‘Father and son related by blood!!! Everyone’s blood!!’
Grave of the Vampire is a 1972 American horror feature film directed by John Hayes (Dream No Evil; Garden of the Dead; End of the World) from a screenplay co-written with David Chase (Kolchak: The Night Stalker), based on his novel The Still Life. Also known as Seed of Terror
Several years after his death by electrocution in the late 1930s, ghoulish murderer Caleb Croft (Michael Pataki) rises from his crypt and brutally assaults young Leslie Hollander (Kitty Vallacher). Leslie becomes pregnant by Croft and delivers a baby boy, whom she nurses with bottles of blood.
The child matures into the ruggedly handsome James Eastman (William Smith), who sets out on a mission to find and kill his diabolical father. Eastman enrols in a college, where his father is teaching as Professor Lockwood. Following a séance hosted by the professor for his students, James confronts his father in a showdown between good and evil…
“The film has wide-reaching mythology, but much of this expository potential is drained of its life’s blood leaving a few questions unanswered. As Drive-In/Late Night fare goes, you can’t go wrong with a film that features both Michael Pataki and William Smith as co-stars.” Cool Cinema
” … overall Grave of the Vampire experience is one of alternating boredom and disappointment… Aside from bits of blood, there are a few seconds of silhouette nudity. It all leads to an untricky trick ending.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers
“The extremely low budget shows and the film was instantly dated […] but it has a certain Californian gothic, gloomy atmosphere about it which is obvious from the beginning — Croft’s grave is opened to reveal his cobweb-filled living corpse, with a juicy spider and a couple of salamanders tossed on top for extra effect.” DVD Drive-In
“This is one of those small budget movies that benefits from a good script. The story itself is quite interesting, and it is peopled with interesting characters well played by a group of little known but capable actors.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings
“This is one of the great blood-sucking pictures coming in the wake of Count Yorga. It is perverse, interesting, and exciting in concept and presentation.” Richard Myers, For One Week Only
“Grim and unusual.” Kim Newman, Nightmare Movies
“Instead of a nothing entry in what was by then a pretty moribund subgenre, Grave of the Vampire rises above its generic origins. Rather than playing the vampire for camp amusement … it finds fresh and interesting nuances, nurturing hybrid possibilities that were perhaps only later embraced through the New Wave horror fiction of Clive Barker.” Stephen Thrower, Nightmare USA
” …the film isn’t a particularly gory one, but it does have some nice atmosphere and a decent storyline. This one doesn’t try to rise above its horror movie origins, it’s ambition seems only to entertain and to spook – on that level it actually does succeed, as it offers up a few eerie images and a very strong finish.” Rock! Shock! Pop!
“The soundtrack is cheesy throughout and the scenes when James attends a party thrown by Anita were worryingly reminiscent of Dracula A.D. 1972 – which is no good thing. Yet the story, the hints of lore, the subtle and yet palpable brutality and Pataki’s performance raise this film up into a flawed gem.” Taliesin Meets the Vampires
“Though it does lag in some spots, the film wins us back with a spirited wrestling match between vampire father and son and a bleak ending capped off with a teasing “The End—Or Is It?” title card. Not a bad choice for the casual fan looking for a movie to simply deliver the bloody goods. ” The Terror Trap
“Although crudely put together, this is an interesting departure from standard vampire tales, with plenty of unexpected curves in the narrative to keep the viewer off guard.” TV Guide
Watch a double-bill with Cathy’s Curse on YouTube
Cast and characters:
William Smith … James Eastman – Zombiegeddon; Maniac Cop; Moon in Scorpio; Invasion of the Bee Girls
Michael Pataki … Caleb Croft – The Bat People; Mansion of the Doomed; Graduation Day
Lyn Peters … Anne Arthur – Fear No Evil
Diane Holden … Anita Jacoby
Lieux Dressler … Olga – Kingdom of the Spiders
Eric Mason … Lieutenant Panzer – Kiss of the Tarantula; Scream Blacula Scream
Jay Adler … Old Zack
Jay Scott … Paul – Kiss of the Tarantula
William Guhl … Sergeant Duffy
Margaret Fairchild … Miss Fenwick
Carmen Argenziano … Sam – Hellraiser: Inferno; Graduation Day; When a Stranger Calls
Abbi Henderson … Carol Moskowitz
Kitty Vallacher … The Unwilling Mother – Deathmaster
Filmed in eleven days on a budget of approximately $50,000.
1 hour 35 minutes
Grave of the Vampire is in the public domain.