[Philippines release date 5th August 1966; released by Independent International/Hemisphere Pictures in the US in 1971 as "Curse Of The Vampires" and "Blood Of The Vampires", in the UK as "Creatures Of Evil"]
Director Gerardo de Leon Story Ben Feleo Screenplay Pierre L. Salas, Ben Feleo Executive Producer Amalia Fuentes [as Amalia Muhlach] Music Tito Arevalo Cinematography Mike Accion Editor Ben Barcelon Set Decoration Ben Otico Makeup Baby Buencamino Assistant Director Dik Trofeo Sound Recordists Vicente Dona, Vic Dona, Tony Evarle, Pedro Nicolas Sound Salustiano Evarle Sound Effects Tony Gosalvez Sound Engineer Demetrio de Santos Men’s Warbrobe F.P. Bautista Assistant Editor Narciso Galang Title Design [US version] Bob LeBar
Cast Amalia Fuentes (Leonore Escodero), Romeo Vasquez (Daniel Castillo), Eddie Garcia (Eduardo Escodero), Johnny Monteiro, Rosario del Pilar, Mary Walter (Doña Consuelo Escodero de Victoria), Francisco Cruz, Paquito Salcedo, Quiel Mendoza, Andrés Benítez, Luz Ángeles, Tessie Hernandez, Linda Rivera
Review by Andrew Leavold
Both The Blood Drinkers and de Leon’s 1966 follow-up Curse Of The Vampires were dubbed into English and sold to the world by
A further link to The Blood Drinkers is Amalia Fuentes, who also produced Curse… under her real name Amalia Muhlach for her own production company. Amalia was one of the most famous Philippine actresses of the Sixties, a mixed Spanish or “mestizo” beauty who plays the heroine Leonore, a tragic figure at the centre of the doomed Escudero family riddled with vampirism and more. As a Spanish colony until the late 1800s, the country’s Hispanic legacy is still strong, leaving behind a feudal nobility who owed its alliegances more to
Leonore’s mother is played by Mary Walter, a popular mestizo actress from the
The film opens with Leonore in the arms of Daniel (Romeo Vasquez), a pure-hearted local lad who promises her to love her even from beyond the grave. Her father Don Enrique Escudero (Johnny Monteiro) denies permission for them to marry due to the family curse - vampirism, like madness, is borne by blood, and he has unwittingly kept the curse alive by keeping his vampire wife Dona (Mary Walter) locked in the basement. Every night she wakes up in her coffin, her now-animalistic screams pleading for blood. Don Enrique is forced to whip her into submission but can’t let go – the family has become insular to the point of incestuous.
The mother finally escapes from the basement, captured in a beautifully executed shot of the former matriarch, now a savage beast, tinted red in the foreground while her stern-looking portrait looms in the background. Eduardo willingly allows himself to be turned into a vampire by his mother’s loving embrace, and when his father dies in tragic circumstances, he assumes the paternal role of feudal lord. His veins now coursing with evil, he covets both his sister and Daniel’s sister Christina (Rosario del Pilar), to whom he becomes an aristocratic predator, demanding total servitude from his new vampiric bride (“You are my lord, I am your slave,” Christina says most tellingly on her short-lived honeymoon).
Leonore accepts her fate to follow the family curse, yet Daniel won’t allow her and reiterates his oath to protect her, in this life and the life after. The entire film is tinged with sadness and loss, and ends with not just a mob of angry villagers, but an entire Catholic parade, all brandishing torches while praying to gaudy statues of Mama Mary. Filipino gothic was a relatively small and short-lived genre, but de Leon certainly made it his own.
Its predecessor The Blood Drinkers was filmed with very little money in mostly black and white with tinted scenes for dramatic effect. Curse… is filmed in colour and unfortunately loses some of The Blood Drinkers’ aesthetic charms. De