Discover the Horror Podcast: Episode 44 – Classic Mexican Gothics

El Vampiro (1957), The Black Pit of Dr. M (1959), and The Curse of the Crying Woman (1963). Any horror fan worth their weight in blood knows their fair share about the classic monster films from Universal from the 30s and 40s before they died a slow death. But do you know that in the late 50s and early 60s, there was a bunch of classical looking horror films made in Mexico? Looking a lot like their Universal brethren, these Mexican films cranked up the atmosphere (and the fog machines) to 11, using some of the traditional monsters, as well as developing some from their own heritage.

Mexican horror films from this era don’t seem to get the credit and notoriety that they should. We’re hoping to help change that by covering 3 that we think are pretty damn good. So, buckle up, get your pen and notepad ready and get ready to start down a very foggy path into a highly underrated sub-genre.

Films mentioned in this episode:

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Turkey Day 2021

I seem to say this with every Turkey Day report, but it never ceases to amaze me. This was the 19th year I’ve held my little annual marathon, which means next year will be two whole decades since I started this maddening excursion. Even more crazy is the amount of people that are anxious to join me on that quest. Granted, since 2019, we’ve had to hold them online, which has been fun, but I have to admit that it is just not the same. I’m really hoping that by next year, we can get back to the in-person marathons, but we’ll just have to see. I know that is going to disappoint some of the people that have been able to partake in the online version, but maybe that just means you should start your own Turkey Day event!

Nonetheless, my first official Turkey Day was in November of 2003, where I was by myself. That’s dedication for you. But that was the last year going solo since the following year the number started to increase until we were hitting close to 15 or more people before the pandemic started. Going online, I think we hit over 25 joining at some point. In May of 2015, we started holding Turkey Day in May, simply because there were just too many turkeys to only hold this even once a year! So, from 2003 when it all started, this was the 26th Turkey Day Marathon. That . . . is a lot of Turkeys. But it also was a lot of fun as well.

One of the things I posted earlier this month was about what I was thankful for. To have a group of friends, and even some I never have met, join together for these crazy viewing parties is something I am forever grateful for. To those that joined in, even if it was for only one or two films, thank you.

But let’s get the movies!

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Horror History: Abel Salazar

abelsalazarAbel Salazar
Born: Sept. 24th, 1917  Died: Oct. 21st, 1995

In the world of the Mexican horror genre, Salazar was the equivalent to someone like Peter Cushing or Vincent Price. Okay, maybe he didn’t have the same acting chops as Cushing and Price, but he loved these films and not only appearing in quite a few of them, he also was the producer of many of them.

In the late ’50s and ’60s, he appeared in films like El vampiro (aka The Vampire, 1957), El ataúd del Vampiro (aka The Vampire’s Coffin, 1958), Misterios de ultratumba (aka The Black Pit of Dr. M, 1958), and my personal favorite, La maldición de la Llorona (aka The Curse of the Crying Woman, 1963). One of the most famous titles, though usually because it is laughed at, is El barón del terror (aka The Brainiac, 1962), which he starred as the title creature!

While some may consider these films a little silly, especially The Brainiac, most are filled with so much atmosphere and creepy sets, that if you’re a fan of the old Universal classics, I think you’ll love these as well.

Horror History: Germán Robles

roblesGermán Robles
Born March 20th, 1929 – Died Nov. 21st, 2015

Robles became a star after appearing as the Count Duval, in his first feature film, El Vampiro, in 1957. And that was even a last minute decision. Back in the ’50s, producer Abel Salazar was all set to start his new vampire film with another actor already cast as the Count, one that had already an established name. But when he thought back to the Universal pictures, like Dracula and Frankenstein, where both featured a monster played by a relatively unknown name, he decided to follow that same route. So he went to see a play and found Robles on stage and thought he would make a great vampire and hired him on the spot. Robles would go on to play Count Duval in the sequel El ataúd del Vampiro, aka The Vampire’s Coffin, in 1958.

While he would appear in a few other Mexican horror films, like the cult classic The Brainiac (1962) and the Nostradamus series, he continued to work in film and on the stage. But it is because of his performance in these early Mexican horror films, that had such amazing atmosphere and style back then, that he needs to be remembered. While we all know Lugosi and Lee, Robles’ name should be up there as well, since he gives us a splendid performance as the Count. Lucky for us, these movies are both available, so do yourself a favor and seek them out.

Movie Review: Curse of the Crying Woman


The Curse of the Crying Woman (1963)
Directed by Rafael Baledon
Starring Rosita Arenas, Abel Salazar, Rita Macedo, Carlos Lopez Moctezuma, Enrique Lucero, Mario Sevilla

Back in my early days of being a horror fan, I had a friend that asked me if I had seen any of the Mexican horror films from the late ’50s/early ’60s. At the time, not only had I not seen any of them, I wasn’t really even aware of them. When he offered to send me a couple of them, I told him not to, because I really didn’t want to get into yet another sub-genre of the horror genre! Silly me. Of course, this didn’t stop my friend and he sent me a couple of titles anyway. They were The Bloody Vampire aka El vampiro sangriento (1962), and The Curse of the Crying Woman aka La maldición de la Llorona (1963). After watching them, I was hooked. Growing up on the Universal classics, I had always loved the glorious black and white films, where the atmosphere is thick and heavy and I found that same style in these from South of the boarder! Continue reading

Movie Review: El Vampiro


El Vampiro (1957)
Directed by Fernando Méndez
Starring Abel Salazar, Ariadna Welter, Carmen Montejo, José Luis Jiménez, Mercedes Soler, Germán Robles

One of the things that I am always trying to promote here on the Krypt is to Discover the Horror, meaning always seeking out films that might be outside of your vision. Whether its older films or ones made in different parts of the world, you never know when you’re going to come across a great piece of cinema, no matter when and where it was made. And one of the reasons I’m always waving that flag is that I want people to learn from my mistakes. I wasn’t always like that, but would be happier to stay inside my little comfort zone. So many years ago, when I was a younger and dumber horror fan, I resisted any other horror sub-genre. My reasoning back then was that there was already too many of the regular titles that I hadn’t seen, so I didn’t want to add to that ever growing list. Thankfully a friend of mine, went against my wishes and sent me a few tapes with some of the Mexican horror movies from the 50’s, such as The Bloody Vampire and Curse of the Crying Woman. And after watching them, not only was I hooked, but I also started to see the errors of my way. Thanks Monster Mark! With so much great stuff out there, from all different countries, you really don’t want to limit yourself. You will miss a lot. Trust me.

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