80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
This two disk set contains the Hammer horror films The Vampire Lovers and Lust For A Vampire. Both films are very losely based on Sheradan Le Fanu's Carmilla.
First up is The Vampire Lovers starring Ingrid Pitt and a selection of Hammer beauties including Kate O Mara (The Rani in Doctor Who). Peter Cushing and George Cole appear as the male leads. There is quite alot of nudity and I think that the film is uncut - the decapitation scenes seem to be intact - they are certainly longer than the other releases I have seen. The print is in 1.85 widescreen and is pritty good quality with a few scratches.
Next up is Lust For A Vampire. This was one of the least popular Hammer films and is generally ridiculed. I have to say I actually quite enjoyed it. Ralph Bates stars with Yvette Stensgard taking over Ingrid Pitt's role (she was filming Countess Dracula at the time). Once again there is quite alot of nudity with some pritty mild gore. The print again is in 1.85 widescreen and is very clear with hardly and blemishes.
All in all this is a very nice package. The only thing that lets it down is the lack of extras. You get a couple of trailers bit no commentary tracks or behind the scenes - still you can't have everything.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
The problem with Hammer Horror films it is, for all their charm and atmosphere, it is, at times, difficult to ignore their weaknesses - the uneven pacing, shoddy sets and hackneyed characters that dog their history. That said Vampire Lovers is a particularly fine example and a cultural milestone that heralded the arrival of vampyric characters as being romantic, charismatic and seductive.
For all the strength of the cast in this film - George Cole and obligatory Peter Cushing, for all it's whimsical, dreamlike eroticism and relatively slick (by Hammer standards) execution this film rises head and shoulders above it peers solely by virtue of it's leading lady.
Essentially defining the vampire for the generation of films that would follow Ingrid Pitt carries the cast and production effortlessly on a tide of charisma, charm, grace and almost preternatural beauty.
While this film is undoubtedly exploitative and resolutely sexist, it manages to inadvertently empower it's female lead albeit at the cost of the bevy of blushing, fainting beauties who line up only to fall under her spell. The patriarchal men who populate the film, dotting about looking worried, grumpy and pallid, look pathetic next to the animalistic, virile goddess squaring up against them As they cower behind their trinkets of religion, powerless to stop their women being spirited away, we inadvertently begin to side with the vampires. Just observe the scene where Ingrid's Carmilla bears down on the young buck who storms in to rescue the dizzy young virgin from our anti-heroine's clutches. Is it me or does the phallic sword that he wields seem to droop slightly as she storms down the stairs towards him?
Weight is lent to Ingrid's performance not only by her almost unbelievable natural charisma, but also by her acting abilities. This woman possessed more talent than the horror genre often asked of it's ladies. Just observe her work the subtle nuances of her craft as the spectre of a smile creeps across her face on hearing that she is to be taken in by yet another unsuspecting band of aristos. Also fantastic is the scene where a couple of male characters discuss the fact that the predator amongst them is a woman... `an extremely beautiful woman'. We are then treated to a quick cut-away to Ingrid sitting in a chair managing to look haughty, sexy, smug, dangerous, seductive and powerful all at the same time - I kid you not!
The film's much vaunted eroticism, through solely projections of male fantasy, are undoubtedly stirring. Ingrid's seduction of Madeline Smith when she chases her round the room before falling onto the bed alongside her is as erotic as anything I have seen onscreen and the real life revelations that, at the time the film was made Madeline was a virgin, while Ingrid was almost certainly not, make it all the more intoxicating.
That Ingrid did not go on to achieve greater success as an actress is a sin, after all she was (and is) a fine actress and surely one of the most beautiful women alive. That she went on to have a successful writing career and continues to be worshipped by a legion of fans is wholly apt.
