La Maldicion de Nostradamus (1962)

Nostradamus is not the fortune-telling mystic that scared you so badly in 1981’s The Man Who Saw Tomorrow. No, he’s an aristocratic vampire played by German Robles, who also played Count Karol de Lavud in the two El Vampiro films.

This was originally a 12 part serial that has been broken down into 4 films by American producer K. Gordon Murray: this one, known as Curse Of Nostradamus in English, plus The Monster Demolisher, The Genie Of Darkness and Blood Of Nostradamus.

Murray’s nickname was Kagey and he led a pretty amazing life. The son of an Irish-American funeral home director, he grew up in Bloomington, Illinois, which is right next to the town of Normal. That’s where many of the carnie folk spent the off-season and Murray grew up around them. Instead of going into the family business, the teenager started a “corn game”, which is sort of what we’d call bingo today, in one of his father’s cemetery tents. Imagine — people were so starved for entertainment that they’d go play games of chance surrounded by the dead.

Regardless, that game got him on the road with the World Wonder Shows Carnival. After becoming the manager, Murray used his circus and carnie contacts to help cast the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz. While he was doing that, he was also getting rich from a series of not-so-legal slot machines all over the Midwest.

After a move to Hollywood, Cecil B. DeMille hired him to help promote The Greatest Show on Earth. This led to a career in film, which of course brought him into the orbit of Kroger Babb, where he learned to take movies and make them more emotional. He did that with redubs of Mexican films, as well as becoming the King of the Kiddie Matinee.

We’ve discussed at length how Murray brought the brain-melting opus that is Rene Cardonna’s Santa Claus to America, a movie that seasonally played in theaters for thirty years. In all, he’d release sixty movies in fifteen years. The only thing that stopped him was the IRS, who seized his beloved films to get some back taxes, and the heart attack that the stress of the court battles caused.

Notable Murray imports include The Robot vs. the Aztec MummyThe Brainiac (El Baron del Terror), The Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy (Las Luchadoras contra la Momia Azteca), Shanty Tramp (which he also wrote), The Swamp Of The Lost Monsters (El Pantano de las Animas) and Curse of the Doll People (Munecos Infernales), The Living Coffin (El Grito de la Muerte) and a series of Little Red Riding Hood movies where he played Stinky the Skunk (even dressing as the character when the films played live). He would also bring El Santo to America, re-releasing Santo Contra Las Mujeres Vampiros as Samson vs. the Vampire Women and Santo en el Museo de Cera as Samson In the Wax Museum.

Anyways, let’s get to this movie, which starts with a professor who has been re-elected to lead a society dedicated to the destruction of superstition, all so he can prove that werewolves and vampires aren’t real. However, he’s soon visited by a 400-year-old vampire, the son of Nostradamus the Alchemist.

He wants to begin his father’s cult again and to do so, he’s killing thirteen of his greatest enemies. Like some Medico Phibes, he’s writing to each of them — who says the art of letter writing and politeness is dead? — starting with burying a man alive. The professor replies to this by shooting Nostradamus Jr. six times center mass and the vampire laughs and flies away as a bat.

Still, the professor refuses to let the world know that vampires are real,, other than telling Antonio, his daughter’s fiancee. Nostradamus, besides having a wonderful top hat and reminding me of Coffin Joe, has a hunchback assistant, which is how you know you’ve made it in the supermonster business.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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