Professor Duran (Domingo Soler) is a staunch believer that supernatural creatures like vampires and werewolves do not exist. He is the chairman of the Society for the Abolishment of Superstition, a committee that is working to prove the Professor’s theories. One night when he and his assistant Antonio (Julio Aleman) retire to the Professor’s study he finds a man there who says his name is Senor Ericson (German Robles). Ericson says he is there because he wants Duran to recognize the greatness of Nostradamus. Duran believes the guy is a crank and that people don’t believe in alchemy and magic. Ericson then tells them that he is the son of Nostradamus. That would make him about 400 years old.
By now Duran’s patience is at an end and he orders Ericson to get out. Ericson says that to prove who he is he will torture and kill thirteen people and Duran will be the thirteenth. The first one will be someone who is a fan of Duran’s work. On Duran's desk are letters from fans. Ericson picks up an envelope from a man who admires Duran’s work. He lays it back down unopened and tells Duran and Antonio that this will be the first one to die. Ericson then leaves the room. Antonio opens the envelope and reads the letter from Carlos Blanco (Manuel Casanueva).
Ericson goes to Blanco’s home and hypnotizes him. Blanco is paralyzed to the point where he appears dead. He is buried alive. When Duran hears about Blanco’s death he has him exhumed and finds that Blanco tried to claw his way out of his coffin before he truly died. Ericson shows up at Duran’s home and tells him he wants Duran to have the Nostradamus name restored. Duran refuses and calls him a murderer. Duran shoots Ericson point blank six times. Ericson turns into a bat and flies away.
Ericson then begins to taunt Duran by informing him ahead of time as to who will die next. Each death is different and, unless he is willing to admit in public that vampires exist, Ericson will continue killing. Duran is helpless to stop him. Duran and Antonio now believe Ericson is a vampire but Duran refuses to do what Ericson wants and, with Antonio’s help, tries to formulate a plan to destroy the vampire once and for all.
“The Curse of Nostradamus” AKA “La maldición de Nostradamus” was released in 1961 in Mexico and 1965 in America. It was directed by Federico Curiel.
It is generally believed that the film was originally part of a twelve chapter Mexican horror serial released in 1959. K. Gordon Murray purchased the rights and split the serial up into four separate movies, “Curse” being the first in the series. The other films were “The Monsters Demolisher”, “The Genie of Darkness” and “Blood of Nostradamus”. There are others that question the serial aspect of the story and believe that the four films were actually four films but sequential.
I believe that the episodes were part of a twelve chapter serial that Mexico packaged into four films and released them theatrically as separate films. I couldn’t find any evidence that they were released as twelve separate episodes like American serials were done. K Gordon Murray then purchased the rights to the four already made films and dubbed them into English for release to America. One of the Murray films “The Genie of Darkness” seems to be a misinterpretation of the Mexican film and episode “The Genius of Darkness”. My evidence is in the Spanish posters that name each film and the chapters that make up the film. The posters are Mexican and they reflect not only the film title but also the chapters that are in the film and they are in Spanish.
Another film is said to be part of the series is “El Testamento del Vampiro”, “The Vampire’s Testament” that was supposedly released the same year as the four episodic films. Some believe that “El Testamento del Vampiro” is a retelling of “The Curse of Nostradamus” but others disagree. I have been unable to find “The Vampire’s Testament” anywhere so I don’t know for sure if it exists or not.
Since the dubbing was done by Murray the names of the characters were also changed to American names.
It is a gothic style film full of dark atmosphere and some gruesome murders. The film is a combination of campy and creepy. As far as vampires go German Robles is right up there with Christopher Lee and Bela Lugosi. Sometimes sporting a goatee and sometimes not he is dapper and sophisticated with dark piercing eyes. The ending to the film is abrupt and unfulfilling, most likely because it is a cliff hanger of sorts and the next film “The Monsters Demolisher” picks up where this one leaves off.
Not all of the films are easy to find, at least in English, but there are some cut rate DVD-R companies that will have them.