“They live in the loveliest of bodies.”
Inspector Frank Doren (Adrian Hoven) is supposed to be on vacation from Interpol. His boss calls him back in because of a strange occurrence in a small German village. According to his boss six women have mysteriously died. The only other thing worth noting is that during the time each woman died the power to the village was mysteriously cut off. The local Doctor has not been able to determine if the deaths are murder or not. Reluctantly Doren checks it out.
The night Doren arrives at the village there is another power failure and another young woman is found dead. The village doctor (Carl Mohner) has determined that the deaths are due to natural causes. Seven people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two dying from heart attacks seem strange to Doren. The man who runs the inn says it is vampires. The latest victim is his maid. She has two puncture wounds on her neck. The doctor says they are insignificant scratches. Doren is not buying any of it, the natural causes or the vampires.
The innkeeper tells Doren that the vampires live in the nearby grotto. He tells Doren to visit Nanny the witch. Nanny tells him spooky stories about vampires and gives him a cross to wear to protect him from them. Doren also learns that there is a Professor von Adelsberg (Wolfgang Preiss) that lives in a nearby castle. Doren met his secretary Karin Schumann (Karin Field) the first night he arrived at the village. The professor’s servant John (John Kitzmiller) visits Doren and tells him that the professor has offered the hospitality of his castle to him for the duration of his visit. Doren, wanting to see Karin again, readily agrees.
In the meantime the body of the maid that had been the latest victim disappears. It is eventually found at the bottom of a well. Doren is beginning to believe that there is something supernatural going on. Convincing the doctor is a little harder. John, the professor’s servant, is already a believer. With not much help other than a black servant and an old witch Doren must find the vampire and destroy it before more women are killed.
“Cave of the Living Dead” AKA “Night of the Vampires” AKA “Curse of the Green Eyes” was released in 1964 and was directed by Akos Rathonyi. It is a West German horror film.
There are a lot of things wrong with this movie, but then there are a lot of things right. The plot has a lot of threads to it that never get solved. Why the power failures? What happened to all the women that got bitten? Why does the doctor insist that seven dead young women are the victim of natural causes? Perhaps his incompetence is why he’s stuck in a tiny village. There are many other little plot holes that are in need of filling.
There are some red herrings but they don’t really add to the film since by then you already know who the vampire is. He’s the one with no reflection. The local constabulary are the comic relief and they are annoying. The film also has unusual opening and closing music. I’m not sure if they are original to the film or if they were added when the movie was dubbed into English. The music is not a big deterrent to the film, just strange.
As for good parts, it’s a very entertaining film full of atmosphere and spooky sets. The grotto is chilling and vast. The castle is huge and fire seems to be the only warmth anywhere. The shadows on the walls when the vampire is hunting are very reminiscent of F. W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” 1922. The images are just as forbidding as they were in the 1922 silent film. It’s a German Expressionistic touch that adds to the overall tone of the film. It’s actually quite good if you don’t mind stepping around the plot holes.