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The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)

Unrated | | Horror | 11 September 1963 (USA)
When car trouble strands a honeymooning couple in a small Southern European village, an aristocratic family in the area reaches out to help them with sinister consequences.

Director:

Don Sharp

Writer:

Anthony Hinds (screenplay) (as John Elder)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Clifford Evans ... Professor Zimmer
Edward de Souza ... Gerald Harcourt
Noel Willman ... Dr. Ravna
Jennifer Daniel ... Marianne Harcourt
Barry Warren Barry Warren ... Carl Ravna
Brian Oulton ... 1st disciple
Noel Howlett ... Father Xavier
Jacquie Wallis Jacquie Wallis ... Sabena Ravna
Peter Madden ... Bruno
Isobel Black ... Tania
Vera Cook Vera Cook ... Anna
John Harvey John Harvey ... Police Sergeant
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Carl Esmond ... Anton (US TV version)
Virginia Gregg ... Rosa Stangher (US TV version)
Sheilah Wells ... Theresa Stangher (US TV version)
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Storyline

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 Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Giant devil Bats...summoned from the caves of Hell to destroy the lust of the Vampires! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

11 September 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kiss of the Vampire See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Universal Pictures delayed the release of this film by a few months so that a comparison could not be made with the concurrently released Hitchcock film The Birds (1963). See more »

Goofs

When Gerald stumbles down the stairs, he collides with the statue (a lion) on the banister, which moves, revealing its fake and flimsy nature. See more »

Quotes

Servant: [to Gerald] You keep away from here, or we'll set the dogs on you!
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »


Soundtracks

Vampire Rhapsody
Performed by James Bernard
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
worthy but slow
8 September 2004 | by dr_foremanSee all my reviews

"The Kiss of the Vampire" has one hell of an opening scene, but after that, the viewer must endure about thirty minutes of Dullsville as a newlywed couple arrives in a creepy European town and interacts with the strange, subdued locals. Note that the entire village seems to consist of only three people: Professor Zimmer, the innkeeper, and the innkeeper's wife. There's the Hammer casting budget for you!

Thankfully, the action picks up during the creepy masquerade ball. I also enjoy watching our hapless hero (played by the somehow likable Edward DeSouza) get humiliated by the vampires when he attempts to rescue his wife.

The sets are cool and Gothic, if obviously studio-bound; this is the kind of movie that many would call cheap, but tolerant and loving horror fans would probably describe it as quite lavish.

I have some plot-related problems. Professor Zimmer's transformation from tottering drunkard to know-it-all savior is too abrupt and unconvincing. I can't understand why he doesn't stop the Harcourts from visiting Ravna, since he's so sure that the latter is a vampire. All he does is issue cryptic warnings - who's that going to put off? I also don't understand why the vampires try to convince de Souza that he never had a wife. Do they really think that trick's going to work? Of COURSE he knows he had a wife! They really should just kill or convert him; setting him loose to make trouble is an unconscionably stupid decision. Anyway, they drop this little lie so quickly that one wonders why they bothered in the first place.

Other problems include a scene involving whiny, panicking vampires (hardly the most terrifying villains), and the strange lack of music in the climatic scene. As usual for a horror film, certain casual asides in the dialogue are more interesting than the story itself; Zimmer describes his daughter's conversion into a vampire in the most fascinating terms, and even suggests that vampires can be redeemed through faith in God. All of which amounts to nothing, of course, since Hammer films can never be too deep. What we get is the usual fight over a pretty girl, the staple of vampire movies for way too many years.

Groaning aside, all Hammer films do have a certain charm, including the slow ones. A worthwhile attempt is made to make the vampires seem elegant and mysterious, and their eerie piano song does add to the atmosphere. I just wish the movie held up a little better; with a rewrite and some nips and tucks, this could've been one of the greats. Alas, as it stands, it's merely mediocre.


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