Monday, 25 July 2011



Ahhh, Vipco. A legendary name in UK video history, a label specialising in cheesy horror and sleaze flicks, several of which were pulled up in the video nasties campaign: a much loved brand if only for their uncut releases of Zombie Flesh Eaters, Shogun Assassin and so on.... Sadly despite all the good stuff there was, and there remains, a lot of unspeakable dross on the label: films released not because they were terrific, but because they were there. That neither the film quality nor the print quality were even adequate was not an issue - they could, so they did.

Grave Of The Vampire is a particularly grotty horror quickie from 1973 in which a vampire (Michael Pataki) awakens in his tomb to find a couple of teens at it like billyo in the back of a car nearby: he promptly kills the boy (and drinks his blood) and rapes the girl, leaving her pregnant. The child grows up to be William Smith, forever on the trail of his evil father who has now assumed the identity of a college professor teaching a night course on the occult. And yet, despite Smith dropping a series of clanging great hints about vampires and Pataki's previous identities, Pataki mysteriously doesn't disappear into the night but hangs around to conduct a class seance....

The print, which would appear to be a video of an original UK theatrical print as it bears the logo of Ember Films, the original UK distributor, is of pretty poor quality - scratched and jumpy, especially around the reel changes and the censor cuts from 1973. On the other hand, even if this were a restored and uncut print struck from the original negative in laboratory conditions less than three days ago, it would still be a depressing experience because it's just a plain rotten movie. It's no fun and springs no surprises even though there is the sudden death of a character you would normally expect to stay the course. It's not even cheesily entertaining in the nostalgia stakes. Best avoided.


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