Archaeologists investigating some Mayan ruins come across a blob-like monster. They manage to destroy it with fire, but keep a sample. Meanwhile, a comet is due to pass close to the Earth -... See full summary »
A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch's beautiful look-alike descendant, with only the girl's brother and a handsome doctor standing in her way.
When four young women are found in Paris with the blood completely drained, the ambitious and snoopy journalist Pierre Lantin decides to investigate the cases of the killer known as The Vampire. Inspector Chantal does not approve Lantin's behavior. Soon Pierre suspects that family Du Grand, who lives in an ancient castle, may be involved with the murders but Inspector Chantal does not give support to his investigations. Meanwhile Pierre avoids the harassment of Giselle du Grand, who is the niece of the wealthy matriarch of the family Margherita du Grand.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Italian censorship visa #23894, dated April 3rd 1957. See more »
English dubbed version 'The Devil's Commandment' is credited to director Riccardo Freda's pseudonym Robert Hampton. See more »
Original Italian version is 85-minute long. US distributor re-edited the film, inserting new footage starring Al Lewis and Ronny & Joy Holliday, shortened it to 70 minutes and released it as "Devil's Commandment". See more »
Amazingly compelling and beautiful film that single-handedly launched the revival of European horror in the late fifties. "I Vampiri" still is a scandalously underrated film even though it's an important classic from many viewpoints. Not in the least because it was one of the first opportunities for Mario Bava to prove his brilliance to the world! He was initially hired as a cinematographer to work with director Riccardo Freda but, when this latter couldn't keep up with the hasty filming schedule, Bava took over and completed the film within the preconceived deadline. The result is a haunting Gothic mystery-tale with a deliciously ingenious script and a wonderfully sinister atmosphere. Don't let the title mislead you too much, as the film doesn't revolve on the typical bloodsucking creatures as you know them, but on an entirely different kind of macabre characters. The city of Paris is under the spell of a relentless killer who at least murdered 4 young girls in the short period of only a couple of days time. Since the bodies don't have a single drop of blood left in them when they are discovered, the press cleverly nick-named the killer as "the Vampire". The ambitious and womanizing journalist Pierre is so obsessed with the events that he starts an investigation himself. He discovers tracks that lead him to the castle of the eminent Du Grand family, more particularly the gorgeous young duchess Giselle who has a severe crush on Pierre.
The sudden "twist" halfway through the story is typically Gothic, but that's just an extra reason for the fans to love it even more. Especially praiseworthy is the enormous amount of intrigue, tension and morbidity featuring in the screenplay. Many gimmicks in "I Vampiri" are dared and definitely ahead of their time, but also very credible at the same time (the manipulation of a weak junkie, the extraordinary vain lifestyle of the duchess...). This actually is a very low-budgeted production but Mario Bava terrifically camouflages this with his elegant filming-style and skilled knowledge of lighting. The acting of the entire cast is far above average and especially Gianna Maria Canala (spouse of director Riccardo Freda) makes a big impression. The amount of gore is secondary to the atmosphere, of course, but still there are a couple of uniquely grim images of decomposing corpses to 'enjoy'. I am aware that some critics bash this film for it's supposable 'lack of vampire-action', but it's their stupid loss that they're unable to see the marvelous Gothic influences. "I Vampiri" is a great film that urgently requires more recognition.
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