Director – Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby)
Starring – Jack MacGowran (The Exorcist), Roman Polanski, and Alfie Bass (Hell Drivers)
Release Date – 1967
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 3/5
Tagline – “Who says Vampires are no laughing matter?”
On one of my many trips to FYE to grab some DVDs and Blurays I checked the used section like I always do. After a few minutes I quickly saw I was wasting my time. As I started to walk away the store clerk yelled at me. He has been there on multiple of my trips and had picked up on what kind of movies I normally buy. He showed me a movie he had just recently received in the store. When he showed me the DVD I was baffled. I had never heard of the movie before. It suckered me in with the title and cover art. I knew right away that it was a vampire comedy, however, because I had never heard of it I figured it was horrible. I had to see how bad it was for myself and tossed it in. I absolutely loved it and decided to write a review then. This was several years ago now. Recently, Warner Brothers released the film on blu as part of their Archive Collection. I reached out and they were kind enough to send a copy my way. Thanks guys!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Professor Abronsius and his assistant Alfred as they travel to the center of Transylvania in search of vampires. The professor is obsessed with vampires and is the laughing stock of the academic community. On their travels through Transylvania they stay at a little inn in a small village. The professor notices that there is an abundance of garlic strung on the ceiling and walls of the inn. He deducts that the village is plagued by a vampire. While the professor notices his surroundings, Alfred notices the inn keeper’s daughter, Sarah. One evening while in the bath, Sarah is abducted by Count von Krolock and taken to his castle. The professor and Alfred set out to save the young girl and travel across the snowy landscape to the count’s castle. Once they arrive at the castle they are pleasantly surprised to see they are welcomed by the count, his son, and his hunchback servant. While the count and his son sleep during the day, the pair set off to find Sarah.
Alfred finds her as she prepares for the count’s midnight ball. The count is throwing a giant ball where vampires from all over the world will be attending. While all the vampires are dancing, the professor and Alfred snag two vampires and steal their clothes. The two begin dancing with the rest of the vampires in hopes of getting close to Sarah. They accomplish this, however, while they are dancing they pass in front of a mirror. The vampires realize they are human and chase after them. The three flee the castle and grab a horse drawn sleigh. While in the sleigh, Alfred tries to warm Sarah up when he finds her hands are freezing. While he is doing so she spouts fangs and bites him on the neck while the professor drives the sleigh unaware of the events unfolding behind him.**Spoiler Alert**
When I first saw this film I did not know what to expect. Now, after watching it I can safely say that the best way to describe this film is to call it a mash up of Monty Python and Hammer Horror. This film has the vibe of a Hammer film with the addition of slapstick humor. The story is the main attraction of this film. The movie has a similar storyline as the Hammer Horror’s take on the Dracula series. The movie does change the names around but the true essence is still there. The humor in this film is good, though most are dated similar to the Monty Python films. The film is full of whimsical comedy.
The acting is top notch and only adds to the humor in the film. The special effects are what you would expect from a vampire film made in the 60’s. The majority of the effects are bite marks and fake blood smeared on the characters lips. The death scenes are nothing special, in fact, they are done in a comical way that will only turn you off if your a gorehound. Also, the vampires look really good. The sets in the film look amazing. I can honestly say the scenery in this film is the best I have ever seen and the cinematographer is a genius. Finally, this movie did teach me something. Before watching this I had no idea a coffin could be used as a sled. Overall, this is a classic horror comedy that is relatively unknown. I highly recommend this one. The blu looks surprisingly good especially when compared to other Archive releases.
Alternate Main Title