Lust for a Vampire (1971) Poster

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"Flawed but offers the modern viewer some fun."
jamesraeburn200314 December 2004
In 1830 a renowned occult novelist called Richard Le' Strange (Johnson)is taken on to teach English at an exclusive finishing school for young girls in Styria. He falls in love with one of his pupils, the beautiful Mircalla (Stensgaard), but gradually discovers that she may well be the reincarnation of the evil vampire Carmilla Karnstein. Meanwhile in the village that neighbors the school, the locals are living in the grip of fear because it is forty years to the day since the vampiric Karnstein family reincarnated themselves in search of blood and village girls have been going missing.

Hammer's adaptation of Sheridan Le' Fanu's THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970) had been successful enough to warrant a sequel, therefore Tudor Gates who had scripted the former was duly approached to script the next one. The result was a rather unsavoury brew of vampirism and lesbianism and veteran Hammer producer-writer Jimmy Sangster who was responsible for such Hammer classics as THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, Dracula and THE NANNY was brought in to direct. It was his second outing behind the camera having made his directorial debut in 1970 with Hammer's spoof THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN. This went out on a double bill with Roy Ward Baker's SCARS OF Dracula and only did average business. Whereas Sangster had enjoyed the experience of directing the Frankenstein spoof, he apparently hated LUST FOR A VAMPIRE along with his star Ralph Bates. He and Bates were apparently horrified at the preview screening when they discovered a cheesy pop song had been inserted called STRANGE LOVE sung by an unknown Tracy over the love scene between Johnson and Stensgaard.

Viewed today, LUST FOR A VAMPIRE certainly has it's flaws, for a start there is the inept casting of BBC Radio One disc-jockey Mike Raven as Count Karnstein. His voice was dubbed to make him sound like Christopher Lee and in the reincarnation sequence, a close up of Lee's bloodshot eyes from Dracula HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE was used instead of making Raven wear the red tinted contacts and doing a close up on him. Raven also appeared in Amicus's Jekyll and Hyde film I MONSTER (1971). The film also lacks a convincing hero, Johnson's Richard Le' Strange is little more than a boozy womaniser who is content to chase after a schoolgirl and the basic premise is somewhat crude. The film also shares sets with SCARS OF Dracula, Hammer fanatics will no doubt recognise the somewhat impoverished looking castle set from that picture. Yet there is still some fun to be had here, Bates gives a strong performance as the schoolmaster who lusts after Carmilla and wishes to sell his soul to the devil and Sangster stages the shock scenes with some style, especially the scene in the ruined castle where Carmilla is brought back to life.

LUST FOR A VAMPIRE wasn't all that successful, but Hammer managed to squeeze in a third outing for the Karnstein's, TWINS OF EVIL, which is in it's own right a better film by far.
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Adding a little to jamesraeburn2003's
Alexander Ruspandy12 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I've just seen this film yesterday and jamesraeburn2003's opinion reflected much of my impressions. However I would like to add few of my comments.

First off, despite the silliness of Strange Love song, I found it to be creepy and was really right in the mood for the making love sequence. Don't get me wrong, they don't need to insert a song in there but I never felt that it harmed the film in any way.

Next, Suzanna Leigh as Janet Playfair was great in her role. Her brash personality really steal the show (especially in the headmistress scene) whenever Steensgard is not around.

Steensgard on the other hand did not "suck" as many people believed and even if her voice was dubbed (she was Danish in origin), she didn't have much line to say other than "I can't", "I love you" and those sort of sentences. It was her non-verbal performances that became the highlight. The scenes where she walks, moves, and stares took a great effort that made her memorable, second only to Christopher Lee.

The only objection I have is the finale during the castle fire where Mircalla tried to prevent Lestrange from saving her. As she did so, Karnstein mentally influenced her to attack Lestrange. Lestrange threw her away and as she tried to attack again, she's killed by the falling block. That was my complaint because she died not as a woman who loved Lestrange (which she really did) but as a monster who wanted to kill him (outside her own will). I sympathized with her a lot and in her final scenes, they should have shown Mircalla crying to Jonathan as a last goodbye, confirming her love to him.

My only other wish was to see more of Yutte Steensgard in other Hammer films but she quit soon after and moved to America because she was felt "unappreciated" by the industry. I do hope she made a good living whatever she's doing now.

Okay that's it for my comment. This comes from a sentimental man who loved watching horror movies and tries to find a meaning behind every film. And Lust for a Vampire would make a great film to me provided that they extended the ending.
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8/10
Love for a Vampire....
meonksman1 January 2001
'Lust for a vampire' is the second film in the Karnstein Trilogy based on the novels by Sheridan le Fanu. The sequel to 'Vampire lovers' starring Ingrid Pitt, and prequel to 'Twins of Evil' starring playboy playmate twins Mary & Madeline smith, 'Lust for a vampire' was hindered in its production from the off set. Legendary Hammer director Terrence Fisher was forced to pull out and Peter Cushing was replaced by Ralph Bates in the lead role. Yutte Stensgaard plays the truly beautiful Mircalla, a lesbian vampire who is torn between her love for her teacher and her lust for blood. This film has a very cosy atmosphere very traditional of hammers work around the late sixties early seventies. The sets are reasonable and although highly criticised for her performance, Yutte does her job well.

I could go on for pages but as an overview I would HIGHLY recommend this film even if it does dabble in as much romance as horror.
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7/10
Second "Carmilla" entry
rosscinema24 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This is the second film loosely based on the story "Carmilla" and "The Vampire Lovers" was the first and "Twins of Evil" being the third. This is definitely not one of the strongest entries but I don't go along with people that think this is a truly bad film because it's not. It could have been handled better but to say that this is a bad film is just not being honest. Story takes place in 1830 where a young novelist of horror hears about vampires that live up the road in a castle. Richard Lestrange (Michael Johnson) ventures up to the Karnstein castle after hearing that the Karnstein's are vampires and that a young girl from the village is now missing. Lestrange finds the castle but behind it is an all girls school that is inhabited by young lovelies. He also hears that an English teacher is coming and when he arrives Lestrange tricks him into going to Venice for a month and now he can get the job at the school.

*****SPOILER ALERT*****

Lestrange meets the PE teacher Janet Playfair (Suzanna Leigh) and also notices the arrival of Countess Herritzen (Barbara Jefford) who brings her niece Mircalla (Yutte Stensgaard) to the school and instantly Lestrange is infatuated with her. Mircalla is actually Carmilla Karnstein who was resurrected by the blood of a virgin and one of the owners of the school Giles (Ralph Bates) has been studying the castle and notices the resemblance between Mircalla and the paintings of Carmilla. One night Mircalla kills her lesbian roommate (Pippa Steele) and then when she finds out that Giles knows about her she kills him also. Meanwhile, Lestrange has fallen in love with her and she allows him to make love to her but Miss Playfair who is in love with Lestrange is very suspicious of the goings on and calls the local police. The headmistress Miss Simpson (Helen Christie) wants to do the right thing but seems to be in the control of Countess Herritzen.

This film is directed by Jimmy Sangster who is better known as a writer of many Hammer horror films but he did direct some as well. Technically this is a film that could have used some rewrites on the script because while you watch it some things just don't make sense. Johnson is a horny young man at that school and is surrounded by many sexy girls but he becomes entranced instantly by Stensgaard. Is it because of her powers as a vampire? And later in the film Leigh out of nowhere announces that she is in love with Johnson. These two characters have barely spoke to one another! Also, the vampires in this film can walk out in the daylight with no problem and at the end of the film a villager is asked how they are going to find the vampires. He says that at night they will find them in their graves! I thought it was suppose to be the opposite. Actor Mike Raven and actress Barbara Jefford are suppose to be vampires but they never feed or drink blood. Raven in fact does nothing at all and most of the time he just stands in the background looking like Christopher Lee. But I have to admit that I did enjoy this film on an exploitation level. First, it's from Hammer Studios and that alone is worthy enough of a look. Secondly, the schoolgirls are all hot looking and wandering around their rooms with no tops on as the camera leers on them. This definitely works better as exploitation rather than horror and it's one of the reasons why audiences loved these films from Hammer. Leigh doesn't get unclothed but she's beautiful to look at and a good actress but this is a film where the attention is on young Stensgaard. She is glorious to ogle at in all of her nudity and the scene where she allows Johnson to make love to her is interesting. She was obviously using him to make sure that she could control him later on. The first film "The Vampire Lovers" is the best and a bonafide classic but this is a pretty darn entertaining film also. Don't let the bad reviews sway you, it delivers the goods.
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Lust Is There, Le Fanu Isn't!
Boodikka4 September 2001
This definitely isn't the best Carmilla film (though the uncut version, unseen in the US, is highly erotic), yet it has a huge cult following largely due to the presence of Yutte Stensgaard. There are few one-hit wonder actresses in any genre who inspire such......lust. The edited US versions make this just another Hammer vampire film, the unedited version is definitely worth a look.
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6/10
Horny for Hammer!
Coventry6 October 2006
With just a few minor changes here and there, "Lust for a Vampire" easily could have been a progressive and even groundbreaking porno-movie! The title is already a-okay, don't you agree? Well so are the settings, locations and female casting choices! The film is largely set in a private school for girls in their late teenage years, and the only conditions of entrance here seem to be luscious behavior and having at least a D-cup. All the male characters are typically weak-minded losers whose actions are exclusively instructed by hormones and even the sensual music emphases the erotic atmosphere. The only thing missing is hardcore sex, in fact. But it's also still somewhat a Gothic Hammer horror movie, loosely based on the works of Sheridan Le Fanu and revolving on the notorious Camilla Karnstein myths. It's the second entry in Hammer's trilogy on the subject matter and unquestionably worse than both "The Vampire Lovers" and "Twins of Evil". This is possibly due to the cast & crew that worked on the film, though. Every avid horror fan (or, at least, avid HAMMER fan) knows that director Jimmy Sangster is not on the same quality level as Terence Fisher, Ralph Bates is no Peter Cushing and Mike Raven is just a pathetic imitator of the almighty Christopher Lee. But still, "Lust of a Vampire" lacks something else. Like a coherent script for example, or Gothic sequences that completely lack suspense. The downright stunningly beautiful Danish actress Yutte Stensgaard stars as Mircalla Herritzen, the indescribably sexy reincarnation of malicious vampire queen Carmilla Karnstein. Simultaneously with her arrival in a little town that lies near a spooky castle, other town girls turn up murdered with suspicious teeth marks in their necks. Tourist and writer Richard LeStrange decides to investigate the events, but he can't resist the gorgeousness of Mircalla's flesh. There are quite a lot of gory moments and (for their time) nasty make-up effects, but if you're hoping for genuine frights you better look elsewhere. In case you're already satisfied with some neatly morbid set pieces and a truckload of authentic sleaze, "Lust for a Vampire" is warmly recommended.
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8/10
"Lust...you will too after seeing Yutte as the vampire."
hammer-2113 September 1999
The absolutely stunning Danish actress Yutte Stensgaard stars as the vampire seductress Mircalla in Hammer films part two of the "Carmilla Karnstein" trilogy. Not a great film but a worthy one for all Hammer/British horror film fans. Originally to be directed by the ace of gothic horror, Terence Fisher, he was injured in a car accident just days before filming started. A good/decent film from Jimmy Sangster, but one thinks of what it could have been in Fisher's hands. MUST viewing for all Yutte fans and fans to be.
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6/10
Must Have Been Quite Erotic At The Time
Theo Robertson29 March 2004
In many ways this movie is little different from other Hammer horror films produced at the time . It has an inn that doesn`t take too kindly to strangers especially ones that don`t believe in vampires , it`s obvious that the " night " scenes were filmed during the day by sticking a blue filter over the camera lens and there`s some really dodgy effects and make up like the very obvious dummy at the film`s climax

