Hello, and welcome to my 2021 April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year, I am listing all of the horror movies Alec and I have seen over the course of the pandemic (so far), with notes about each film. It’s been a long list, but we’re just about done now. I only have two movies to talk about today, and for my final post tomorrow, I’ll only have one.
Without further ado…
Young Hannah, Queen of the Vampires (La tumba de la isla maldita; Crypt of the Living Dead) (1973)
Director: Julio Salvador, Ray Danton
We saw this reviewed recently on one of the many bad-movie-reviewing YouTube shows that we watch, and decided we had to see it. And yeah, it was lots of fun. We start the movie with an archeologist. He’s messing around on an island that used to be called “Vampire Island” because of all the vampires. Then he goes into a tomb, where he is murdered by an evil vampire-worshiping priest. Then his body is placed under a sarcophagus, which is then allowed to fall on him, murdering him some more. The position of the archeologist’s body is a problem for his son, who shows up full of ideas about burying his father, only to find that the corpse is still under the sarcophagus, and that the locals don’t want to touch it, because it happens to be the resting place of Hannah, Queen of the Vampires.
Many people are subsequently bitten.
Oh, and we recognized an actor in this, which was a neat surprise! He is in one of our favorite “what-did-I-just-watch”-type movies, The Devil’s Wedding Night, where he plays twin brothers. Here, he plays the brother of the female romantic lead, who is also the evil vampire-worshiping priest. That ought to have been a spoiler, only it wasn’t. Because, for some reason (as Robin of Dark Corners Reviews points out in his review of this film), they show the face of the vampire-worshiping priest in the very first scene, and then kind of act like they haven’t for most of the rest of the film. Which was weird.
Anyway, I thought this movie was engaging and interesting, and well worth watching.
Your Vice Is A Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (Il tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave, The Black Cat)(1972)
Director: Sergio Martino
Wow, this one is sleazy. I liked it, personally, but… yeah, not one of your more restrained gialli.
This simple tale of incest and murder revolves around these three people:
Reading from left to right, we see the niece (played by my personal giallo favorite, Edwige Fenech), the aunt (with the Greek-tragedy-looking hair), and the uncle (who is probably in the process of saying something awful to his wife). Everyone in this picture sleeps with everyone else, with the possible exception of the married couple. So, I guess what I mean is, the niece sleeps with both her aunt and her uncle. Then, [everyone murders everyone else, more or less. Anyway, there is quite a pile of bodies by the end of the film, and one person left standing. But please note that this movie’s alternate title is “The Black Cat,” and that yes, that is as in the Poe story. And, I mean, it’s never a great idea to be a murderer in a Poe story. Or not in any I can think of.]*
Weirdly, the phrase “Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key” is the text of a note that is shown onscreen in The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (also directed by Sergio Martino and starring Edwige Fenech, and which came out the year before this one). I don’t know why that phrase appears in one movie and is the title of a different movie. I guess they liked the way it sounded? And it sure is an attention-grabber. I think we watched this one because of the strength, length, and oddity of the title. It was one of our first gialli. We thought it was pretty neat, when we saw it. Then we saw it again later, after seeing lots of other gialli, and it didn’t seem quite as good. Still, a solid (if fairly sleazy) giallo that no fan of the genre should skip.
*Spoilers are in white text between the brackets! Highlight to read.
That’s it for today! Tomorrow, “Z,” and the last movie of my list. Here’s a preview of that: