Hannah, Queen of the Vampires (Crypt of the Living Dead) (1972)
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Critic Reviews for Hannah, Queen of the Vampires (Crypt of the Living Dead)
Audience Reviews for Hannah, Queen of the Vampires (Crypt of the Living Dead)
Recently I got this movie as one of twenty in "Undead:The Vampire Collection." From the back of the box "An archeologist visits a remote island to bury his late father and, despite the warnings from the local people, opens the tomb of the vampire queen, buried over 700 years ago." That pretty much sums it up, just add the typical "devil's cult" to the island. I dont know why I like this movie so much but I do. One reason I like the film is the acting of Mark Damon. His character Peter seems real, and intriguing, and pitiful. Also Patty Shepard is a hottie without trying to be one. She plays Peter's sister Mary. I liked Teresa Gimpera as Hannah the vampire. She is a silent, haunting, and lovely "vampire queen." I like the movie's atmosphere. The blind salior deserves mention because he hams it up so well. He is the gnarled, old, local, yokel character so common in horror movies. He is the stoic variety of this character, and lays it on so thick one reviewer said of his performance "its not just a ham, its a whole butt roast!" The movie does have its problems though. The editor made the interesting decision of showing us at the very beginning that Peter is a bad guy. After that the movies plays out as if the audience doesnt know Peter is bad, until near the end when Mary uncovers his secrets. If I were the director/editor I would have kept the truth about Peter secret from the audience until Mary finds him out. The film had two directors. I wonder if perhaps the directors and the editor had different ideas of how to tell the story. The son, Chris, has to travel to this remote island (culturally remote anyways) because his father's body is trapped under a massive sarcophagus that fell on him. The only way to remove the body is to lift the three or four ton sarcophagus, but to do that some machinery will have to be build there in the underground tomb. As is shown in the beginning of the movie, the archeologist wasnt accidentally crushed, his body was placed underneath then the legs of the sarcophagus were broken. Here is a plot point that doesnt ring true. Why would a marble sarcophagus that weights tons be standing on four legs? Ive never seen a sarcophagus standing on legs, but I cant say there has never been one either. This is critical to the plot though, and off hand I cant think of a better way to get the archeologist under there. The idea itself is good for a horror movie: a son having to toil for hours in a tomb, working beside the rotting corpse of his father. Though after the father is crushed his body isnt shown again. Another incongruency happens after Mary is nearly kidnapped by a wild man. After he grabs her Chris catches up to them by the beach and fights him till he runs away crying, crying because Mary screams when she sees his disfigured face; yeah Im not making that up. Then Chris and Mary build a fire and get to know each other better. They end up falling asleep and sleep the entire night there near the beach. Ok...if you were just attacked by some wild man would you spend the night outdoors sleeping at the last place you last saw him? On top of that, by this point the two know a vicious dog and/or vampire is roaming the island. It makes no sense at all, its just a romantic evening spent by a campfire near a beach. Speaking of the wild man, he is another problem. He looks like a cross between a caveman and a pirate, and he is my least favorite part of the movie. There are two more things about the movie that seem wrong, but they might be considered a bit of a spoiler so skip the rest of this paragraph if you dont want to know. First, while Chris is working alone in the tomb he starts to come under the spell of Hannah. He removes the wolf bane from her sarcophagus, freeing her to leave. She leaves but she does not prey on Chris. Why not? She already had him under her hypnotic control, she had him alone in the tomb, he was the first person she had an opportunity to feed on in 700 years, but she didnt touch him. It only makes sense that he would have been her first human victim. If I had been the writer I would have had some other character, a native islander, go down into the tomb and become her first victim. Second, while Chris is looking for Mary he spots the wild man standing on a ledge above him, ready to leap. Chris hurls a wooden stake which pierces deep into the man killing him. Ok, regardless of what vampire movies might lead us to think, the human chest is a tough thing, not easily broken open by a fat stake. You would have to be the Hulk to throw a wooden stake at an upward angle and pierce the rib cage of a man standing some feet above you. Btw apparently this film exists in colour but my copy is B&W. Id like to see the colour version. Also I should warn that the movie doesnt have a whole lot of vampire action and it takes awhile before Hannah fully rises from the grave.
Young Hannah, Queen of the Vampires (aka "Crypt of the Living Dead" and "Vampire Woman") Starring: Andrew Prine, Patty Shepard, Mark Damon, Frank Branya, and Teresa Gimpera (with a special guest appearance by Ygor from "Son of Frankenstein") Director: Ray Danton A young engineer (Prine) is tricked into unleashing a vampiress (Gimpera) who has been trapped in her tomb for 700 years. Will he be able to undo his mistake and save the inhabitants of a small island before it becomes a land of the undead? "Young Hannah" is sluggish film, with a script that offers very little that hasn't been done in countless vampire movies before (and it doesn't do anything unique with the much-used elements; in fact, the film feels so much like an offering from Hammer Films that I half expected to see "Shot on location in Scotland and at Shepperton Studios" as the end credits ran out. If you like the classic Hammer stuff for the acting and stories, this might be a movie you'll enjoy; the cast is attractive and they act well enough. If you liked them either for the beautiful use of colors, or the creative use of light and shadow in the black-and-white films, this is not a film for you... it's shot in black-and-white, and the cinematographer really wasn't good at handling that medium. This isn't a bad movie... just thoroughly mediocre. The cast does decent job, the comings and goings of Hannah the Vampire Queen are well done, and the story is okay, if a bit too slowly paced. There are just movies of this type that are better. (By the way, for those wondering about the credit given to Ygor at the top... that's just me razzing the movie for a really odd bit of costuming. There's a character (played by Ihsan Gedik) who looks exactly like Ygor from Universal's "Son of Frankenstein" that it contributes unintentional comedy to the film for film buffs. But still not enough hilarity to lift the film above mediocre.)
Crypt of the Living Dead is an alternate title. Pretty dreadful horror flick, not very well acted and it is unconvincing. Very low budget, not spooky or scary. Dumb.