What sets LUST FOR A VAMPIRE apart from other British horror movies at the time is some really superb ( For its day ) T&A on display complete with some lesbian kissing . It`s also good to see some old fashioned buxom women who have never heard of the phrase silicone implants . That`s something you don`t see in horror movies nowadays I can tell you
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5/10
I wish Hammer had made more films with Yutte!
bensonmum223 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Lust for a Vampire is the second of Hammer's Karnstein films. While the first, The Vampire Lovers, was far from being great, it is a much better movie than this, the first sequel. The acting is weak, the male lead is very unsympathetic, Mike Raven comes across as a Christopher Lee wannabe, the sets are "too clean", and the plot is incredibly predictable. In all honesty, I've probably rated Lust for a Vampire too high. Other than a few good set pieces and Yutte Stensgaard, it's really doesn't have much going for it.

Set Pieces – The scene of Carmilla's resurrection may be one of my favorites from any Hammer movie. It's a wonderful mix of blood, nudity, and some Satanic mumbo-jumbo. The sight of the half-naked Carmilla literally covered in blood is not one that is easily forgotten.

Yutte Stensgaard – The best word I can think of to describe Stensgaard is "stunning". If she's in a scene, I defy anyone (at least any male) to not focus on her. She may not have been much of an actress, but as far as eye-candy goes, she's hard to beat.
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7/10
Vampires walking in the daylight?
steely-dan14 November 2005
Good film, really enjoyed when I watch the DVD over the weekend though one thing did spoil it, vampires walking in the daylight! Now I'm sure I didn't miss anything, I was paying attention but Mircalla was a really honest to god vampire, yet mincing around in the sunshine as she did she'd have been a crispy critter in 2 seconds.