To conclude Vampire Lovers is a gem which deserves to be savoured and relished over and over again.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2011
...of these 1970 Hammer movies with an erotic flavour. I already had 'Vampire Lovers' which was in 4:3, in contrast to this newer 'Optimum Releasing' edition, which is obviously matted to the theatrical release format of 1.85:1. The cropping frequently cuts off the top of Ingrid's and Madeleine's heads. Both movies are decent transfers to DVD. Only trailers are extras, but that doesn't bother me, as I'm not a fan of self-indulgent commentaries and documentaries.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2011
This is a great double feature with two good Hammer films, both films have alot of Hammer babes including the sexy Ingrid Pit as Carmilla the lesbian vampire in Vampire Lovers. Vampire Lovers was directed by Roy Ward Baker, the director of the amazing Asylum and Scars of Dracula. As the 1970s rolled around, Hammer were having problems. Their co-production deal with Seven Arts, that saw such big budgeted classics as Frankenstein Must be Destroyed (1969) and The Devil Rides Out (1968) had ended after the disastrous flop of "space western" Moon Two Zero (1969). Meanwhile, the increasing liberalisation across Europe had seen increased blood and nudity becoming standard in horror cinema, and Hammer's implied sexuality was no longer cutting the ice. They needed a new American partner, and their one time rivals American International Productions stepped up with the money, while J Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla novel provided a perfect mix of vampires and lesbian romance.
Vampire Lovers revolves around a 19th century castle somewhere in Stiria, Baron von Hartog (Douglas Wilmer) stalks the graveyard of the Karnstein castle waiting for a vampire to arise - he is seeking revenge for the death of his sister at their hands. Decades later at a ball, held by General Von Spielsdorf (Peter Cushing), a mysterious Countess and her beautiful daughter Marcilla (Ingrid Pitt) arrive. The Countess is called away, and asks to leave her daughter with von Spielsdoft, and she befriend's his daughter - but soon she starts to grow ill and eventually dies, with a distinctive bite mark on her breast. The General heads off to track down a Baron von Hartog after Marcilla disappears. Later, Roger Morton, who has recently moved into the area with his daughter Emma meets the same Countess after a coach accident in which her daughter Carmilla is hurt and offer to look after the girl for a while until the Countess can return from her important trip. Carmilla starts to befriend young Emma....
Her extended stay causes the woman to become sick, and as her condition worsens, a clear vampiristic scenario emerges into being. The team of vampire slayers create an awesome team to root for. They eventually start figuring things out and they find the coffins of the undead and they start slaying each vampire one by one with wooden spikes and decapitation! Don't expect any gore beyond the opening sequence, although the blood is so bright and pours slowly, and creates another awesome effect in this film. While many of the later Hammer female vampire films were torn between romance and horror themes, The Vampire Lovers balances them very well, achieving some genuinely memorable and tense scenes (notably the opening sequence) and a quite plausible romance between Carmilla and Emma, that although including several nude scenes, actually manages to avoid falling into the simple lesbian/exploitation trap of many Euro-horror films.
Unfortunately the second film Lust for a Vampire was the weakest of the two films, it had plenty of nudity but was lacking in horror. I wouldn't necessarily say that it was bad but they could have at least made some of the scenes more bloodier, it's still a guilty pleasure of mine. Lust for a Vampire this time features Yutte Stensgaard as the beautiful vampire Carmilla. Using the blood of a local virgin, this ancient evil is resurrected by the devious Count Karnstein (Mike Raven), and the Countess Herritzen (Barbara Jefford). Carmilla, now called Mircalla, is quickly entered in an exclusive all-girl boarding school. All that encounter her, including the school's history teacher and a traveling writer of the occult, fall under her hypnotic spell. A short time passes and the deaths begin to pile up. The questions and the fears begin to grow and it almost goes without saying that a frightened village is going to be heard from in the form of an angry mob.
In this regard, Lust for a Vampire does not disappoint. So, with torches burning and tempers running high, who is going to live and who is going to die from the Lust for a Vampire? Original director Terence Fisher had to back out because of a broken leg, and longtime Hammer screenwriter Jimmy Sangster was called into duty with little to no prep time. On top of that, Peter Cushing pulled out almost literally the day before shooting, with Ralph Bates leaping in to help out. Not one of Hammer film's best but not it's worst either it was just average with some scenes that dragged on and it had a slow pace, but there were a few good moments overall especially the exciting climax which was worth it. Anyway make sure you check these films out if your a Hammer fan as the transfer and picture quality were brilliant on both films.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2014
The result of a co-production deal between American International Pictures and Hammer, and probably the final film the British company made that generated any kind of controversial buzz at all, Roy Ward Baker's The Vampire Lovers (1970) was adapted remarkably closely from Sheridan Le Fanu's 1871 novella Carmilla, and is the first chapter in what eventually became known as Hammer's `Karnstein Trilogy'.
