The Vampire Lovers (1970)
What's your opinion on Hammer's classic The Vampire Lovers? I've always held it in high regard mainly because this was the film that really got the ball rolling with me in regards to becoming a lifelong horror fan as it was the first horror movie I was allowed to stay up and watch all the way through as a youngster.
From the bowels of the earth they came....to collect DVDs!
Classic Hammer in every sense.
Countess Dracula dragged somewhat.Not a patch on TVL.
It is time to keep your appointment with the Wicker Man.
And both of them are available on a great Midnite Movies double feature dvd which I'm sure,like myself,you have Reaper.
"Give me grain or give me death!"
Never been a huge fan of this one. Patchy storyline and some bland acting. Not one of the best 70's Hammer films for me. Twins Of Evil is my favourite of the Karnstein trilogy.
The UK Optimum DVD pairs it with Lust For A Vampire.
i really like it...
but then 'countess dracula' is also one of my favourite hammers. a huge gothic castle, a weird carnival vibe, ingrid pitt naked bathing in blood... what more would you ask of a hammer film?
i think they made about 5 erotic vampire films in 2 years - the karnstein trilogy, 'countess dracula' and 'vampire circus'. they're all great apart from 'lust for a vampire' which is really, really bad.
i love hammer generally, but i think 'vampire circus' is their one true masterpiece and a hugely underrated film.
Me likey lotty. One of thier best films imho. I've always been a late 60's/70's 'Hammer' guy.
Strangely though despite the novella being called "Carmilla" (as is the lead character of course), "The Vampire Lovers" never uses that name.
Pitt's character is never addressed as Carmilla and even on her coffin the name is 'Mircalla'.
But it is a common misconception (just read many reviews on-line) that 'Hammer' used the 'Carmilla' name for the film when they didn't.
“The Vampire Lovers” is a landmark film for ‘Hammer’ as far as 'Hammer' goes for me.
As the 1970’s opened and as the public’s taste changed (and censorship became less stringent) ‘Hammer’ were able to use sexuality, nudity and increased bloodshed to accent their otherwise rather polite, costume, Gothic Horror movies.
And with the strikin Ingrid Pitt to work with, as well as a bevy of other busty lovelies, ‘Hammer’ had the perfect ingredients to make this change in content work so well.
And sexy sexy sex sexy 'Hammer' handle the erotic moments very well.
The virtually silent sequence on the landing of Mircalla ensnaring Kate O’Mara’s Mme. Perrodot is one of the most effective and bitingly erotic things ‘Hammer’ ever filmed imho.
But Pitt’s scenes with the delightfully sweet Madeline Smith (who my Dad always had a crush on!) also work perfectly on a far more innocent level.
Smith may not be the best actress in the world, but her doe-eyed innocence is amazingly appealing and likeable and you honestly can’t imagine anyone else playing Emma in these seduction scenes.
The gore shown here is also a big step up from what ‘Hammer’ had shown before.
And it adds a very welcome jolt to the proceedings.
Who can forget the sight of a crimson streaked, physically, mentally and spiritually drained Baron Hartog ramming down the blood dripping stake one last time?
It's a brutally powerful image and really brings home the butchery involved in such a task.
But there is more to “The Vampire Lovers” than it’s myriad female charms and extra blood me thinks.
The sets are gorgeous and detailed and they work wonderfully in creating that essential Gothic atmosphere and we have a fine support cast.
A real treat!
"Hammer' sure made a vast, weird-ass meal of their 'Karnstein' flicks though. It's a real mess.
If Mircalla is the last Karnstein who is The Countess in this?
She is certainly involved in the evil deeds but she is never shown as being a Vampire.
And more importantly who is the ‘Man in Black’ who seems to almost control The Countess and Mircalla (and who also pops up in the next film “Lust for a Vampire“)?
Is he Count Karnstein, but if so why is he never mentioned as still being ‘alive’?
“Lust for a Vampire” has him appear reviving Mircalla then doing nothing.
“Twins of Evil” would see a Count Karnstein appear but an initially non-Vampyric version who Mircalla turns into a Vampire after being re-incarnated again.
And it will all be turned on it’s head again by the Karnstein’s cameo in the otherwise non-Karnstein movie “Captain Kronos”.
It’s all very complicated and probably better not studied too hard!
MGM claimed this footage was lost and released the cut version on VHS in the US in the 90's despite it being pointed out that said footage was included in a South Bank Show on (IIRC) Vampires/Dracula.
When the Midnite Movies double bill came out it was nice to find that MGM had found the footage.
I wonder if Optimum has the footage or whether its the previous version which replaces the nudity with a cutaway of Madeline Smith
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