BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Curse of the Undead (1959) - Blu-ray Review

  • Movie Review

  • Blu-ray Review

  • Film Details

  • Art

Curse of the Undead (1959)

Hi-yo, Silver . . . . Bullet, away!  

Arriving just in time for our quarantined Halloween is Curse of the Undead, an oft neglected B-grade horror/western about a vampiric gunfighter (played by Michael Pate, Hondo) and the trouble he kicks up when he arrives in a small town and falls for Dolores (Kathleen Crowley, Target Earth), a desperate rancher with murder on her mind.

"doesn’t always gallop when it comes to its pacing, but it does manage to squeeze out some haunting moments"


Co-starring Eric Fleming (Rawhide) as Preacher Dan, this long-winded tale is short on action and long on talk as it seems everyone, including the local sheriff (Edward Binns, 12 Angry Men), has something to say about this small town’s bad luck when it comes to keeping young women alive . . . and doing nothing to prevent it.

Directed by Edward Dein (Shack Out on 101) and co-written by Mildred Dein (Calypso Joe), Curse of the Undead is an interesting and uneven look at an early attempt to mash genres together for B-movie junkies.  It doesn’t always work, but when Pate - who is first seen lurking about in the shadows on a black horse (wearing all black) - finally rides into town to claim a “Gun Wanted” poster and take the bounty for himself, things get really interesting . . . especially when - in what has to be a highlight of the movie - the vampire literally crawls into a coffin containing a male corpse.    

Sexually suggestive while still maintaining a solid grip on a morality tale of right and wrong, this pulpy story of a fanged gunfighter who has been alive for far too long to be natural anymore is not necessarily creepy but it does deliver some curious action bits that sees Drake Robey (Pate) agreeing to shoot “Bad Guy” Buffer (Bruce Gordon) down and leave him in the dust after damming the river that waters Dolores’ farm.  There is also a rousing duel in the dust as Preacher Dan finally shuts up and pulls out his revolver.Curse of the Undead (1959)

But Buffer has done so much more than that to her family.  He killed her brother, Tim (Jimmy Murphy), and - while her own father, Dr. John Carter (John Hoyt, When Worlds Collide) is killed by mysterious circumstances on a dark ride home after another girl bites it - Buffer has the audacity to tear down their farm’s fence allowing for cattle to escape.  She’s fed up and, after one taste of Drake Robey, falls under his spell and agrees to keep him on as a hired hand patrolling the farm . . . at night only.

Low in budget but filled with some striking black-and-white cinematography by Elis W. Carter (The Incredible Shrinking Man) as tumbleweeds AND shadows collide outside of crypts, Curse of the Undead doesn’t always gallop when it comes to its pacing, but it does manage to squeeze out some haunting moments in the kicked-up dust of this small town.  We get haunted full moon nights stretched to their breaking point across a troubled ranch where everything - due to a concern about this God's land - must be cleansed.

Curse of the Undead is now on blu-ray with a brand-new 2K master from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.  Don’t miss your chance to get bitten on a dark night in the Old West.

3/5 beers

Curse of the Undead (1959)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- October 6, 20202
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Vampiric gunfighter Drake Robey (Michael Pate, Hondo) goes West and terrorizes a small town. When the fiend sets his fangs on beautiful rancher Dolores (Kathleen Crowley, Target Earth), it’s up to Preacher Dan (Eric Fleming, TV’s Rawhide) to destroy the gun-slinging bloodsucker with a bullet mounted with a cross. The first film to mix cowboys and vampires, Curse of the Undead features striking black-and-white cinematography by Ellis W. Carter (The Incredible Shrinking Man) and co-stars John Hoyt (When Worlds Collide), Bruce Gordon (Tower of London), Edward Binns (12 Angry Men) and Jay Adler (99 River Street). Directed by Edward Dein (Shack Out on 101) and written by Edward and Mildred Dein (Calypso Joe).

Video:

Kino Lorber presents Curse of the Undead  with a new 2K scanned print in 1080p.  With bold black levels and clear white levels, it is a perfectly balanced picture showcasing an unbalanced world of ranches and graveyards.  There are a couple of focus issues due to the clarity of the print but it should not bother most.  There are no scratches on the print, too, and the film looks better than previous releases.  The film feels fresh – especially 1.85:1 aspect ratio – and offers a depth in some of the scenes that previously felt too enclosed.  

Audio:

The soundtrack – an engaging DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track – is free of hiss and other noise but is not as engaging as one could hope for.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Film Historian Tom Weaver provides an engaging commentary which is new to this release.

Special Features:

It’s fairly light, but the Weaver-helmed commentary is good for the soul.

  • Brand New 2K Master
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Tom Weaver
  • Trailers
  • Image Gallery

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 2/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3/5 stars

Curse of the Undead (1959)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
79 mins
Director
: Edward Dein
Writer:
Edward Dein
Cast:
Eric Fleming, Michael Pate, Kathleen Crowley
Genre
: Drama | Horror | Romance | Thriller | Western
Tagline:
The Mystery Drama of the Old West!
Memorable Movie Quote: "You know I can't figure it, I didn't think Dora would last the night."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
May, 1959
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 6, 2020.
Synopsis: Vampiric gunfighter Drake Robey (Michael Pate, Hondo) goes West and terrorizes a small town. When the fiend sets his fangs on beautiful rancher Dolores (Kathleen Crowley, Target Earth), it’s up to Preacher Dan (Eric Fleming, TV’s Rawhide) to destroy the gun-slinging bloodsucker with a bullet mounted with a cross.

Curse of the Undead (1959)

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home Home Video BADass B-Movies Curse of the Undead (1959) - Blu-ray Review
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Google+
Letterboxd
Find us on Rotten Tomatoes