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Review of the Goddess Pitt in Vampire Lovers!,
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This review is from: Vampire Lovers/Lust For A Vampire [DVD]  (DVD)
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.
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Initial post: 15 Oct 2012 10:13:44 BDT
Fascinating review. In fact, it`s the Pitts! But, as you`re a `Vine Voice` please find out the difference between "its" & "it`s". You keep using the latter when it should be the former. Its importance is that it`s offputting - at least to a grammatical pedant like me. The horror...!
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