Vampyres (1974, Joseph Larraz)

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An occasional series where I write about works inspired by Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula…

These reviews reveal plot twists.

Setting: The south of England in the 1970s.

Faithful to the novel? This low-budget erotic horror film has no real connection to Stoker’s book, other than the fact it was released in America under the title Vampyres, Daughters of Dracula. It tells the story of two bisexual vampires, Fran (Marianne Morris) and Miriam (Anulka), who lure men to their stately home so they can drain them of two key bodily fluids. Ted (Murray Brown) is one such victim, who picks Fran up as a hitchhiker. There are vague hints the two have met before, but this subplot doesn’t go anywhere. Meanwhile, a young couple called John (Brian Deacon) and Harriet (Sally Faulkner) are caravanning in the grounds of the house, and Harriet becomes obsessed with the vampires, who by the way have no problem with daylight.

Best performance: Michael Byrne was later a bad guy in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (and also Gail’s dad in Coronation Street). He shows up near the end of this film as a wine buff who can’t identify a vintage Fran gives him. She says it’s from the Carpathian Mountains; it’s actually blood.

Best bit: Oh, I don’t know. The nudity?

Review: The film opens with a scene of two attractive, naked women having sex and then being violently killed. So, our attention is certainly grabbed. But the moment doesn’t seem to fit into the story, which then trundles along very blandly for 90 minutes. The movie is shot entirely on location (in and around Oakley Court, an old Hammer staple and soon to be used in The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and does have a creepy, unsettling vibe. But there’s just not enough substance.

Five B-roads out of 10

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