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Solid performances, a nice gothic look, and fine direction -- and it's a comedy! Sexy (instead of crass, like Warhol's) and funny story of 2 vampire killers who, this being a farce, can't get the job done. They're total idiots, an older Van-Helsing type and his assistant (played by the director) who has sex on the mind but can't realize his idealized woman (Tait) is a vampire. Should be a joy to all vampire film lovers and even people that are really sick of vampire movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Professor Abronsius (Jack MacGowran) has been ridiculed for his unusual
obsessive research. In snowy Transylvania, he and his dim assistant
Alfred (Roman Polanski) stumble upon a village with vampires. They're
taken with the beautiful bathing Sarah Shagal (Sharon Tate). She gets
bitten and taken. They follow to the castle of Count von Krolock (Ferdy
Mayne) which also has his son Herbert and Koukol, the manservant.
The version I saw does not have the animated opening sequence. It's a quirky vampire movie. It's not big laughs. It's not in the same league as Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein nor is it trying to be. Although MacGowran has that funny Einstein look. It has the style of those old Hammer Films. It's a bit slapstick but not fully spoof. It's not scary either. It is still very interesting in the uniqueness of its artistic comedy horror blend. It's just not scary nor all that funny. Polanski running around the building ending up at the same place next to the vampire is the funniest bit. Overall, it's more cute than big laughs.
... but here he isn't quite there yet.
This vampire spoof never really gets off the ground, despite director Roman Polanski's best efforts. Cute opening credits get the viewer's hopes up for a farce. But the film is a mix of subtle spoof and occasional scares, and they just don't mix well. The film inspires the occasional smile or laugh. I liked the cinematography, the sets, and of course Sharon, but I thought there could have been a lot more jokes written into it. There seemed to be a lack of dialogue overall. The film finally gets moving in the last 40 minutes, and a few scenes attain slapstick comedy heights; most notably the scene in which Ian Quarrier's vampire makes a pass at Roman Polanski's vampire hunter. If the whole film was this funny, it would have been an undisputed classic. Instead, it is just a mild disappointment.
It's recently been on Turner Classic Movies, but until that time I remember seeing it last in the summer of 1976, on TV in the middle of the night, during the summer between finishing high school and starting college. My younger sister and I stayed up to watch it, and I remembered being somewhat bored with it at the time, and after giving it a chance recently, I was still somewhat bored. Back in 1976, I asked my sister, why did we both stay up to watch this? We both had to admit that it was because Sharon Tate was in it, neither of us had ever seen anything she had been in, and ultimately our curiosity was born from the famous Manson murder cases and how she died. I just remember sitting there at age 18, looking at that beautiful young lady and her husband to be, Mr. Polanski, who was to suffer the most tragic of losses, and thinking "someday you'll both be famous, but you don't want to know why".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Roman Polanski directs and stars in this spoof of old-time vampire movies as he plays the assistant of a bat researcher (Jack McGowran) who is intent on discovering vampires in Transylvania. Polanski's character tries to protect the young daughter (Sharon Tate) of an innkeeper from the advances of the local vampire who has been terrorizing the countryside. Ironically, this is the film where Polanski met Tate, who was soon to become his wife, which indirectly led to her being a murder victim herself in the Charles Manson murders. The vampire hunters hunt down the vampire to confront him and save the townspeople, whose number of vampire casual;ties have risen dramatically over the last year. A lot of humorous moments, while also adding some real tension.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Talking to a fellow IMDb'er a few months ago about the upcoming "Horror
Challenge" that was going to take place on IMDb's Horror board,I was
caught by surprise,when the IMDb'er told me that one of their fav
Horror movies was a title directed by Roman Polanski that starred Alfie
Bass.With having greatly enjoyed watching Polanski's 2010 Thriller The
Ghost Writer,and also having a number of good memories of seeing Alfie
Bass in repeats of the British Comedy TV series The Army Game,I felt
that it would be a good time to find out how fearless these vampire
killers really were.
Traveling around Eastern Europe on a search for any vampires that they can kill,Professor Abronsius's loyal assistant Alfred decides that they should stop travelling for the day,and instead spend the night in a Transylvania inn,due to Abronsius having almost turned into a stature,from the freezing weather that they have been facing.Arriving at the inn,Alfred is helped by an innkeeper called Yoine Shagal,in bringing the frozen stiff Abronsiusin in,and getting him warmed up.
Desperate to relax after getting out of their icy predicament, Abronsius and Alfred decide to go for a drink at the inn's pub.Doing their best to mix in with the locals,Abronsius stops all the good will going towards them dead in its tracks,when he ask the locals about why there are ribbons of garlic hanging across the room.
