Sexy but significantly slow and muddled Italian Gothic affair
Though this one seems mostly hated, I didn't have too bad a time and think it has some solid pluses, while not very good overall. The most notable issue is probably the title. Not just a misnomer but a really striking one, it is as if a cool sounding name were picked at random for the film without any actual reference to the film itself. There is no bloodsucking going on here, nor vampirism, not even in a symbolic sense and I don't recall any dancing, though this could be considered present in the plotting in a non-literal sense. The film concerns the lovely ladies of a theatre troupe in early 20th century Ireland who are invited, along with their oddball male assistant to the remote castle of a mysterious count who has become infatuated with one of them. Then follows a good deal of sex, both straight and lesbian and topless scenes from all the females of the cast (as far as I remember). Eventually the film remembers that it is supposed to be some kind of horror or mystery and throws in a spot of killing, before pretty much just giving up and having everything explained at the end without any investigation. The big draws here then are then are the women. Krista Nell, Patrizia Webley, Marzia Damon, Lidia Olizzi (with scenes reminiscent of the somewhat classier lesbian tryst in Sergio Martino's giallo gem Torso) and best of all, well from my point of view, fiery haired stunner Femi Benussi. Its fortunate the females have such a potent presence, the film is mostly about sex and the pursuit of sex, with women very much the dominant players, only on the back foot through moments of skullduggery from the men in the film. Veteran Giacomo Rossi-Stuart has a certain dignified air and quiet authority as the count, while Leo Valeriano is odd as weakling servant Samuel. Also in the cast towards the end is Luigi Batzella, better known for directing Nazisploitation sickie The Beast In Heat, though he doesn't make much impression. The film suffers most from being poorly constructed. The elements were there for a good thriller but the script from director Alfredo Rizzo organises events so that the film is more of an erotic drama for much of its length, it seems to forget to be a thriller, then crams all its thriller elements so quickly that there is little actual excitement. The rushed climatic explanation is particularly frustrating, because the plot as revealed is actually pretty interesting, but since there has been no significant foreshadowing or build up of suspense it all comes rather rout of the blue. A shame, but its not too painful. The film looks nice throughout, good eye for color and a flair to the sense of setting, the cinematography of Aldo Greci and art direction of Vanni Castellani are important players in keeping this pleasing to the eye, making it somewhat easier to watch than it might have been. Altogether I can't recommend this one unless you really like topless Italian beauties, but I liked it well enough, just about.
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