Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fangs of the Living Dead = Even Adds a Light Offing

Note:  This is a review I originally posted to my Epinions account. A few modifications have been made.

Many years ago, back when I was working at Wolf Camera, I got several collections of movies, each containing about 9 or 10 movies.  Each had a theme, like science-fiction movies.  One set was called “The Living Dead” and had 9 movies about zombies, vampires and the like.  I figured that most of them would be bad.  Regrettably, I had no idea how bad they could be.

Fangs of the Living Dead starts with Sylvia talking to her soon-to-be husband, Dr. Piero Luciani, and his friend, Max.  She’s just received a letter from her uncle, Count Waldrick, informing her that her mother has died and left her this really plain-looking castle.  She decides to go over to the castle, if only to sign the paperwork and be done with it.  Piero objects, but Sylvia insists that she’s just going over, doing the paperwork stuff and coming right back.

When she gets there, she meets the butler, who informs her that Count Waldrick won’t be available until 10:00 that night.  So she waits.  When he does arrive, he tells his niece about some family history and informs her that she’s to stay and continue the family tradition or something like that.  She refuses, insisting that she’s to marry soon.  He says that all that’s ancient history.  He has her write a letter to her fiancĂ©, informing him that she won’t ever be coming back.

Piero and Max talk it over and decide that Piero’s not taking “get lost” for an answer.  So, they go over to Sylvia’s castle to talk her out of staying.  The doorman says that he’s under strict orders not to let anyone talk to her.  They yell out and even get to see Sylvia who doesn’t talk to them, but doesn’t exactly look like she doesn’t want to, either.

Back at the inn that they’re staying at, Piero and Max try to figure out a way to get Sulvia back.  They meet a local doctor who tells them of the count and his family.  Now, Piero and Max know that they have to do something.  They get into the castle, get into some trouble and finally manage to get out with Sylvia.  They all go back home and presumably live a happy life.  (That is, except for Max, but I don’t want to ruin the end.)

The first thing you notice is that the dubbing isn’t really that good.  It’s not the cheap martial-arts dubbing where people speak way more or way less than their lips would indicate, but it’s fairly obvious if you look at the screen.  At first, I thought that the audio was slightly out of synch, but I soon realized that this was dubbed.

Then again, the film quality is really bad, too.  You know when you went to the movies as a kid to see a film that had been in the theater for about two months and the film quality had suffered greatly?  That’s what this looks like.  I haven’t watched all of the movies in the collection yet, but I suspect that whoever put this together didn’t buy the rights to the best version of all of the movies.  The video and audio are so bad that there has to be a better version out there.

Also, a lot of the people look alike.  The women could almost have been played by one brunette playing all the dark-haired roles and one blond playing all of the light-haired roles.  There’s some differentiation in the men, but there aren’t a whole lot of male roles.  You have Piero, Max, the count and the local doctor.

Speaking of Max, I have to wonder if he was intended to be so funny.  He comes across as a loser meant to provide a few laughs.  He complains that garlic makes his nose “tickle,” but he has no problem walking over to it and picking it up.  He also carries some with him, causing him to sneeze at an inopportune time.  (For the record, I don’t like the word tickle, especially when used about the nose.  This doesn’t really make me like the character.)

Overall, the dialogue is also pretty bad.  Maybe it was lost in translation, but I doubt it.  I think that the translator had to watch the movie and realized that he didn’t really have to try too hard here.  I almost wonder how good the script was in the original version.  I’d like to know mostly because it does detract from the movie.  It’s hard to take the actors seriously when the voices came across so badly.

I don’t really think I’d want to watch it again, even if I did learn the language.  Everything about this movie is so bad that it should be used as an example of what not to do when making a vampire movie.  Even though I like vampire movies, there are some that truly are not worth the DVD that they were burned on.  If you see it on one of the movie channels that you get, I’d only tell you to watch a few minutes just to see how bad it is.  This is another candidate for any bottom-ten lists out there.

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