Saturday, 19 July 2008

Cave of the Living Dead (1964)

Cave of the Living Dead (Der Fluch der grünen Augen) is a 1964 German/Yugoslav co-production, and it’s a competent if not particularly exceptional eurohorror vampire flick.

A series of unexplained murders has taken place in an isolated village, with the victims all being young women. Inspector Dorin (played by European exploitation cinema stalwart Adrian Hoven ) is sent to the village to investigate. There he meets the local doctor, who assures him that nothing out of the ordinary has been going on. He’s your typical horror movie man of science, stubbornly unwilling to accept the obvious answer that the murders are the work of vampires. The local witch (who happens to be a good witch) has no doubts on this score however, and the detective soon finds himself inclined to favour her theories.

This movie has all the horror movie clichés you could hope for, with a gothic castle inhabited by a mysterious stranger who suddenly appeared in the village six months earlier, and now conducts unnatural experiments in his laboratory. He has a typical slightly sinister horror movie servant, and the village boasts a typical slightly sinister village idiot character. And of course the enigmatic professor has a beautiful female assistant (Erika Remberg), and of course the detective starts to fall for her.

I personally love the German genre movies of the early 60s. They have a wonderful sense of slightly self-mocking fun, and they always assume the audience is in on the joke. This one is no exception, although it has less of the comedy that you usually get in such films. There’s some nice gothic atmosphere, some very cool caves, and the black-and-white photography is impressive. The acting is more than adequate. It has some sexy female vampires. It has all the ingredients to make a highly entertaining tongue-in-cheek horror romp. The problem is the pacing. At 87 minutes it’s way too long.

It’s still quite good fun though, as long as you don’t take it at all seriously. The Region 1 DVD includes no extras at all, but it’s cheap and the image quality is very good. The English dub is the only audio option available, but it’s quite acceptable. Recommended for fans of 1960s German mystery/horror/sci-fi films, and considering its low price it’s worth a look for eurohorror fans in general.

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