Day 26 of the infamous Arena 31 days of horror 'celebration' and today we're visiting the....
Cave of The Living Dead (AKA Night of The Vampires. 1964).
Dir: Ákos Ráthonyi.
Cast: Adrian Hoven, Erika Remberg, Carl Möhner, Wolfgang Preiss, Vida Juvan and Karin Field.
|Beyond the black mouth of the cursed cave lurked the unfleshed...|
Somewhere in the seedy side of downtown Europe, full-time slick haired sex God and part-time trench coat wearing copper Frank Dorin (German superstar Hoven AKA Wilhelm Arpad Peter Hofkirchner of Berlin Alexanderplatz fame) is enjoying a rare night off from fighting crime by getting rat-arsed in his local bar.
But his perfect evening of letching over a variety of mini-skirted totty, refusing to answer the phone and staring at the waitresses ample chest is cut short by the arrival of a couple of felt hatted Interpol types, the like of which is usually only found hanging around school gates or bins.
It seems that Chief Constable Shirley has a case so baffling that only Dorin can solve it.
Obviously PC Plumb is busy.
It appears that there have been a series of bizarre killings in a remote village where six women - all aged between 18 and 22 - have died in as many months with no sign of foul play or rudeness.
If this wasn't mysterious enough tho' it seems that for an hour during each of the killings the entire villages electricity supply cuts off.
The authorities needless to say are baffled.
Dorin tho', is intrigued.
And not a little aroused.
|"I'm shagging your weans!"|
Shirley (for no discernible reason) thinks the events may be linked to the famous grotto near the village, so Frank armed with a state of the art (for 1940) infra-red viewer and official looking "I'm a detective" papers to impress the local police with , heads off to investigate.
Meanwhile at the village inn, the portly and pervy innkeeper Stefan Dennis is desperately trying to persuade local inbred dairymaid Maria (So Much Naked Tenderness and Circus of Horrors star Remberg) to let him put it in her.
With his chubby little sausage fingers pawing her lithe young body (whilst his even chubbier penis strains to be unleashed) Stefan accidentally breaks the chain holding the crucifix round her neck causing her to come to her senses and trot off to bed alone leaving a by now ferociously aroused Stefan to take solace in his glass of home-made wine and the sweet caress of mother fist and her five beautiful daughters.
A situation that readers of this blog probably find themselves in every Saturday night.
|Erika Remberg: Your granddad did. Twice.|
Arriving at the outskirts of the village Frank is disturbed to find the radio and engine suddenly cut out in his car and when he gets out to investigate, his torch also stops working.
That'll be the pre-murder blackout then.
Frank is approached from behind and quickly pulls out his weapon threatening to fire it's load in the strangers face but soon offers to point it elsewhere when he realizes that his assailant is a beautiful woman.
Karin (Field from Lo strangolatore di Vienna AKA The Mad Butcher) - for that is her name - explains that she's out for her nightly walk after a hard day assisting the famous Professor of sciencey stuff, Terry von Adelsberg ( War and Remembrance's Field Marshal von Brauchitsch himself, Preiss) up at the local haunted castle.
Which is fair enough I guess.
|"Pull my finger!"|
Being the friendly type she offers to show Frank the way to the inn where, at that very moment what looks like a modern shadow dance is taking place outside Maria's window.
You may have noticed that there's a fair bit going on here.
It's like about six different movies crammed into one, I mean I've written all this stuff down whilst I was watching and I'm still confused.
Anyway back to the plot where Frank after finally arriving at the inn, almost immediately strikes up conversation with fellow skirt-chaser Stefan, who regales our shiny-haired stud with spooky tales of the grotto which, according to local legend is haunted by vampires and, more importantly, which of the local girls are clean of yeast infections.
Leaving the men to their sex chat Karin heads back to the castle, followed from a distance by the local sex offender and deaf tramp Thomas (Schrenk, best known to readers of this blog as Hauptwachtmeister Schulz in the 08/15 saga probably), who is luckily - for Karin - frightened away by the sight of the castle's butler John (Dr. No's Quarrel himself, Kitzmiller), who kindly waits for Karin every night to make sure she's home safe.
Well it's that or he's waiting for the night that Thomas actually catches her, either way it works for me.
Thomas meanwhile, annoyed at having nothing to violate, makes do with stealing Frank's infra red viewer and pajamas from the abandoned car.
|Beware The ghost of Jimmy Savile!"|
Awoken by a frantic knocking at the door and an uncomfortable stiff patch in his underwear, Frank is surprised to see the police burst in with their shiny smooth pistols in hand.
Obviously upset at not being invited to the macho meeting and in an attempt to claw back his position as coolest muthafucka in the room, Frank knocks the gun from a constable’s hand before whipping out his own much larger weapon and finally forcing them to read his official papers.
What a guy.
It appears that Maria has died of heart failure exactly like the other girls, which would be fair enough if it weren't for the two big teeth marks on her neck but the local doctor (Sink the Bismarck! star Möhner) dismisses them as superficial scratches caused by a small rodent or dog.
Frank is not convince and, at Stefan’s behest, heads off to visit the village's resident witch, Nanny (Juvan, famous for he stand-out role of Lajhovka in the 1952 classic Svet na kajzarju) at her usual hang out behind the bins.
Lighting a fire and being careful not to stand on her own nipples, Nanny recounts the terrifying tale of the local vampires as images of cut-price dancing girls flicker in the flames.
According to our toothless chum the local populace, annoyed at getting bitten in the night, trapped the bloodsuckers in the grotto over 200 years ago using a gypsy curse but, as is the way with anything purchased from a pikey it didn't go completely to plan meaning that the vicious vamps can still leave the cave if they get bored, need shopping etc.
