Released to the US market by K. Gordon Murray, this slow-moving, 19th-century Mexican vampire story contains some striking images amidst the domestic drama and lengthy expository scenes. The film opens by a lonely roadside, where Anna Cagliostro (Begona Palacios), her fiance, Dr. Richard Peisser (Raoul Farell) and a family servant, Gestas (Francisco A. Cordova), are searching for a mandragora root, which grows only at the feet of hanged men. Anna's father, Count Cagliostro (Antonio Raxel), needs the root for his research into a cure for vampirism. They hide when a spectral coach appears on the road, then return to their search for the root, which they bring back to Castle Cagliostro. Count Cagliostro has developed a serum he believes will cure the vampire taint, which is administered with a device that oddly recalls the machine from Guillermo del Toro's CRONOS (1994). After Cagliostro leaves on a trip, Anna and Richard learn that a neighboring castle is now inhabited by the Frankenhausens, whom Cagliostro has been tracking since they disappeared from Germany, their ancestral land, because Count Frankenhausen (Carlos Agosti) is a vampire. Anna pretends to be a serving girl and applies for a job at the Castle Frankenhausen where servant girls have a habit of disappearing in hopes of uncovering information that will help her father. She's hired to serve the Countess (Erna Martha Bauman), who knows her husband is a monster but is too weak to escape; he retaliates by telling everyone she's insane. The Count takes a shine to Anna, whom he wants to make the next Countess Frankenhausen; this enrages Hildegard (Birta Moss), his faithful servant of many years. Can Anna thwart the count before he realizes she's a spy? Cut down from an original running time of 110 minutes and dubbed at Murray's sound studio in Coral Gables, Fla., this odd mix of gothic horror and domestic drama features the weirdly stilted dubbing for which Murray's releases are famous. To his credit, Gordon disliked dubbing in which the original actors' mouths continues to move after the English-language dialogue is finished, but his solution was to pad the new dialogue with phrases like "well, as you know" and "but you see, my dear" to stretch it out to an appropriate length. Some exchanges are simply bizarre Richard, the Count and the Countess Frankenhausen have a long conversation about the history of coffee while others are given a hint of surreality by a certain carelessness about names: Hildegarde is sometimes called Brunhilda, while Gestas is frequently referred to as Panejo.
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- Review: Released to the US market by K. Gordon Murray, this slow-moving, 19th-century Mexican vampire story contains some striking images amidst the domestic drama and lengthy expository scenes. The film opens by a lonely roadside, where Anna Cagliostro (Begona P… (more)