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Friday, January 18, 2013

Fangs of the Living Dead (1969)

I often think that my Facebook and Twitter followers eagerly await Wednesday, because they know that they'll have a chance to get me to sit through horrible movies... and they've chosen some horrid ones for me to watch over the past year or so.  Fortunately, sometimes, they manage to choose something decent for me to watch and tweet to...

Sylvia arrives at Castle Walbrooke to claim ownership of it, and her title as Countess Walbrooke.  The night of her arrival, the mysterious and sexy Blinka warns her that her Uncle, the Count, is after her.  Soon, Sylvia learns a dark secret about her family's past that may cost her her life...

As is often the case with horror movies, the premise is really quite good, and serves as a great starting point for the story.  "Fangs of the Living Dead" does a decent job of delivering an interesting storyline that actually kept me watching.  There is very little in the way of "fat" in this movie.  The few subplots actually fit and mesh well with the main storyline.  I wanted to know what was going to happen.

The majority of the characters were a bit of a weakness, unfortunately.  Sylvia was almost clueless about the the fact that her Uncle was telling her he was a member of the undead.  He even said that the undead relatives were in the room with her... next to her.  He did all but say, "I'm a vampire, you blonde ditz!".  I also found her a little shallow... hot, but shallow.  I was hoping she'd get nommed on.  I also found her fiance to be annoying- but mostly because his dialog was so stereotypically "heroic" in tone.  I liked the Count.  He had a nice touch of class and dignity to him.  His voice actually reminded me of Roddy McDowell- one of my favorite actors.  I also liked the fiance's friend, Max- because he was funny.  Finally, Blinka was just as interesting to me as the Count was... and bloody hot in her little black outfit.  I wanted her to be the female lead instead.

Of the actors, I would have to say that Cesar Benet (Max), Julian Ugarte (The Count), and Adriana Ambesi (Blinka) were the best.  They made their characters interesting, sex (especially in the case of Ambesi), and likable... while Anita Ekberg (Slyvia) and Gianni Medici (Piero the fiance) were somewhat average.  A great performance was given by Carlos Casaravilla- who played the village doctor Horbringer.  He was dignified, humorous, and engaging in the rather small role he played.

I want to digress momentarily to mention my favorite scene in the whole movie.  It involves Max and Blinka. Blinka walks into the room, and Max approaches her to hit on her.  Blinka states that she needs hot human blood, with Max saying she could have his.  When she asks if it's hot enough, he replies, "I'm Italian!"  Just as she's about to bit him, Max begins to laugh and says it tickles.  Blinka, surprised remarks that she IS a vampire.  Max's response?  "I love exotic women!"  That scene made me snort tea out of my nose, I laughed so hard.  Certainly one of my favorite scenes in a horror movie.

The camera work is fairly standard for the late 1960's, but still interesting.  For a vampire movie, the body count and blood quotient is pretty low- but I really didn't mind for some reason that I can't quite define.  Possibly, the movie had a certain charm to it that didn't require buckets of blood.

I'm quite glad that my readers chose "Fangs of the Living Dead" for me to watch during "What Movie Wednesday" this week.  Despite a couple of weak characters, I would watch this one again- and would certainly recommend it to others for at least a viewing... even if it's just for the Blinka/Max scene I described above.  This movie is going in The Good.

Special Shout Out:

Big thanks to everyone that took part in "What Movie Wednesday", especially those that voted for "Fangs of the Living Dead":

Jay (from "We Came From the Basement"
Jessica Hewlett

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will be 23 January 2013!

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