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The Vampire Lovers

Director: Roy Ward Baker

UK - 1970

       Hoff! Hoff! Hoff! Hoff!       


(Editor's Note:  Screencaps were not possible.  Instead, please enjoy our selection of famous vampires throughout history.)

It’s Austria in the 1800s:  Women wore bodices, men wore stockings, and Benny Hill was nowhere to be found (which I guess proves it wasn’t all bad).  Lugosi's Dracula

A family emergency has left the beautiful, yet mysterious, Marcilla in the care of General Spielsdorf (Peter Cushing).  Soon thereafter, the General’s daughter becomes bedridden with a mysterious illness.  Too weak to stand, Laura wastes away in bed having nightmares of big fluffy gray kitty cats.

Sadly, the Spielsdorfs aren’t the only ones with problems.  While Laura rots away in bed, the village is terrorized by a series of ruthless murders.  They occur in the dead of night, the bodies drained of blood, and each victim a comely young lass (save an old doctor who, in his own right, was probably considered a sexy senior citizen).   

Guess things couldn’t get much worse, right?  Well actually, they do.  Laura eventually dies.  Grief-stricken, the General leaves town to visit aBlacula friend, and once again Marcilla finds herself looking for a new home.  This time fate brings her under the care of Mr. Morton, yet another rich white man with a heart bigger than his stockings.  Lo and behold, Mr. Morton’s hot niece Emma soon falls victim to the same malady that young Laura succumbed to.  With time running out, the doting uncle must quickly discover the cause of his dying niece’s illness, and like his British countryman Don Knotts would say:  “Nip it in the bud.”

Not since Pamela Anderson in “Baywatch” has an entire cast of actors been upstaged by a pair of breasts.  Actually, that last statement isn’t entirely fair.  The star of “Baywatch” was, of course, David HasselhChristopher Lee's Draculaoff.  David Hasselhoff could be upstaged by a strand of dental floss.  The Vampire Lovers, on the other hand, can at least boast the presence of Peter Cushing, a Hammer studios’ staple and all-around reliable thespian.  Nonetheless, he, like the rest of his castmates, was upstaged by a pair of breasts.  Actually, multiple pairs of breasts.  I guess there are worse thing to be upstaged by.  A talking light in a car, for instance.

Of course, The Vampire Lovers does offer more than merely boobs.  There’s also a plethora of stuffy white people.  They could also be described as “stuffy white British people,” but that’d be redundant.  Stuffy white people are exactly what annoys me about Hammer films.  Like the majority of the movies they star in, they’re just so freakin’ dull.  I’m not a filmmaker, and perhaps I don’t know what makes a good movie, but I can, however, tell you what doesn’t:

1.   Stuffy white people dancing.  Those Brits of the 1500s need a lesson from Ray Charles in the art of shaking one’s tail-feather.  Do yourselves a favor: Stick both hands between your knees, get a good grip, and remove the cricket bat from your rectum.  Dancing isn’t about holding the very tip of your partner’s index finger and promenading about the room on your tiptoes.  It’s about cutting loose and getting down.  It’s about getting completely drunk at your best friend’s party, forcibly cutting in between him and his girlfriend during Night Ranger’s  “Sister Christian,” then getting your ass beat after a feeble attemptNosferatu at trying to get fresh.  That’s dancing, baby!

2.   Stuffy white people continuously complimenting one another.  They must have been awfully arrogant back in the 1500s, because they just won’t shut up about how compassionate and/or charitable each other are.  Look, just because I gave you the last slug of Coke doesn’t mean you need to name your first child after me.  Or even funnier still, is one evening reading  Harlequin Romance novels enough for two girls to pledge eternal sisterly love for one another?  I know nothing brings my friends together like reciting passages from a Dean Koontz thriller.  And for the love of all that’s good, don’t get these women arguing about who’s prettier:  “Oh, I wish I could be half as pretty as you!”  “You big silly!  You are so much more beautiful than I!”  “You tease!  You are like the morning sunset of a wondrous autumn day!”  Enough, already!  You’re both pretty hot, but your utter dullness makes me want to swallow my own tongue.  Everyone should be proud of themselves, and I’m happy that you’re content in a state of perpetual pastiness, but put a crumpet in it.

3.   Stuffy white people not using contractions.  It just sounds so damn pompous:  “What’ll ya have today, ma’am?”  “I shall partake of the Egg McMuffin.”  According to the box, The Vampire Lovers runs around 91 minutes.  Granted, this is normal for most films.  But when a moviAnna Nicolee is tedious like this one, the filmmakers should keep their tortured viewing audiences in mind and make the catastrophe as brief as possible.  By simply adding contractions to the script, I estimated the running time would’ve been spared at least 25 minutes.  That’s an episode of “The Simpsons”!

A final warning:  Some people may be allured by insinuations found on the back of the video box of hot lesbian sex of the 1500s.  Yup, some people just might find that alluring.  I’m sorry to report that there is none of that.  Well, relatively none.  At least not enough to make up for the rest of the dullness inflicted by this film.  Heck, there’s not even enough to make up for me having to put up with stuffy white people dancing.  I’ll tell you right now:  You’re gonna have to feature a bevy of Victoria’s Secret models having a naked pillow fight (in Jell-O, preferably) if I’m expected to endure George Wendt doing the colonial version of The Electric Slide.  It’s just fair trade.  


--Copyright 2003, J. Bannerman




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