Great movie, for all the usual Hammer reasons. I grew up watching the Hammer movies on TV in the 70's and despite the flaws in most of them they'll always be very dear to me. One might hope that with the advent of next gen DVD which will have more than enough capacity it would be nice to have all the Hammer horror movies on one disc. That, as they say would be cool!
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10/10
death in desire
tanyaqua22 July 2006
Hammer took a different direction with this piece of Gothic cinema and broke some rules. Vampires walking about in daylight? For all its good points the biggest let down is the lack of references to the original Sheridan Le Fanu on which this supposed to be based. Hammer took a different direction with this piece of Gothic cinema and broke some rules. Vampires walking about in daylight? For all its good points the biggest let down is the lack of references to the original Sheridan Le Fanu on which this supposed to be based. Its predecessor 'Vampire Lovers' contained more references but I was hoping for a full and proper transcription of the book into celluloid. Tudor Gates appears undecided which direction to take the script. Yutte Stensgaard was cast at the time as she was famous on UK TV as Bob Monkhouse's co star in a game show. There she was required to look pretty and not say much as she showed objects to the audience. Think of the 'The Price is Right' hostesses. She went on to make a couple of film s which were more credible dramas. I first knew of her via a short story on the web which had a couple of photos attached to it. You can see why everyone thinks she gorgeous. A painting that was around at the same time was by the story's writer: an actor called Stephen Armourae who has reappeared in connection with ESP research and I know he's done more of other horror actresses including one about Barbara Stelle called 'Catherine' and another AJF. There was a rumour about an interview between him and Yutte if anyone knows more? I like this Hammer film as there is something quirky about it. Raven trying to be Lee. The change of casting to Ralph Bates is refreshing and more convincing. I can't see Cushing playing that lusting role. Bates is more suited. Also the eroticism could have been more, I agree with Armourae's review on this point; he has been trying to get film made loosely based on these Hammer themes but with greater erotic content whilst remaining tasteful. Watch this film as for all its flaws its still classic of its time.
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8/10
a sweet, seemingly innocent European schoolgirl turns out to be a deadly vampire
dougbrode15 March 2006
Just when the Hammer Christopher Lee Dracula franchise began to run out of steam in the late sixties, the company revved up its product by turning to Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla (written before Bram Stoker penned Dracula, by the way, and a big influence on that better known book) and filming several versions of the novel. The other most interesting one is Vampire Lovers, which keeps far closer to the plot of the book and has a more sustained sense of mood and atmosphere, but ultimately is undone by an actress who is far too old to be believable as the Lolita with fangs that Le Fanu imagined long before anyone had ever heard of Vladimir Nabokov. Lust is admittedly shaky in terms of script, and the ambiance is on again off again (but wow is it terrific when it's on). What makes this click with so many horror buffs, in particularly those who love lesbian vampire films, is the one-time star Yvette Stensgard, a gorgeous Scandanavian child-woman who looks absolutely innocent (particularly when her eyes fetchingly cross), even the moment before she rips open the neck of her next victim. Lots of nudity, with nothing but blood covering her nubile body. Carmilla Karnstein is bisexual, seducing both her lovely young roommates at the all girl's academy and her teacher, a Byronic British romantic who combines elements of Shelley, Byron, and Le Fanu. A genuine cult following has formed around this film because of Stensgard's devastating charisma, which would never be properly employed again, by Hammer or any other company. (Hammer discarded its female star creations as quickly as it stuck with its male stars, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.) Many jerks complain about a dumb song called "Strange Love" that's indifferently imposed on one sequence. Morons: turn down the volume and enjoy the two gorgeous nymphettes as they swim in the moonlight, adoringly cuddle one another, and then . . . the kiss of death.
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9/10
better Hammer effort
kesiasurinam31 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This has more style than most of Hammer efforts. For that reason I'm giving it a high rating. Its based on the story Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu. As such it has a stronger narrative than the late Dracula films where the screen plays were not based on any novels.

The story is about the resurrection of a long dead vampire girl by her vampiring relatives. For some unclear reason they feel she needs schooling and enrol her at an exclusive finishing school. Socially responsible these vampires.

Part of the advantage for them is that it provides a supply of good looking women to appear for their scholastic vamp to suck on. This is only used a couple of times. Into this a stranger wanders along and is immediately given a teaching job without any checks as we are meant to have now days. He falls in love with Yutte Stensgaard's bloodsucker immediately. He is really inappropriate for a teaching post. What would he be like if he was there for 5 years?

I knew of this film but hadn't got round to it as part of the Hammer canon until I read a review of Le Fanu by the writer and actor Stephen Armourae. On a couple of vampire websites also appeared a portrait of Yutte Stensgaard by him taken from the film. Yutte was a very good looking actress and I have recently seen an excerpt of a game show presented by Bob Monkhouse where she was assistant. Her performance was as wooden then as in this though she made a couple of good films later.

A note on this film is that Peter Cushing was intended to play the Ralph Bates role but had to pull out due to ill health. This is to the film's credit. It would have been a shame to see Cushing die and the late great Ralph Bates does a good turn in a scene of desperation and appropriately enough lust.
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crossed eyes.....of death!
spooky_trix13 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Lust for a Vampire is a silly silly silly exploitation shlock fest!

The plot is simple, and has been done many times since: bisexual vampiress is resurrected and spreads mayhem through the land.

