A lesbian vampire couple waylay and abduct various passer-byes, 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.
A young woman is invited by her girlfriend, who lives in an English country mansion, to stay there with her. The estate, however, isn't quite what it seems--and neither is the friend who issued the invitation.
José Ramón Larraz
A superstitious, illiterate young gypsy servant girl comes to live with a solitary female artist at her country chateau. The girl has recurring nightmares of a naked man on horseback ... See full summary »
José Ramón Larraz
After escaping a death sentence for her hideous crimes, a seemingly rehabilitated woman settles in an isolated farmhouse with her husband, only to ache, once more, for blood, and a crash-course in surgery. Is, indeed, her old self back?
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 young woman travels with her partner to England on the unexpected death of her brother. Staying with her sister-in-law, she finds her companion soon drawn into a satanic cult based in the... See full summary »
Fran and Miriam are a pair of beautiful vampires who get victims to pull over by hitchhiking. They proceed to bring them back to their house and drink their blood.Written by
Josh Pasnak <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Rumors abound about a missing scene in which Fran and Miriam are seen inside the caravan of John and Harriet. This rumor is borne out by production stills and a vague recollection by producer Brian Smedley-Aston that it was, indeed, shot. See more »
The DVD release from Blue Underground is the completely uncut version, containing the gore that was missing from the Anchor Bay DVD. See more »
This is just one of a spate of recent horror/exploitation DVD releases which I purchased (I'll try to write about all of them), many of which will have proven to be my first viewing VAMPYRES included.
The film, remarkably enough, manages to transcend the limitations of its extremely low budget and, in fact, was a surprisingly enjoyable experience for me. Director Jose' Ramon Larraz brings a stylish and effective aura of Gothic horror to it, somewhat akin to that found in the Hammer films (the fact that it was actually partly shot at a stand-by set for that studio's vampire films may have contributed to this). The screenplay, penned by Larraz under his wife's name(!), may be construed as 'trashy' but I found it to be curiously involving and, I might add, reasonably better than most of Hammer's stuff from this period. While at first one may be kind of let down by the 'liberties' taken by the film-makers vis-à-vis the established cinematic vampire lore no vampire hunters, no confrontations with crosses or holy water, no stakes through the heart, no fear of running water (but then we wouldn't have had that sexy lesbian love-making scene would we?), no seduction of the young campers, etc. these can be looked upon as a clever evasion of cliché, rendering the essentially unoriginal material surprisingly fresh!
The cinematography was most attractive (the country-side exteriors, in particular, were beautifully shot) and, as a matter of fact, veteran cameraman Harry Waxman's involvement (fresh from THE WICKER MAN ) was a major asset to the production. The pounding yet eerie music score by James Clark (his sole screen credit!) managed to capture the full essence of the film, from its haunting overall quality to the shocking images which abounded throughout its tightly-knit duration. The film's cavernous but decrepit settings (courtesy of production designer Ken Bridgeman) were, again, masterfully achieved especially when considering that it seamlessly alternated between two different locations for the castle interiors! Due to its plot being rather thin, the film's editing style could not perhaps forego a certain sluggishness to the proceedings; yet, despite its occasional repetitiveness (like the lengthy passages where Murray Brown is seen inspecting the castle grounds scenes which reminded me a lot of CASTLE OF BLOOD ), I never found it to be boring as this was often countered by the number of effective shock cuts interspersed throughout.
The two leading ladies Marianne Morris and Anulka were very well-cast in my opinion, proving themselves surprisingly compelling screen presences, and this was aided a great deal by their highly contrasting personalities. Still, while it is perfectly understandable that Miss Morris had more screen time than Miss Dziubinska given her dominant personality and her ongoing relationship with Murray Brown, I must say that I preferred Anulka (an opinion with which, I'm happy to say, even director Larraz concurs) and I would have liked her to be in a couple more scenes. From the rest of the cast (who are mostly serviceable but certainly nothing special), the equally lovely Sally Faulkner makes the best impression.
The film vigorously approaches the sex and violence aspects of the plot, perhaps the mainstay of its cult following. However, as I said earlier, (without spoiling anything for those who have yet to watch it), I was slightly let down by Faulkner's fate at the climax expecting something different to happen to her after what had gone on before as well as by the main narrative's unresolved ending. Was the whole film Murray Brown's twisted recollection of the killing of his girlfriend (one of the two vampires) when he caught her in the buff with another girl? Why else would they 'die' by gunshot in the very opening scene? Why else would the elderly desk clerk remember him from an earlier stay at that same hotel? Why else would the estate agent say to the American tourists at the end of the film that Brown was probably a criminal who came back to the scene of his crime?
The DVD transfer featured excellent video and audio quality. The supplements were also very good, especially the new interview with the stars and the delightful (and often profane) Audio Commentary with Larraz and producer Brian Smedley-Aston. I loved that Mr. Larraz took the time to air his views on the kind of films he liked to watch (although I can't agree with his off-hand dismissal of French and Spanish cinema in general) and I wish that during these stages of the commentary he had a more attentive and probing listener than Smedley-Aston. However, I have yet to check out the lengthy essay 'VAMPYRES: A Tribute to the Ultimate in Erotic Horror Cinema' accessible only via DVD-ROM which, in turn, promises to be quite interesting.
The film compares favorably with Blue Underground's other 'lesbian vampires' release Harry Kumel's DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS (1971) though it does not have that film's thematic density, sophisticated artistry or its lingering dramatic power, but then I didn't expect it to! I am also looking forward even more now to watching two similar films (incidentally also directed by Spaniards!) Jess Franco's VAMPYROS LESBOS (1970) and Vicente Aranda's THE BLOOD-SPATTERED BRIDE (1972) not to mention Larraz's other work, particularly SYMPTOMS (1974) and BLACK CANDLES (1981).
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