The elderly bat researcher, professor Abronsius and his assistant, Alfred, go to a remote Transylvanian village looking for vampires. Alfred falls in love with the inn-keeper's young daughter Sarah. However, she has been spotted by the mysterious count Krolock who lives in a dark and creepy castle outside the village...Written by
The events, characters, firms and vampires depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons living or dead or to actual events is entirely coincidental. See more »
This film was originally released in the United States in an edited version. This version was shortened by approx. 20 minutes, all actors voices redubbed to make them more American-sounding (most notably that of Abronsius), the music was slightly altered and a cartoon prologue featuring Abronsius & Alfred was added. This was done by producer Martin Ransohoff without Roman Polanski's approval. Other edits included the shortening of the trip to Krolock's castle, the shots of Shagal watching the maid cleaning the floor as he stomps the sauerkraut, and Alfred searching for the mysterious voice in the castle corridors. Ransohoff also tried to have the American version distributed under the title "The Fearless Vampire Killers: or, Pardon Me But Your Teeth are in my Neck". Upon seeing this American version, Polanski tried to have his name removed from the credits. The prints that are currently being used have been restored to their original British length of 107 minutes and carry the title of simply "The Fearless Vampire Killers". See more »
Dance of the Vampires isn't a very typical offering from Roman Polanski. This is his first colour feature film and up until this point his films were decidedly left-field and arty. This one is a considerably more commercial offering. It's effectively a parody of the British Hammer horror films that had been very popular up to this point. So its cultural references were fairly mainstream in the 60's. Set in the 19th century, it's about a professor and his assistant who travel to Eastern Europe seeking vampires. Before long they find themselves at the castle of the mysterious Count von Krolock.
The problem I have with this film is fairly straightforward – I don't find it very funny. The humour is very broad and present throughout. It ranges from the clever (a Jewish vampire who is unafraid of a crucifix) to the low-brow (lots of slapstick). It's occasionally amusing but rarely properly funny. So this is a bit of a problem in a film that is first and foremost a comedy. On the plus side it does look pretty, with nice snowbound landscapes and a Gothic castle to look at. The vampire's ball is also very good. But, for me, the single best aspect of Dance of the Vampires is easily Sharon Tate. She is achingly beautiful and provides a very welcome sensuality to proceedings. Her horrible murder two years later at the hands of the Manson Family clearly robbed the film world of someone quite considerable.
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