CAVE OF THE LIVING DEAD (1964) Reviews and overview

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‘Beyond the black mouth of the cursed cave lurk the unfleshed…’

Cave of the Living Dead is a 1964 West German-Yugoslavian horror film produced and directed by Ákos Ráthonyi [as Akos von Ratony] from a screenplay co-written with Kurt Roecken. The film’s original title is Der Fluch der grünen Augen (“The Curse of the Green Eyes”).

The movie stars Adrian Hoven, Carl Möhner, Erika Remberg and Wolfgang Preiss.

It was released by Richard Gordon in the US on a double-bill (“Twice the thrills! Twice the chills!”) with the Italian film Tomb of Torture.

Inspector Frank Dorin (Adrian Hoven) is sent to a remote village to investigate a number of mysterious deaths and encounters local superstition, racism and a suspicious professor in the local castle…



“Like most Euro horror, Cave is long on atmosphere and short on any logical narrative sense or structure. Like a dream (or nightmare), characters react to missing bodies and vampires living in caves with a disquieting complacency.” Films from Beyond the Time Barrier

Basically an atmospheric bore, Cave of the Living Dead still has several things to recommend it including some nice homages to early German horror films (notably Nosferatu) […] There’s also Karin Field who flashes her curvy figure (from behind) while stripping down to a pair of black panties, then throwing on a see-through negligee that she parades around in for several moments.” DVD Drive-In

“Though Hoven is an engaging enough presence as the omnipresent Doren, perhaps the major mystery about Der Fluch is that Von Ratony got hold of an iconic figure like Wolfgang Preiss yet gave him so little to chew on. The Professor is a sketchy character; engaged in research that’s presumably intended to reverse his own vampirism, he never gets the opportunity to elucidate it slightly.” Jonathan Rigby, Euro Gothic

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“All in all, the movie comes across as mostly silly, but there are some scary scenes and creepy sequences that are exquisitely moody. There’s a short sequence near the beginning of the movie where we see the shadow of a creature on a wall, followed by a shot of clawed hands raising a window, and then a shot of a shadow hovering over the form of a girl; this sequence is simply breathtaking…” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“The humour is slightly off-kilter, as I mentioned, full of bungling characters and a Lothario lead. It doesn’t work brilliantly, but this might be due to the poor dubbing and translated dialogue. That said there is something pleasingly groovy, despite the uncomfortable moments, about the film – perhaps due to the swing jazz soundtrack.” Taliesin Meets the Vampires

“Director Akos Rathonyi makes effective use of shadows in the cave sequences. And he does a good job at ripping off Nosferatu too […] Rathonyi also offers up plenty of shots of sexy vampire women, which is always nice. But after a fairly solid opening, the flick turns into a bit of a slog.” The Video Vacuum

Choice dialogue:

Landlord: “And what am I left with? Just the wine…”

Village doctor: “They gossip so much in the village, particularly about foreigners. And when the other one is black they have great material.”

John, the manservant: “Say, Inspector, do you think vampires like black blood?”

Inspector Frank Dorin: “Either coffins are cheap around here or they haven’t got enough beds!”

Main cast:

Adrian Hoven (producer of Mark of the Devil and director of its sequel), Erika Remberg (Circus of Horrors), Carl Möhner, Wolfgang Preiss (Mill of the Stone WomenThe 1,000 Eyes of Doctor Mabuse), Karin Field (The Demons; Legend of Horror; Web of the Spider), Emmerich Schrenk, John Kitzmiller.

Running time: 81 minutes

Image credits: Zombos’ Closet

Plot keywords:

inspector | village | grotto | murder | innkeeper | doctor | castle | professor | caves | witch | villagers | underwear | panties | nylons | well | snake | vampire

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