Curse of the Blood Ghouls

04/14/2023 08:53

Film: Curse of the Blood Ghouls (La strage dei vampiri)

Year: 1962

Director: Roberto Mauri

Writer: Roberto Mauri

Starring: Walter Brandi, Dieter Eppler and Graziella Granata



This is a movie that I hadn’t heard of until looking for horror movies from Italy. This is another from that helps with my Trek through the Twos being from 62. The title that I found this under was Slaughter of the Vampires, so I knew it would be a movie dealing with this creature. Other than that, I came in blind.

Synopsis: in 19th century Austria, a newlywed couple in an old castle soon are targeted by a savage vampire who is hellbent on destroying both of their lives when he centers his focus on the bride. Complications ensue for everyone involved.

We start this off with a couple fleeing from a mob. The man is referred to as the vampire and played by Dieter Eppler. They hide in ivy as the group catches them. They make a break for freedom. She falls and it set upon. The vampire just leaves her as he gets away.

It then shifts to a party. I didn’t necessarily pick up on the fact that the couple putting this on were newlyweds, but they are Marquis Wolfgang (Walter Brandi) and Louise (Graziella Granata). There is an interesting sequence where a butler is sent to the cellar of this mansion for wine. It is there that we see the vampire’s coffin is hidden. He wakes up and joins the party.

As the synopsis says, he focuses in on Louise. The two of them dance while the room tries to figure out who this strange man is. Louise gets tired and retires to her room. It is there that she is attacked by the vampire.

Wolfgang does everything in his power to figure out what is wrong with her. Dr. Hant directs Wolfgang to a Dr. Nietzche (Luigi Batzella). This takes him to Vienna to seek out his aid. The more that this doctor hears, the more he fears what is behind this. Upon their return, Louise has passed away. It is confusing that when they go to her room, her body is gone. The vampire isn’t done yet as he turns toward Corinne (Gena Gimmy), who is a maid. Louise is also a creature of the night as well, looking to turn the marquis. Time is limited to put an end to this creature’s evil plan.

That is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to characters. Where I want to start is that this doesn’t have the most complex story. If anything, it feels like a condensed version of Dracula. What is different here is that we are introduced to the vampire as they flee from a mob and then him taking up residence in the house of his next victim. The vampire focuses on the new wife, Louise, before turning its sight on other women. Dracula turns his attention eventually to Mina and had multiple brides. I don’t hold this against the movie, but that is what this felt like.

What is interesting with this movie is that it has a gothic feel. The mansion isn’t a castle, but the costumes of the characters fit that. We also see that the need horse and carriage to get around. I think it works well in those confines. It also makes sense that when Wolfgang relays to Dr. Nietzche the events and what he thinks, Wolfgang doesn’t find it too outrageous. He doesn’t fully come on board, but part of that is due to waiting before they can act. To bring up the setting one last time, it allows a lot of hiding places within the cellar for the vampires which is terrifying that they’re already inside. This does seem to be ignoring the lore that they need to be invited in. My guess is that was too problematic or due to the party having an ‘open invitation’ of sorts is the cover there.

There isn’t much more to go into there so I’ll take this to the acting. I thought that Brandi was fine as Wolfgang. He has a line to walk where he is worrying about his wife as well as trying to keep the modern belief that vampires don’t exist. I think what he does works there. Eppler has a good look as the vampire. What is interesting is that he fears the mob while also looking menacing. Granata is gorgeous. She is solid in her performance as well. I liked Batzella along with Gimmy and the rest of the cast. No one is great, but they work for what they need in their roles.

Last things then to go into would be with the filmmaking. I’d say that this shot well. The transfer of this print helps make this look crisp. They don’t do much with camera movement or shots. They are standard. There was soft focus that seemed to be used at times. That did stick out. There aren’t a lot in the way of effects. It made me chuckle that at times when someone was a vampire when their fake teeth made their lips and cheeks bulge out. You could tell they were fake. I’m not holding it against this. There seemed to be a limited budget so they don’t have blood. Other than that, I thought the soundtrack was fine without standing out as well.

In conclusion, this isn’t a bad vampire film by any stretch. The biggest issue I have here is that it doesn’t do anything new and it makes it slightly boring for me. The issue is just that I’ve seen movies before and after do things better than here. This is made well enough though. The acting is solid. There aren’t any glaring issues outside of what I’ve said about it. You can skip this only because there are movies out there that do it better unfortunately. If not, this is a solid enough vampire film.


My Rating: 5.5 out of 10