Deathmaster – or The Deathmaster on promo material – is a 1972 American vampire horror film directed by former actor Ray Danton (Hannah, Queen of the Vampires; Psychic Killer; Tales of the Unexpected) from a screenplay by R.L. Grove. It stars Robert Quarry (Count Yorga, Vampire; Dr. Phibes Rises Again; Sugar Hill), Bill Ewing, Brenda Dickson, John Fiedler (Mystery in Dracula’s Castle; Bad Ronald; Kolchak: The Night Stalker), Bobby Pickett, Betty Anne Rees, William Jordan (Blue Demon y Zovek en La invasión de los muertos), LaSesne Hilton.
A vampire’s coffin washes up on the Californian coastline and the incumbent (Quarry) masquerades as a mystic in order to control a group of hippies…
“Quarry is not well supported by the cast and crew of Deathmaster, but together they do manage to catch a fragment of an anxious zeitgeist. Although it was certainly designed for the drive-in and grindhouse crowd, it comes across as a film more about youth than for them. Understood that way,Deathmaster can still be appreciated for what it tries to express and, to a limited extent, succeeds in expressing.” Mondo 70: A Wild World of Cinema
“Packed with an array of “everything but the kitchen sink” thrills, The Deathmaster is a perfect drive-in movie, displaying all the characteristics of what made these AIP films so appealing. Quarry is great as usual, and the film works as a nice companion to the Yorga flicks.” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In
“Counterculture hippies and vampires? Some of y’all might be rolling your eyes at the thought — especially those who didn’t grow up during that time — but it certainly works better here than say, hippies and Star Trek. (Yea, brother!) Positing the Master Vampire as a sort of Charles Manson-like guru figure is an interesting twist, one blending a literary horror of the 19th Century (Count Dracula) with an all-too literal horror of the 20th (the Tate-LaBianca Murders and the madness at Spahn Ranch).” Brian Lindsey, Eccentric Cinema
“I counted seven chases down the same length of subterranean cavern. It is not a very long length but what they do is photograph a guy running down it one way, and then cut to the other end of the same passage and have him run back. That way, it looks twice as long as it is, which is how the movie feels. Everybody gets turned into a vampire except the hero, who is stuck with his crummy lifetime of petty passions.” Roger Ebert, RogerEbert.com
“Expect plenty of vocal participation from the stalls.” Screen International, 1972
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