Now on to the good stuff (expect spoilers here on out):

Watch this movie, you will see: nubile and perky breasts, strict female gym teachers, silly satanic rituals, a convieniently dry well, a female finishing school (which was obviously planned by the stupidest people alive, school full of half naked teenage girls right next to the old haunted vampire castle), a nighttime lesbian swimming session, hilariously campy countesses (i mean who in the world would listen to this ladies advice? okay sure just tell everyone this missing girl is dead, thats much better than saying she's missing!), and beautiful bloody corpses!

but what are we missing. well there are some great opportunities to get some real horror here:

the karnsteins dump a victim of mircalla down a dry well. in most vampire lore such a victim would become a vampire herself. i was just waiting for the policeman to get attacked by a starving vampiress once he gets down the rope.

why do we miss seeing all the action? i know we are supposed to be mystified as to the real vampire (is it mircalla or not) but you'd have to be criminally insane not to figure it out, so just let us see that neck biting excitement!

and finally, the end of the movie sets itself up for a great twist ending (ie, count and countess karnstein emerge from the burning castle to wreak havoc yet again!) but doesn't follow through.

oh well

see this movie if you are ever in the mood for fun predicatability and great soft core horror!
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9/10
Unfairly Judged For Its Prurient Nature, But Poison in a Candy Coating, IMO
asrexproductions6 September 2015
LUST FOR A VAMPIRE (Jimmy Sangster, 1971) was an adaptation of the legend of Carmilla the vampire from 1710 (here renamed "Mircalla"), where pagans at an English girls' finishing school must sacrifice a beautiful woman so Mircalla can inhabit her body and feed again. The film is full of gratuitous nudity, plays around with lesbianism, and is often cited as a sign of Hammer Films in decline. I saw this film in a class taught by critic Douglas Brode at Syracuse University, however, and was reminded that what I find great about B filmmaking is that as long as the filmmakers satisfy some mandate - in this case, gratuitous nudity, and the debut of a pop song ("Strange Love," as I recall) - they can make whatever movie they want. It also reminds me that for all of Hammer's greatness, it really was a B movie studio, beholden to the same mandates as every other. What Sangster and company here have done, IMO, is make a well-lit, well shot soft core porn movie that nonetheless has a compelling and interesting story. If you're watching it for the T&A, the cast and the cinematography will oblige you, IMO, but I feel that it will also give you more than the average movie of this type will. I've always felt that Joss Whedon later took this concept - creating works that were, on their surface, simple, lowbrow entertainment, but then writing them well - and made a career out of it, and in my opinion, this was one of the first examples of how that can be done. I evaluate every film based on if I think it will give its intended audience what they want, and if, like Woody Allen, you don't usually like your filth this clean, LUST FOR A VAMPIRE will disappoint. If you're a nerd, however, who is tired of seeing vapid B movies that don't even TRY to tell a compelling story, this movie will impress. Not for everybody, IMO, but honestly my favorite Hammer Horror Film.
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7/10
Light on style and substance, but heavy on tits and ass.
BA_Harrison4 March 2011
For it to succeed as a sensual erotic horror, Lust For A Vampire requires a far more nuanced approach than an inexperienced director like Jimmy Sangster is able to give (his only previous directorial effort being the less-than-subtle semi-comedic The Horror of Frankenstein). Sangster's approach is basic to say the least, ladling on the Gothic silliness in the opening scenes, relying on the frequent female nudity to distract viewers from the script's sillier aspects, and cribbing his visual flair from the continental horror directors of the day.

But although, as a work of art, the film is seriously lacking, as a silly, fun vampiric romp with plenty of quality T&A, it certainly delivers the goods. Set in a finishing school exclusively for attractive, pillow-chested babes, the film offers viewers non-stop titillation, with delicious Yutte Stensgaard as buxom Carmilla Karnstein frequently stripping off and getting raunchy with both her sapphic plaything Susan (Pippa Steel) and womanising author Richard Lestrange (Michael Johnson).

Furthermore, Ralph Bates puts in a memorable turn as creepy professor Giles Barton, unintentional laughs are provided by Radio 1 DJ Mike Raven as Count Karnstein, who sports a wicked widow's peak and smartly clipped goatee, and is strangely dubbed to sound like Christopher Lee, and the film also features a hilariously inappropriate love song (Strange Love by Tracy) during a sex scene between Johnson and Stensgaard.

