Sunday, October 24, 2010


Another Philippine horror film from Gerardo de Leon; it's not very well made and it's atrociously dubbed, but like THE BLOOD DRINKERS, it's worth seeing. The Escadero family is a mess: brother Eduardo and sister Lenore think their mother is dead, but actually she's a vampire, locked up in the basement and tended to with whips and chains by sickly Dad; Lenore is in love with neighbor boy Daniel, but Dad won't let her get married; Eduardo plans to marry Christina but is pissed that Dad's will calls for the family mansion to be burned to the ground in the event of his death. Eduardo discovers his mom's secret, and when he encounters her during one of her bloodthirsty rages, he tears off his crucifix and lets her tear into his neck, turning him into a vampire. He then promptly bites (and, for good measure, rapes) Christina, then marries her. Dad eventually has to face the fact that he's fighting a losing battle, and stakes and burns Mom, leading to his demise at the hands of his son, who then arranges for the death of Daniel in a rigged carriage crash, leaving him free to go after his sister (!). The finale involves Eduardo, his wife, and his servants, vampires all, attacking Lenore, with the forces of good--some priests, statues of Jesus and Mary, and the ghost of Daniel (!)--gathering outside the house to save her or burn down the house, or both.

The plot is every bit as wild as I hope my summary makes it seem. The almost Greek-tragedy family saga is too ambitious for such a low-budget production, so there are lots of plotholes: Why did Dad let Mom live so long as a vampire in the first place? Does he actually get off on whipping her? Why does Eduardo give in to his mom so quickly? Why don't Lenore and Daniel just leave the neighborhood? (They do try to, after a ferocious, good old-fashioned fistfight between Daniel and Eduardo, but it's too little, too late.) How does Daniel manage to return as an avenging ghost? Figuring out motivation is problematic here, but I guess it also is with most of the Greek tragedies. Taking into account the terrible dubbing, the acting is pretty good--Mom (Mary Walter) is quite scarily effective in her single-minded desire for blood, and whenever the hunger takes her over, she's shot in a blood-red spotlight. Eddie Garcia as Eduardo and Romeo Vasquez as Daniel are also very good, though the young women tend not to have much to do aside from looking pretty and being put in danger every ten minutes or so. I thought at the end that this is the kind of play that Eugene O'Neill might have written if he had grown up in a family of the undead, and that's meant as a compliment. Not a great movie, but an interesting and unusual one. Aka CREATURES OF EVIL; the disc available from Netflix carries the title BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRES. [DVD]

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