I was not sure if I could write effectively about Atomic Age Vampire (1961),but when I realized the title made it a perfect candidate for Non-Sequitur Thursday, I thought I would give it a try.
Spoiler Alert! I’ve probably already spoiled it for some people by giving away the lack of truth in advertising. Then again, you might like to be forewarned about that. At least I’m not going to give away the ending, because I don’t exactly remember it.
The movie is one of our “50 Horror Classics,” the DVD set I purchased for a very moderate amount, considering how much entertainment we’ve derived from it. I had a craving for some Halloween cheese, and this movie fit the bill nicely.
The movie opens cheesily enough in a strip club. To add to the ambiance, it is rather obviously dubbed. A sailor (I think) is about to go on deployment (I guess) and is breaking up with his beautiful blond girlfriend because she would not quit her sleazy job. I must confess to some feminist indignation on Blondie’s behalf. Sailor Boy must have know she had a career when he started dating her.
And isn’t that typical of either gender? They fall in love with somebody and the first thing they want to do is change them. It gives me that little frisson on virtue, because I love my husband just the way he is. But I digress.
I may digress further in a bit, because this is also another one of those movies that centers around a mad scientist using nefarious means to restore and maintain a woman’s beauty. What does this say about our superficial society? In mad scientist’s defense, other than restoring her beauty (which, to be fair, she wants too), he does not desire to change Blondie but loves her (albeit in an obsessive, mad scientist kind of way) just the way she is.
Ah, I see I’ve left out the part where she loses her beauty. In her grief over Sailor Boy’s defection, Blondie crashes her car. That she survives at all is quite the miracle, but the only thing to sustain much damage seems to be her face. Really, shouldn’t she at least have been in a wheelchair? Maybe one arm in a sling? But no, just her face all bandaged up like the Invisible Man. Go figure.
Mad Scientist naturally has a female assistant who is in love with him and will do his bidding. And, just as naturally, he is just not that into her (I love that expression). Personally, I thought she was pretty good-looking, but I suppose she lacked Blondie’s glamorous appeal. I mean, once Blondie gets her face back. Maybe it was all about the bodies, which, I confess, I did not particularly notice.
Anyways, Lovelorn Assistant convinces Blondie that Mad Scientist can help her. Do I need to tell you that restoring Blondie’s beauty requires the murders of numerous other young, nubile females? Lovelorn Assistant does most of the killing. Oh, these people who will do anything for love!
Now that I think about it, they could have done a lot more with the two adjoining love triangles: Mad Scientist/Assistant/Blondie and Blondie/Sailor Boy/Scientist. But then I suppose that would have left less time for nefarious scientific doings.
I bet some of you have noticed that I have not yet mentioned any vampire, let alone an atomic age one. That’s because I didn’t see any. I suppose one could make the argument that the killing of young ladies to feed Blondie’s beauty is vampiric activity. And there may have been some atomic stuff in the laboratory that I failed to notice. The killing of young ladies is, of course, a time-honored mad scientist technique, not an atomic age innovation. I am inclined to believe that they just slapped on a title that they thought would get people to watch the damned movie. After all, it worked on me.