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Grave of the Vampire

Grave of the Vampire – 1974
Father and son–related by BLOOD! ANYONE’S BLOOD!
John Hayes

David Chase also novel The Still Life
John Hayes

Daniel Cady producer

William Smith – James Eastman
Michael Pataki – Caleb Croft
Lyn Peters – Anne Arthur
Diane Holden – Anita Jacoby
Kitty Vallacher – Leslie Hollander
Eric Mason – Lieutenant Panzer
Lieux Dressler – Olga
Jay Scott – Paul
William Guhl – Sergeant Duffy
Jay Adler – Old Zack
Abbi Henderson – Carol Moskowitz
Carmen Argenziano – Sam
Margaret Fairchild – Miss Fenwick
Lindus Guinness
Inga Neilsen
Frank Whiteman

Review by Sven Soetemans

Curious 70’s gem, but with a strong opening half hour
I wish I could be ALL praising about this odd, unknown horror gem and, for a good 30 minutes, it did look like “Grave of the Vampire” would become a totally unexpected pleasant surprise. Although terribly cheap looking, the opening sequences are very atmospheric and frightening. The substance, too, seems to be original and a totally new take on the classic theme of vampirism.

The films opens at a spooky and very ancient cemetery, where an undead dude crawls out of his tomb and assaults a young couple that are making out in their car. The girl is raped, but she survives, and nine months later she gives birth to a baby that drinks blood instead of breast milk (illustrated by one of the coolest horror-sequences in horror history!).The boy grows up an outcast and wreaks revenge on his vampire-father that still walks around in disguise.

This downright sublime and eventful introduction blew me away and it really looked like I had come across a true hidden horror-gem of the 70’s. The setting is scary, the idea innovating, murders are gruesome…I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Unfortunately however, this is where the ingeniousness stopped, and the remaining hour turned out another dull and ordinary vampire flick. The half-man / half-vampire being discovers that his “father” is now a history teacher (!) and plots to kill him for good.

There are still a couple of bizarre plot twists, but they’re overly stupid and far from believable. Also, because the originality has vanished, you begin to focus more on the dreadful aspects, like the lousy acting, the monotonous camera-work and the cheap set pieces. Near the end, it’s hard to believe that this movie started out so promising and you regret not having pressed the stop-button while it was still good.

Grave of the Vampire (1974)

Review by Wayne Malin

Somber and dead serious–but good
A couple are making out in a graveyard. For some reason a vampire awakens. He kills the man and rapes the woman (in an open grave no less). She gets pregnant, has the baby–but the baby will only drink blood! She provides her own and eventually dies. The boy grows up and vows to find his father and kill him for what he did to his mother. They do meet and things go out of control.

OK–you have to ignore logic with this one. At one point a policeman knows it’s a vampire who raped the woman and who he is–but how? And a vampire is teaching night school (!!!). And WHY would a vampire rape a woman to begin with? Technically–he’s already dead! Push those aside and you can actually enjoy this.

The film has a very downbeat, somber tone–as it should. No jokes or winking at the camera. Michael Pataki is very good (and scary) as the vampire father. William Smith has a few good moments as his son. The rest of the acting is just terrible. Still this movie works. It’s well-directed, has an eerie music score by Jaime Mendoza-Nava and some really creepy sequences (the one near the beginning where a woman discovers a vampire in her basement made me jump).

A pretty unknown little horror film that’s worth seeking out. I give it a 7.

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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