aka Malenka the Vampire
Director/Screenplay – Amando de Ossorio, Photography – Fulvio Testi, Music – Carlos Savina, Art Direction – Ennio Michetoni. Production Company – Victory Films/Cobra Films.
Anita Ekberg (Sylvia Morell), John Hamilton (Piero de Chagny), Julian Ugarte (Count Waldrick), Audrey Ambert (Glinka)
Two weeks short of her marriage, Sylvia Morell learns she has inherited a castle in her mother’s will and travels to visit it. Once there, she learns that her grandmother Malenka was a dark sorceress and a vampire. Now her uncle Count Waldrick wants her to agree to never see her fiancee again and to undergo the ceremonies that will make her a vampire.
Malenka/Fangs of the Living Dead was the first of several genre films from Spanish director Amando de Ossorio. De Ossorio later achieved a small cult with the Blind Dead films, beginning with Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971). (See below for de Ossorio’s other films).
Amando de Ossorio’s later films develop a reasonable degree of atmosphere but Fangs of the Living Dead is a dull and shabby variation on the continental horror film. The plot is exceedingly slim and all to the formula for the Euro horror film of this era – girl goes to claim her heritage in an ancestral family castle, is forced to accept her bloodright, the spirit of a witch ancestor causes trouble, yada yada. Amando de Ossorio’s direction is thoroughly unatmospheric – he seems to have no concept of scares as being anything other than closeups of people in pasty faces.
The film’s sole point of notoriety is the presence of Anita Ekberg of La Dolce Vita (1960) fame whose low-cut gowns and enormous cleavage has created a legend. “Fangs for the Mammaries, Anita” The Creature Features Movie Guide (1981) noted in their review of the film. Everything else is dreary. The video print from Sinister Cinema viewed here is in very poor condition.
Amando De Ossorio’s other horror films are Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971) and its sequels Attack of the Blind Dead/Return of the Blind Dead/Return of the Evil Dead (1973), The Ghost Galleon (1974) and Night of the Seagulls (1975), and elsewhere the likes of The Loreley’s Grasp/When the Screaming Stops (1973), Night of the Sorcerers (1974), Demon Witch Child (1975) and The Sea Serpent (1984).