Film (1967; vt Manutara). Homeric Films Ltd/Ihod Productions Ltd/The Film Finance Company Ltd. Produced by Lawrence Huntington. Executive producer Jack O Lamont. Directed by Huntington. Written by Huntington. Cast includes Diane Claire, Broderick Crawford, Robert Hutton, Gordon Sterne and Akim Tamiroff. 91 minutes. Colour/black and white (see below).
US atomic researcher Eric Lutens (Hutton) and his wife Trudy (Clare) are in Cornwall for a vacation and a visit to Trudy's uncles, Brian Stroud (Crawford) and his brother Edward (Sterne). Strange events follow, with a local schoolteacher frightened so badly one night that her hair turns white. Eric learns that she saw something large and terrifying flying out of a local burial ground, where he discovers an open grave and a seventeenth-century gold coin. This leads him to the local legend of Francis Real, supposedly buried alive in the late seventeenth century (along with his gold treasure and a vulture-like bird he kept as a pet) for practising witchcraft. Real had sworn vengeance on the descendants of his oppressors; Trudy is one such descendant. Livestock begins to disappear, mostly sheep, as though carried off into the air. Local Scientist Professor Koniglich (Tamiroff) conveys to Eric that he takes the legend seriously and believes he too may be a descendant of Real. Soon Brian Stroud is carried away into the sky and killed by something unseen except for its huge bird claws; so is his brother Edward.
Deciding with somewhat shaky logic that somebody has created a Monster to avenge Real, Eric learns that Koniglich had his own electrical generators installed some while ago. Concerned that Trudy will be next, he investigates and finds a nuclear-powered laboratory in Koniglich's basement, along with a casket of old gold coins. It proves that the Professor has developed a crude version of Matter Transmission which he used to get into the grave to obtain the treasure supposedly buried with Real; his DNA became mixed with that in the vulture's bones, resulting in a permanent mutation (see Mutants) leaving Koniglich human only from the neck up. He abducts Trudy, and makes for the nearby cliffs to kill her, but Eric arrives in time to shoot him to death; the creature falls over the cliffs. Eric and Trudy decide not to reveal the actual facts of the affair, and presumably dispose of the mutated Professor's body themselves.
This minor film is of some interest for its take on Matter Transmission and its hazards, echoing the original The Fly (1958). The Vulture was originally shot in colour but released only in black and white. It has since been restored to colour in most prints. [GFi]
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