Crypt of the Living Dead – Hannah Queen of the Vampires (1973)

Crypt of the Living Dead (1973

Crypt of the Living Dead (1973)

If you’re looking for a perfect example of strange B-movie 1970’s horror cinema to heckle on a Friday night with friends, check out Crypt of the Living Dead (1973) starring Andrew Pine, Mark Damon, and Patty Shepherd. It’s most definitely low-grade horror, and if you’re trying to work yourself up to watch big league horror, it’s not a terrible place to start. You may also find it titled Hannah, Queen of the Vampires. While it was originally filmed in color, the version that I saw was in black and white.

The story begins with the death of an archaeologist crushed under a tomb inscribed Hannah, 1269 on a remote Island. When son Chris (Andrew Pine) arrives to investigate his father’s mysterious death, he is met by an associate of his father’s, Peter (Mark Damon) and Peter’s school teacher sister, Mary (Patty Shepherd). Chris investigates the tomb that is the supposed resting place of Louis VII of France’s bride Hannah who shipwrecked on the island in 1269.

Opening the Crypt of a supposed Vampire. What could possibly go wrong?

Opening the Crypt of a supposed Vampire. What could possibly go wrong?

Chris is determined to raise the tomb up to retrieve his father’s remains despite the protests of the locals that the tomb contains a vampire. Predictably, when they raise the lid of the sarcophagus, they find Hannah’s perfectly preserved body. Also predictably, by opening the tomb, they release the vampire who proceeds to wreak havoc on the island. As the plot develops, we learn that the island was once called Vampire Island and the archaeologist’s death may not have been an accident after all, but a grand plot to release Hannah from her tomb.

This is what some lovingly call trash horror. The acting isn’t anything truly spectacular and it’s definitely suited for even the most beginner of horror film viewers. There are a couple of twists that do add some interest to the movie, particularly in the form of the very slowly revealed mental illness that one of the characters suffers from. A careful viewer will spot and unravel most of the plot within the first 15 minutes of the film. It’s pretty typical of ‘70s B-movie horror that almost tries too hard.

Free to transform into some kind of a wolf and roam the night.

Free to transform into some kind of a wolf and roam the night.

There are some significant plot holes that are blatant and without much explanation. For instance Hannah can evaporate into a mist and turn into what’s supposed to be a werewolf but looks like a normal wolf. They briefly mention werewolves, but give no explanation how a vampire can transform into a werewolf. There is also a strange wild man character that is never explained at all but who seems to randomly appear to scare people.

To be honest, had I not been closed captioning the film for work, I don’t know that it’s one I would have ever chosen to watch on my own. But? I’m glad that I did. It falls somewhere been fantastically terrible and completely cheesy. It is a bit slow, but I also did enjoy it. This is one of those movies that if you’re going to watch? Grab some popcorn, drinks and a group of friends to give it the old MST3K treatment. This is absolutely a film that deserves it.

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About Nightshade Nash

A multi-medium artist, Nash is as at home with her glue gun and sewing machines as she is communing with the dead. As an avid wanderer, she enjoys seeking out the lost and forgotten in the dark corners of the world in her travels. In her off time she can be found honing her riding and shooting skills because when the zombies come? She’s going to be ready. With a shotgun and a horse.