A runaway criminal breaks into an eerie chateau, taking its two frightened chambermaids hostage. As night falls, a group of mysterious aristocratic women arrive and the criminal begins to realize the women are hiding a sinister secret.
A lesbian vampire couple waylay and abduct various passers-by, both male and female, to hold them captive at their rural manor in the English countryside in order to kill and feed on them to satisfy their insatiable thirst for blood.
José Ramón Larraz
Frederick sees a photograph of a ruined seaside castle, which triggers a strange childhood memory. He then goes on a strange quest, aided by four female vampires, to find the castle and the beautiful woman who lives there.
A young man falls in love with a beautiful woman being chased by sinister masked figures at night. He tries to track her down, and learns she's being held captive by his father and colleagues who believe she's a vampire.
A young husband's sexual fantasies frighten his new wife and cause her to seek advice from Carmilla, a descendent of Mircalla de Karnstein. Carmilla seduces the young bride and forces her to commit gory acts of mutilation.Written by
The Anchor Bay release of the film is in English, also dubbed in English to clean up the Spanish accents of the actors attempting English throughout. See more »
Susan draws a portrait of Mircalla Karstein, on which Susan's husband doodles in the upper right-hand corner. Later, when Susan looks at the drawing, her husband's doodling is missing. See more »
[reading from a book]
Nightmares are always the expression of a powerful desire which, instead of being accepted by us, is rejected and repressed... There exists in the human female an undeniable aggressive tendency when she's eventually confronted by the loss of her virginity, an event of supreme importance to her, and which is, for her, desirable and abhorred at the same time. Some modern specialists call this 'The Judith Complex.'
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The film was cut for its 1979 UK cinema release with edits to the castration scene and closeup shots of bloody stomach wounds during stabbing scenes. The 1988 video version contained the same cinema cuts and was cut by a further 26 secs by the BBFC to remove footage of Susan being assaulted and her clothes ripped. See more »
Classic Eurohorror somewhat marred by a lame ending (at least in currently available prints)
There have been no less than FIVE classic European horror films based on the Sheridan LeFanu classic story "Carmilla". There was the creepy, expressionistic Carl Theodore Dryer film "Vampyr" back in the 30's. There was the famous Hammer period horror film "The Vampire Lovers" (which itself inspired two sequels). There was Roger Vadim's very French New Wave "Blood and Roses". There was Harry Kumel's superior, if somewhat overrated, "Daughters of Darkness". And there was this one, a Spanish film, which is perhaps the most exploitative and also the most bizarrely surrealistic of all of them.
The plot involves a man (Simon Andreu) and his young bride (Maribel Martin), who are on a seaside honeymoon. The woman suffers from a kind of sexual hysteria where she hallucinates strange men coming out of the closet and raping her. Interestingly though, it is the man who first discovers the lesbian vampire (Alexandra Bastedo). In what is undoubtedly the most arresting image in the film he digs her up from the beach sand where she is buried (for some reason) wearing nothing but a snorkel mask! (And demonstrating the film's exploitative pedigree, he first uncovers her sizable breasts). Of course, it isn't long before the lesbianism starts in earnest. The film is marred somewhat by a very ham-handed ending, but one that is also quite a statement (perhaps unintentionally so) on the reactionary machismo of Spain in the late Franco era.
This movie has an interesting if somewhat obscure cast. Simon Andreu was in a number of Italian giallo thrillers with fellow Spaniard Nieves Navarro (aka Susan Scott) and her Italian director husband Luciano Ercoli. He would stage a kind of comeback years later with a supporting role in Roman Polanski's "The Ninth Gate". The young and beautiful Maribel Martin was in three classic Spanish horror films in the late 60's/early 70's--"The House that Screamed", "A Bell from Hell", and this one--so it's both strange and regrettable that she completely disappeared soon after. British actress Alexandra Bastedo had a much longer career, going back at least to William Castle's "13 Frightened Girls" in 1963 and as far forward as Freddie Francis' "The Ghoul" in 1975. But she was almost always relegated to supporting roles, so it's good to see a lot more of her here (both in terms of the size of her role and the sparseness of her wardrobe).
The ending of the available prints seems rather truncated, perhaps suggesting censorship (although it's doubtful even this print ever played in Franco's Spain). It would be nice if someday another print would turn up with a smoother ending (and maybe a longer nude, lesbian clinch between Bastedo and Martin). Here's hoping anyway.
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