The horror genre has lost another legend, even though most fans probably don’t know who Germán Robles ever was. But in fact, he was one the very first movie vampire to ever bare his fangs on screen! That’s right, folks, right before Hammer’s Horror of Dracula was released, a black and white film from Mexico called El Vampiro came out, which featured Robles as the dreaded Count Duval.
Germán Robles was a stage actor working in the theater when something happened. Actor/producer Abel Salazar was making his newest film, sort of a Mexican version of Dracula, but wasn’t really happy with his first choice for the bloodsucker, Carlos López Moctezuma, who was a well known actor at the time. Salazar realized that, like Universal’s version before, the lead actor needs to be an unknown. So he went to a local theater and saw Robles performing and hired him on the spot.
Robles gave a very memorable performance, with elegance and terror, making a great member of the undead. He appeared as this character again in the 1958 sequel El ataúd del Vampiro (The Vampire’s Coffin), as well as appearing in several other genre titles like El barón del terror (The Brainiac) in 1962, and the Nostradamus series. In his career, he would make over 90 films and close to 600 appearances in soap operas, as well as continue to work on the stage.
He had recently been hospitalized over the last 12 days, suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), before passing away yesterday at the age of 86.
Because of Robles performance as the bloodthirsty count, he helped my introduction into Mexican horror films of the 50s and 60s, and helped it take hold. If it is one path you haven’t traveled down yet, I would suggest you do it now.
Ido pero nunca olvidado. Descansa en paz.