In her most famous and iconic role, pneumatic Polish bombshell Ingrid Pitt plays the buxom vampire girl preying on the daughters of several noble families in 18th Century Styria; shedding her inhibitions, and her clothes, Pitt certainly makes for a memorable central character for the film, a sexually ferocious, bare-breasted blood-sucker with an overt preference for the female of the species; the canny, commercially-driven decision by Hammer to make a horror film based around the notion of lesbian lust certainly got some pulses racing back in 1970, and was aided in no small part by the gusto with which Pitt throws herself into the part.
Unfortunately, despite the literate script and great cast (which also features the doe-eyed, big-boobed waif Madeline Smith and the depraved-looking Kate O'Mara as Pitt's victims, as well as George Cole, Douglas Wilmer, and Peter Cushing as a trio of fatherly vampire hunters), the film is prevented from achieving classic status within the Hammer filmography by nature of its unfortunately under-budgeted look; by 1970, the lush on-screen grandeur of Hammer finest epics was starting to fade, with the company's period sets and costumes looking increasingly flea-bitten over the coming years (this certainly had something to do with the death of Hammer's legendary production designer Bernard Robinson at around this time). Also, the story is a little choppy; for instance, it is unclear if the presence of the black-clad, silent male vampire who apparently hangs around Pitt monitoring her activities (played by John Forbes-Robertson after Christopher Lee was offered the part but unsurprisingly told the producers to jog on) was deliberately inserted into the film with a view to the character having more to do in a sequel, or whether the writers simply forgot to do anything with him, but either way his presence makes absolutely no sense within the context of the film.
Released later the same year, the hastily-commissioned sequel Lust for a Vampire replaced Pitt with nondescript Danish blonde Yutte Stensgaard, and deserves its reputation as one of Hammer's biggest stinkers. In every respect, what worked in The Vampire Lovers fails here; Stensgaard, though very nice to look at, lacks even Pitt's modest acting credentials, the lead actors (anonymous Michael Johnson and the dreaded Mike Raven amongst them) are similarly awful, the sets impoverished (they make The Vampire Lovers' look like those from Doctor Zhivago), and even the expected titillation is far from memorable. The Hammer film which, to non-fans, probably best resembles what they think every Hammer film is like (with its bad acting, fake-looking blood, gratuitous nudity, and above all the fact that it's definitely not scary), Lust for a Vampire is an absolute dog that, despite being planned as a Terence Fisher movie that would again feature Peter Cushing in a supporting role, eventually saw both men back out for personal reasons, to be replaced with an unenthusiastic Jimmy Sangster and a nonplussed Ralph Bates (these two friends were immediately unimpressed with how the film was going to be made, and moreover loathed the finished product).
The `Karnstein Trilogy' would conclude the following year with the far better Twins of Evil, but by then the publicity generated by Hammer's new-found boldness was waning. Within just a couple of years of The Vampire Lovers' release, nips to the neck had become inseparable from the other kind when it came to horror movies, and Hammer's new `tits and fangs' formula quickly found far more explicit expression in films from other production companies.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2013
I like it, for me is relaxing to see these old films, quite soft and not really scary..
I appreciate in these " horrors" some kind of esthetic research as well as metaphorical..
Particulary in Vampire Lovers the scenery is quite beautiful, looking more like a theatre than a movie ..
Like in many horrors ( see The Hunger) the hero is searching probably Forever Lasting Love ..
This is not a film for everybody, but more for people who like some artistic, esthetic research end have some kind of sense of humor to not take it too seriously .. !
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2010
These are the first two installments of Hammer's famous "Karnstein" trilogy, available in a double disc package.
"The Vampire Lovers" was directed by Roy Ward Baker and is based on J. Sheridan Le Fanu's 1872 story "Camilla". The iconic Ingrid Pitt stars as a beautiful, bisexual vampire who keeps changing her name to cover her tracks. Her character is a member of the notorious Karnstein family that is feared for its legendary bloodsucking exploits. With this movie Hammer put the emphasis on sex and nudity rather than pure horror but, for the most part, it is quite tastefully done. For the blokes there is eye candy galore on display here. Apart from Ingrid, there's the voluptuous Kate O'Mara, gorgeous Maddy Smith and pretty Pippa Steel. Female viewers have to settle for Peter Cushing, Minder's George Cole and Ferdy Mayne (but there is Jon Finch as well)! The nudity is mainly provided by Ingrid and Maddy and they do a grand job when it comes to getting their kit off but I must say that this film seems rather tame when compared to the erotic vampire films of Jean Rollin or Jesús Franco. There are a couple of impressive decapitations at the beginning and end of the film and a few other memorable moments in between to make this interesting viewing for vampire movie buffs. By the way, a clip from "The Vampire Lovers" appears in the 1971 film "The Return Of Count Yorga".
