overcome by the invaders. The men have come in search of the vampire Count Karol De Lavud, and equipped to break into his tomb. Fantastically shot night sequence and suitably eerie mood, with evening wind and creaking wooden joists. Successfully opening up the sealed tomb the grave robbers skulk away into the dark of the night, replete with the vampires casket and contents !. 

A colleague of Doctor Saldívar is responsible for taking it upon himself to seek out the truth about the fantastical story that Enrique Saldívar has confided to him. He intends to scientifically uncover the myth of vampirism. His hired help in this foolhardy enterprise of body snatching is Baraza, a watchman at the local town wax museum. Together they bring the casket back to the town medical facility where Doctor Saldívar is one of the resident physicians. Baraza takes payment but insists upon extra to keep his silence, and upon seeing the contents of the coffin. Therein lays Count Karol De Lavud, a stake embedded into his dormant heart.

The anxious doctor sees Baraza out, but before making his exit the hulking watchman has taken a fancy to the opulent pendant around the neck of the count. He surreptitiously returns to the room, gaining entry via a window, to claim the object of his desire. The retrieval of the resplendent neck piece is hindered by the large wooden stake in the chest of the dormant body. With rash ignorance Baraza pulls out the stake to make easy the capture of his desire. Before the would be thief is able to make haste, and leave via the same way he entered, Count Karol De Lavud has awakened from his dormant state of the un-dead. Reward for Baraza’s self gratification is induced hypnotic control over his very being, and enslavement under the ward ship of his new master, Count Karol De Lavud. The vampire has risen once more from the grave !.

A very short period of time has elapsed between El Vampiro and this sequel, so Marta Gonzalez is still with the Doctor Enrique Saldívar, staying at the same medical facility until she moves back to her stage troop. All being once again under the same roof it is not long at all before the Count Lavud realises the object of his desire is within his grasp.

In a more contemporary setting of a town environment the creepy and claustrophobic stature of the first film is lost, but redefined in other equally as satisfying ways. There are several extremely well realised moments where the visuals are exceptional. A scene where the count stalks a woman in the back streets of the town, making full use of heels on stone cobbled underfoot, and giant cast shadows of the preying vampire, are reminiscent of the classic silent feature Nosferatu (1922). The application to its full extent of a lethal Iron Maiden device is suitably macabre, set amongst the dystopia of the dimly lit chamber of horrors within the wax museum.

Count Karol De Lavud’s pursuance of Marta, and his squaring off against Enrique Saldívar, is the real cut and thrust of the story. The vampires enslaved servant Baraza adds muscle to the terror from the tomb, and the spirited María Teresa is as close to a female version of a Professor Van Helsing as they come.

El ataúd del Vampiro aka The Vampire’s Coffin, is a reasonably accomplished sequel for its time, but perhaps shows up more of its budgetary restraints when viewed today than its forbearer. Viewing the count transform from vampire to vampire bat is quirky, but rather more obviously silly is the all too apparent wire that the flying creature transverses along. Ultimately overlook able of course, as if anything the marvellous job that Casa Negra have done in delivering a crisp, clear print to the digital format is ironically also responsible for such devices to now be seen. Where once there was grain and dimly lit frames, now shines out a resplendent plenitude of vibrant frames to revel in.

A highly enjoyable and nostalgic journey back to a time of creativity, and a golden era for Mexican film making, particularly for the horror movies. Viewed back to back in one sitting, El Vampiro and El ataúd del Vampiro make for a rewarding and refreshingly indelible experience.

El ataúd del Vampiro Movie Trailer

Movie Details IMDB

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