Vampyres [1974]

49
1899

They shared the pleasures of the flesh, and the horrors of the grave!

Directed by José Ramón Larraz

Reviewed by Deep Red

Aka Blood Hunger aka Satan’s Daughters aka Vampyres, Daughters of Dracula aka Vampyres: Daughters of Darkness aka Vampyre Orgy

Fran (Marianne Morris) and Miriam (Anulka Dziubinska) are a lesbian couple who return as vampires after they are brutally murdered by an unseen killer. Fran poses as a hitchhiker to lure victims back to their house while Miriam waits in the trees. John (Brian Deacon) and Harriet (Sally Faulkner) are a couple staying in their caravan which is parked nearby. One of Fran and Miriam’s victims, Ted (Murray Brown), stops by their caravan when he awakens in an empty house. As Fran and Miriam work their way through their victims, Harriet grows increasingly suspicious of what’s happening in the house and the two women themselves. Harriet goes to the house….

Dripping with atmosphere and exceptionally well made, this classic vampire tale is the real deal. Shot at Hammer set Oakley Court in Berkshire, England (also famous for The Rocky Horror Picture Show [1975]) and Denham churchyard, Buckinghamshire, the locations are stunning. It also boasts a fine cast all round. There’s some nudity which may offend some people but I thought it was all very tastefully shot, I’m sure that aspect shocked a few people in its day but there’s so much more to the film that it’s stood the test of time. What gore there is, and there isn’t a lot, is well-timed and delivered in such a way as to be effective but subtle enough not to look silly alongside today’s horror films. I think the best horror films earn their longevity by being careful not to stretch their capabilities too far so advancements in effects don’t drown them out altogether over time.

This is vampires as seductresses and an exquisite film that fully deserves its Blu-ray release; the Blue Underground version is completely uncut, as it should be. I would recommend this film to Hammer fans, to fans of Italian horror, 70s horror, to anyone really with an interest in horror in its heyday. This is my kind of horror film, I’m not against modern horror at all but too much of it lacks atmosphere for me, give me this over Mama [2013] or The Conjuring [2013] any day, I want depth and texture, not gloss and impatient editing. This film is confident and is perfectly willing to risk being labelled sleazy while never actually being sleazy, in my opinion, willing to shock or try to by not holding back on its ideas but seeing them through, you never quite know what you’re going to get and that’s a little spark of genius. Watch it.

Also stars Karl Lanchbury as Rupert, Michael Byrne as Playboy, Margaret Heald as Receptionist and Douglas Jones as Manager.