A young couple is riding at night in their car. They see what looks like a pillar of smoke. It turns into a vampire, Count Sergio Subotai (Guillermo Murray). The vampire and his minions of bat creatures kidnap the couple and take them to an underground crypt. The Count turns the woman into a vampire and keeps the man alive to turn him into a bat creature.
The Count is on a mission to destroy the human race. Before he can do that he needs to resolve an old grudge. Years ago he had tried to destroy humans before but was prevented by a member of the Colman family. Since then he has vowed vengeance on the entire family. He has been killing all the remaining members. One of them managed to escape before he could be dispatched.
Senior Colman and his nieces Leonor (Erna Martha Bauman) and Mirta (Silvia Fournier) are traced to North America. The Count takes up residence near them. When he is invited to a party at the Colman home he goes. At the party is a man named Rodolfo Sabre (Mauricio Garces). Rodolfo has been learning some special music. When asked to play it on the piano it has a remarkable effect on The Count. The music causes The Count to have a severe reaction to it. He quickly leaves the residence.
Outside he begins to put Leonor into a trance. Before he can bite her on the neck Senior Colman appears. Later that night he calls to Leonor and she comes to him. He sends his bat creatures to the house to bring Senior Colman and Mirta to him. Two bat creatures manage to get Senior Colman but Mirta is saved when Rodolfo, out in the living room, begins to play piano. Mirta asks him to play the strange tune he was playing at the party. The sound sends the bat creatures into the night. The count turns Leonor into a vampire and sends her home to bite Rodolfo.
The next day Mirta and Rodolfo can’t find either Leonor or Senior Colman. Their last resort is to visit Count Subotai to ask if he has seen either. This puts both of them walking right into The Count’s lair and into his clutches.
“El Mundo de los Vampiros” AKA “The World of the Vampires” was released in 1961 and was directed by Alfonso Corona Blake. The film was produced by Abel Salazar. It is a Mexican horror movie.
I am beginning to develop a fondness for Mexican horror. They are campy and fun. My favorite thing about this movie is the organ that the vampire plays. The organ pipes are made out of bones and skulls. Plus the fact that vampires can be killed, or at least extremely disturbed, by music is a new one for the books.
The bat creatures are a new twist to the genre as well. All the other vampire tropes are, shall we say, alive and well. The gothic underground catacombs, the coffins, the classic vampire, complete with cape, even the rubber bats on strings. The females are all turned into beautiful vampires but the males are turned into ugly bat creatures. All except for The Count of course.
Some of the story is a bit of a contradiction. He says he was murdered a hundred years ago by someone from the Colman family who ended his terrestrial life by stabbing him with a special knife. He was then sentenced to life in the dark. So how did he become a vampire? Is he saying Colman made him a vampire? Can you become a vampire by being stabbed with a special knife? That’s a change to the standard vampire lore.
He also waited a hundred years to finish his mission and if he doesn’t finish by the next full moon he will have to wait another hundred years. Why? He also says that once the human race is eliminated and the only ones left are those immortals of the night, they will be gods. Gods of whom? When all you have are gods then everyone is the same.
Basically none of this really matters. Mexican horror is nothing if not unique. They have a way of taking a traditional vampire tale and adding their own flourishes. It’s part of the fun.
Erna Martha Bauman, who plays Leonor, was once Miss Mexico.