Gerald and Marianne Harcourt are traveling by car when the car breaks down and they have to spend a few days in a small, remote village. It doesn't take long before they are invited to Dr. Ravna's castle. Without their knowledge, Dr. Ravna is the leader of a vampire cult, and he has become astonished by Marianne's beauty...Written by
Producer Anthony Hinds used the alias John Elder to pen the screenplay of "Kiss of the Vampire." See more »
The location of the action is never specified, and no character mentions any place names. However, the setting and dialogue frequently mixes mix both German and French styles and languages. For example, the owner of the Grand Hotel is called Bruno (a name derived from the German for brown) and wears lederhosen, but calls the nearby castle a "Chateau", and refers to a "Herr Doctor" while speaking to a woman he calls "Madame". See more »
When the devil attacks a man or woman with this foul disease of the vampire the unfortunate human being can do one of two things. Either he can seek God through the church and pray for absolution or he can persuade himself that his filthy perversion is some kind of new and wonderful experience to be shared by the favoured few. Then he tries to persuade others to join his new cult.
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Retitled "Kiss of Evil" for American TV, and considerably tampered with. Bloody scenes are cut: e.g., when Herr Zimmer cauterizes his wrist after Tanya bites him, and the pre-credits scene in which blood gushes from the coffin of Zimmer's daughter after he plunges a shovel into it (even her scream is cut from that scene). A couple of the cuts result in scenes that don't make sense any more: in the cut-for-TV version, we never do find out what Marianne sees behind the curtain, a sight which makes her scream. And when Harcourt frees his hands after being clawed by Tanya, the TV version has him escape by running across the room untouched by the vampires, who just watch him get away. As originally filmed, Harcourt, after freeing his hands, immediately smears the blood on his chest into a cross-shaped pattern: the vampires now *can't* touch him. The cut running time was made up for by the addition of scenes of a family (middle-aged husband and wife; teenage daughter) who fret and argue about the influence of the vampiric Ravna clan, but never interact with anybody else in the movie. The married couple are inserted into the pre-credits graveyard scene in place of a couple of old crones. Even the final scene of the tampered-with version features this family, instead of the original cast! The theme of the family's scenes is the social disruption the vampires bring to town: specifically, women get uppity. The wife becomes the breadwinner (by sewing the vampire clan's white robes!) as the husband's business suffers, and she browbeats him about it. The daughter disses her boyfriend in favor of Carl Ravna. Carl, unseen in these scenes, has given her a music box which plays the same hypnotic tune that he plays on the piano elsewhere in the movie. The final scene has the men magnanimously forgiving the women, who meekly apologize as they all head off to church. See more »
Performed by James Bernard See more »
God is hardly involved, Mr. Harcourt.
Kiss of the Vampire (AKA: Kiss of Evil in a truncated TV version) is directed by Don Sharp and written by John Elder. it stars Clifford Evans, Noel Willman, Edward de Souza, Jennifer Daniel, Barry Warren, Brian Oulton and Jacquie Wallis. Out of Hammer Film Productions in Eastmancolour, cinematography is by Alan Hume and music by James Bernard.
Honeymooners Gerald (de Souza) and Marianne Harcourt (Daniel) stop over in a remote Bavarian village and fall prey to a suspicious family headed by Dr. Ravna (Willman).
Planned as a Dracula sequel by Hammer Films, Kiss of the Vampire eventually followed in the vein of Brides of Dracula by bringing vampires into a social situation without the famous Count as the figurehead. With no Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Terence Fisher or Freddie Francis involved, it does on the outside seem it should be a lesser Hammer Horror picture. Thankfully that isn't the case at all.
There's some wooden acting, less than great effects work in the finale and a lack of blood for the gore hounds, but this is still a wonderful Hammer picture. Ripe with atmosphere, beaming with glorious Gothic set design and beautifully photographed, it's a film begging to be discovered by the vampire faithful.
Essentially a reworking of Edward G. Ulmer's The Black Cat (1934), the narrative follows the familiar vampiric formula so beloved by horror film makers, especially the house of Hammer, which is no bad thing really since they do it so well. In fact it should be noted that the finale to this one is a departure from the norm and is rather exciting, if just a little abrupt in the context of plotting.
A bevy of beauties adorn the frames while suave aristocrat type gentlemen glide around the Ravna abode, this is very much a film rich in that Hammer style. Ignore claims of it being slow, for this is considerate to setting up the characters, and ignore the butchered American TV version, for Kiss of the Vampire is a treat for like minded Hammerphiles. 7.5/10
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