In a suitably clichéd finalé, a rampaging mob of angry villagers, complete with flaming torches and pitchforks, set fire to Castle Karnstein, causing a beam to collapse and pierce the heart of the lovely Mircalla/Carmilla/Marcilla/Clamlair/Lilacram/whatever-the-hell-her name-is (which results in her turning into a flaming rubber dummy!).
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8/10
Vampires CAN walk in sunlight
rose-2944 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The title sounds like a sleazy porn film, but Lust for a vampire is actually a (flawed) Hammer classic. It is 1830 in Styria, and Mircalla Karnstein is biting men and women in a classy girl-school. The well-lit colour photography looks more natural than the jewel-like Gone with the wind colours of 1950s Jack Asher period, but it is still beautiful, and the Gothic sets and suitably melodramatic score are wonderful. So is Miss Mircalla, who has truly striking, sensuous presence, and the breast-baring and heavy-breathing lipstick lesbianism is actually very tame. What comes to Mircalla's walking in the sunlight - well, you poor illiterates, Dracula and Carmilla and all the vampires before the silent Nosferatu could happily do that, thank you. The only problem in this enjoyable, if silly film is some truly horrible acting from Ralph Bates and the gay caricature in the tavern.
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7/10
Mildly sensual vampire flick from Hammer.
HumanoidOfFlesh5 July 2006
"Lust for a Vampire" is the second in Hammer's Karnstein vampire trilogy.The other two were "The Vampire Lovers" and "Twins of Evil".Carmilla Karnstein is revived in a black magic ceremony and enrolls into an exclusive girls' school.Novelist Richard LeStrange is visiting the area in search of the truth behind the legends surrounding nearby Castle Karnstein and falls in love with Mircalla. "Lust for a Vampire" is definitely the weakest of the three films.It offers some moments of eroticism and Ralph Bates is excellent as the intensely creepy Barton.The story is thin,the film is cheap-looking and the pop song used in it 'Strange Love' is glaringly awful.However if you enjoy watching bare female bodies give it a try.7 out of 10.
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7/10
Sex and violence, Hammer style.
Scott LeBrun4 October 2015
"Lust for a Vampire" is the second film in Hammer Studios' "Carmilla" trilogy, also including "The Vampire Lovers" and "Twins of Evil". It's indicative of the direction in which the studio was heading during this time, playing up the sex appeal just as much as the horror content. It also has the added attraction of a tragic, different sort of love story. It's not prime Hammer, but it's certainly watchable, thanks to its blood letting, period atmosphere, and bevy of beautiful women.

The nefarious Karnstein family resurrect the legendary Carmilla - or "Mircalla", in this instance - and she takes up residence at a girls' finishing school in 1830 Austria. Shortly thereafter, a successful author named Richard Lestrange (Michael Johnson) comes to the country, and contrives himself into a teaching position at the school. There he makes the acquaintance of a weak willed instructor, Giles Barton (Ralph Bates), and falls in love with Ms. Mircalla (ravishing blonde Yutte Stensgaard), while some of the local girls go missing.

The title is very apt for this sort of story. The script by Tudor Gates is weak, and not all that interesting, while the direction of frequent Hammer screenwriter Jimmy Sangster is okay if not inspired. One major highlight is the Richard / Carmilla lovemaking scene, but many viewers will be just as happy with the topless shots of some of the actresses. Overall, this all feels pretty familiar, including the finale.

The cast is good. Bates is amusing in a change of pace mousy part, complete with glasses and bad wig. Johnson is likable as the romantic lead. Suzanna Leigh has the right amount of spirit as school employee Janet Playfair. Barbara Jefford is commanding as the conniving Countess. Mike Raven, as the Count, was presumably hired due to a resemblance to Hammer regular Sir Christopher Lee, and he's just sort of there (he's even dubbed, by the distinctively voiced Valentine Dyall). Helen Christie, as ineffective headmistress Miss Simpson, and Harvey Hall, as the understandably angry Inspector Heinrich, are very fine in support.

Viewers who've seen the other films in this trilogy will likely also enjoy this one.

Seven out of 10.
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6/10
We are talking about things beyond science, about the imaginings of men's minds, about good and evil.
lastliberal11 February 2009
While we anxiously await Lesbian Vampire Killers, we can visit a Hammer classic that has loads of naturally endowed women in a finishing school.

While the lesbianism that is inferred is probably just normal boarding school hi-jinks, we are able to enjoy the peaks of pleasure exposed to our view. The vampire Mircalla (Yutte Stensgaard) has plenty of girls to go skinny dipping with.

The teacher Richard (Michael Johnson) is quite taken with the beauty that he fellow teacher (Ralph Bates) believes to be the reincarnation of a Countess that died 120 years previous. Another teacher (Suzanna Leigh) almost buys it after she continues to stick her nose into the problems of dying and missing.

As expected, the villagers finally take matters into their own hands to rid themselves of the problem.
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6/10
LUST FOR A VAMPIRE (Jimmy Sangster, 1971) **1/2
MARIO GAUCI19 May 2007
Like THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN (1970), this is one of the most reviled Hammer efforts - but, again, I found it not that bad after all! Still, being one of the countless vampire-themed outings from the studio, it does feel like a tired rehash of better films; actually, it happens to be the middle part of Hammer's "Karnstein Trilogy" (inspired by J. Sheridan Le Fanu's classic short story "Carmilla") - if, admittedly, the least of them. As was the case with THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970) and would be again with TWINS OF EVIL (1971), the main behind-the-scenes credits weren't the usual Hammer stalwarts: producers Harry Fine and Michael Style, screenwriter Tudor Gates and composer Harry Robinson. While the latter's score is appropriately grandiose for the most part, the love song - apparently inserted without director Sangster's consent, or even knowledge - is a total embarrassment!

