Friday, April 26, 2019

VAMPYRES (1974) Blu-ray review

Vampyres (1974) d. Jose Ramon Larraz (UK/Spain) (88 min)

At a time when throwing extensive vampiric nudity on screen would have been enough, Larraz (and his wife Diane Daubeney, who lent her name to the writing credit to meet the UK union quota) went the extra mile and conjured up this deceptively simple, highly satisfying tale of two bisexual bloodsuckers. The Sapphic duo, played with charged sensuality by Marianne Morris (the darker, mysterious Fran) and Anulka (blonde, fresh-faced Miriam) take up residence in a remote English countryside estate, flagging down unsuspecting male drivers to take home for an evening snack. In addition to their daily iron intake, these vampires enjoy all pleasures of the flesh, and Larraz delivers the goods in numerous well-shot, sexy interludes between the lovers and their victims.

Some may be put off by the leisurely pace in getting around to any actual bloodletting, but when their inevitable feeding time comes, the sheer ferocity with which these naughty nymphs indulge their appetites is appropriately shocking and gory. (Purists be warned: the couple moves about in rather bright shades of twilight and uses sharp implements rather than fangs to get their victims’ blood flowing). The fine ensemble performances, which also include Sally Faulkner (Alien Prey), Murray Brown (Jonathan Harker in Dan Curtis' Dracula, and Brian Deacon, handsomely nuanced photography, and James Clarke’s light tinkling piano/flute score contribute immeasurably to a realistic atmosphere of gloom.

Trivia: Both actresses’ vocal performances were re-dubbed by others, but it's done so expertly you'd never know it.


Brand new audio commentary by author and Diabolique editor-in-chief Kat Ellinger

“A High Stakes Enterprise” with producer Brian Smedley-Aston (19 min)

“By This Sign, I’ll Recognize You…” with actress Marianne Morris (14 min)

“Daughter of Dracula” with actress Anulka Dziubinska (13 min)

“A Cut-Throat Business” with actor Brian Deacon (19 min)

“Unhappy Camper” with actress Sally Faulkner (12 min)

“Bloodletting on a Budget” with makeup artist Colin Arthur (18 min)

“Requiem for a Vampire” with composer James Kenelm Clarke (4 min)

“Reimagining Vampyres” with Victor Matellano, director of the 2015 Vampyres remake (22 min)

Extract from an archival interview with José Larraz (14 min)

Jose Larraz and Marianne Morris Q&A at 1997 Eurofest (10 min)

Image gallery


Vampyres is available now on Blu-ray from Arrow Video (as part of the Blood Hunger: The Films of Jose Larraz box set) and can be ordered HERE:


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