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In a sleepy town in Britanny, Armond du Moliere, the Count Sinistre, and his Gypsy bride Tanya, vampires, control everything through a dark, bloody cult. English tourists disturb their cave coffins and must die, but Paul Baxter escapes and takes with him the count' golden bat talisman. To retrieve it and exact revenge, the whole cult follows to England, lusting for blood, a cover-up and new recruits, which also causes jealousy.Written by
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According to DVDcompare.net, the R0 UK, R1 American and R2 German DVD releases all have issues with certain scenes missing and thus not fully uncut, full details are below: R1 and R2 Germany offer the presumed original aspect ratio. However 1.85:1 framing hurts the picture and OAR could actually be 1.66:1. Do note R2 Germany has the missing "snake dancer" scene as an extra and that R1 only comes with 'Witchcraft' movie. Also note that R0 offers the "snake dancer" scene integrated in the movie itself, but it is presented in 1.33:1 (open-matte) and is missing on other scenes or pieces of scenes. CUTS:
R0 United Kingdom- Odeon Entertainment - Yes, the following scenes or pieces of scenes are missing, it could be due to film damage (84:11 PAL):
04:27: As the dead gypsy girl is carried away by her father, the scene ends as they disappear off screen and the next scene starts with mourners at her graveside. On R1, the scene lasts a few more seconds and is followed by the shot of a bat in a tree (Count Sinistre, no doubt). Then we switch back to the funeral cortege and the gypsy girl's coffin arrives on a cart: it is unloaded and lowered into the grave. Finally, the mourners gather at the graveside (00:21 PAL missing).
19:31: The end of the scene of the Count and Anne in the hotel conservatory terrace ends slightly sooner, we don't see them turn away, and also starts slightly later, Paul is already at the doorway of the hotel reception, we don't see his approaching shadow through the door's stained glass (00:02 PAL missing).
38:40: At the end of the scene in the laboratory after Paul has left, the Scientist is shuffling some papers and then the scene switches to a close-up of a snake in a tank. The scene ends slightly early and the next starts a tad late (00:02 PAL missing).
57:55: As Paul leaves the antiques dealer (Madeline) in her shop, we switch to an establishing shot of her assistant and then back to Madeline. On R1 we see the assistant pick-up and start to fold a red cloak and we hear Madeline off-camera call-out "Paul" as we hear the bell on the door signalling his exit, before switching back to Madeline (00:02 PAL missing).
75:22: When the Count stabs the old man in the throat with a swordstick, a close-up of the bloodied throat is missing (00:02 PAL missing). It has been confirmed that this scene appears at a reel change, and thus doesn't seem to be a deliberate cut.
R1 America- Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment - Yes, the following scene is missing (87:35 NTSC):
72:55: After the initial shot of the snake-dancer at the start of the party scene, we never see her again. R0 returns to her a couple of times as she (and her snake) cavort amongst the guests (00:46 NTSC missing). Also note that compared to R0, R1 starts with Planet Films distributor credits (extra 00:09 NTSC) and that fading out at the end is also longer (extra 00:01 NTSC).
R2 Germany- EMS - Yes, the following scene is missing from the movie itself, but available as an extra (84:06 PAL):
After the initial shot of the snake-dancer at the start of the party scene, we never see her again. R0 returns to her a couple of times as she (and her snake) cavort amongst the guests.
I had never heard of this one when it was announced as part of the revived "Midnite Movies" line of DVD releases paired with the renowned WITCHCRAFT (1964); frankly, I was disappointed that this obscure title was chosen over, say, NIGHT OF THE EAGLE (1962) which would have been the ideal companion to Don Sharp's film. In any case, it did seem rather intriguing from the colorful stills posted on Internet sites which reviewed the disc(s) but, all in all, it emerged as pretty goofy, with risible accents and several instances of wildly dated 60s modishness; in fact, an unexpected degree of camp is present in the lengthy pre-credits gypsy dance sequence, when depicting the 'degenerate' lifestyle of a group of ostensible bohemians (read bitchy lesbians and buffoonish, tipsy gentlemen) and the climactic Satanic ceremony!
The narrative, then, provides an unholy mishmash with little rhyme or reason of popular horror themes: vampirism, witchcraft and, most bafflingly, body-snatching are all called upon by the oddly female screenwriter. Clearly, this was made by people with no proper knowledge of genre convention: consequently, the end result is aloof and forgettable, if undeniably good-looking (particularly prevalent are the vivid, velvet robes sported by the Satanists) and eminently watchable; in essence, this lies somewhere between the generic output of Hammer and AIP. Predictably, most of the characters initially skeptical author William Sylvester comes into contact with turn out to be members of the devil/vampire cult. In the same vein (pardon the pun!), the police inspector investigating the various mysterious deaths and disappearances starts off as hostile but gradually becomes sympathetic not to mention, a believer in the supernatural! Unfortunately, the film's slow-moving 88 minutes (misprinted as an even heftier 124 on the DVD back cover!) are capped by a rushed and altogether weak climax.
Sylvester makes for a likable if wooden lead; he had already appeared in another notable horror film DEVIL DOLL (1964) and would later feature in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968). Hubert Noel, though lacking most of the qualities one typically associates with a bloodsucker (not that "Le Comte Sinistre" sees much action in this respect since all he seems concerned about is to recover his precious talisman!), along with Carole Gray (as the intended gypsy bride of the vampire who, for whatever reason, is jilted by him in favor of the former!), make a rather arresting pair of villains. The belatedly-introduced Tracy Reed is a striking, redheaded heroine she is Carol Reed's niece, Oliver Reed's cousin and director Anthony Pelissier's daughter, and is best-known for portraying George C. Scott's bikini-clad secretary in DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)! Curiously enough, as I lay watching, I pondered on how it would have effected the film had Gray and Reed exchanged roles...
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