AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Grave of the Vampire
Director: John Hayes (Dir)
Release Date:   1972
Premiere Information:   New England opening: 23 Aug 1972
Production Date:   7 Feb--mid-Mar 1972 in Los Angeles
Duration (in mins):   95
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Cast:   William Smith (James Eastman)  
    Michael Pataki (Caleb Croft, also known as Charles Croydon and Professor Adrian Lockwood)  
    Lyn Peters (Anne Arthur)  
    Diane Holden (Anita Jacoby)  
    Lieux Dressler (Olga)  
    Eric Mason (Lt. Panzer)  
    Jay Adler (Old Zack)  
    Jay Scott    
    William Guhl    
    Margaret Fairchild    
    Carmen Argenziano    
    Frank Whiteman    
    Abbi Henderson (Carol Moskowitz)  
    Inga Neilsen    
    Lindus Guinness (Cook)  
  and Kitty Vallacher (The unwilling mother [Leslie Hollander])  

Summary: In 1940, college student Paul proposes to his girl friend, Leslie Hollander, in the cemetery where they first kissed. At the same time, vampire Caleb Croft emerges from his crypt, and just as Paul and Leslie begin to kiss, Croft attacks, draining Paul of blood and raping Leslie. Lt. Panzer investigates the crime, and learns that Croft’s crypt is empty and that Old Zack, a drunken vagrant, saw a man run from the scene. Panzer visits a dazed Leslie in the hospital and, upon noting her horrified reaction to a photograph of Croft, deduces that a vampire is at large. Panzer’s partner, Sgt. Duffy, warns him that it will ruin his career to name Croft, who was supposedly killed years earlier by police pursuing him for multiple rapes, as the perpetrator. Meanwhile, Croft is hiding in a housewife’s basement, and soon lures her downstairs in order to kill her. Days later, Leslie is leaving the hospital with her protective roommate, Olga, when Dr. Ford informs her that she is pregnant. Although he warns her that the baby is not normal and urges her to abort it, Leslie, now paranoid and delusional, insists it is Paul’s child. The same night, Panzer is investigating Croft’s crypt when the vampire slams the heavy stone lid on his head and then drinks his blood. Months later, Leslie gives birth to a baby boy who is healthy, despite his curious gray color. The baby refuses her milk and seems certain to die, until she accidentally cuts her finger and notes him eagerly drinking her blood. Soon she is drawing her own blood and feeding it to him in a bottle. Thirty years later, the son, James Eastman, buries his mother and hunts his father, whom he blames for his own and Leslie’s suffering. Knowing that Croft preys on college students, James travels from college to college. In an adult education class on folk mythology, James meets the assertive Anita Jacoby, her demure roommate Anne Arthur, and their teacher, Croft, who now calls himself Professor Adrian Lockwood. During the first class, James draws Croft’s attention by disclosing that he is studying Charles Croydon, a 17th century English nobleman thought to be a vampire. After class, Anne thanks Croft for his passion, and he discomforts her by caressing her cheek and remarking on her resemblance to his late wife, Sarah. Later, at the library, Croft is infuriated by the flirtatious librarian, whom he then kills. Anita invites James to a party at her apartment, which is downstairs from his, but despite her attempts to seduce him with both her dancing and her knowledge of Croydon, James remains uninterested. When Anne returns to the apartment, Anita urges her to cook James dinner at his apartment, and after they leave, considers what Anne has told her about the professor referring to his wife. Realizing that Croydon’s wife was named Sarah, Anita deduces that Croydon, Croft and Lockwood are the same man. While Anne and James find themselves mutually attracted and fall into bed passionately, Croft visits Anne but finds only Anita home. Anita reveals what she knows of Croft’s identity, then demands that he make her a vampire so she can be his eternal bride. When he counters that the relationship would become stale over an eternity, she threatens to expose him, prompting him to slit her throat. Later, Anne leaves James, and returns home, undressing to shower. In the bathroom, as she finds Anita’s body, Croft attacks her, hiding his face. Her screams summon James, who rescues her, although Croft escapes unseen. The next night, James and Anne attend a séance at Croft’s lavish home, along with four other students. Croft leads them in a meditation, during which he senses that one of them is resistant. Calling to Sarah, he instructs his wife to possess Anne so they can once again be together. It is Anita’s voice, however, that soon emanates from Anne’s lips, declaring that she, too, has been summoned. Croft, realizing that James has brought Anita’s spirit, commands Anne to cast her out, and Anne struggles to do so, then passes out. As James carries Anne upstairs, Croft attacks and kills the other students. Hearing the shouts, James runs downstairs and fights Croft viciously. At one point, Croft overcomes James and goes after Anne, but James once again rescues her and admits to Croft that he is the vampire’s son, vowing to destroy him. After a prolonged battle, James drives a stake through his father’s heart, but as soon as Croft dies, James contorts in pain. As Anne watches in horror, James grows fangs and turns on her. 