Luckily tho' they can only do this at the stroke of midnight and for only for 59 minutes.
And with that she pops a cross round Frank's neck and gives him a small vial of herbs that, if rubbed over a fresh vampire bite, can restore a victim to humanity.
This may come in useful later.
|"Have you tried lying on it first? Then you can pretend it's your mum doing it!"|
Heading back to the inn Frank comes across - again, not in that way - John out walking his dog who politely invites him back for tea and crumpets.
Our cool copper realizing that he's not investigated this bit of the plot yet happily accepts the offer and the pair (plus dog) make their way up the twisty turny road to the castle and maybe even a glimpse into the professor's secret experiments.
Or, if Frank is really lucky, a glimpse at Karin's milky white thighs.
We live in hope.
Chatting stiltedly with the Prof. (who as it happens doesn't like mirrors or garlic...suspicious eh?) Frank discovers that the old boy actually owns the property and moved back to town 6 months previously for a quieter place to do his research.
Research, he stresses that has no involvement whatsoever with vampires, blood or the grotto.
Especially not the grotto.
And with this Frank decides to check out the grotto.
|"I'll admit that setting fire to your cock is a pretty good trick but what do you do for an encore?"|
On route John steps out of the shadows and offers to go with him (tho' how he got so far ahead when there was washing up to do is a mystery never explained) so the intrepid pair head ever closer to their destination.
Back at the castle and by some bizarre psychic power (or convenient plot contrivance) the Professor realizes that John has accompanied Frank and therefore put himself in mortal danger.
I mean who else but the manservant is going to polish off the Prof. on those cold winter mornings?
Well since your sister got that Saturday job anyway.
Entering a cupboard off the dinning room and carrying a cheaply made Voodoo doll Prof von Adelsberg attempts to communicate with his butler.
Or is that Stan Butler from On The Buses?
Who knows because we're back at the grotto being treated to so oh so funny comedy dialogue involving John wondering aloud if the vampires "like the black folk with their black blood....cos the villagers sure don't Meessa Dorin!" before saving Frank from a falling stalactite.
Frank smiles and replies "I don't know John but I sure don't mind your black skin!"
This scene plays out in such a bizarre and uncomfortable way, mainly due to the fact that you can't decide whether the writer/dubber is trying to bring a wee bit of cultural diversity to the movie, or if our up until now heterosexual hero has turned gay by the sight of John rippling muscled form.
But frankly who wouldn't?
He's probably the best (and not to say cleanest) ride in the town.
Taking of rides, on the way back to the castle Frank decides to go and look in on Maria’s body, figuring that if she's not too putrid he could at least try to vent his sexual frustrations on her.
Or possibly in her.
Looking down at her pale sallow skin he suddenly comes to the conclusion that victims of heart attacks don't usually look like they've been drained of blood and hurriedly rushes off to find the doctor.
As he leaves the room tho' Maria begins to slowly breathe before opening her eyes and smiling revealing sharp pointy fangs.
|"Look Maria! Quit moving your head or you gonna end up with your hair full of muck...again!"|
Frank decides that now is the time to discuss the case with another professional, but seeing as neither Bodie - due to being dead - or the one with the girls hair is available has to settle on the doctor.
I mean come on it's not like they can afford to pay the cast they have let alone hire even more folk.
Calmly explaining about the Professors experiments, the vampires and all that other spooky stuff that's been happening in the village and after a slight pause to rub his chin, he patiently awaits the doctor opinion.
Which is that it's all bollocks and there is in fact a mental murderer running about.
A murderer whose M.O. is to steal the bodies before they can be used to gather evidence.
With no-one left to turn to except Nanny and with an underlying feeling that the Professor maybe lying about the not being a vampire, Frank asks the old dear for some bloodsucker slaying tips.
Nanny explains that a stake through the heart or three strikes to the chest with a mallet (?) will destroy a vampire but you must kill the leader in order to kill his minions.
Scribbling all this onto the back of a fag packet our courageous copper heads back to the castle to stop the vampire menace once and for all.
To be honest I'm not quite sure.
Coming across like the back street birthed bastard offspring of Twin Peaks and Balamory directed by a Parkinson's riddled, wooden spoon-handed 4 year old, Cave of The Living Dead is at once a work of sheer unhinged genius and utter shite.
Everything is mishandled, from the sexy jazz score to the misjudged sexual humour whilst the erstwhile Adrian Hoven appears to be channeling Carry On star Jim Dale in his portrayal of the allegedly super suave, super cool Frank Dorin, eventually coming across as more of a low rent fanny obsessed Frank Spencer than a wise cracking womanizing detective.
But if I was feeling kind I could point out that this might be in some small part due to the cack handed dubbing and poorly translated dialogue.
Then you turn the sound down and watch Hoven's fantastic comedy eyebrow acting in the opening scenes as he subtly tries to get a girls attention.
He'd be more subtle if he just got his cock out and slapped it on the table.
|"Hey...do you say mouse-shite-in?"|
That said there is something reassuringly oddball about the whole proceedings and it does feature the yumsome Karin Field, looking for all the world like a bustier, more Aryan Noomi Rapace and despite throwing in enough (obvious) red herrings to fill the EU fishing quota for about 6 years - especially when the villain's identity is obvious from the start - it still merrily jogs along at it's own club footed pace, oblivious to any criticism along the way.
Which is kinda sweet.
No atmosphere, no tension and no mercy but just like your best friends old, saggy breasted drunken auntie it seduces you into staying the course.
And although you hate yourself for admitting it, it's not that bad a ride.
And under the right circumstances you'd do it again.
You filthy, filthy people.