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Monday, March 15, 2010

Atom Age Vampire (1960)



Tonight, after I discovered and mounted a zombie hand for the sideshow, I continued my trek through Undead: The Vampire Collection. Tonight’s entry, Atom Age Vampire. (Seddok, l'erede di Satana), is another in what seems like a long line of non-vampire films in this set.

Plot/ When a singer (Susanne Loret) is horribly disfigured in a car accident, a scientist (Alberto Lupo) develops a treatment which can restore her beauty by injecting her with a special serum. While performing the procedure, however, he falls in love with her. As the treatment begins to fail, he determines to save her appearance, regardless of how many women he must kill for her sake. Dr. Levin studied the effects of radiation on living tissue in post-Hiroshima Japan, and created an imperfect and teratogenic serum, "Derma 25", which he later refined into the miraculous healing agent "Derma 28" which he uses to treat the heroine. When his supply of Derma 28 runs out, he realizes he must kill to obtain more, and injects himself with Derma 25 in order to become monstrous and remorseless, so that he may seek these victims without hesitation. Because many of the murders take place near the docks where shiploads of Japanese refugees are arriving, and leave behind the victims' bodies with holes in the neck where Dr. Levin has extracted the glands, the refugees claim that a vampire (whom they call "Seddok", though this is not a Japanese name) is responsible for the attacks. During a meeting with police, a restored-to-humanity Dr. Levin speculates that the Hiroshima survivors' tales of a mutated killer are due to psychological strain from the radiation damage to their bodies...but also wonders aloud whether the "vampire" these witnesses describe might simply be a disturbed man wishing to be normal again.


While the film offers nothing spectacular and is actually rough, one has to think of what it looked like before the editing and censorship for the US market. According to most site’s the original version was 105 minutes, almost a full half hour longer than the DVD version that sits in the public domain and now procured by Mill Creek (or viewed here). In all, the Italian roots of the film are visible and it does demonstrate some decent cinematography and camera work. However, it goes downhill from there. A good portion of the transfer is very grainy and dim and the acting is not much better. While this is definitely a snoozer, it was much better than The Bachelor or whatever show my wife had on in her office.




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