Vampyres (film)

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Vampyres
Vampyresfilmposter.jpg
Directed byJosé Ramón Larraz
Produced byBrian Smedley-Aston
Written byD. Daubeney
Thomas Owen
José Ramón Larraz (uncredited)
StarringAnulka Dziubinska
Marianne Morris
Murray Brown
Music byJames Clark
CinematographyHarry Waxman
Edited byGeoff R. Brown
Production
company
Lurco Films
Distributed byCambist Films (US, theatrical)
Cinépix Film Properties Inc. (Canada, theatrical)
Fox-Rank (UK, theatrical)
Release date
1974
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget£42,000

Vampyres is a 1974 British erotic/lesbian vampire horror film directed by José Ramón Larraz and starring Anulka Dziubinska, Marianne Morris, and Murray Brown. It was filmed on location in England.

Plot[edit]

Two beautiful women, Fran (Marianne Morris) and Miriam (Anulka Dziubinska) roam the English countryside. They lure unsuspecting men to their estate for orgies of sex and blood. But when an innocent young couple John and Harriett (Brian Deacon and Sally Faulkner)[1] stumble into the vampires' lair, they find themselves sucked into an unforgettable vortex of savage lust and forbidden desires.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Vampyres was shot on a modest budget of £42,000[2] (equivalent to £430,000 in 2018).

Effective use is made of erstwhile Hammer horror set Oakley Court and interiors were shot in Harefield Grove, a grade-II listed, early-nineteenth-century country house in the London borough of Hillingdon.[3]

Eroticism and graphic violence are interspersed with poetic dreamlike sequences, as when Fran and Miriam, after showering away the blood from their latest victim, flee to a nearby cemetery (Denham churchyard) at break of dawn.

One of Vampyres' unique improvisations on the vampire genre is the decision for its vampires to feed out of a cut in the arm of victim Ted. Larraz explains his impetus behind this choice, saying, "I imagine my vampires turn almost to cannibalism, to eat somebody, to take the blood from anywhere, no matter if it is on the arm or on the balls!"[2] Film theorist Barbara Creed called this wound "one of the most grotesque sights in the film."[4]

Anulka had been featured in Playboy's "Girls of Munich" pictorial in 1972, and appeared as the magazine's Playmate of the Month in May 1973. While Vampyres was her first acting role on film, Anulka went on to appear in Ken Russell's Lisztomania (1975) and Michael Tuchner's The Likely Lads (1976).

Prior to Vampyres, Marianne Morris had appeared in Corruption (1968), Lovebox (1972), Just One More Time (1974), and Percy's Progress (1974). Morris appeared naked in the October 1976 edition of British men's magazine Mayfair.

The making of the film was briefly covered in the 1974 BBC documentary The Dracula Business.

Release[edit]

The film was bought by the British distributor Fox-Rank in 1974, who did not release it until 1976 as a double-feature with The Devil's Rain.[5] Vampyres was distributed in the US by Cambist, who released it uncut with an X certificate.

It was initially censored in the UK, with 2 minutes and 21 seconds of gory and sexual content cut.[2] Larraz called this cut of the film "the Vatican version".[6] Vampyres is now available uncut on DVD. The uncut Blu-ray was released by Blue Underground on 30 March 2010, and includes commentary with director José Ramón Larraz and producer Brian Smedley-Aston, interviews with stars Marianne Morris and Anulka, the international trailer, and the U.S. trailer.[7]

Alternate titles[edit]

  • Blood Hunger
  • Daughters of Dracula (U.S.)
  • Satan's Daughters
  • Vampyres, Daughters of Dracula (Brazil, Mexico)
  • Vampyres: Daughters of Darkness (U.S.)

Reception[edit]

Vampyres received a mixed reception, with many reviews focusing on the film's explicit depiction of female bisexuality. The Independent Film Journal suggested that the film "bares enough flesh and suggestive coupling to link it to the softcore circuit rather than the traditional horror market".[8] Variety's Frank Segers wrote that the film "indicates b.o. [box office] potential in appropriate adult situations...combining lesbian predilections with the usual bloodthirsty vampirical ways."[9]

The UK press response also concentrated on the film's sexual content, despite its cuts. David Pirie wrote in The Monthly Film Bulletin, "it is rare for sex and violence to be so completely and graphically integrated in a British movie (left surprisingly intact by the censor)."[10] Screen International's Marjorie Bilbow called Vampyres "A let down for horror addicts, with fringe benefits for voyeurs."[11]

Remake[edit]

A remake, also called Vampyres, was directed by Víctor Matellano and released in 2015.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vampyres (1974)". Film Freak Central. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Greaves, Tim (1994). Vampyres: A Tribute to the Ultimate in Erotic Horror Cinema. Hampshire: 1 Shot Publications. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-9650439-1-5.
  3. ^ Cooper, Ian (2016). Frightmares: A History of British Horror Cinema. Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire: Auteur. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-9930717-3-7.
  4. ^ Creed, Barbara (1993). The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. London: Routledge. pp. 71. ISBN 978-0-415-05259-7.
  5. ^ Vaines, Colin (14 May 1977). "On doing the unexpected". Screen International. p. 8.
  6. ^ "Vampyres". Video Watchdog. Vol. 63. September 2000. p. 70.
  7. ^ Blue-Underground Unleashing Vampyres on Blu-ray
  8. ^ "Vampyres". The Independent Film Journal. 5 December 1974. p. 52.
  9. ^ Segers, Frank (20 November 1974). "Vampyres". Variety. p. 16.
  10. ^ Pirie, David (1 January 1976). "Vampyres". The Monthly Film Bulletin. p. 132.
  11. ^ Bilbow, Marjorie (8 May 1976). "The New Films". Screen International. p. 28.
  12. ^ "Vampyres (2015)"

Further reading[edit]

  • Rigby, J. (2000). English Gothic: a century of horror cinema. London: Reynolds and Hearn Ltd. ISBN 978-1-903111-35-2.
  • Greaves, T. (1994). Vampyres: A Tribute to the Ultimate in Erotic Horror Cinema. Hampshire: 1 Shot Publications. – A novelization of the film

External links[edit]