Monday, March 2, 2009
The Monsters Demolisher (1962) review
THE MONSTER'S DEMOLISHER 1959 (1962 English version: Trans-International Films, Inc.) aka NOSTRADAMUS Y EL DESTRUCTOR DE MONSTRUOS
German Robles (Nostradamus), Domingo Soler (Professor Dolan), Julio Aleman (Anthony), Jack Taylor (Igor), Manuel Vergara Manver (Leo), Aurora Alvarado (Anna)
Directed by Federico Curiel; 76 minutes
Two little boys enter the domain of Nostradamus and are chased away by his hunchback assistant, Leo. Finding his master buried under a mound of dirt, Leo rescues Nostradamus. The vampire returns to professor Dolan for more murderous mind games boasting that he will kill a little boy and a man condemned to die. Speaking with his sometimes vague threats, Nostradamus has additional plans for the meddling Professor and Anthony.
When Leo fails to kidnap Dolan's beautiful daughter, Anna, his master instead attempts to kill the small boy and later resurrects a hanged convict as a vampire and uses him to do his bidding. After the murder of a young medical student by the revived murderer, Dolan and Anthony then seek out the eccentric Igor, an old Transylvanian nemesis of Nostradamus. Possessing dark powers akin to the bloodthirsty monster, Igor vows to stop both infernal creatures. In a duel within the confines of Nostradamus' domain, the three vampire hunters foil his plan once again.
Starting off this second film, Nostradamus continues his intention to murder 13 individuals. This time, he portends to kill Peter Madison. Dolan and Anthony visit the Madison home only to discover that the head of the household has been dead for some time. The two soon discover that it's actually the son that Nostradamus is after. Again, we get some more heated conversations between the vampire and Dolan in his study. Nostradamus then sends Leo to kidnap the professors daughter, Anna. With both Dolan and Anthony holding watch over Peter Madison's son, the guard is down for Leo to steal Anna away. Leo is unsuccessful, though. Anthony fires on him before he is able to get Anna away. There is a brief plot point that reveals Leo to have an infatuation with Anna, but this goes nowhere and is abandoned almost as quickly as it is introduced.
While that's going on, the vampire enters Dolan's home and manages to get the little boy out and takes him back to his castle. There's a nice scene where the creature prepares to put the bite on the young Peter, but the rising sun sends Nostradamus scrambling for his coffin. Soon thereafter, both the professor and Anthony follow Leo back to the vampires castle in the hopes of finding the little boy as well as the location of the vampires lair. It is here we discover just what a poor shot Anthony is as the villainous hunchback tries to manhandle them both. Finding the little boy there, they also find the coffin of Nostradamus. The vampire toys with them appearing and disappearing causing them to waste all their platinum bullets. This is a nicely done sequence and a highlight of this second entry.
This second film also has some daytime scenes and is also the first wherein the professor attempts to convince the other members of the Society For the Abolishment of Superstition that there is a vampire in their midst. What's funny about this scene is that the society members treat Dolan with as much disdain as he showed the vampire the first couple times he visited him in his study. However silly the dubbed dialog is, the society members then explain to Dolan that each of the deaths have a logical and scientific explanation.
This is interesting considering that Nostradamus is so concerned with the populace being assured of his existence and his powers being a major threat to civilians, that his elaborate methods of execution denounce any evidence that such a creature is responsible. It's not until the fourth film that the vampire threatens violence on a grand scale.
After Nostradamus targets a condemned criminal, Joseph McTagerson, as his next casualty, this threat is again misleading as the vampire intends to use McTagerson as a vassal for his revenge. The scene where he is hanged is very surreal what with the executioner and the few in attendance surrounded by darkness. The following scene wherein two Burke & Hare types plan to use McTagerson's body for some experiments only to have him rise up from his slab in the morgue is pretty creepy, too.
During the last half, we are introduced to the character of Igor. The last descendant of Count Craddock, the first recorded vampire killer from the 13th century. Claiming that his entire lineage has been battling the undead for centuries, Igor and his descendants are also impervious to the bite of the vampire. This section of the film builds a decent amount of suspense as Dolan thinks that Igor is indeed Nostradamus himself.
The character of Igor is brought to life by Euro genre veteran, Jack Taylor. He provides some unintentional hilarity with his exaggerated facial expressions and bugged out eyeballs which recall films from the silent era. Igor's penchant for inflated facial contortions reaches an apex in the next entry.
This second film is a slight bit better than the first one as the supernatural and horror elements are more profound and the character of Igor is a fascinating addition to the series. During the concluding moments, Igor, Dolan and Anthony head back to Nostradamus' castle and kill his vampiric servant using Igor's killer cane. Hiding elsewhere in his bastion, the destruction of the revived convict weakens Nostradamus bringing an abrupt end to part two. Part three brings a lot of cliffhanger style excitement delivering the best entry in Nostradamus series.