It starts off well enough: all-too-typical material, to be sure, but very atmospheric (Carmilla's reincarnation, for instance, or the scene where hero Michael Johnson is surprised at the dilapidated Karnstein Castle by three cloaked female figures he takes to be vampires) and reasonably entertaining for all that. Other effective moments include: Carmilla's botched seduction of the Suzanna Leigh character; a couple of falls down a well, rendered stylized by the use of slow-motion; and the climax with the vampires trapped inside their flaming castle (lit by the inevitable torch-bearing villagers).

However, following the demise half-way through of top-billed Ralph Bates (yet another impressive turn from Hammer's candidate to replace Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee), the film slowly falls apart; reportedly, Cushing was supposed to have played the scholar/would-be vampire disciple - but I can't help feeling he'd have been both too old and ill-suited for the role. Similarly, Sangster replaced Terence Fisher: it would have been interesting to see Hammer's top director tackle "Carmilla" - but I wonder how he'd have handled the erotic aspects of the story. With its full-frontal nudity and scenes of lesbian love-making, THE VAMPIRE LOVERS had been credited with pushing the boundaries of permissiveness in Hammer horror - and this certainly follows in that tradition, with the script coming up with every possible excuse to have its scrumptious female cast disrobe!

The film does suffer from the lack of a star cast or even those familiar Hammer faces (other than Bates, that is): there's no denying that leading lady Yutte Stensgaard looks great throughout but, ultimately, she makes for an inadequate vampire (since she's depicted as being more pathetic than evil); Suzanna Leigh, then, is an equally attractive heroine; Barbara Jefford and Mike Raven, however, don't exactly ignite the screen as the Karnstein descendants (he was an especially poor choice and Hammer apparently realized this, to the extent that they had his voice dubbed by Valentine Dyall - while close-ups of Christopher Lee's eyes were roped in to 'aid' his character display the requisite fierceness!); Helen Christie is unintentionally funny as the headmistress of the school (where a good deal of the action takes place), who breaks down at ill-fated Police Inspector Harvey Hall's interrogation after a girl goes missing - which she fails to report immediately so as not to damage the school's reputation!

In the Audio Commentary, Sangster explains how he was dismissed by the producers (with whom he never saw eye to eye) during the editing stage. Suzanna Leigh spends more time discussing her career (in particular the actress' brief stint in Hollywood) than her contribution to the film proper, also mentioning her role in an episode of Hammer's JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN (1968-9) TV series - that, incidentally, was entirely filmed in Malta - and, at one point, even describes an out-of-body experience she went through in the mid-70s! However, Leigh does recall the atmosphere on the set of LUST FOR A VAMPIRE as being somewhat tense - with the troupe divided into two camps (one of which was snobbish about the profession, while the other kept a good-humored attitude towards the whole thing). Curiously, no mention is made at all of the film's literary origins - or, for that matter, the fact that it formed part of Hammer's Karnstein trilogy!
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6/10
Whatever 'Camp Classic' means this must be it.
von37Kreuz21 January 2002
I have only seen this film on TV panned and scanned, I look forward to it's region 2 release on DVD. The negatives first~no Cushing, Lee, Ripper or Morell but a silly 'character' performance from Ralph Bates, the leading ladies' makeup changes from shot to shot and the delirious and hilarious performance of the Grande Dame who runs the girls finishing school~simpering and eye popping at the same time. Editing by Saint Vitas. A closeup of Mike Raven replaced by a closeup of the great man Christopher Lee C.B.E. The 1970 hair and makeup and the script in which every line of dialogue begins with the other character's name, eg "Mircalla, I love you"..."No Richard"..."Yes Mircalla" that sort of twaddle. Now the positive~ the main role goes to unknown 'Jason King' look-a-like Michael Johnson and he is really rather good, and as naturalistic as can be expected. Despite the marshmallow soft porn of this late Hammer film it still has that lovely cosy Hammer gothic feel despite obvious painted backdrops for the castle. Mad camera shots framed by Barbara Jefford's bosom and good music. Good fun for late Hammer.
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The weakest in Hammer's Karnstein trilogy, but still fun for vampire buffs.
Infofreak7 January 2004
'Lust For A Vampire' is much weaker than Hammer's other two movies dealing with the evil Karnstein family of vampires, 'The Vampire Lovers' and 'Twins Of Evil'. Only a loose trilogy, while all are inspired by Sheridan Le Fanu's classic tale 'Camilla', it doesn't really matter what order you watch them in. This was a troubled shoot, with Peter Cushing being replaced by Ralph Bates, and director Terence Fisher being replaced by Jimmy Sangster, who was mainly a writer and assistant director for Hammer. One can't but help imagine how much better this would have been with Cushing and Fisher. As it is, it's flawed but still fun for vampire buffs. Michael Johnson is a pretty dull leading man, but Bates is very good, and Yutte Stensgaard is hot enough. There's also a few familiar faces from other Hammer movies in the supporting cast. If you are new to Hammer check out 'The Vampire Lovers', 'Plague Of The Zombies', 'Hands Of The Ripper', 'The Devil Rides Out' or 'Vampire Circus' for some of the best the studio had to offer. If you've seen those and 'Twins Of Evil' then 'Lust For A Vampire' is worth a look.
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4/10
Badly scripted sequel to The Vampire Lovers, too reliant on titillation at the expense of just about everything else.
Jonathon Dabell22 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Lust For A Vampire is the second of the Karnstein films from Hammer, following on from the rather impressive The Vampire Lovers. The films were inspired by Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla, and once again the character of Carmilla features significantly in the plot here (Yutte Stensgaard taking over the role from Ingrid Pitt, who was memorably beheaded at the climax of the previous film). Indeed the film opens with one of those typical blood-sacrifice resurrection sequences that seemed a staple ingredient of the Hammer Dracula movies, only this time the blood of a village virgin is used to bring our favourite lesbian vampire back to life.

