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Fangs of the Living Dead

Director: Armando De Ossorio
Cast: Anita Ekberg, Julian Ugarte, Gianni Medici
Running time: 73 minutes
Rating: Un-rated

Story: A beautiful women inherits a castle in Spain. There she meets a handsome, but strange man and his lady friends. It doesn't take long until she suspects they're vampires.

Review: Before his famous 'Blind Dead' series, the late Armando De Ossorio brought us this, his first horror film. Found under many titles and in many cuts ranging from 73 to 98 minutes, this little known Spanish vampire flick is better than you'd think. Sure all the cliches are here: a spooky castle, a strange man, a cemetery, bats, etc., but that doesn't mean this isn't any fun. For such a dated low budgeter it's not such a bad way of spending a little over an hour. It's just a shame that it's near impossible to find a good quality print since it's currently in public domain and found in many of those '50 movie pack' DVDs, which is just how I saw it.

Despite the mediocre picture quality, a lot of the vibrant colors show through and make the film a nice piece of eye candy. Not only that, but the Spanish locations, especially the castle where most of the action takes place, are beautiful to look at to. One thing this film has that many horror films today lack is a good old fashioned organ music score. It's enough to give one goose bumps. As I said above, there's plenty a cliche to be found, but instead of hurting the film it actually adds to the fun since this film doesn't take it self too seriously.

Aside from a few slow spots, which may be because of how this cut of the film was edited, the pace is pretty quick and even. Though not his best work, director De Ossorio does a pretty good job of creating some good atmospheric moments. Some of the best take place in the catacombs under the castle. Julian Garte, who plays the Count, is the best actor in the bunch, though the rest of the cast does a fairly good job too. And last but not least, the film has a fair amount of humor that should amuse, especially the ending which I won't spoil.

Though the acting is adequate, most of the dubbing, especially Anita Ekberg's, isn't so hot. Is it really so hard to find good English speaking actors to do voice overs and dubs? Like I said earlier, the pacing does lag a few times, but it's not too annoying. If you've seen many other vampire films before this one then you won't really find anything new or original here. Vampires turn to bats, don't go out during the day, die by stake through the heart, and so on. And speaking of bats, the bat effect is laughable at best. It looks like one you'd see in a cheap carnival haunted house.

I must say, for a first horror film Ossorio does a good job here. It's no classic and will never be thought of as such, but if Eurotrash horror like this appeals to you then give it a shot.

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