Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hannah, Queen of the Vampires (1973)

An American-Spanish coproduction that was shot in Europe, with leading actors from the U.S., this underwhelming horror flick has been distributed under several different titles, including Crypt of the Living Dead—and it’s even been distributed in two different color schemes, because some prints are in black-and-white and some are in color. Such are the fates that befall movies in the public domain. Anyway, Hannah, Queen of the Vampires is standard shock fare, somewhat in the Hammer Films mode. After an archeologist is killed while exploring a crypt on a remote European island, his intrepid son, Chris (Andrew Prine), travels to the same location in order to investigate his father’s death. Abetted by skittish local schoolteacher Mary (Patty Sheppard) and her spooky brother, Peter (Mark Damon), Chris learns the crypt is occupied by the corpse of Hannah (Teresa Gimpera), a 700-year-old vampire whom the island’s residents fear has been resuscitated. After the usual perfunctory scenes of Chris scoffing at the superstition of provincial types, Chris splits his time between romancing Mary and answering hypnotic calls to visit Hannah’s tomb. This repetitive business goes on for a while. Then the villagers do their pitchforks-and-torches bit. Seen in its original color version, Hannah, Queen of the Vampires is so dull and trite that even calling it ordinary would be a compliment. However, there’s something to be said for the scratchy black-and-white print that’s in circulation, because the monochromatic incarnation of the movie has a Bergman-esque quality. Seriously. Turn off the sound, and it’s possible to groove on moody low angles of angst-ridden people drifting through clouds of mist and walking around graveyards. However, noting that Hannah, Queen of the Vampires is best appreciated without its color or its soundtrack says everything you need to know about the movie’s inherent virtues.

Hannah, Queen of the Vampires: LAME

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