Grave of the Vampire Film Details
Overview: Kroft, a legendary vampire, returns from sleep. Kroft attacks a couple in a graveyard, raping the woman. The child born feeds only on blood from his mother’s breast.
Review: It’s the dead of night and Grave of the Vampire starts in a mist enshrouded cemetery, a heartbeat thumps away on the soundtrack as the credits run over a shot of a stone tomb belonging to Celeb Croft (Micheal Pataki). A young couple named Paul (Jay Scott) & Leslie Hollander (Kitty Vallacher) are having a good time in the back seat of their car. Croft’s tomb opens, lying in the coffin covered in spiders, creepy crawlies & cobwebs a wrinkled old & decayed looking Croft opens his eyes. Croft rips the car’s door off, brutally kills Paul and drinks his blood. Croft’s attention then turns to the screaming Leslie whom he drags into an open grave and rapes her. It’s now dawn and Croft flees the rising sun by hiding in the basement of a nearby house. Lieutenant Panzer (Eric Mason) and Sergeant Duffy (William Guhl) question the cemetery caretaker, an old timer named Zack (Jay Adler) but come up with next to nothing that makes any sense. Leslie is now in hospital, Lieutenant Panzer shows Leslie some mugshots of men that are known to the police to see if she recognises any of them. Panzer slips in a photograph of Caleb Croft, the person who was meant to be lying dead in the open tomb, which gets very negative reaction out of Leslie. Panzer feels something strange is going on, but his overweight colleague Duffy (hey it’s good cop, fat cop!) disagrees and tries to talk him out of such silly conclusions. Back in the basement and Croft has killed the house owner and drained her of blood. Leslie’s doctor informs her that she is pregnant, but that the baby is dead and should be taken out of her. Leslie strongly disagrees and with a friend named Olga (Lieux Dressler) decides to go it alone, see the pregnancy through and have the baby. Leslie turns out to be right and she delivers a live baby boy, however the baby is grayish in complexion and refuses to eat or drink. That is until Leslie accidentally cuts her finger with a knife and her blood drips onto the babies mouth. The little fella can’t get enough of the red stuff, Leslie cuts her own breast and feeds him that way as well as filling bottles up with her blood. Fast forward many years and Leslie is dead and her now adult son, James Eastman (William Smith) who now knows about his horrible legacy vows vengeance on his blood-sucking Father, who now survives by attacking, killing and draining the blood of women he finds. James has tracked Croft across the country and has finally located him. Croft now goes by the name of Professor Adrian Lockwood and teaches a night class(!) folk mythology. James enrols in the class. There he meets and befriends Anita Jacoby (Diane Holden) and her roommate Anne Arthur (Lyn peters). James lies in wait for the right time to reveal himself to his Father as both Anne, Anita and their friends are dragged into the feud which ends in a blood soaked final confrontation to the death! Edited, co-written and directed by John Hayes I think this is a little horror gem that doesn’t seem to get much of a mention and is barely available. The script by Hayes and David Chase who was also responsible for the novel The Still Life on which Grave of the Vampire is based at first focuses on the rape of Leslie and the bringing up of James which takes the first 30 odd minutes, the film then ditches all the characters from this opening third except Croft & goes into the revenge of James on his Father which introduces the viewer to a whole new set of characters and locations. The only character who is in the film throughout from beginning to end is Croft the Vampire. I also should mention the downbeat ending which I personally really liked. It’s a no nonsense film as well which is quite brutal at times, someone has their head crushed by the lid of a stone tomb, someone is cut up with a bladed tool of some sort, feeding blood to a baby from a cut breast, there’s a slashed throat, a broken glass bottle is used to kill a woman and the obligatory staking of a Vampire through the heart. While none of this is particularly graphic in that Grave of the Vampire doesn’t feature much blood or explicit gore these sequences come across as quite vicious and cold-blooded. It moves along at a nice pace and is consistently entertaining and interesting to watch, and at 85 minutes it doesn’t drag. Micheal Pataki as the villainous Vampire is great and imposing, other cast members come off less well as acting isn’t the films strong point overall but it could have been worse I suppose. Grave of the Vampire also benefits from that 70’s look and feel even if the disco dancing scene is embarrassing to watch these days, I liked the atmosphere the film generated. The cinematography by Paul Hipp is basic but functional and perfectly acceptable & the film as a whole is quite well made and put together generally speaking. The negative aspects of Grave of the Vampire is that it is a little on the tame side and it could have been a bit bloodier & it would have benefited from a few more meaningful central characters. Grave of the Vampire is an usual Vampire film that deserves a wider audience, if you can track a copy down then watch it, I’m definitely glad I did. Recommended especially to 70’s horror fans.
Country: United States
Duration: 91 min
Also known as: Bébé vampire,Grave of the Vampire,La tomba del vampiro,La bara del vampiro,Les enfants de Frankenstein,Seed of Terror,Die Gruft der Dämonen,La tumba del vampiro,El bebé del terror,Могила вампира,Descendencia diabólica,Bébé Vampire,O Túmulo do Vampiro,Die Gruft des Grauens