In the shadow of the abandoned Karnstein Castle, a young maiden is picked up by a mysterious carriage. Grateful for the lift, she climbs aboard willingly… but it turns out to be the last mistake she ever makes. The girl is taken up to the castle where her throat is slit, the resulting blood spillage used to resurrect the long dead lesbian vampire Carmilla (Yutte Stensgaard). Writer Richard Lestrange (Michael Johnson) is visiting the village to research a new book when he learns of the girl's disappearance and the villagers' superstitious fears. Dismissing their worries as nonsense, he heads up to the castle to investigate. He learns that there is a newly opened finishing school close to the castle, run by Miss Simpson (Helen Christie) and creepy schoolmaster Giles Barton (Ralph Bates). Lestrange is instantly besotted with one of the girls at the school – a young blonde named Mircalla (you've guessed it – it's Carmilla, using a cunning anagram to disguise her identity!) Lestrange spends the rest of the movie lusting after Mircalla (hence the film's title), little realising – or not caring if he does – the peril in which he is placing himself.

Since the extra helpings of sex, nudity and lesbianism had gone down so well in The Vampire Lovers, even more is thrown in to Lust For A Vampire. Sadly, it brings nothing to the story – it just acts as a rather desperate, rather seedy tactic to generate extra box office for a not-very-good film. Stensgaard is used – like most of the female cast – for eye candy only; meanwhile, the best actor and character in the whole thing (Bates, as the lecherous Mr Barton) is bumped off far too soon into the proceedings. In fact, Tudor Gates' awkward and uneven script isn't kind to the actors at all – not just content with disposing of interesting characters too early, it also lets characters drift out of the story for long periods, and worse still, jarringly injects characters late in the film to get the plot moving again (the American father of one of Mircalla's victims and a saintly bishop being two examples of this). The script does no favours for the plot either, often rambling aimlessly off-track. It seems pretty clear throughout that Lust For A Vampire is bereft of ideas and energy, relying time after time on its more sensational aspects, namely the frequent pauses for nudity and titillation. It becomes preoccupied with sexuality and sensuality, and forgets to give as much time and effort to its other themes. While all this flesh on display might be enough to satisfy some viewers, it leaves twice as many again wishing that there was a bit more to (pardon the pun) get their teeth into.
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7/10
Not nearly as bad as made out to be
gizmomogwai3 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
As of last night, I've now seen all of Hammer's Karnstein Trilogy, three '70s erotic horror movies based on the legendary lesbian vampire Carmilla. I have the Blu-ray of the first film, The Vampire Lovers (1970) on pre-order. The follow-ups aren't quite as good, and I concur with others who say Lust for a Vampire is the weakest of the three. That said, it's not nearly as bad as made out to be.

Most of the acting (except from the girl at the very beginning of the film) is passable. Carmilla is played in this movie by the Danish Yutte Stensgaard, who has a sinister smile when she kills off one character, but otherwise doesn't quite measure up to Ingrid Pitt. The story and writing are passable as well. It may be nothing special, but it makes sense to follow up on The Vampire Lovers by sending Carmilla to an all-girl school. That said, she does have an affair with a man in this movie, but elements of lesbianism are still visible.

Lust for a Vampire features some gratuitous nudity- and for that, I thank Hammer. One thing that struck me as odd is that this movie has to go out of its way to explain how Carmilla is resurrected (she is definitely killed at the end of The Vampire Lovers) and yet instead of keeping her alive, the second movie kills her in the end too. A flaming stake happens to fall down and coincidentally hit her in the chest- a total accident, and not quite a satisfying ending. This time she appears to stay dead, as the third film in the trilogy, Twins of Evil, is likely a prequel rather than a sequel. As well, this movie blunders in making Carmilla the vampire's true name, whereas in The Vampire Lovers it's an alias.

All things considered, Lust for a Vampire is a guilty pleasure, even if guiltier than the rest of the trilogy.
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