A promoter visiting a reclusive concert pianist finds a dying girl who has apparently been killed in a mysterious road accident. Then the musician seems to be more interested in promoting his protégé than appearing on stage himself. The plot thickens when a strange hairy creature starts running amuck…
Fright film ‘El Vampiro’ (1957) was a massive domestic hit in Mexico and, despite being a fairly standard riff on Dracula, kick-started a whole decades worth of home-grown cinematic horror. Leading actor Abel Salazar rode the wave for all he was worth, starring and producing a whole series of pictures in the same genre. He usually took the romantic lead, rather than playing any children of the night, and the results never wandered too far from their main inspiration: the Universal classics of the 1930s and 40s.
The plot of this one is fairly transparent after about five minutes or so, as is the main inspiration behind the story: ‘The Wolf Man’ (1941). Having a classical music motif means there are some variations of course; a deal with the devil and an old corpse sitting in a chair. That’s not the only faint echo of ‘Psycho’ (1960), except mother takes a much more active role in developments here.
The SFX are predictably poor and the wolf man/demon makeup rather hard to take seriously. Of course, we always have to bear in mind that this is the U.S. version, imported by that legendary film distributor K. Gordon Murray and redubbed in his Florida studios. In this case, obviously without a great deal of care and attention as, although we clearly see Martha Roth’s hands on the keyboard (so she could obviously play) what we hear on the soundtrack bears very little resemblance to her hand and finger movements.
Even by 1962, Mexican horror was beginning to incorporate some more outlandish elements; robots, wrestling and Brainiacs (Salazar again!), so it’s quite possible that this film already looked a little old fashioned, even on release. Certainly, when viewed today, it’s nothing special; an overly familiar non-mystery with predictable plot development and absolutely no surprises.