This blog is a place for Me to review classic British films (in particular horror films) by Hammer, Amicus and the like. But I will occasionally branch out and review international films as these are the international counterpart to the British films, some of which will include works by American International Pictures, Mario Bava et al. I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Kiss of the Vampire


After heading off course and running out of fuel, newly weds Gerald and Marianne Harcourt become stranded in Bavaria until they can refuel their motorcar. Whilst there they get caught up in a vampire cult. Two out-of-towners against a full cult of vampires, not good odds.

The Kiss of the Vampire is a 1963 Hammer production. It stars Clifford Evans, Noel Willman and Edward de Souza. It was directed by Don Sharp. This was originally planned to be the third Dracula film in the Hammer series, and Hammer's second go at a Dracula-less Dracula film, the first one being The Brides of Dracula.

Woh! The film starts with this nice, slow paced funeral sequence. Then Professor Zimmer walks over to the coffin, presumably to pay his respects. Then he whips out a spade and whacks it into the coffin right into the “dead” person's chest. Blood and screams ooze from the coffin. Then it's revealed she was a vampire! If that's not a great opener then I don't know what is.

The newly weds have been invited to dine at Dr Ravna's home with his family. This can't be good, it's never a good idea to accept an invitation to someone's home in a Hammer film.

Oh no! A vampire tried to remove the spade that Professor Zimmer put into the dead vampire's chest, but Zimmer intervened. Then there was a bit of a struggle, well more of a kerfuffle really. A kerfuffle that ended with Zimmer getting bitten on the hand by the vamprie. Rut-Roh! Ah, he's ok. He used the Peter Cushing's Van Helsing technique for curing vampirism; burn the wound. Although Van Helsing used a dash of Holy Water in there too.

Oh that's nice, blame the wife. What a dick. Gerald explains to Dr Ravna that they ventured off course from where they were meant to be and that's how they came to be in Bavaria. “That's over thirty miles away. You WERE off your track.” “My wife is not a very good map reader, I'm afraid.”

Hmm, Dr Ravna's son and daughter pop to see Gerald and Marianne at the place where they are staying to invite them to a masked ball, but at the discovery that the sun is coming out, they suddenly panic and run off. I wonder why.

Holy Shit! Giant Creepy Devil Mask! I don't think I could ever go to a masked ball, I'd probably shit myself, even more so if I got drunk. I'd probably forget it was a masked ball, look in the mirror and scream.

Oh you sly vampire bastard. Putting on the same mask as Gerald so you can trick Marianne into thinking you are her husband and then locking her in a room with you're vampire dad. You bastard.

Oh! Double sly bastard. After getting Gerald so drunk he collapses that when he wakes up the party is over and Dr Ravna's son tells Gerald that he doesn't have a wife, and that he arrived alone. But it's not just Carl who's keeping up this charade he's also got the town's people so scared that they are also keeping the lie going. Professor Zimmer is the only one who tells Gerald the truth and also helps him to plan a way to save his wife.

After getting caught by the vampires Gerald is then tied up. One of them scratches his chest and goes in for the kill. But before she manges to bite him he escapes and smears the blood on his chest into the shape of the cross. Nice!

What? How can a swarm of black magic controlled bats kill a cult of vampires? That ending doesn't make sense to me. No wonder Peter Cushing didn't want that as the ending for The Brides of Dracula, instead they went for something simple and rather cool involving a windmill.

For a film that started out so well, I was left a bit confused and disappointed. That ending should have been good, a swarm of killer bats conjured up by black magic, but no it left me disappointed. As for the rest of the film, it was ok, nowt special. This film seems to get heralded as this all great hammer film, and a quint-essential of their Gothic films, I wouldn't quite say that. It's ok but it's by no means quint-essential viewing and whatnot. It's an average Hammer vampire film, see it if you like but don't expect the full film to stay as good as the pre-credits sequence.

The Kiss of the Vampire 2/5

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