Lust For A Vampire [DVD]
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A girl's finishing school in Transylvania has its ranks swollen by the enrollment of the beautiful Mircalla Karnstein (Barbara Jefford). English teacher Richard Lestrange (Ralph Bates) falls for her seductive yet lethal charms: for Mircalla is a vampire and Richard has to save her from the wrath of his fellow villagers, whilst protecting himself against her deadly kiss. One of a number of attempts by Hammer studios to rewrite the Dracula myth for a more permissive audience.
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It's the weakest of the three films, but it has a few things going for it, chief among them Yutte Stensgaard's bisexual vampire and Pippa Steel as one of her lesbian conquests/victims (the film could just as easily have been called Lesbian Vampire in a Girl's Dormitory and might have fared better at the box-office if it had). Michael Johnson, one of those identikit early 70s British actors you'd swear you've seen a dozen times before until you look at his filmography and realize you've never seen him in anything else, is the randy dandy author of lurid gothic tales who schemes his way into a English teaching job at a finishing school so he can have his wicked way with one of the students, Yutte Stensgaard's Mircalla, not realizing that she's an even more accomplished predator who's working her way through the schoolgirls there herself. Not that he's overly concerned when he finds out, but that's no surprise considering Yutte's main competition is Suzanna Leigh, who looks about as much fun as mucking out a stable on a hot day and spends most of the film with a scornful disappointed scowl on her face that combines with unflattering photography to make her appear much like you'd imagine Joanna Lumley's brother might after a night on the tiles.
The story isn't particularly compelling and the screenplay isn't one of Hammer's best: it's the kind of film where a line of dialogue like "What you need is a -" is immediately accompanied by the fortuitous arrival of a Bishop with a line in killing the undead before the line can be finished. But it does feature much 70s nudity and even an oral sex scene to the accompaniment of perhaps the most memorable song in Hammer's oeuvre, the aptly-named Strange Love, while disc jockey Mike Raven is quite hilariously dubbed by Valentine Dyall - his delivery of the line "Heart attack!" is guaranteed to bring the house down.
Sadly, while Anchor Bay's US DVD hasa good selection of extras, on its home turf this Hammer entry gets no extras whatsoever.
This is 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. Artistically redundant in every area, Lust for a Vampire is an absolute dog that, despite being planned as a Terence Fisher-directed movie that would feature Peter Cushing in a key supporting role, eventually saw both men back out for personal reasons; one can only guess at what Fisher, who strongly objected to filming the single sexual scene in 1969's Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, would have made of this flick's veritable buffet of baps and buns, whilst it is safe to say that the casting of Cushing in the role of an obsessed sex-pest would have just been disastrous. The pair were 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, prefiguring the reactions of thousands of Hammer fans and many critics over the coming decades. It is safe to say that you can skip this one.
i am tired of people putting this film down,i think this is becuase
1.peter cushing and christopher lee are not in it !
2 director jimmy sangster + ralph bates seemed to hate it
3 people seem to be easily led by the above
4.the critics hate it
i think it is a great film-very atmospheric ,and some fantastic locations ,and i also will stick my neck out and say that i think the song "strange love " featured in film is great !
this, like a lot of hammer films are not always out to do shock and gore horrors ,but more dreamy -atmospheric films ,if you want gore and violence ,buy amercian
these films are more like gothic fantasy,than out and out horror
i also dont feel the nudity is bad ,it is all very tastefully done,unlike some of the euro horrors who rely on nudity over the story !
i am pleased to say hammer have always been a cut above this
i am going to be brave and give this 5 stars
ps i also rate dracula ad 72 in high regard
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