Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vampire Lovers

THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970) is a fantastic film.

Don't get me wrong, it's a film made in the 70s, so it has 70s pacing and 70s acting, but there's a charm in that. A charm that works so very well with the gothic vampire theme. Ideal for a cold winter night.

Ingrid Pitt the lead in the film - the mysterious Marcilla. But, is she who she says she is? She slips into the homes of families as an invited guest and the beautiful daughters of the homes start dying. Slowly.

Now, there is really nothing to spoil here - it's a vampire story. So, there are vampires. The story itself is classic. Vampire anemia making young girls waste away while strapping young men and noble older men try to find the vampire or vampires and do away with them before the young innocent dies. The Hammer Studios stamp is all over this film. Fantastic, gothic sets with fog and candles all around. Men ride horses through forests while lovely ladies with cleavage abound.   It's lovely.

The film poster above is not for the film I saw. This poster would have you believe there are women ravaging men in chains. "Not for the mentally immature." Hilarious. In truth, this film has more of a lesbian twist. Pitt makes the young, sweet ladies swoon as she drains them of their life essence. And man, it has scenes of smoldering passion, that's for sure. (Again, 1970s style) NETFLIX even has it with a Gay and Lesbian tag.  Whatever it is, it's sexually charged and fun to watch.

The pace will through a few people off, I'm sure. The story itself is sound and moves along like you're reading a novel. However, people with modern day pacing sensibilities will hate this film, I believe, kicking their feet and clawing the arms of their chairs as they wait for a car chase or explosion. Even the "gore" - little as there is - is far more tame than today's films. (I just saw PIRANHA and the first 10 minutes was more gore filled than Vampire Lovers.)

If you need another reason to watch this film, it's Peter Cushing. While he doesn't have a lot of screen time, the time he does occupy is golden as usual. He is serious as ever and his performance is top notch.

 There's another character that I wasn't 100% sure about. If someone knows who he is, please let us know in the comments below! He's a vampire who is in on the charade of Pitt and who seems to be the leader of the vampire house guest plan, yet the story never says who he is or who he could be. I read that this film is part of a Karnstein Vampire Trilogy: VAMPIRE LOVERS, LUST FOR A VAMPIRE and TWINS OF EVIL. I'll have to see if the character reappears in those films. They are on my list.

So, if you're a fan of the fantastic HAMMER HORROR films of the 70s and have somehow missed this film, check it out and play along with the Karnstein Vampire Trilogy! If it's been a while since you've seen the film and remember liking it, revisit it and let us know if you still approve.

And, as always, let us know if you didn't like the film and why and maybe we can have a...dialog?

YouTube has these movies available. While not the best viewing experience, it's great for "instant grat" people like myself.

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