Professor Bolton (Mariano Garcia) is an archeologist doing research on a remote island. When he is killed his son Chris (Andrew Prine) comes to the island to discover what happened. The villagers on the island are standoffish. They don’t trust strangers but Chris is met by Professor Bolton’s assistant Peter (Mark Damon). Peter takes Chris to where his father died. Inside an old ruin is a tomb set up on short stone legs. Peter says that two of the legs gave way and crushed the Professor while he was underneath. In reality the professor was murdered, put under the tomb and the legs were knocked away to give the appearance that they broke on their own.
The tomb is that of a woman named Hannah. In the thirteenth century Hannah was engaged to marry King Louis VII. They were on their way to the holy land to be married. While at sea there was a terrible storm. The ship carrying Hannah crashed on the island. At that time the island was known as Vampire Island. By the time the king reached the island the crew of the ship and Hannah had turned into a vampires. The king had all the vampires killed except Hannah. He could not bring himself to put a stake in her heart so he had her entombed alive.
Chris decides that he wants to move the tomb so that he can bury his father properly. Peter’s sister Mary (Patty Shepard) is also on the island. She believes in the legend and doesn’t want the tomb disturbed. Chris insists and has Peter gather some of the villagers to help move the tomb. Peter sees that the entire tomb is too heavy to move in one piece so he decides to move the top first. When they finally get the top of the tomb lifted they find that Hannah (Teresa Gimpera) is in pristine shape. It looks as if she is just sleeping. She is. With the lid unsealed Hannah is now free and begins to feast on the island’s inhabitants.
“Crypt of the Living Dead” AKA “Hannah, Queen of the Vampires” AKA “La tumba de la isla maldita” AKA “Young Hanna, Queen of the Vampires” AKA “Vampire Woman” was released in 1973 and was directed by Julio Salvador. Additional footage was filmed by Ray Danton. It is a Spanish/American horror film.
There are a couple versions of the film. Originally filmed in color there is also a rather degraded black and white copy that is usually found in some of the public domain compilations, including Mill Creek. Some people prefer the black and white version since they believe it has a more chilling atmosphere. Some just trash the film totally. Although the black and white version does have an interesting visual it is darker and harder to discern what is going on. In addition some of the black and white versions are not only dark but the sound is muffled. The color version is much brighter and the film itself is in better shape. I preferred the color version since it was much easier to follow.
As for the movie itself I was a little surprised. Considering all the bad reviews on it I expected low budget crap. And although it wasn’t done by any of the big filmmakers I found it had some nice cinematography and, for the most part, a decent plot. Some of the dubbed parts were a little off but the main actors appear to have spoken their parts in English. That may have partly been Ray Danton’s contribution.
Andrew Prine was quite good as Chris Bolton. I was a little disappointed that the vampire Hannah didn’t do more blood sucking than she did but her downfall was impressive. If you want to know what fried vampire looks like this will give you a general idea. There also isn’t much in the way of spoilers here since we know who the bad guy is even before the beginning credits start rolling. Ignoring the inaccurate historical references the film was entertaining enough not to bore me. It wasn’t perfect but it was better than a lot of horror films done in the early seventies.
Black and White Version