Paul (Jay Scott) is proposing to his girlfriend Leslie (Kitty Vallacher) in the cemetery where they shared their first kiss. Nearby, a vampire, Caleb Croft (Michael Pataki) awakens from his crypt. Caleb kills Paul, drinks his blood, rapes Leslie, and disappears into the night. The sun is beginning to come up so he hides in the basement of a house. Police Lt. Panzer (Ernesto Macias) and Sgt. Duffy (William Guhl) are assigned to the case. When Leslie is shown a picture of Caleb she has a visceral reaction. Panzer understands that Caleb was a convicted rapist and murderer that died and was buried three years ago. What he doesn’t understand is how he could leave his grave and continue raping and murdering.

Leslie finds out that she is pregnant. She firmly believes that the baby is Paul’s. The doctor tells her that the fetus is not normal and the baby will be born dead. He tells her she needs to have an abortion. She refuses. Nine months later Leslie gives birth to a boy, but there is something wrong with the baby. His color is gray and he won’t take milk. One day Leslie accidentally cuts her finger and the blood drips onto the baby’s mouth. The baby begins drinking it. Realizing that the baby needs blood, Leslie cuts herself and the baby begins suckling her blood. Leslie continues to give the baby blood and the child grows but it is different than most other children. By now Leslie realizes that the father of her son is the man who raped her, a dead man.

The baby is named James (William Smith). By the time he is a young adult he is aware that he is different and of the circumstances of his inception. James grows to hate his father and what he did to his mother. After his mother dies James vows to find his father and destroy him. But in his search James finds he has his own inner demons to conquer.

“Grave of the Vampire” was released in 1972 and was directed by John Hayes. It is an American horror movie. The low budget film was shot in less than two weeks. This would explain the continuity issues with the events of thirty years ago, prior to James being born; looking a little like they took place in the seventies instead of the forties. Something like that is not really a big issue and can be overlooked. I had more problems with the pace of the film as well as some of the acting.

Despite the low budget issues, the film gained a cult following. Many, despite the unsophisticated look of the film, admired its form and plot as well as the way the plot unfolds. The vampire is not sexy or romantic. He is what he is, evil. A child of a vampire is also a new twist to the genre and William Smith as the son of a vampire actually is sexy. Not just because it’s William Smith but also because, even though he knows where he came from, he was raised by a mother who loved him despite his parentage and James felt that love. Her nurturing overcame his nature, at least while she was alive.

The credits call Leslie the “Unwilling Mother”. To me she looks more than willing to sacrifice whatever is required to have her son live, even after she realizes who his father really is. I actually found myself engrossed in the scenes where she discovers that her baby is not like all the other babies and what and how she accepts it because she’s bonded with him.