Curse of the Undead is an early mash-up of the horror and the western genres (Weird West). If you are a fan of Jonah Hex, Deadlands, or Sharon Day’s Midnight Arroyo series (link), you will appreciate this 1959 western/vampire weird west movie.
The film has all of the nuts and bolts of a typical western; a damsel in distress, an evil land-grabber, and the straight-arrow good guy. Into this mix, we add the unusual — a vampire played by Michael Pate.
As with many vampire movies, girls are wasting away and perishing from some mysterious ailment. The tale-tell bite marks suggest that something more than mere pestilence may be at work.
After the deaths of her Father and Brother, a grieving Dolores Carter prints posters offering a reward for the man that she believes responsible for the deaths of her family members. Drake Robey/Drago Robles hires on as a professional gunslinger with his own agenda.
Preacher Dan Young (Eric Fleming) tries to help Dolores with her land dispute only to realize that Robey is Robles — a vampire. At this point, it is a battle of wits between the Preacher and the vampire.
I suppose what really stands out is that this vampire was not like the vampires of Universal or Hammer studios. Robles became a vampire because he committed the sin of suicide and not through the bite from another vampire. Robles also differed in that he could travel in the daylight (thank God he didn’t sparkle). Having said that, he did occasionally retreat to a coffin during the day. What was up with that?
Another head-scratcher was the method of Robles demise. Are we to believe that a wooden thorn/cross would survive inside a bullet? Why didn’t Robles have fangs when he certainly left fang-marks? Having said that, the death of Robles was a nice touch.
I thought that Curse of the Undead was a pretty good weird west film, and it is certainly better than the 1966 films Billy the Kid vs. Dracula or Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter. It’s hard to find but worth the effort for the weird west fan.