Curse of the Undead (1959)

Article #401 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 4-20-2002
Posting date: 9-13-2002

When a woman’s father and brother die, she holds the unscrupulous rancher next door responsible, and hires a killer to deal with him. She is not aware that the killer she has hired is a vampire.

This may be the most successful merging of the western and horror genres, a combination that is uneasy at best. The problem with this mixing of genres is that both types of movies have their own sets of myths, and they don’t mix easily; for one thing, the western feels most at home in full daylight (at least it seems so to me), while horror movies thrive at night. Making the vampire a hired gun is one of the best ideas in the movie; this would be an ideal profession for a vampire who is immune to normal bullets, and consequently he doesn’t require a fast draw to be effective. For the most part, the movie effectively walks that thin line of being both a western and a horror movie, and though some may scoff at the very concept, it’s certainly better than BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA. There are a few problems: the music in the soundtrack could use a bit more subtlety, and some of the acting early on is hysterical, but I think it comes across well enough despite a certain uneasiness to the proceedings.

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