Cave of the Living Dead (1964)
By: CJ on February 6, 2004  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Image (USA). All Regions, NTSC. 1.66:1 (Non-anamorphic). DD 1.0 Mono. 86 minutes
The Movie
Director:Akos Rathonyi
Starring:Adrian Hoven, Karin Field, John Kitzmiller, Carl Mohner and Wolfgang Preiss
Screenplay: Akos Rathonyi and Kurt Roecken
Music: Herbert Jarczyk
Country: West Germany/Yugoslavia
AKA: The Curse of the Green Eyes; Die Grotte der lebenden Toten; Night of the Vampires
Originally conceived in 1964 as a West German/Yugoslav production under the title Der Fluch der Grunen Augen (The Girl with the Green Eyes), the film was subsequently picked up by producer Richard Gordon, dubbed into English and retitled as Cave of the Living Dead. It's a curious little film and one that is well worth your time if you're a fan of Eurocult obscurities.

The film boasts an intriguing premise and follows the fortunes of Inspector Doren of Interpol (Adrian Hoven of Mark of the Devil infamy) who is despatched to a remote rural village to investigate the mysterious deaths of several young girls. What starts out as a routine police enquiry soon becomes something far more sinister. Doren soon finds himself embroiled in devilish supernatural activities and must act to end the evil that is plaguing the village. Not, I might add, without picking up the obligatory love interest along the way.

Shot in black and white, the film simply oozes gothic atmosphere and the story is captivating enough to draw the viewer into the macabre happenings. The film boasts some impressive production values with some magnificent sets and locations. Hoven is outstanding is in his role as Inspector Doren and is ably supported by fine Euro-cast that includes Karin Field, John Kitzmiller, Carl Mohner and Wolfgang Preiss (later to be seen in the war epic A Bridge Too Far). Akos Rathonyi directs with a sure hand and ensures that the viewer is never completely sure where the story is taking them. However, I won't give too much of the story away, as that would spoil the fun.

If Euro-horror is your thing, then you can't go wrong with this DVD. It's nicely presented and framed at 1.66:1 (which looks accurate) with a clear image (with only occasional print damage, which is forgivable considering the age and obscurity of the piece) and crisp audio. Don't let the fact that the film is in black and white put you off, this is a fine film and well worth seeking out. Watch out for the opening and closing theme though, which is completely inappropriate, but amusing. It sounds like a carnival ride outtake!
The transfer is very nice, but does suffer from occasional print damage. However, this is a minor complaint, as it doesn't detract from the viewing experience whatsoever. The contrast is solid throughout and looks just about as good as you would expect of a film of this vintage. The image is crisp and sharp and accurately letterboxed at 1.66:1.
The audio track provided is an English dub presented in DD 1.0 mono. The quality is perfectly acceptable though, with dialogue crisp and clear and it amply captures the atmospherics of the film.
Extra Features
Sadly, this entry in Image's Euroshock Collection is completely devoid of any extras. You don't even get a theatrical trailer. It's a shame really, as it would have been nice to know something of the background of this film. As it stands though, the disc can be picked up cheaply, so it's still worth investing in a copy.
The Verdict
An intriguing Eurocult flick with plenty to recommend it to fans of Euro cinema. The film is extremely well made with enough odd characters and plot turns to make the film an enjoyable experience. There are better examples of Euro cinema, for sure, but this is something of an obscure oddity that may well never see the light of day again, so I'd advise taking the opportunity to get a copy while you can. I mean, how often do you get to see a Yugoslavian horror film?
Movie Score
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