When the moon is full a ghostly woman walks from a hacienda through the wood to a lake temping young men to follow her. At the edge of the Dead Man’s Lake they are killed.
Alchemist Dr. Ulises Albarran (Rafael del Rio) comes to the village to determine who is killing the men and why. He stays at the home of Marques Gonzalo Guzman de la Serna (Tito Junco), the owner of the Haunted Hacienda. The Marques housekeeper Frau Hildegarda (Bertha Moss) is not happy that he is there.
Ulises is investigating vampires. After settling in he visits the father of the last victim. He is the alcalde or magistrate of the village, Don Maximo (David Reynoso). Ulises convinces the Don that he can help stop the murders going on in the village. He asks the Don about how the deaths started. Don Maximo says that Count Frankenhausen (Carlos Agosti) and his wife the Countess went for a ride one night. The Countess was found dead the next day at the shores of the lake. The count was never seen again. They were survived by a daughter named Brunhilda (Erna Martha Bauman) who has since gone missing.
It is said that on nights like this one the Countess walks to the lake and another young man dies. The local priest, Padre Victor (Enrique Garcia Alvarez) believes the devil is responsible. He keeps the bodies in a separate section of the cemetery grounds. Don Efren Lopez (Armando Gutierrez) is the local doctor. He thinks the deaths are heart attacks caused by a collective dread, a sort of mass hysteria on a small level.
Ulises learns that Brunhilda is alive and living at the hacienda. One night he finds her walking the house in a trance. He believes she is under the spell of Frankenhausen who intends on creating an army of the undead to take over the world. Ulises plans on using his knowledge of alchemy to create an elixir made from Mandrake root to cure the Marques granddaughter. Frankenhausen and the Marques’ housekeeper Frau Hildegarda have other plans for the young doctor.
“The Invasion of the Vampires” was released in 1963 and was directed by Miguel Morayta. It is a Mexican horror movie and is the second of two vampire movies directed by Morayta, the first being “The Bloody Vampire” 1962. It is also one of the K. Gordon Murray films that was dubbed into English and released in America through American International Pictures.
One of the charming attributes of Mexican horror movies is their inventiveness. Mexican vampires are not tied to traditional vampire lore. Who knew that, in Mexico, when you kill the head vampire all the other vampires rise from their graves whether they’ve been staked through the heart or not. It sounds campy but the way it’s filmed is actually kinda creepy. The film has enough atmosphere to make it reminiscent of a Universal horror movie set. The nighttime sets are lavish with haunting trees and layers of fog. The sound effects are not just a little disturbing. It’s very Gothic and even spookier in black and white.
Contrasting the sinister sets and the scary plot are the names of the characters. As if they are right out of a Mel Brooks movie you have the vampire Count Frankenhausen and his granddaughter Brunhilda Frankenhausen. Along with them is the weird looking housekeeper Frau Hildegarda. Plus it’s got the biggest ears I’ve ever seen on a giant furry vampire bat. Actually that’s not true. I’ve seen this particular fuzzy creature before. I believe it’s made the rounds in more than one Mexican vampire movie. Not so good dubbing increases the camp side of the equation. All together it is a combination A-one horror movie and B level low budget camp fest. It’s an interesting combination that makes this one of my favorite Mexican monster movies.