In the past three years of recording NaschyCasts Troy and I have stumbled across a number of movies that we had never previously heard of. A few of these we have turned into extra podcasts because we found what we think is a hidden gem from the golden days of the Spanish Horror boom. THE STRANGE LOVES OF THE VAMPIRE is a good example of a little known film that could and should be better known. Its simply lying there waiting for some industrious DVD producer to discover and bring to the Cult Movie loving masses.
As we do our research for each show we go through the IMDb listings for the cast and crew for the movies we cover we will often spot titles that seem like something worth seeking out. Luckily, in the age of the internet, this is becoming easier and easier to do. When we spotted the film LOVE BRIDES OF THE BLOOD MUMMY among the films of actor Frank Brana (LOS CANTOBROS, PIECES, POD PEOPLE, etc) I knew it was one I had to see. A Spanish made mummy movie? Hell- it might as well have been made specifically for me! Its release date of 1973 and its Spanish/French production pedigree meant there was every chance in the world for cinematic joy. My, oh my. I was so very wrong.
First, this is one of the most impoverished European productions I have ever seen. I don't know how much money they had for this film but it was NOT much. Now- that is not necessarily a problem when it comes to these types of movies but in this case it makes for a film with less than five total filming locations which has the effect of blanding everything down considerably. The story is set in the late 1800s and what little money they had seems to have been spent on a few costumes and renting out a rundown old castle. Occasionally modern items creep into frame but I can forgive that type of thing in a trashy period horror film because I dearly love the genre. But when a film has a very low budget it requires a careful director and an interesting script to keep boredom at bay. You must juggle your resources to hide your lack of monetary means. Unfortunately this is one of the dullest pieces of Euro-Horror I have sat through in recent memory. Most of the film is a boring series of repetitive scenes of a kind of hypnotized servant going out to drag female victims back to the castle dungeon for the 'mummy' to molest and drain of blood. Oh yeah- lets talk about the 'molest' aspect. Spanish exploitation films of the period were generally shot with alternate scenes of the nastier moments with full nudity from the ladies. This allowed them to have a soft and hard version to sale to different countries with different standards for movies. I'm not saying there are pornographic prints of LOVES BRIDES OF THE BLOOD MUMMY out there but there is a version in which the molestation I mention is much harsher and may have been laced with a little violence. What I had to watch is the 'clothed' version of the film so there are some silly moments when the Egyptian is clearly randy and lusting for more than just blood when the director has the victim's underclothes miraculously stay intact enough to cover her naughty bits. This gets fairly strange and in one scene we are treated to a lengthy scan of the dungeon's ceiling as the - let's call it what it is - rape is conducted.
Next we have the fact that there is no mummy in the film. By this I mean there is no wrapped, wrinkled creature shambling about doing evil things. The film has plenty of evil things being done but the device of having the resurrected Egyptian guy never speak a word and do nothing but lurk in a cellar and rape women is somehow supposed to be the mummy action. That's all he does! Oh- and drink blood from the girl's nibbled on throats. This silent, well tanned fellow from centuries ago is awakened from his slumber to mostly just stare at the other characters while modeling gold-foil faux-Egyptian clothing until some poor girl is thrown at his feet. Seems like a pretty boring life. (By the way- how did the cheesy, shiny loincloth survive the long years in the sarcophagus? Or am I being stupid to even ask this question?) This is all well and good, you might think, but why is the guy some kind of vampire? And why is that word never used? And why (outside of the standard cinema conventions) are all the victims he is supplied with hot females? WTF?
I must admit that as much as I disliked this tedious movie I would probably sit through the unclothed version to see what it was like. I know that makes me sound like a pervert hoping for the sight of nubile actress flesh but it is often the case that more than just the nude scenes are altered in these stripped versions. There is a rumor that a US DVD company has the rights to release this film's harder version and is playing up the nastier aspects of it on the cover. Indeed, the cover art of the proposed DVD is all the proof we have seen of this possible release so - as strange as it may sound after all I've said here- I'd be pretty happy to have this come out. Jeeze! I'm such a Euro-Trash hound!