“Crypt of the Living Dead” (1973)
Studio: Órbita Films
Starring: Andrew Prine, Patty Shepard, Mark Damon, Teresa Gimpera
Directed by: Julio Salvador and Ray Danton
Running Time: 85 min.
Synopsis: A queen vampire is released from her crypt and terrorizes a small European island.
From looking at its title you would think that you are about to watch a zombie film, but that is not the case with this movie. Crypt of the Living Dead is a film about a vampire queen being released from her crypt and turning people into vampires. The movie was originally called Hannah, Queen of the Vampires, which fits the movie more, but Crypt of the Living Dead sounds like a better title.
Whether the film is called Crypt of the Living Dead or Hannah, Queen of the Vampires, your best bet is to pass on this one because it’s not worth watching. It has a lot of hope in the first few frames of the film, but hope never comes for this movie. The film is basically about an archeologist who discovers a tomb on a small European island. Inside the tomb he finds a crypt but then is killed by his assistant, Peter, by throwing him under the crypt (which is supported by some type of stilts) and removing the stilts which cause the crypt to come crashing down on him.
The archeologist son, Chris, played by genre favorite, Andrew Prine (Simon, King of the Witches, Grizzly, V) comes to the island once he hears about his father’s death. Peter explains to him that there was an accident down in the tomb and the crypt fell on him. (Unknowing to Chris that Peter killed his father.) Chris, an archeologist himself, wants to remove the crypt to get his father’s body out of there, but by doing so he would have to open the crypt up, which the townsfolk warn him not to because of the queen vampire, Hannah, that is entombed inside. Chris doesn’t believe in their superstition and has the town people themselves help him open the huge crypt. Of course the people of the island were right and the queen is released and starts terrorizing the town by trying to turn everyone into vampires.
The story sounds very interesting and you would think it would be a good film, but we don’t even see the queen until about half way through the movie and there’s very little vampire battles. Most of it the queen still lies in the crypt after they open it, then at the end she finally gets out and goes around town trying to turn people. Slow is the best word to describe this film. In most of the scene nothing really happens. They are just a lot of shots of Andrew Prine just thinking or reflecting or whatever. The pace was too slow and they could have shown more action.
So, I guess Peter’s master plan was to have Chris’ father killed and his body be under the crypt and then have Chris come to the island and have him make the town people open the crypt to get the body out from under, which releases the queen vampire. If Peter wanted the vampire to be released so bad then why didn’t he just open the crypt himself and order the townspeople to help him, that’s what he did when Chris wanted it opened. Maybe, he needed a good enough reason to open it and his father being under there I guess was. Also, they might of needed special equipment that Chris brought with him to open the crypt. Who knows, but nothing was really explained about that and I thought Peter could have simply opened it.
Other things I didn’t like about it was the acting was kind of poor, the story drag, and the climax at the end was not very climatic. They only thing I really liked about it was the look of it. The film had a great dark creepy atmosphere, which I hate when a film has a really great setting and that’s it and the rest of the movie is terrible. It’s a shame to see a good atmosphere go to waste. Also, the copy that I watched was in black and white when I know the film was shot in color. Although the black and white does make the film look better, which is the only thing the film has going for it.
Crypt of the Living Dead is one of those films if you happen to see in a DVD pack, just avoid it or give it a quick look for the eerie setting and just fast-forward through the film and hope that the copy is in black and white. Other than that the film is awful and not recommended.