The Vampire’s Coffin (1958)




I think I partially didn’t enjoy this one because I wasn’t aware that it’s a sequel to El Vampiro, which is supposed to an extremely influential classic horror. The Vampire’s Coffin probably would have made more sense and I’m sure a lot of the questions I had about the plot would have been cleared up had I seen the original. I’m going to assume this was a case of the uninspired sequel money-grab. Given all of that, the plot is still a little bit of a convoluted mess, most of which is gleaned through vague dialogue.

Dr. Saldivar breaks into a grave yard. The doctor is there on a scientific mission: to steal the corpse of a vampire, Count Karl de Lavud, and study it. Dr. Mendoza has already experienced the vampire’s wrath along with Marta, a nurse at the hospital. Marta previously was the object of the vampire’s undead desire.  When the coffin is brought to the hospital, Mendoza is outraged and makes Saldivar swear not to let Marta know that Count Lavud is back. It gets more needlessly convoluted than that and works in a wax museum, cabaret dancing, and confused police officers.

A lot of problems in The Vampire’s Coffin can be boiled down to budget and bad writing. The movie is obviously a low budget production, or at least by the standards of Hollywood in that era. There are only four settings. The soundstage sets are obvious and under-dressed. The vampire’s bat form is very clearly on a wire and there are no other attempts at fantastical effects. Instead of a true horror, it comes across more as a Mexican drama with a vampire thrown in. The romantic subplot seems to have more focus than the consequences of having a revived vampire running amok.

While it’s pretty cool to see the vampire myth happen somewhere other than Europe or America, I think the cheap movie cheese outweighs that. Between the ineffectual vampire, fake bats on strings, and obvious bare sets, The Vampire’s Coffin is just another bad sequel.

-Alli Hobbs

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