Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Vampire's Coffin, Mexico after Midnight

Ariadna Welter is a fine Mexican actress, and in 1958's "The Vampire's Coffin," she turns in one of the finest scream-queen performances you will ever see.  Directed by Fernando Mendez, this is one of the best international version's of Dracula, tweaked to accommodate Mexican cinema.  Complete with foggy graveyards, long dark and shadowy hallways, abandoned and ominous city streets, plus a dramatic and heavy spooky score, this film is a sleeper of vampire classics. In this film, as a nurse, Ms. Welter is an angel in white in much peril from our toothy fiend.  As she returns to her career in the theater, she will finish the movie clad as a jungle goddess who may be doomed to be a vampire bride.
Many years ago, Count Lavud unsuccessfully tried to make Marta (Welter) his bride.  For his unsuccessful efforts, our suave vampire got a stake in the heart.  Some bad decisions lead to Doctor Mendoza (Guillermo Oreo) stealing the coffin from an old cemetery. The grave robber (Yerye Beirute) removes the stake from the fiend, and now Count Lavud has another opportunity to make Marta his betrothed.  Doctor Enrique Saldivar (Abel Salazar, who also produced this work) saved Marta the first time, and now he must protect his pretty nurse from the current danger.  Dr. Mendoza brought the vampire back to the hospital to experiment on, but these types of experiments rarely work out well. Now Count Lavud is determined to have Marta....but it will have to be over Dr. Saldivar's dead (...or drained) body.
As the body count rises, and Marta is put under the Count's spell, Saldivar can't convince anyone a vampire is loose in his hospital. Valiently Saldivar thwarts the vampire's best efforts, but Lavud is getting stronger and more clever.  As Marta reports to the theater for her return as an actress/dancer, the Count begins to feed on actresses on his way to Marta's jugular.  As our damsel debuts as a jungle princess, manhandled by natives on stage, Lavud plots her abduction and his evil marriage ceremony to her.  The heroic Saldivar must put his life on the line, not only from Lavud, but from Lavud's evil servant in order to save Marta.
The last 15 minutes is a wild ride and will remind you of the action and music in those old Saturday matinee serials.  Lots of cliffhanger type stunts concerning fangs, guillotines, torture devices, death defying fights, spears, and iron maidens are all packed into those last few minutes.  As saving Marta from an eternity of vampire wife-dom seems remote, Dr. Salvidar will risk everything to see that doesn't happen. Enjoy the scares and thrills of "The Vampire's Coffin.".   

1 comment:

  1. It's got whiffs of a Salvador Dali cliff hanger, jungle babes. Anything set in Mexico must have the atmosphere, Mexico City is the new but very old European, a great place for a vampire movie, check out old cathedrals and pyramids.