Suspisious about strange events taking place at the inn, Abronsius and Alfred decide to spend an extra day at the inn,which leads to Alfred meeting the innkeeper's beautiful daughter Sarah Shagal.Joining Shagal in her room,Alfred decides to wait in the bedroom,whilst Sarah has a long bath.Relaxing in the bath,Shagal's moment of realisation is ruined,when a vampire bursts through the bathroom's ceiling and kidnaps her.Rushing into the bathroom,Alfred catches a glimpse of the vampire kidnapping Sarah,which leads to Alfred quickly gathering Abronsius and a stake, so that they can go on a fearless hunt for the deadly vampire.
View on the film:
Opening with a cartoon title sequence that blends into Abronsius and Alfred travelling to the inn,co-writer/ (along with Gerard Brach) actor/director Roman Polanski gives his first ever colour film a striking Fantasy atmosphere,with Polanski and cinematography Douglas Slocombe keeping away from taking the movie in a dark,Gothic direction,by instead giving the film a stylish,very animated appearance,with Polanski and Slocombe making each of the filmed on location castles look like they have burst out of a children's Fantasy pop-up book,and also keeping any spilt blood to a bare minimum,so that the movie can instead be splashed with Autumn reds and snowy whites.
Whilst the movie is given a very stylish look by Polanski and Slocombe,the screenplay by Polanski and Gerard Brach sadly dampens the liveliness displayed in the films appearance,by never being completely sure about what direction the movie should take,with Polanski and Brach allowing the film to become extremely animated in a number of delightful scenes,which go from Abronsius and Alfred being very clumsy with their stakes,to an eerie "dawn of the dead" final dance,but sadly stopping the movie from wildly bouncing all over the place.Running for 108 minute,Polanski and Brach fill the running time with overly long,aimless scenes of Abronsius and Alfred looking for vampires,which along with lacking any bite,also lack any sharp punch lines.
Appearing with her future husband for what would tragically be the only time that they would both appear on screen with each other,Sharon Tate gives a wonderfully sensual performance as Sarah Shagal,with Tate superbly showing Sarah go from a firm,but sweet natured girl,into being a woman who has more bite than anyone could expect.Welcoming the vampire hunters to his inn,Alifie Bass gives a great,gruff performance as Yoine Shagal,with Bass subtly revealing at a gradual pace the care that Yoine has for his daughter,which is hidden behind his gruff,exterior image.
Contrasting the elegant performance of his future wife,Roman Polanski gives a pitch-perfect performance as Alfred.with Polanski making sure that Alfred and Abronsius's (played by a fabulous,scene-stealing Jack MacGowran) partnership always has a humble nature about it,as Alfred and Abronsius reveal how fearless they really are.
"The Fearless Vampire Killers" was enjoyable back when I was a kid, and
it is still an enjoyable movie in this day and age. There is just
something timeless about this movie, and it should have a cult
standing. For a movie from 1967, then "The Fearless Vampire Killers"
have really withstood the test of time quite nicely.
The story in the movie is a good mix of comedy with a pinch of horror to it, an homage or semi-spoof on the many vampire movies from back in the day. A professor, who looks a lot of Albert Einstein, and his sidekick are in Transylvania where they are tracking a vampire. A small mountain village has fallen prey to a vampire count that dwell in a nearby castle, and with the villagers starting to disappear and turn into blood-sucking vampires, it is up to the good professor (well mostly his sidekick) to put an end to the evil that plagues the land.
"The Fearless Vampire Killers" is driven by a great story that really progress nicely from start to end, and you are never really left sitting around and feeling bored. The story is spiced up with just the right amount of comedy and slap-stick humor to make it all the more enjoyable.
But also the characters in the movie help to make the movie memorable and enjoyable, as they are lovable, funny, vibrant and full of personality.
