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The Countess is called away to tend a sick friend and imposes on the General to accept her daughter Marcilla as a houseguest. Some of the villagers begin dying, however, and the General's daughter Laura soon gets weak and pale, but Marcilla is there to comfort her. The villagers begin whispering about vampires as Marcilla finds another family on which to impose herself. The pattern repeats as Emma gets ill, but the General cannot rest, and seeks the advice of Baron Hartog, who once dealt a decisive blow against a family of vampires. Well, almost. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Similar to all the other Hammer horrors, except that it has some surprising elements of eroticism.
Hammer studios, having more-or-less exhausted the Dracula franchise by 1970, decided to freshen up their tales of vampirism by bringing in a lesbian angle. The result was The Vampire Lovers, a decent horror flick taken from Sheridan Le Fanu's story "Carmilla". The film breaks no new ground in terms of horror, but in terms of eroticism it probably raised a few eyebrows back in 1970, with its frequent nudity and explicit lesbianism. There's more to it than just the erotic stuff though - Ingrid Pitt and Peter Cushing are in commanding form; Tudor Gates's screenplay is pretty good; and there are some gruesome moments - including several decapitations - to satisfy gore-hounds.
Elusive vampiress Carmilla (also known as Mircalla and Marcilla - and played by the luscious Ingrid Pitt) escapes death at the hands of an Austrian vampire hunter. Carmilla fakes an accident to win the sympathy of the Morton family - nearby aristocrats - and soon she has been taken into their noble household. One thing to which Carmilla is quite partial is the blood of female victims, and pretty soon she has befriended Emma Morton (Madeline Smith), whom she hopes to entice into a lesbian love affair before vampirising her. However, Emma's father Roger (George Cole) and his friend Von Spielsdorf (Peter Cushing) realize that something isn't quite right and eventually uncover Carmilla's sinister secret.
The film is handsomely photographed and nicely directed by Hammer veteran Roy Ward Baker. There's not much here to distinguish this one from all the other Hammer horrors, other than the stronger-than-usual sexuality. However, fans of the Hammer style films will not mind that, as the "sameness" of the studio's films quite often adds to their charm. I can't really bring myself to recommend this film whole-heartedly. Let's just say that if you like Hammer's period horror films - or if you're a fan of Pitt or Cushing - you'll find plenty to enjoy here.
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