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
Roman Polanski was most displeased with the American version of this film. In addition to changing the title from "Dance Of The Vampires", the film was cut by over twenty minutes, and, because the plot had been made incomprehensible by these cuts (so Polanski claimed), an animated sequence was added to make the plot a little clearer. In addition, the two leading actors - Jack McGowran and Polanski himself - were dubbed by others. However, Polanski's version of the film, under its correct title, was shown in Europe. The film was shown on British television under its proper title for some years, but has been known as "The Fearless Vampire Killers" in the UK, both on TV and on DVD, since the mid-1990s, although it is otherwise as Polanski intended it to be. No-one seems to know why the title has been changed, and a generation has grown up believing "The Fearless Vampire Killers" to be the film's actual title. See more »
As Koukol places the lid onto Herbert's coffin, the edge of one of his "ugly hand" rubber gloves becomes visible. See more »
In the opening credits the MGM-lion transforms into a vampire. 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 »
Roman Polanski's tongue-in-cheek look at classic Gothic vampire stories takes a rather bizarre approach to its material by giving us two bumbling vampire hunters who seem to always lose their prey and never seem to be aware of their immediate surroundings. Is this supposed to be funny?
Apparently so, but because it is so unique in its approach, it will divide viewers and I happen to fall on the negative side. The story takes too long to set up before it lands at the setting where it is supposed to and Polanski and Jack MacGowran's acting leave something to be desired.
The only true bright spot of the film is the luminous presence of Sharon Tate, who shows with her flaming red hair and soft, pale complexion why Polanski fell for her and the potential she had as an actress. Knowing her grim destiny only adds to the heaviness of this picture, which is certainly one to forget amongst the Polanski oeuvre.
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