Lust for a Vampire
|Lust for a Vampire|
|Directed by||Jimmy Sangster|
|Produced by||Michael Style,
|Written by||Tudor Gates
based on characters by Sheridan Le Fanu
|Music by||Harry Robinson|
|Editing by||Spencer Reeve|
|Distributed by||American International Pictures (USA, theatrical),
|Running time||95 min / USA:91 min|
|Country||United Kingdom & United States|
Lust For a Vampire (also known as Love for a Vampire or To Love a Vampire) is a 1971 British Hammer Horror film directed by Jimmy Sangster, starring Yutte Stensgaard, Michael Johnston and Barbara Jefford. It was given an R rating in the United States for some violence, gore, strong adult content, and nudity. It is the second film in the so-called Karnstein Trilogy loosely based on the J. Sheridan Le Fanu novella Carmilla. It was preceded by The Vampire Lovers and followed by Twins of Evil (1971). The three films do not form a chronological development, but use the Karnstein family as the source of the vampiric threat and were somewhat daring for the time in explicitly depicting lesbian themes.
Production of Lust For a Vampire began not long after the release of The Vampire Lovers.
The film has a cult following although some Hammer Horror fans have accused it of being overly camp and silly. Its most noted scene shows Yutte Stensgaard drenched in blood and partially covered by blood-soaked rags, although the filmed scene is not as explicit as that shown in a promotional still.
In 1830, at a finishing school in Styria, Mircalla arrives as a new student. A visiting author, Richard Lestrange, instantly falls in love with her; but Mircalla is a vampire—Carmilla Karnstein—who has been resurrected by her vampiric family. As students in the school, inhabitants of the nearby village and those who suspect Mircalla is responsible start to die, suspicion turns toward the Karnsteins and their ominous castle.
- Yutte Stensgaard as Mircalla Herritzen/Carmilla Karnstein
- Michael Johnson as Richard Lestrange
- Ralph Bates as Giles Barton
- Barbara Jefford as Countess Herritzen
- Suzanna Leigh as Janet Playfair
- Helen Christie as Miss Simpson
- Pippa Steel as Susan Pelley
- David Healy as Raymond Pelley
- Harvey Hall as Inspector Heinrich
- Mike Raven as Count Karnstein
- Michael Brennan as Landlord
- Jack Melford as Bishop
- Christopher Cunningham as Coachman
- Judy Matheson as Amanda
- Christopher Neame as Hans
- Sue Longhurst as Schoolgirl
- Kirsten Lindholm as Peasant girl
Jimmy Sangster replaced Terence Fisher as director at very short notice. Partially due to censorship restraints from the British Board of Film Classification, this film and its sequel had increasingly less overt lesbian elements in the story. Carmilla, for example, in this film falls in love with a man. Ingrid Pitt was offered the lead but turned it down. Peter Cushing was supposed to have appeared in the film but bowed out to care for his sick wife. Cushing was replaced by Ralph Bates, who described Lust for a Vampire as "one of the worst films ever made". Bates had earlier appeared in Taste the Blood of Dracula with Madeline Smith, who starred in the previous Karnstein film, The Vampire Lovers.
Critical reception 
The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films panned the film, calling it a "cynical and depressing exercise...", noting that "...one can only imagine what Fisher, Cushing and Bray's craftsmen might have made of Gates' reasonably literate draft."
- Huckvale, David (2009). Touchstones of Gothic Horror: A Film Genealogy of Eleven Motifs and Images. McFarland & Co. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-7864-4782-4.
- Hearn, Marcus; Barnes, Alan (2007). The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films. Titan. ISBN 1-84576-185-5.
- Maxford, Howard (1996). Hammer, House of Horror: Behind the Screams. Batsford. p. 110. ISBN 0-87951-652-6.
- Hearn & Barnes 2007, p. 142.
- Hearn, Marcus; Barnes, Alan (September 2007). "Lust for a Vampire". The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films (limited ed.). Titan Books. ISBN 1 84576 185 5.