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King Of The Witches

Fangs (1981) DVD

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Originally titled 'Anyab.'

"A girl and her fiancé are on their way to a party of New Year’s Eve, but their car has an accident, and they find no where to go except a strange castle. They met there with many vampires, led by count Dracula, who instantly fall in love with the girl, wanting her for himself. The two lovers discover that Dracula is in Egypt in many forms and images (doctor, taxi driver, plumber… etc) to suck not the people’s blood but their money, as the typical profiteer of our modern days." - TMDB/IMDB

"This is the first movie by (Mohamad Shebl) whether as a writer or a director. (Shebl)'s dream was making Egyptian horror movies, and from 1981 to 1992, he directed 4 movies, and 12 documentaries, before his death in 1996 while he was just 47-year-old.

The story, which he co-wrote with (Tarrek Sharara) and (Hassn Abd Raboo), is about 2 young lovers; a girl (played by Mounna Gbbr) and her fiancé (played by Ali El-Haggar). Both of them were on their way to a party of the New Year's Eve, but their car had an accident, and they found no where to go except a strange castle. They met there with many vampires led by count Dracula (played by Ahmed Addawya) who instantly fell in love with the girl, wanting her for himself. The 2 lovers discovered that Dracula is in Egypt in so many forms and images (doctor, taxi driver, plumber.. etc) to suck not the people's blood, but their money, as the typical profiteer of our modern days. During some conflict between Dracula and one of his ambitious assistants (played by Tal'tt Zean), the 2 lovers, with Dracula's mutineer servant (played by Haddey Saddekk), managed to open all the windows, let the daylight enter; burning all the vampires, and get free at last.

The movie's goal was easy; a cynical satire, close to caricature, towards Egypt after the 1970s, with all the economic chaos and social upheaval, all in a form of a musical horror. But the script wasn't that good. It abbreviated all what it had to say in that sequence in the movie's middle, so directly and out of the fantasy mood. For example, I still ask: why the rest of Egypt's Draculas weren't invited in the castle?, this way the movie should have been less direct and disintegrated. And why when you want to give a little info about Dracula, spell out the whole thing?! Questions like these!

Aside from the weakness of the script, the budget was too low to be seen, the masks weren't scary, the dance numbers were too poor and too long, the direction was excessively exotic sometimes; while doing plenty of technical mistakes, the pace suffered from strong sense of boredom, and when the movie couldn't impress its viewers rightly, it went to shock them by partial male nudity at one moment, which was dirty, uncalled for, move, and an imitation of the western cinema's worst! So it was somehow a semi-nightmare itself, and the ugly reputation caused by a lot of bad reviews wasn't fake. However, despite these many problems, (Anyab) is, believe it or not, a real exceptional movie in the history of the Arabic cinema. It's the first movie about Dracula, a musical horror with satire, and something which nobody has ever tried to make before or after.

The intention of making a different cinematic taste was on. So you'd have cartoon birds with the live image, a bit of the comic books' style, clever droll soundtracks with the appearances of Dracula's copies in the daily life.. etc. Plus more than one tribute. One for (The Rocky Horror Picture Show - 1975) when we see (Tal'tt Zean) wearing a T-shirt with its poster on it. Another for (Youssef Chahine), the iconic Egyptian director, as one of (Shebl)'s ideals, when we watch a bit of (Chahine)'s (Iskanderija.. Lih?) or (Alexandria.. Why?) (1978). Btw, all of (Shebl)'s documentaries were about (Chahine).

There are good moments: The funny details of the vampires' dinner. Some mockery at (Christopher Lee) by Dracula himself. The narrator, who's out of the story, is furiously having a big discussion with Dracula, who's in the story, about the actual existence of vampires in the contemporary society. The comic sketches about the many "Draculas" who we met daily, and how they torture the helpless us successfully by their unstoppable greed; being the hungry Fangs of the factual life. The happy ending as a dreamy song under the pyramids at dawn. And the shocking last scene, when the narrator tells us that "Good beats evil.. every time" while he takes off his face to see how he was another Dracula all along. This is the most memorable moment of this movie, and its smartest touches ever.

The movie's musical creation was unique, impressive, and so fresh for its time. It's composed by the (El-Emam) brothers, (Mody) and (Hassen), who appear briefly in the end as the maestros. Although the movie's main 3 stars (Ali El-Haggar), (Ahmed Addawya), and (Tal'tt Zean) are mainly singers, and the female lead actress (Mounna Gbbr) is a TV announcer, but they all were above average, and delivered nice acting. Add to them (Haddey Saddekk), a newcomer back then, as the aggrieved hunchbacked servant, and of course the great cinema director (Hassn El-Emam), (Mody) and (Hassen El-Emam) father, as the narrator with his original wit.

Actually great ambition is a very small word to describe this movie. The idea of having a singing Dracula in the Egyptian cinema is quite odd in the early 1980s (and till now!). Therefore (Anyab) or (Fangs), with all of its troubles, is a rare work, very bold experiment, and cinematic adventure more than a movie. It was done by a group of talented young artistes to challenge and change the Egyptian movies at the time. Still ambition is not the only factor to pull it off. However, among all the dreamy movies of the present Egyptian cinema, I extremely miss the insurgent spirit that made such a crazy nightmare!" - Some Very, Very Thorough Dude On IMDB

 

"I shitted on this movie with one of my besties in a discord call. We got some screenshots and screen videos out of it for the meme or just because it was aesthetically pleasing. (Idk why there was a human skull on a baby's body in the mirror tbh) but yeah, we had a good laugh.
+ I think Adaweya should work on a less chunky teeth accessory cause he looks like he's chocking on a handful of gum.
Cool cool" - This Letterboxd User Seems Like A Big Idiot.