Production Company: Clover Films  
  Millenium Productions  
Production Text: A Millenium Production
Distribution Company: Entertainment Pyramid Corp.  
Director: John Hayes (Dir)
  Jerome Guardino (Asst dir)
Producer: Daniel Cady (Prod)
Writer: David Chase (Scr)
  John Hayes (Scr trmt)
Photography: Paul Hipp (Cine)
  Elliot Marks (Still photog)
  Ron Johnson (Asst cam)
  Ray Atkinson (Gaffer)
  Mike Petrich (Grip)
  Ron Evans (Grip)
  George Engleson (Grip)
Art Direction: Earl Marshall (Art dir)
  Lee Fisher (Art dir)
Film Editor: John Hayes (Film ed)
  Ron Johnson (Film ed)
Costumes: Logan Costume (Ward)
Music: Jaime Mendoza-Nava (Mus comp)
Sound: Henning Schellerup (Sd rec)
  Jack Cheap (Sd eff ed)
  Jack May (Sd eff ed)
Special Effects: Earl Marshall (Screen titles by)
  Cliff Wingren (Spec eff)
Make Up: Tino Zacchia (Makeup)
Production Misc: Cinechrome (Laboratory)
  Tony Vorno (Prod mgr)
Stand In: Joe Pronto (Stunt coord)
MPAA Rating: PG
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs:
Source Text:

Physical Properties: Sd:
  col: Eastmancolor

 
Genre: Horror
 
Subjects (Major): Fathers and sons
  Murder
  Rape
  Revenge
  Vampires
 
Subjects (Minor): Aliases
  Cemeteries
  Childbirth
  Colleges
  Crypts
  Mothers and sons
  Police detectives
  Pregnancy
  Professors
  Romance
  Séances
  Spirit possession

Note: The film ends with the written words “Fin. Ou peut être pas?...” The French phrase translates as “The End. Or perhaps not?” Although news items throughout 1972, the year of the film's production, list Clover Films as the production company, Clover is not credited onscreen. Pre-production news item sometimes refer to the film as Grave of a Vampire . Although the Box review lists the film's rating as R, it was awarded a PG rating by the MPAA.
       Grave of the Vampire was shot on location in Los Angeles, as noted in HR production charts. Although a Mar 1972 DV news item stated that Trisha Wells and Alphonse Vitale had been cast, their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Modern sources list the film alternately as a 1973 or 1974 release, but a 10 Aug 1972 HR news item stated that the film was scheduled for a 23 Aug 1972 opening in eighty-five situations throughout New England.
       David Chase, making his screenwriting debut with Grave of the Vampire , went on to become a renowned, award-winning writer and producer, best known for such television series as The Rockford Files and The Sopranos . Although some modern sources state that Chase based his script for Grave of the Vampire on a novel he had written entitled The Still Life , no corroborating information has been found. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   1 Oct 1973   p. 4627.
Daily Variety   7 Mar 1972.   
Daily Variety   16 Aug 1974.   
Hollywood Reporter   4 Feb 1972.   
Hollywood Reporter   18 Feb 1972   p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Mar 1972   p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Aug 1972.   

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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