Earlier this month, we had some Japanese horror and even a brief stay over in France. Today, we go south of the border for some Mexican horror. First, I must admit that I am weak in my Mexican horror experiences. So, the next four days will be fun as I get outside my usual comfort zone of expertise. For years, I was aware of the Nostradamus movies but never had the opportunity to watch them. Now, thanks to Juan, Vince and the gang over at the B-Movie Cast, I recently won a copy of the first film, Curse of Nostradamus (1960) and what a wild trip it was.
The history behind the Nostradamus series is almost as interesting as the movie. The Curse of Nostradamus was originally a 12-chapter serial released in Mexico in 1959. American producer K. Gordon Murray purchased the rights and split the tale into four separate flicks (Curse of Nostradamus, The Monster Demolisher, The Genie of Darkness and Blood of Nostradamus). The story is about a vampire known as Nostradamus (German Robles, El Vampiro) who is either the son or the son of the son of the original Nostradamus (depends on that moment in the script). He wants to restore the family name and seeks the help of a professor (Domingo Soler). Upon being told he will receive no help, Nostradamus vows revenge and begins killing the townsfolk in an effort to get the professor to comply.
Having watched both the original Spanish language version and the dubbed K. Gordon Murray version is almost like watching two different films. There are tremendous visuals with great lighting and set pieces, such as the cave towards the end confrontation. The Spanish language version offers a crisp picture and promise of a great story. Just watch the crazy eyes of German Robles and you can’t help but get hooked on this series. Unfortunately, without the benefit of English subtitles, it does feel like you are missing out on some great dialogue. On the other hand, the dubbing in the K. Gordon Murray version is horrendous and the print is in desperate need of restoration. The film ends far too abruptly because, of course, it was only the start of the tale. German Robles is great as Nostradamus, giving his own spin on the vampire lore, despite never actually biting anyone in this first film.
I recommend watching both versions to get a feel for the storyline as well as what the movie really is about. By itself, it’s an incomplete story but definitely left me wanting to watch the other three films in the series. Finding the DVD is near impossible but Juan over at 5th Dimension Films is your source for this rare series. Tell him Monster Movie Kid sent you.