Crypt Of The Living Dead

AUGUST 8, 2007


Man, I am down to like 10 movies left on my beloved budget pack. And some of them aren’t even horror. For example, one movie carries this description: “A man begins to investigate the death of his brother, who died from eating a hamburger laced with ground glass. With the police case stalled because of ineptness, the man’s investigation leads him toward a beatnik hangout frequented by Nico, a shady character who supplies drugs to the patrons and philosophizes about the ills of the world.” Now while a movie filled with beatniks IS indeed terrifying, it’s still not gonna fly for Horror Movie A Day.

On the plus side, finishing the set will means I’ll hopefully be watching a lot less stuff like Crypt of the Living Dead, an alleged vampire movie that somehow manages to showcase more shots of pulleys than shots of vampires.

The description on this one is pretty ridiculous too, not to mention acting as a direct nuclear strike against grammar:

“An archaeologist visits a remote island to bury his late father and, despite the warnings from the local people, opens the tomb of the vampire queen, buried over 700 years ago. This foolish act by the archaeologist and his reporter friend places the entire island in danger, including the local school teacher that the two men are rivals for her affection. With the school teacher in danger of being a sacrifice to the vampire queen, the duo sets out to stop the vampires, rescue the teacher and destroy the vampire queen.”

Well for starters, his “reporter friend” is the woman’s brother, so if he was a romantic rival this would be a much better film. They also say “vampire queen” a couple times more than necessary, not to mention introduce her as if we should have known she existed.

Plus it makes the movie sound more interesting than it is. A more truthful description would be:

“A guy who looks like Fred Armisen doing a parody of John Carpenter is drawn to an island to bury his father, and in doing so opens a tomb that releases an evil we don’t really see until the final few minutes. In the meantime, his reporter friend talks Seussically about drugs and we discover that some vampire worshippers killed his father on purpose because they somehow knew he would come to the island and open the tomb in order to retrieve the body, rather than just fucking open it themselves.”

See? Much better.

Still it’s a puzzlingly appealing movie, even though nothing happens I was strangely drawn to it, and not just because the bad guy looked like Jerry Dandridge. At any rate, it’s certainly worth sitting through until the end so you can hear the truly odd scream of the vampire queen as she falls to hear death. If I had to describe it, I’d say it sounded like a dying cat imitating the sound of someone trying to start a car. While drunk.

There’s also a line of dialogue that made me laugh out loud, because it was so damn snooty: “We sent a man to the moon, and we have magic flowers to protect us from vampires… seems we haven’t come very far in the past 1000 years.” Either the guy is a bit misinformed about the origins of NASA, or he just expects way too much out of his fellow man. I think going to the moon and using garlic is pretty goddamn genius. Sure, maybe they’re not as stunning a display of brainpower as building a pulley system in order to lift the lid of a coffin, but they’re still pretty swell.

Bizarrely, Mill Creek’s version is black and white (every other version I have found is in color), but I think it actually kind of works for the story, which focuses more on being atmospheric than on what some folks might call “action”. There’s also an annoying technical snafu that results in 5-10 seconds of silent blackness whenever the reel changes. Again, not that any Mill Creek transfer will win any awards, but they can at least make an effort for my 40 cents.

Like Horror Express, this one is well suited for a remake. There’s a good story in there (it’s sort of Wicker Man-ish in fact) but the technical nonsense and total lack of anything actually happening bring it down.

What say you?


  1. Haven't watched this one yet (you're well ahead of me on the budget pack...I don't know how many I've got left, but it's more than 10), but I'll look forward to the Scream of the Vampire Queen (which would be a great movie title itself).

    As far as non-horror entries on the Chilling pack, I would similarly warn you away from Medusa (painful George Hamilton would-be "thriller"--only watch if you want to see Hamilton's Elvis and Cary Grant impressions), Death Rage (Yul Brynner is cool, but the hit-man-gets-revenge story is deadly dull), and, depending on your attitude toward disaster flicks, "Virus," which despite a star-studded cast and three--count'em! THREE!--world-ending scenarios, still manages to put your to sleep.

    Though that one at least has Chuck Connors as a British submarine captain.

  2. I counted, there's actually 20 to go, but that includes Death Rage and the others that don't really sound like horror. There's also a bigfoot documentary (???) and Track of the Moon Beast, which I am debating whether or not to include because I saw it on MST3k.

  3. Yeah, I'm skipping the ones I've seen before in other places, concentrating instead on the undiscovered countries.

    Legend of Bigfoot is fun if you're in the mood for it, for about 30 mins. I watched it in 3 30 minute chunks, so I had a good time with it, laughing at the narrator's self-aggrandizement and the "AMAZING FOOTAGE" he had of Bigfoots (Bigfeet?). But all at once I imagine it would get tiresome.

    Oh, and definitely not horror.

  4. Well, I finally got around to watching this one, and I have to say I rather enjoyed it (my full review is posted by my alter-ego The Vicar of VHS over at Mmmmmovies). Like you I found it strangely appealing, despite its shall we say "deliberate" pace. The protagonist wasn't all the great (his idea of acting seemed to be shouting petulantly about how stupid everyone was), but I thought the actor playing the brother was fun, the sister was cute and could take care of herself (Patty Shepard of Werewolf vs. the Vampire Woman, in which she herself played the vampire queen), there were a few interesting shot compositions, and the vampire story just unique enough to keep things interesting.

    I also thought the vamp queen herself did a good job being evil-looking in a (mostly) mute role, and the scene where she was menacing the little girl in her bedroom was very creepy indeed. Plus they use the vamp-to-wolf lore a lot here, which I think is underused in vamp films generally.

    Anyway, I had low expectations, and I was entertained. I'd say it's definitely worth a watch.

    Only one more chilling classic to go for me! "The Ghost," and I'm done.

  5. Wow. I have like a dozen I think... and many aren't horror so I don't think I'll ever "complete" the set due to time constraints/lack of interest (Sorry, Death Rage). Congrats, sir!

  6. Well, I didn't re-watch movies I'd already seen, like I Bury the Living, Gothic, Dr. Tarr's Torture Dungeon, etc. I'm thinking when I finish I'll do a post listing the movies on the set under the categories "Great," "Good," "Not Bad," "Bad," and "Waste of Time." Just as a public service. :)


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