Halloween Horrors 50 for 31: Grave of the Vampire

November 1, 2011 at 12:22 am Leave a comment

When you have seen as many bad movies as I have lately, sometimes simple just works. There is nothing about Grave of the Vampire that is overly complex or outstanding. It stars Michael Pataki whom I know mostly for being Ivan Drago’s spokesperson from Rocky 4. He can deliver a good monologue, I’ll give him that. He’s effective in the movie and made a pretty good vampire. The cinematography is pretty blah. Nothing ambitious but nothing horrible. Some of the editing is a little rough from some of the cuts but its better later in the movie than early.

Caleb Croft is dead, kind of. A young couple named Paul and Leslie go to the graveyard to make out. Paul proposes to her which works out really well when Caleb Croft raises from the grave. Caleb gorilla presses him Ultimate Warrior style and impales him on a tombstone. Then he rapes Leslie and disappears into the night. The police get the story from a drunk who was sleeping in the graveyard and witnessed the whole thing. As a result of the rape, Leslie is pregnant. But she keeps the baby, against doctors advice, believe it to be Paul’s. The baby is born and isn’t interested in milk but blood. This backstory takes up the first 35 minutes of the film. It probably is the weakest part of the movie, not because it isn’t well done but because it’s 35 minutes of backstory that can be summed up in about 10 to 15 minutes.

James Eastman is the half vampire born of this rape. We catch up with him in his mid-30s. He has made it his quest to catch up to his father and kill him. He is pretty sullen and depressed about being a daywalker. Caleb Croft apparently poses as a college professor and goes from campus to campus across the country looking for fresh, young blood. In Professor Lockwood’s class, James meets Anita and Ann. Anita is a 20 something who is obsessed with vampire lore and the case of Caleb Croft. Ann is an English teacher in her 40’s. You would think James would go for the younger woman but in an interesting twist, you goes after the older woman. Anita, in a pretty big stretch of logic, puts together who Professor Lockwood is. In a very Bella Swan moment, she asks Croft to turn her into a vampire and pledges to love him forever. He does what Edward Cullen should do and slits her throat, stuffing her in the shower.

So now, for some reason, Professor Lockwood is having a seance.  He plans on channeling his dead wife through Ann. Of course, he doesn’t tell the group of students this. Anita comes through instead, pleading her love to Croft and telling everyone who he really is. You would think this would send James into a rage and cause him to kill Croft. But first things first, he helps Ann out, laying her down. This gives Croft time to kill the rest of the students. James bursts through the door. He tells Croft who he is and challenges him to a fight. They have a pretty brutal street fight that resembles professional wrestling more than a staged movie fight. James gorilla presses Croft, hits him with a double axe handle smash, strangles him with a loggers chain, and stabs him with an oak stake. But in a stupid twist ending, Croft processes James. The end or IS IT? Well, it is the end. You know, sometimes the happy ending is the better option. Particularly in a low budget movie which has very little chance for a sequal.

I found this to be a pretty enjoyable little movie. The budget was obviously low but they had a good script and made the best of what they had. They worked within their limitations. There are a few elements here that aren’t in the traditional vampire movie that are used in more recent and popular vampire movies. The daywalker/half vampire was used in Blade and may have been in movies before this one but I don’t think I ever saw it in a later example. The way James acts and Anita’s desire to be turned into a vampire seems a lot like Twilight. I think they did a decent job with what they had and I can recommend this movie for most audiences.

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Entry filed under: Horror. Tags: , , , , , .

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