El Ata˙d del Vampiro

A measure of this film’s success is the ability with which it has underplayed its hand, utterly befooling latter-day critics. The inspiration is doubtless Roma, cittÓ aperta for the discreetly effeminate Count, who turns into a bat and is speared to a wall.

This is the main insight, to which the film is geared. Around it is a constant, suspenseful ambience of dry, deadpan humor, the wax museum is a suite of dummies, the horrors have a lethal bite but can scarcely be taken at face value.

Nevertheless, a certain arduous zeal drags the coffin up and tests its occupant with a mirror. Really a masterpiece of drollery, quicksilver wit and satire, quietly done as part of the excellent little joke it tells at humorous length.