Saturday, November 21, 2015

RIP Germán Robles, the Genii of Darkness (1929-2015)

Germán Robles was the very figurehead of Silver Age Mexican horror - and the first actor to portray a vampire with fangs, at least in films widely seen in our part of the world. He made his screen debut as the bloodthirsty Count Lavud in Fernando Mendez' THE VAMPIRE (El Vampiro, 1957 - pictured), a film that remarkably predated Hammer's HORROR OF DRACULA by the better part of an entire year, anticipating some of its moves while also retaining a balance of debt to Tod Browning's DRACULA (1931) with Bela Lugosi. Due in no small part to Robles' authority and stylish performance, the film proved very successful and resulted in a sequel, THE VAMPIRE'S COFFIN (El ataúd del vampiro, 1958). Robles subsequently reteamed with Mendez for a serial that cast him as the undead Nostradamus, which was exported as four individual films. He also appeared in THE BRAINIAC (as a reincarnated victim), CASTLE OF THE MONSTERS, THE LIVING HEAD, NEUTRON VS THE KARATE KILLERS, and numerous teleseries. He was also quite active in the Mexican dubbing industry, having lent his distinctive voice to a number of imported American blockbusters, including Pixar films and pictures in the STAR WARS, TERMINATOR and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchises. In 2007, he was a guest at Monster Bash in Pennsylvania, where he was inducted into the Rondo Awards Hall of Fame for his lifetime achievement. He was 86.