The Vampire Lovers
Action / Fantasy / Horror
The Vampire Lovers
Action / Fantasy / Horror
The Countess is called away to tend a sick friend and imposes on the General to accept her daughter Marcilla as a houseguest. Some of the villagers begin dying, however, and the General's daughter Laura soon gets weak and pale, but Marcilla is there to comfort her. The villagers begin whispering about vampires as Marcilla finds another family on which to impose herself. The pattern repeats as Emma gets ill, but the General cannot rest, and seeks the advice of Baron Hartog, who once dealt a decisive blow against a family of vampires. Well, almost.
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as Marcilla / Carmilla / Mircalla Karnstein
The last good Hammer movie?
Certainly a movie one would use the word "good" for rather than "great", but this movie does contain flashes of the unique attributes that made Hammer such a winner in the first place but which had been largely forgotten by the company in its rush to replicate the success of "One Million Years B.C." with cheap imitations. Ingrid Pitt is probably the film's greatest asset, along with the very well done sets and art design in general.
Pitt plays a vampire lesbian who uses various forms of deception to seduce the daughters of England's upper crust. She comes off great in the role of seductress and is just barely convincing enough as the "innocent" her character pretends to be.
Cushing makes only 2 brief appearances, not making much of an impression (but he's given very little to work with here in a role that just about anyone could have played).
Memorable, not as good as Hammer's best vampire film "Dracula" (aka "Horror of Dracula", US) but definately one of its better, if not its best, films of the 70s.
"The trouble with this part of the world is they have too many fairy tales."
Britain's Hammer Films, needing new blood for their continuing series of vampire outings, went some years back for inspiration--1871, to be exact, and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanuthic's short story "Carmilla", believed to be one of the earliest works of vampire fiction (26 years before the appearance of Bram Stoker's "Dracula"). In a small Austrian town in the 18th century, a 240-year-old female vampire (Ingrid Pitt) charms her way into the homes of a general (Peter Cushing) and later a nobleman (George Cole), seducing both their comely daughters and leaving her mark above their breasts. Her conquests are overseen by a man on horseback, who acts as her guardian. For genre buffs, a decent bloodsucker; there are a few marvelous scenes (decapitations and lesbian clinches, with much female nudity), but the handling is flat and the acting fairly colorless. Worse, the editing leaves confusion in the narrative, while Harry Robinson's obtrusive, derivative music underlines every other scene with heightened emphasis. Producers Michael Style and Harry Fine quickly followed this "Vampire" with two more: "Lust for a Vampire" in 1971 (without Cushing) and "Twins of Evil" in 1972 (with Cushing). *1/2 from ****
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One of Hammer's most underrated efforts
While enjoying her birthday party, a woman finds that two new arrivals cause quite a stir among the guests, yet when a series of dead bodies are found across the countryside they realize the deadly secret they hold and race to stop their deadly plans from coming true.
This is one of the best entries from Hammer in a long time. What really works is the rather strong approach to the exploitation elements as this is one of their best attempts at melding their old- Gothic approach with kinkier elements that were becoming famous at the time. This is still very Gothically-influenced, with the eerie opening showing a lone figure gliding effortlessly through a fog- drenched cemetery in a flowing white night-gown, the instances at the Gothic castle featuring them entering and exiting their graves or the frantic chases through the woods which are in the classic mode. The later sequence showing the fate of him digging up the corpses by showing the exhumation of the bodies and the recitation of the family history in the castle while showing the final attempts at seduction back at the house finishes the Gothic atmosphere. The difference is enhanced with the addition of the lesbian hijinks, which is greatly appreciated as the style of film also allows for one of the greatest collection of Hammer women to grace the screen all getting in on it at some point. When it has a chance, it's sexuality is openly explored while never feeling like childish moments just there for titillation and it is mixed nicely with the old Gothic traditions. It's a nice combination of styles that strikes directly against the hinted-at seductiveness of the earlier ones with a vampire on-screen that actually is quite seductive and breath-taking, and her image is one of unbridled beauty and death at once. The additional violence is also nice to see and delivers more than the usual bloody fare as there are decapitations galore, some quite bloody stakings to the heart that are far gorier than what would've been shown before as well as neck bites and bloody corpses spread throughout. This is a more than fine combination of the different styles at the time and shows that they can meld together quite effectively since all these styles converge together into a cohesive manner that truly feels as though they belonged together. Add this together with a fast pace, traditional Hammer excellence in acting and dialog, and it's a minor classic in their catalog. Basically, all that's really wrong here are a couple of unexplained questions. There's a mysterious man-in-black whenever some victim is killed, and it's never told who he is. His backstory is a mystery, his powers are left up in the air as to where they came from, and the fact that all he does is appear on horseback is just another clue to his enigma. As well, she is said to be the last of the Karnstein clan, yet she comes into contact with both families by a mysterious noblewoman who then disappears from the film when she is taken away without answering where she comes from or what her contact with the vampire is. These questions are never explained in the film and are perhaps the only thing wrong with it.
Today's Rated R: Full Nudity, Graphic Violence and several mild sex scenes.