Second in the Nostradamus tetralogy
By Mark Voger, author
‘Britmania: The British Invasion of the Sixties in Pop Culture’
Round 2 in the Nostradamus series introduces a quirky, charismatic character that is unique to the vampire movie. He is descended from a long line — 500 years’ worth — of fearless vampire killers. Not only that, he and his ancestors have, themselves, acquired special powers in the course of their toils. So this character is kind of like the great, great, great, great grandson of Abraham Van Helsing, with a few supernatural enhancements. He gives “The Monsters Demolisher” its title.
The film opens as two annoying boys in Dead End Kid caps go where they don’t belong, as annoying boys are wont to do. They scurry through the shallow catacombs where we last saw the vampire Nostradamus (Germán Robles) and assumed he had perished. That is, those of us who aren’t savvy monster movie fans assumed so.
Nostradamus’ trusty slave Leo (Manuel Vergara) chases the boys. In their haste, the lads stumble upon a hand buried in dirt. When the hand begins to move, they split but quick.
The police doubt the urchins’ story, but Professor Durán (Domingo Soler) and his secretary Anthony (Julio Alemán) know full well what it means: Nostradamus is alive!
The vampire — who is the son of the original Nostradamus — has vowed to kill 13 people unless or until Durán “revindicates” the memory of his father. But Nostradamus has an odd compulsion to provide clues to the identity of his victims, when he doesn’t identify them outright.
The next to die, he predicts, will be a man named Peter Madison. Durán and Anthony visit Madison’s wife (Magda Monzón), who informs them that her husband died two years ago. Relieved, the men leave the widow’s home without realizing that the dead man’s young son (Rogelio Jiménez) is likewise named … Peter Madison.
Not exactly a twist worthy of Conan Doyle, but it’s something.
Leo kidnaps the boy and smuggles him to the catacombs, where Nostradamus poses as a friendly, non-threatening, nothing-to-see-here kinda guy. Wearing a nightshirt and holding hands with Nostradamus, the boy asks timidly: “Mister, are you a friend of the professor’s?”
“Yes,” Nostradamus replies cooly. “Let’s just say that he and I have much in common.”
After Professor Durán and Anthony follow Leo into the catacombs, Anthony shoots the vampire’s slave in the shoulder, and he flees. They find the unharmed boy, who shows them the coffin in which Nostradamus sleeps. The men attempt to open the heavy stone coffin, which doesn’t budge. Nostradamus then taunts the men, laughing as he disappears and reappears in various places, narrowly dodging Anthony’s bullets. This is one vampire who knows how to goof on mortals.
On the trail of Nostradamus’ next victim, a man named Bobby, Durán and Anthony visit a dive bar that resembles a Limehouse drinking hole from, speak of the devil, Conan Doyle. There, an unsavory character called One Eye — any guess how he got his nickname? – wrangles $200 out of the men for a bit of intel. Bobby is in prison, One Eye reveals, where he is sentenced to be hung the next morning for two murders.
A couple of weirdo medical students want Bobby’s brain — post execution, of course — for an experiment. After their request is denied, they bribe a crooked morgue attendant, who boasts: “His corpse is fresher than a head of lettuce.”
An authentic scare comes when the corpse reanimates and strangles the attendant. The medical students return at the appointed time, finding the attendant’s dead body beneath the sheet where Bobby should be. Bobby kills one of the students; the surviving student goes insane.
That cool new character then materializes, a gentleman named Igor (Jack Taylor) who has somehow learned about Durán and Anthony’s mission to destroy Nostradamus. Igor has an intense gaze, mutton-chop sideburns, and carries a cane topped with an icon carved in ivory. He proposes to join forces with Durán and Anthony. But this Igor is a bit hard to read. Can he be trusted? The professor notes that he might be an envoy of Nostradamus.
Still, Anthony buys Igor’s story that he is the last living descendant of Count Crudic, who was the first mortal to exterminate a vampire. This occurred in the Balkans in the 13th century. Igor claims to have inherited a useful power from his vampire-killing ancestors: invulnerability to vampire attacks.
Igor invites the men to his home, which looks like a church with its stained-glass windows, high archways and lit candles. He says of Nostradamus: “Now there is only one left. The last one. The most dangerous of them all.”
Durán, Anthony and Igor enter the crypt, where Igor kills Bobby with his cane. Elsewhere, as Bobby perishes, Nostradamus falls to his (supposed) death. It’s another unconvincing monster killing, but a vaguely OK place to end the movie.
‘THE MONSTERS DEMOLISHER’
Germán Robles as Nosradamus; Domingo Soler as Professor Durán; Julio Alemán as Anthony; and Jack Taylor as Igor
Written by Federico Curiel, Alfredo Ruanova and Carlos Enrique Taboada
Music by Jorge Pérez | Cinematography by Fernando Colín
Produced by Víctor Parra and Alfonso Rosas Priego | Directed by Curiel
More on the Nostradamus tetralogy
The full movie is above. Feel free to click through the ’80s “horror host” stuff.
P.S.: Jack Taylor was born, not in Mexico, but in Oregon. He’s now 85, and according to IMDB, he still has a movie coming out. Above is a played-for-laughs scene of Taylor as a sleazy priest trying to get with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the title warrior in “Conan the Barbarian” (1982).