Lust for a Vampire

Starring: Ralph Bates, Barbara Jefford and Suzanna Leigh
Warner Home Video
RRP: 7.99
Certificate: 18
Available 11 October 2004

A member of the notoriously evil Karnstein family performs a dark ritual, asking for a representation of the personification of evil. This materialises as the beautiful but deadly Mircalla from the family's sinister history. English novelist Richard Lestrange is in Transylvania to research the Karnsteins, but is warned off by the villagers. Journeying to the old house he is confronted by three young women. Luckily it turns out they are from a nearby girls' finishing school. Lestrange arrives there and finds himself captivated by the enticing Mircalla, unaware of her origins. Winning himself a teaching job at the school, he tries to get close to her. But can his love be reciprocated by a cold-blooded creature of death?...

Lust For a Vampire from 1970 appears to take you through a series of differing styles, almost as if Hammer Productions was undecided over exactly what it wanted this film to be. It begins with a wannabe Dracula-like character, with the slick-back hair and red cape but none of the presence or acting ability of Christopher Lee.

Then a third rate vampire film evolves into a Carry On scenario. The nubile young women of the finishing school run around the grounds attempting dainty and sexy, and pretty much pull it off. But you can't help laughing at the silliness of it all.

The moment when Lestrange first arrives at the school to witness the students prancing about like hippies on acid is right out of that well-known scene in Carry On Camping. We then move from suggestive scenes into what the cover blurb calls post-sixties vampire eroticism, but plays more like a cringe-worthy seventies blue movie (at least the encounter between Lestrange and Mircalla).

This is an average offering from Hammer, made more palatable by the host of pretty faces. Take them away and what do you get: bibbity-bobbity-boo...

Ty Power

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