Friday, March 12, 2010

From Undead: The Vampire Collection - Nosferatu (1922) - The Bat (1926) - Terror Creatures from the Grave (1965)

The first film that I watched from the Undead: The Vampire Collection 20 Movie Pack was the 1922 classic Nosferatu (which I have seen many times). Really, there is nothing to say about this classic film other than it is a must see. Directed by F. W. Murnau, starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok. The film, shot in 1921 and released in 1922, was in essence an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel.

The Bat

The second film I enjoyed tonight was another silent classic, the 1926 redition of The Bat. This silent film based on the 1920 hit Broadway play by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood, directed by Roland West and starring Jack Pickford and Louise Fazenda. The story takes place in an old mansion, where people look for hidden loot while a caped killer (nicknamed "The Bat") murders them one by one.  While this is a great film and actually a tremendous transfer from its original state, it is hardly a vampire movie. In fact, it is more of a pulp movie than horror, it actually makes me wonder why it was included in the set. The plot is very simple, amnd the acting and soundtrack are excellant. Ironically, the Bat character seems to be an early influence for the Batman comic strip, with some of the elements of the character clearly in play in this movie. Although it is not a horror flick, it is worth watching.

Terror Creatures From the Grave

The last film from the set I watched this evening was the 1965 Italian Supernatural horror film, Terror Creatures from the Grave (Italian title: Cinque tombe per un medium). Directed by Massimo Pupillo and starring Barbara Steele, Walter Brandi, and Mirella Maravidi,  the movie follows an attorney who arrives at a castle to settle the estate of its recently deceased owner. The owner's wife and daughter reveal that he was someone who was able to summon the souls of ancient plague victims and, in fact, his spirit was roaming the castle at that very moment. Soon occupants of the castle begin to die off in gruesome, violent ways.

This tale of betrayal and gruesome vengeance is supposed to be based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, although as a fan of his, I am not really seeing it. Again, I am not sure why this film was included in The Vampire Collection, as the creatures in the movie are more zombie-like (although you never really see them). These monsters are said to carry the plague in their very touch. Fortunately the somewhat grisly results are seen after the creatures leave their mark. Barbara Steele has a masterful performance and the storyline is decent. Unfortunately, the film does have limitations in budget and the transfer quality is not the greatest. But, despite these limitations, this was a fun movie to watch and really added some horror to the night after watching The Bat.

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1 comment:

  1. Barbara Steele = my hero. Shes so awesome slash haunting! Im becoming a bigger German Expressionist fan with each year as well, and I have a deep rooted love for NOSFERATU and Murnau