Friday, 13 March 2015

CURSE OF THE UNDEAD



d. Edward Dein (1959)


An uneven horror western, Curse Of The Undead isn't completely successful but it does come up with the brilliant idea of a vampire working as a hired gun, a black clad killer who isn't particularly quick on the draw because he doesn't have to be: you can shoot him all you like with ordinary bullets, it doesn't make a scrap of difference.

The vampire himself (played by Australian character actor Michael Pate) is almost sympathetic and, in his attacks on the necks of the local girls, regretful and tender. It seems that, some twenty years previously, he found out that his new wife had been sleeping with his brother, so he stabbed the brother to death before killing himself. Via a route that is not particularly well signposted, he then came back as a vampire and few soft necks have been safe since. To his credit, he hates what he has become, shouting 'do you think I wanted this?' as he kills. It's not all nibbling virgins and long lie ins, you know.   

Somehow the vampire ends up in a love triangle with a beautiful local land owner called Dolores and her pompous and overbearing preacher boyfriend (Eric Fleming*) and, as this is cowboy times, it can only end in a shoot out. Although you're rooting for the vampire, the preacher prevails, killing his undead rival with a holy bullet, a slug capped with a sliver of thorn from the site of the crucifixion. As the vampire's body fades away into nothingness, Dolores looks on in horror, knowing that this means she will now have to marry the boring, bossy Vicar and spend the rest of her life hearing about how he saved her life . Oh well, Dolores does mean 'sorrows', after all...


* I don't like Fleming's character in this film, but I always feel a bit sorry for the actor himself. In 1966, he was making a film in the Amazon when his boat overturned and he was eaten by piranhas. 

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