Crypt of the Living Dead (Vinegar Syndrome, Blu-ray)

Director - Ray Danton

Cast - Mark Damon, Andrew Prine

Country of Origin - U.S./Spain

Discs - 2

Distributor - Vinegar Syndrome

Reviewer - Brad Hogue

Date - 07/18/2015

The Film (4/5)

 

Chris (Andrew Prine, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Grizzly, The Evil) travels to an island where was father is killed when a tomb collapses on top of him. What he doesn't know, but we as viewers do, is that is was deliberately caused by Peter (Mark Damon, House Of Usher, Black Sabbath, The Devil's Wedding Night) and his savage beast man. Chris, believing Peter to be his friend, enlists his help in lifting the tomb to remove his father's corpse.

 

When they remove the lid they discover a very much alive looking Hannah (Teresa Gimpera, Night Of The Devils, The People Who Own The Dark, The Spirit Of The Beehive) which prompts the villagers to fear a return of the vampire. While Hannah is appearing nightly as green mist and a wolf, Chris is falling in love with peter's schoolteacher sister Mary (Patty Shepard, Werewolf Shadow, My Dear Killer, Glass Ceiling). Chris hopes to take Mary away from the island after he defeats the vampire which brings him into an unsuspected confrontation with Peter. This leads to a great, surprisingly graphic ending.

 

Crypt Of The Living Dead is (very) loosely based upon the short story The Tomb Of Sarah by F.G. Loring. While only really taking the idea of a tomb with a vampire in it marauding the countryside, it reads like a cross between two M. R. James stories: Count Magnus and An Episode Of Cathedral History. All three are well worth reading and The Tomb Of Sarah has been anthologized many times since it was first published in 1900.

 

The Turkish setting lends quite a bit of atmosphere as do the eerie scenes of Hannah floating around in the crypt (recalling Patty Shepard a bit in Werewolf Shadow) and around the island killing both animals and villagers. Prine and Damon play off of each other well and all in all you have what I think is an underrated 70's vampire film. You won't forget the ending.

 

 

Audio/Video (4/5)

 

Vinegar Syndrome presents Crypt Of The Living Dead restored in a 2K scan from a 35MM print in 1080p HD with an aspect ratio of 1:85:1. There are some pops and scratches here and there but it's the best the film has ever looked, especially for those of us that saw the film on one of it's many inclusions on cheap value packs. Audio is presented with a DTS mono track with clear audio and soundtrack. English subtitles are included.

 

Extras (4/5)

 

Vinegar Syndrome includes an alternate title insert under the title of Crypt Of The Living Dead and a trailer. Also included is a bonus film, accessible from the main menu page, of House Of The Living Dead. A South African film that tells the story of an aristocratic family harboring a dark secret that involves some pseudoscience and murder. Vinegar Syndrome has rescued House Of The Living Dead from the budget packs as well and presents it in 1080p from a 35MM film print. It's a bit faded but surely the best it's ever looked as well. English subtitles are also included. Oh and there's no 'living dead' to speak of in the film. Still, a nice extra.

 

Overall (4/5)

 

Vinegar Syndrome has done a service to fans of this film and to the wider Eurohorror film fan community by releasing a much improved print of Crypt Of The Living Dead. The film has some solid atmosphere, four genre favorites in Prine, Damon, Shepard, and Gimpera and a pretty amazing finale. Crypt Of The Living Dead would make a great double feature with another Mark Damon 70's Italian Horror film, The Devil's Wedding Night or another Patty Shepard 70's Spanish Horror film Werewolf Shadow.

 

Highly Recommended