Name That Trauma :: Richard of Doomed Moviethon on a Vampire Dad

To the Kindertraumoids,

Hey, it’s Richard from DOOMED MOVIETHON and CINEMA SOMNAMBULIST. I am looking for a vampire movie and I was wondering if you guys and/or your army of rad Kindertraumatized people could help. The movie starts with a gentleman (perhaps in flashback?) burying each member of his family as they die from a mysterious illness. One night, his wife (or maybe child, I can’t quite recall) returns from the grave as a vampire. This family member tries to kill him and he defends himself by either staking or beheading them (or both). Then he proceeds to dig up his entire family and off them one by one by staking and beheading (or both). I believe this is how the film in question begins.

It gets complicated because I want to say a) this is a Hammer Studios production and b) the patriarch is PETER CUSHING but this may not be so. This film might not be either of those things. In fact, limiting it to those two criteria might be what’s screwing me up. However, I’m pretty sure it was a period piece, featured British or European actors, and was either ’60s or ’70s.

And this film did in fact traumatize me (in my kinder form) as it were. After watching this, I had a nightmare that my dad was a vampire and he was trying to kill my sister. The saddest part was coming to the decision that it was time to kill my dad by either staking him or setting him on fire. Please don’t send this to Dr. Freud. Thanks! I hope you all can help me find this piece of disturbed childhood.

UNK SEZ: Always good to hear from you Richard! I’m not feeling 100% on this but I was thinking if we substitute your possible PETER CUSHING with BORIS KARLOFF it could be the segment of BAVA‘s BLACK SABBATH entitled ” The Wurdalak.” The frightening father, beheadings and vampire child all fit. There’s a better description HERE or you can check it on YouTube HERE.

I’m not completely confident on this one, so if anybody else out there has an idea please tell us in the comments and remember to visit Richard over at DOOMED MOVIETHON and CINEMA SOMNAMBULIST soon!

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Volker Stieber
11 years ago

…except that in Bava’s film, old Boris the patriarch is the one who comes back as a Vampire.

I would say either Vincent Price in LAST MAN ON EARTH or perhaps the made-for-TV SALEM’S LOT ?

11 years ago

I agree: that sounds a LOT like the Vincent Price film “Last Man On Earth”, one of the earliest film versions of “I Am Legend” (and “The Omega Man”), and perhaps an inspiration for “Night of the Living Dead” and other modern Zombie movies.

If I remember correctly, Poor Vincent’s becomes sick with the mysterious “European Disease”, and the military kills her and burns her… then Vincent’s wife falls ill, and Vincent tries to give her a decent burial, only to find that she rises from the grave and he has to kill her himself and burn the body. For most of the rest of the film, Vincent Price finds himself the only living human left in a post-apocalyptic world of Gothic horror, hunting vampires by day, and barricaded into a fortress under siege by zombie/vampires at night.

I don’t believe it was a Hammer horror film and it was in stark black-and-white (I seem to recall it was a Canadian movie filmed in Italy), but it did have Vincent Price in it, and much of the same wonderful imagery.

It’s a bit slow-paced compared to the newer film versions of the story, but “The Last Man On Earth” is still a very eerie, moody, and atmospheric film and well worth taking the time to give it a proper viewing today. It might have entered the public domain, and if so might be very easy to find now.