SCHLOCK TREATMENT: Gerardo de Leon's FILIPINO VAMPIRE DOUBLE!
The Blood Drinkers
aka Kulay Dugo Ang Gabi, The Vampire People, Color Of Night, Blood Is The Color Of Night
Director Gerardo de Leon Writer Cesar Amigo Producer Cirio H.
Cast Ronald Remy (Dr Marco), Amalia Fuentes (Charito/Katrina), Eddie Fernandez (Victor de la Cruz), Eva Montes (Tanya, the vampire bride), Paquito Salcedo (Elias, the guardian), César Aguilar, Eriberto Amazan Jr, Philip Antivo, Eddie Arce, Luis Benedicto, Andrés Benítez, Jess Buenaflor, Rudy Bugarin, Ernesto David, Mona del Cielo, Felipe Dionisio, Frankie Lastimoso, Tiva Lava, Renato Murado Jr, Fred Parain, Ric Paulino, Ricardo Rivera, Renato Robles, Celia Rodriguez, Jess Roma, Felisa Salcedo, Frank Seavedra, Evelyn Shreve, Vicky Velasquez, Mary Walter, Renato Robles
aka Creatures Of Evil
Director Gerardo de Leon Writers Ben Feleo, Pierre L. Salas Producer Amalia “Muhlach”/Fuentes Music Tito Arevalo
Cast Eddie Garcia (Eduardo Escodero), Amalia Fuentes (Leonore Escodero), Romeo Vasquez (Daniel Castillo), Mary Walter (Doña Consuelo Escodero de Victoria), Luz Ángeles, Andrés Benítez, Francisco Cruz, Tessie Hernandez, Quiel Mendoza, Johnny Monteiro, Rosario del Pilar, Linda Rivera, Paquito Salcedo, Linda Rivera, Paquito Salcedo
The Sixties saw a revival of the gothic horror tradition thanks to Hammer’s Dracula series starring Christopher Lee, and a smorgasbord of Continental shockers like Black Sunday and The Horrible Dr Hitchcock. The last place you’d expect gothic to thrive is the
Ronald Remy is striking as the complicated villain Dr Marco, as bald as Nosferatu in dark glasses and snappy 60s black outfits, and simultaneously terrorizing a secluded jungle village while pining for his dying vampire love Katrina. As well as a vampire, he’s a man of science and medicine, and with the help of his hunchbacked assistant and mute dwarf, he plans to transplant the still-beating heart of the village girl Charito into Katrina (both played by the gorgeous 60s Filipino starlet Amalia Fuentes). Modern technology and traditional faith are constantly juxtaposed in a film which cuts between colour film and black and white footage tinted in cool blues and blood red. Apparently colour stock in the
Both The Blood Drinkers and de Leon’s 1966 follow-up Curse Of The Vampires were dubbed into English and sold to the world by
A further link to The Blood Drinkers is Amalia Fuentes, who also produced Curse… under her real name Amalia Muhlach for her own production company. Amalia was one of the most famous Philippine actresses of the Sixties, a mixed Spanish or “mestizo” beauty who plays the heroine Leonore, a tragic figure at the centre of the doomed Escudero family riddled with vampirism and more. As a Spanish colony until the late 1800s, the country’s Hispanic legacy is still strong, leaving behind a feudal nobility who owed its alliegances more to
Leonore’s mother is played by Mary Walter, a popular mestizo actress from the
The film opens with Leonore in the arms of Daniel (Romeo Vasquez), a pure-hearted local lad who promises her to love her even from beyond the grave. Her father Don Enrique Escudero (Johnny Monteiro) denies permission for them to marry due to the family curse - vampirism, like madness, is borne by blood, and he has unwittingly kept the curse alive by keeping his vampire wife Dona (Mary Walter) locked in the basement. Every night she wakes up in her coffin, her now-animalistic screams pleading for blood. Don Enrique is forced to whip her into submission but can’t let go – the family has become insular to the point of incestuous.
The mother finally escapes from the basement, captured in a beautifully executed shot of the former matriarch, now a savage beast, tinted red in the foreground while her stern-looking portrait looms in the background. Eduardo willingly allows himself to be turned into a vampire by his mother’s loving embrace, and when his father dies in tragic circumstances, he assumes the paternal role of feudal lord. His veins now coursing with evil, he covets both his sister and Daniel’s sister Christina (Rosario del Pilar), to whom he becomes an aristocratic predator, demanding total servitude from his new vampiric bride (“You are my lord, I am your slave,” Christina says most tellingly on her short-lived honeymoon).
Leonore accepts her fate to follow the family curse, yet Daniel won’t allow her and reiterates his oath to protect her, in this life and the life after. The entire film is tinged with sadness and loss, and ends with not just a mob of angry villagers, but an entire Catholic parade, all brandishing torches while praying to gaudy statues of Mama Mary. Filipino gothic was a relatively small and short-lived genre, but de Leon certainly made it his own.
Its predecessor The Blood Drinkers was filmed with very little money in mostly black and white with tinted scenes for dramatic effect. Curse… is filmed in colour and unfortunately loses some of The Blood Drinkers’ aesthetic charms. De
[The Blood Drinkers aired on Schlock Treatment, Channel 31 Brisbane 09/06/07; Curse Of The Vampires aired 07/09/07]