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The Horrible Sexy Vampire (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • The Horrible Sexy Vampire (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: October 11th, 2022.
    Director: José Luis Madrid
    Cast: Wal Davis, Barta Barri, Patricia Loran, Ada Tauler
    Year: 1971
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Horrible Sexy Vampire – Movie Review:

    José Luis Madrid directed The Horrible Sexy Vampire (released in its native Spain as El Vampire De La Autopista, which translates to roughly The Vampire Of The Highway) in 1971 and it opens with a couple drives around a bit before stopping off a hotel. Once shown their rooms, the window opens unusually but they don’t let this stop them. She undresses, has a shower and then hops into bed to wait for her man while he showers, only when he does so he’s murdered by some unseen force. When she discovers his dead body in the tub, she too dies strangely and mysteriously.

    The cops take a look and figure a serial killer is active in the area but the coroner (Anastasio Campoy) has other ideas – he’s uncovered evidence of a pattern going back centuries where people have been found in a similar manner in the area every hundred years or so. He believes a vampire is responsible.

    From here, we journey to an aged castle not too far away in Stuttgart where a nobleman/taxidermist named Count Adolf Oblensky (Wal Davis, also known by the much cooler name of Waldemar Wohlfahrt!) resides. Adolf, with his shock of bleach blonde hair, very white skin and impressive wardrobe selections, looks like he's probably a vampire but it isn't that simple. When he wonders if he hasn't seen once of his deceased ancestors, Baron Winninger (also played by Davis), thought to be dead and buried in the crypt, poking about the castle he just figures he's had too much to drink. Before long, the coroner and one of the detectives involved in the case are also found dead but not before they realize that the Baron’s crypt is indeed empty.

    At any rate, a bevy of beautiful women come in and out of the picture, typically to undress and then get strangled to death and the cops, let by Barta Barri, investigate some more with Adolf’s assistance, hoping to stop the killer before he strikes again.

    Reasonably atmosphere if very languid in its pacing and light on plot, The Horrible Sexy Vampire is a very atypical vampire movie that, while the victims wind up with bit marks on their necks, we never actually see the vampire bit anyone. Instead, we see the vampire turn invisible and choke his victims. It’s an odd choice on the part of Madrid, who also wrote the story, but if nothing else it makes for memorably odd viewing. Madrid seems far more interested in exploring the admittedly neat old castle where the bulk of the story plays out than exploring the story itself, because not a whole lot really happens here – but the movie has that sort of weird, otherworldly quality to it that makes it pretty watchable in spite of all of this.

    The story doesn’t offer much in the way of twists or surprises, let alone actual scares, but the score is really strong and in the few scenes where the action heads outside, the snowy locations that Stuttgart provides prove to be a nice setting against which to stage a horror movie with some gothic elements. The acting is nothing to write home about but the woman are all very attractive and clearly have no problem showing that off, though predictably, as soon as one takes her top off, she’ll be murdered shortly thereafter. Wohlfahrt, weirdly, is the one to do most of the heavy lifting here and his performance is… odd. Very odd. He’s somehow a black hole of charisma yet completely watchable in his strange dual role. The rest of the cast are fine – they’re not amazing but they’re not even close to bad. Wohlfahrt, however, is pretty bad, but somehow manages to steal pretty much every scene that he’s in with his utterly bizarre screen presence.

    Interestingly enough, Waldemar Wohlfahrt, who was reportedly quite the playboy in his days, was at one point arrested for the strangling of four women in his native Germany in 1966, the case that actually inspired this movie! He was cleared of charges and sued successfully for damages before then getting arrested for pimping! A year or two later he'd embark on an attempt at a singing career, releasing a 7" single titled, oddly enough, Waldemar El Vampiro in 1968 on Spain's Marfer records before then bankrolling this movie and going on to appear in a few different Jess Franco movies in the seventies. Read more about his bizarre life here.

    The Horrible Sexy Vampire – Blu-ray Review:

    The Horrible Sexy Vampire debuts on region free Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro framed at 2.35.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer sourced from a “brand new digitally restored 4K scan of 35mm vault materials.” With the ninety minute feature using up just over 20GBS of space on the 25GB disc and using English language opening and closing credits, the transfer is solid. Looking like it was taken from a print in nice condition rather than a negative, detail is strong without quite hitting reference quality levels. Colors generally look quite good, if a tiny bit flat here and there, and black levels are fine. There are no problems with any noticeable compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction issues, the image always look like film, and there’s very little print damage here at all, the image is quite clean.

    English and Spanish language options are supplied in 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono options with optional white English subtitles that appear to translate the Spanish language option. Both tracks sound pretty solid, there aren’t any problems with any hiss or distortion and the levels are properly balanced.

    The main extra on the disc is a new audio commentary by David Flint and Adrian J Smith that starts by discussing how the film translates, literally, from Spanish into English, the true story that loosely inspired the movie, details on the cast and crew members (and who appeared in a Jess Franco movie - a common trait in Spanish genre films of this era!), details on José Luis Madrid's career, the frequent use of nudity courtesy of some attractive and decidedly not shy actresses, influences that worked their way into the movie, how the film tries to be modern and gothic at the same time, how the picture compares and contrasts to the Hammer Dracula cycle, how the original Spanish version of the movie would likely have had alternate clothed scenes in place of the nude scenes, the look and the pace of the film and the frequency of the murder set pieces and quite a bit more.

    The disc also includes an animated press book and publicity stills gallery, a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection options and, of course, the Mondo Macabro promo reel.

    The Horrible Sexy Vampire – The Final Word:

    The Horrible Sexy Vampire is an oddly compelling movie, very slowly paced but fairly atmospheric and highlighted by a seriously bizarre performance from its lead. Mondo Macabro’s Blu-ray isn’t stacked with extras but the presentation is pretty solid and the commentary does a nice job of exploring the movie’s interesting history. Recommended!


    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Horrible Sexy Vampire Blu-ray screen caps!

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