In "Lust For A Vampire" Carmilla/Mircalla/Marcilla is played by tasty Swedish beauty, Yutte Stensgaard (billed as "Yutte Stensgmrd" on the back cover of this DVD?!?!), and she's soon up to her old tricks. Like Baron Meinster, in "The Brides Of Dracula", Carmilla's main victims are beautiful young women who are attending a local girls' school. One of the teachers at the school, played by Hammer-regular Ralph Bates, discovers who Carmilla really is and begs her to make him one of her own kind. Another teacher called Lestrange (Michael Johnson) falls in love with her and this gives the film makers an opportunity to shoe-horn a weird song called "Strange Love" into the soundtrack! "Lust For A Vampire" contains probably a bit more nudity than "The Vampire Lovers" but it is not as stylishly-done or as well-acted as its predecessor. Ace Hammer script-writer Jimmy Sangster was in the director's chair for this one.
The trilogy was completed with "Twins Of Evil", which is arguably the best film of the three and featured Playboy models Madeleine and Mary Collinson as the titular twins and a great performance by Peter Cushing as a fanatical witch hunter. Perhaps one day someone will release all three films together as a special edition triple disc package loaded with extras....
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This double bill represents fangtastic value for money, and is a must for Hammer?Ingrid fans. I have never been a big fan of her, but this is definetely her film and possibly her best (I'm talking "Vampire Lovers" of course) She looks terrifyingly sexy and acts well. So many bosoms heaving as well (Kate O'Mara seldom better) and as for Maddy Smith..How come everyone seems to rate her so highly even giving her the important front cover of that wonderful book "Hammer Glamour"..Bless her, I think she admits she can't act, but there is a fascination about her performences that defies sensible criticism. The print and sound are excellent. Not so good for me is "Lust for a Vampire", tho the women are still great, the plot and direction/script are really not up to some other Hammer horrors (and I have never been able to take Ralph Bates seriously-tho I am sure he was anice guy). Without Yutte and the girls/sex this would be a bit a damp sqib, but that's just me. Great VFM - you would be daft not to buy this DVD.
These are enjoyable films, and particularly in the case of "Vampire Lovers" capture the spirit of J.S. Le Fanu's atmospheric novella, "Carmilla", on which these films are based. The emphasis on erotic lesbian vampires gives a rather tawdry impression which is not entirely justified. True, there are elements of it in the original novella but it's dealt with in quite a sensitive way and not quite as sleazy as it may seem.
"Vampire Lovers" has fine performances from its cast, Ingrid Pitt plays her leading role with feeling and depth, more than might be expected from a vampire flick. She puts real emotion into the role. "Lust for a Vampire" scores lower on all these points, being a weaker story cobbled together from elements of the first film, and a weaker cast, with Pitt herself not returning for the role of Carmilla.
The transfers are good quality, though the packaging gives it the air of a bootleg.
This is one of the best vampire stories and is well told in "Vampire Lovers". It's quite a faithful adaptation, with only some rearrangement of characters. The second film is less successful but nevertheless a very enjoyable Hammer romp.
on 4 March 2012
Almost the perfect set because these are the first two films of a hammer trilogy, the third(twins of evil)and possibly the best of the three is missing, however this is still a very nice set and twins of evil is also available on dvd.
VAMPIRE LOVERS: This film produced in 1970 is one of the better vampire films made by hammer, it was directed very well by roy ward baker who also did some work for amicus and it features a strong cast with peter cushing, ingrid pitt and kate o mara(horror of frankenstein).All of them perform very well and i will certainly watch this excellent film again
LUST FOR A VAMPIRE: This film was also produced in 1970 and directed by jimmy sangster.This in my opinion and i think most people would agree is the lesser of the two films perhaps due in some part to the weaker cast which does not feature peter cushing or ingrid pitt but they did cast ralph bates(horror of frankenstein and dr.jekyll and sister hyde).Again the directing is good and all the cast perform well but overall this just isn't quite as good as the vampire lovers but still well worth watching more than once