If you enjoy vampires of the good old style, and if you aren't already familiar with "The Fearless Vampire Killers", then ask yourself one question; "why not?". This is definitely a vampire movie that anyone with an interest in the elegant and blood-sucking undead should have watched at least once. So far, I have seen it four times, and it never gets dull.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I first saw The Dance Of The Vampires or The Fearless Vampire Killers or Pardon Me But Your Teeth Are In My Neck as it was called in America when I was a young girl many years ago. In fact, it was this movie that gave me my love of horror movies. Roman Polanski and Jack MacGowran are brilliant, but it is Ferdy Mayne and Alfie Bass that both steal the movie. Alfie Bass was hilarious as Yoine Shagal, the innkeeper and of course Ferdy Mayne as excellent as Count von Krolock. The movie opens on a scene where Roman Polanski, Alfred and Jack MacGowran, Professor Abronsius are traveling through the snowy landscape of Transylvania. Almost frozen to death they arrive at an inn owned by Yoine Shagal and his wife Rebecca, Jessie Robins. Their lovely young daughter Sarah, Sharon Tate and their gorgeous maid Magda, Fiona Lewis complete the household. Alfred falls in love with Sarah after accidentally entering the bathing room and sees her in the bath. But their love is doomed after a visit from Koukol, Krolock's servant, Terry Downes. Sarah is kidnapped from her bath by the Count and taken to his castle. Her grief stricken father attempts to get her back but dies. His frozen corpse is found and taken back to the inn. Convinced that there a vampires at the castle, both the Professor and his faithful assistant journey there in order to kill them. And that is where the fun really begins. Roman Polanski's film hit every right note, from the somber landscape to the gloomy castle. von Krolock's civilized yet menacing presence and his son Herbert, Ian Quarrier hilarious portrayal as the Count's homosexual son. The scene between the sweet innocent and rather introverted Alfred and the lustful Herbert are the funniest I have ever seen. The chase scene had me laughing out loud and the dialogue just added to the overall wit of the movie. Yet even though there were some truly funny scenes, the movie itself had some very frightening scenes. The Ball where the undead gathered to feast and the cool menace of von Krolock added to the atmosphere. Also the ending was such an unexpected shocker. The first time I saw it made my stomach drop. This movie did not have the happy ending that you would have expected and that's what made it so memorable. The was Roman Polanski at his finest, the sweet shy and rather bumbling assistant who is way out of his depth, still in love with the lovely Sarah and the incompetent Professor whose every move only serves to make things worse. This is a clever film, funny and quirky but with a dark underlayer that makes it rise above the usual comedy fare. There was no happy ending for any of the characters and there was never meant to be. A classic that has already been adapted to the stage in a brilliant musical. The German not the Broadway version. A must see for any fan of classic cult movies.
I'm not that familiar with Roman Polanski's work. In fact, so far I've
seen very few Polanski's films. This is one of them.
In its favor, the movie has nice-looking locations with forests full of snow, a large castle to take place in, some very good classical music, an imaginative script with a mix of humor and horror.
The combination of humor and horror isn't completely happy. Also, the "vampires" often sound too loud and noisy, which bothered me at times. I also expected the movie to be a little better. Not that it was a bad one. It was okay, but something's missing. Or perhaps it's something it has too much, I don't know. I didn't like the ending, though. I expected a much better ending.
It's great to see Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate in the same film. Interestingly, Polanski also stars as an actor in this film. His performance seemed convincing to me, although he was more of a silent character who talked very little.
Sharon Tate was wonderful as the innocent and sweet Sarah. Even with red hair, she looked so pretty and classy. Too bad her role wasn't bigger.
This film is also known in two alternative titles: 'The Fearless Vampire Killers' and the hilarious 'Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck'.
Dr. Abronsius (Jack MacGowran), vampire researcher, and his assistant,
Alfred (Roman Polanski), travel to Transylvania in search of a vampire.
This is not a typical vampire movie. It is part comedy and part not. The comedic value of this movie is subtle. Do not expect Young Frankenstein. A love story is present as well, but it is touched upon briefly. There is obviously an attraction between Alfred and the innkeeper's daughter, Sarah (Sharon Tate).
Jack MacGowran is perfect as the old twiggy but feisty professor. Sharon Tate is also perfect as the innocent victim/girl that needs to be rescued. She is the eye candy of this movie, although she appears only a few times. She also goes on to marry Roman Polanski and then has an unfortunate encounter with the Mansons, which is still among Hollywood's infamous moments.
This movie definitely puts a different spin on the traditional vampire story. First of all the vampire killers are bumbling fools. The vampires seem to have a communal existence (think Elk Lodge). We see "old" vampires, complete with bad eyes and bad hearing. It is probably the first appearance of a gay vampire along with the first Jewish vampire (Shagal the Innkeeper).
The twist at the end is also interesting. If you can get past the first half hour, you'll be interested enough to see the rest. This is a worthwhile viewing, but its not for everyone.
Recently I reviewed his likewise great psycho thriller "Repulsion" (1965), now I´m paying a lot of praise and honor to this outstanding horror comedy, because without doubt, "The Fearless Vampire Killers" is as legendary as its reputation! It contains a plenty of grotesque situational comedy, sometimes even bizarre humor, enriched with a galore of witty slapstick interludes. Also the cast is pretty excellent: Austrian actor Ferdy Mayne is playing the dignified bloodsucker-gentleman, Ian Quarrier his gay son Herbert. Gorgeous Sharon Stone is the absolute eyecatcher in this film. Unfortunately, this beautiful actress was stabbed by the Manson-family a few years later... Director Roman Polanski is great in the role as clumsy assistant Alfred, but the most memorable part and the most excellent performance is given by Jack McGowran, who´s unbelievable brilliant as dumb vampire slayer and Albert Einstein-lookalike Professor Abronsius. McGowran steals every scene in this film, which also includes a sometimes very romantic, sometimes gothic atmosphere. Unfortunately, I only saw a cut version, but I´m persisting to see the director´s cut one day! One of the treasures of cinema!!
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