Director: Iain Ross-McNamee
Screenplay: Darren Lake, Iain Ross-McNamee, John Wolskel
Starring: Neil Morrissey, Katie Goldfinch, Florence Cady, Larry Rew,
Running Time: 97 min
BBFC Certificate: 15
Crucible of the Vampire is Iain Ross-McNamee’s gothic chiller brought to us courtesy of Screenbound Entertainment, starring Neil Morrissey (I bought a Vampire Motorcycle), Katie Goldfinch and Florence Cady.
Opening during the English Civil War with a touch of “Witch Finder General” ambiance and leaping to the present day, a dramatic opener is created. We meet young museum curator Isabelle (Katie Goldfinch) as she is sent to determine the authenticity of an ancient artefact, discovered in the base of a stately pile in Shropshire. Isabelle is welcomed into the seemingly friendly manor house by the delightfully creepy Karl (Larry Rew), his wife Evelyn (Babette Barat) and their stunning daughter Scarlet (Florence Cady). However the fragile façade of pleasantness soon begins to falter as Isabelle unluckily discovers the dark secret of the rambling mansion…and wishes she hadn’t.
This is an enjoyable enough departure into a re-animation of the classic British horror film with a hefty lump of Hammer Horror thrown into the cauldron-pot. Crucible of the Vampire has a well-trodden story line with robust acting and stark cinematography, splashed liberally with atmosphere, tension and blood, intertwined with wayward vampires, bubbling cauldrons and some unpleasant death scenes.
If you thought British horror sucks you’re wrong, it’s edging back out of the shadows with Crucible of the Vampire a gothic escapade anchored in 17th century Britain. A necromancer executed for re-animating the dead opens the tale, setting in motion a chain of events which sees Isabelle explore a creepy grange where more than one diabolical secret is uncovered. The opening story-line follows a familiar path as a green employee is dispatched on a mission which is the horror equivalent of being sent to the stores for a long stand. Poor Isabelle stumbles into the wrong place in the wrong century; a spooky old house with weird-as-hell hosts, it’s obvious we are here to celebrate a great British institution and enjoy the opening “Witch Finder General” homage. There’s plenty of violence and some naughty vampire scenes to keep us entertained, some gruesome clubbing to death scenes add to the fun, although I did feel the burning body shots needed a little fine tuning. Powerful performances from Florence Cady and Katie Goldfinch are well supported by the entire cast creating a well-balanced viewing experience.
Crucible of the Vampire has its theatrical release on the 1st of February, followed up by Dual Format (DVD and Blu-ray) and digital release on the 4th February 2019.
The disc I reviewed was nice picture and sound quality; sadly no extras were available for review, so I am unable to comment on any possible extras.