Lady Summerisle (strange_complex) wrote,
Lady Summerisle
strange_complex

14. Vampyres (1974), dir. José Ramón Larraz

This is basically the logical end-point of the explosion of lesbian vampire films in the early 1970s. It begins with two women lying naked on a bed and snogging. Suddenly, an intruder whose face we never see bursts in and shoots them both dead. We only learn at the end of the film that this was a kind of flash-back, as an estate agent showing an American couple around a large, dilapidated Gothic mansion explains that it is "supposed to be haunted" by two women who died in this way. Between those two book-ends, we follow them as vampyres? ghosts? (whatever) as they lure lecherous male drivers from the nearby road by thumbing down lifts, taking them back to the house, drugging them and then slicing their veins open to drink their blood.

The whole thing is filmed to maximum titillating and gory effect. It's not pornographic as such, in that you never see any genitals. But there is certainly a lot of nudity, sexual content and blood, and once or twice I caught a glimpse of a carefully-trimmed landing strip. The fact that the women's vampirism consisted of licking at knife wounds, rather than biting to create puncture wounds, was also milked for its erotic potential. There were a lot of scenes of them licking repeatedly at a knife-wound they had made in the crook of a man's elbow which I think were quite deliberately designed to resemble licking at... um... another kind of gash.

It is very seventies in many ways, featuring flowing cloaks and maxi-dresses on the women, flared trousers on the men, and a couple on a caravanning holiday. It also features Oakley Court, as seen regularly in many a Hammer film and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. However, I couldn't honestly recommend it as being much good. Both the dialogue and its delivery were extremely wooden, I think largely because the vampyre women at least, and probably everybody, were dubbed. It also defaulted on the potential lesbitious story line I thought it was going to go down. There were a few scenes of the two vampyre women approaching the woman from the caravan couple seductively while she was out in the woods painting, and I thought / hoped they were going to lure her into their lesbian vampyre coven. However, in the end they seem to have just killed her, just like any of the men, which was boring and unempowering.

Still, I've seen it now, so I can stop wondering if it's any good. It's not, but it is OK.

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Tags: films, films watched 2020, horror films, reviews, sex, sexuality, vampires
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