Lust for a Vampire (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

Lust for a Vampire (1971)

Lust for a Vampire

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This is one of three Hammer films loosely based on Sheridan LeFanu's book Camilla, which gives the standard vampire story a lesbian twist. The other two films are The Vampire Lovers and Twins of Evil. In this film, Count Karnstein, through a magical ritual, relies on the feedings of the newly re-fleshed and voluptuous vampire Mircalla (Yutte Stensgaard) for his own sustenance. This keeps her very busy indeed. She finds a ready supply of victims at a girls' finishing school. Her troubles begin when two male teachers from the school decide to investigate. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovimore
Rating: R
Genre: Horror, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Tudor Gates, Sheridan Le Fanu
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 4, 2001
Runtime:

Cast

Melinda Churcher
as Schoolgirl
Harvey Hall
as Insp. Heinrich
Pippa Steele
as Susan Pelley
David Healy
as Raymond Pelley
Erik Chitty
as Prof. Herz
Nick Brimble
as First Villager
Sue Longhurst
as Schoolgirl
Helen Christie
as Miss Simpson
Ralph Bates
as Giles Barton
Yutte Stensgaard
as Mircalla/Carmilla
Mike Raven
as Count Karnstein
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Lust for a Vampire

Critic Reviews for Lust for a Vampire

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1)

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Sex and violence cheapie is pain in the plunging neckline.

November 1, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Full Review… | February 18, 2011
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Audience Reviews for Lust for a Vampire

If they wanted to make a soft core exploitation picture, they should have made it and kept the vampire plot out of it, because it doesn't help the story anyway. It could help the story, but they don't allow it to develop that way.

ajv2688
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Like The Horror Of Frankenstein, this is one of the most reviled Hammer efforts - but, again, I found it not that bad after all! Still, being one of the countless vampire-themed outings from the studio, it does feel like a tired rehash of better films; actually, it happens to be the middle part of Hammer's "Karnstein Trilogy" (inspired by J. Sheridan Le Fanu's classic short story "Carmilla") - if, admittedly, the least of them. As was the case with The Vampire Lovers and would be again with Twins Of Evil, the main behind-the-scenes credits weren't the usual Hammer stalwarts: producers Harry Fine and Michael Style, screenwriter Tudor Gates and composer Harry Robinson. While the latter's score is appropriately grandiose for the most part, the love song - apparently inserted without director Sangster's consent, or even knowledge - is a total embarrassment!

It starts off well enough: all-too-typical material, to be sure, but very atmospheric (Carmilla's reincarnation, for instance, or the scene where hero Michael Johnson is surprised at the dilapidated Karnstein Castle by three cloaked female figures he takes to be vampires) and reasonably entertaining for all that. Other effective moments include: Carmilla's botched seduction of the Suzanna Leigh character; a couple of falls down a well, rendered stylized by the use of slow-motion; and the climax with the vampires trapped inside their flaming castle (lit by the inevitable torch-bearing villagers).

However, following the demise half-way through of top-billed Ralph Bates (yet another impressive turn from Hammer's candidate to replace Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee), the film slowly falls apart; reportedly, Cushing was supposed to have played the scholar/would-be vampire disciple - but I can't help feeling he'd have been both too old and ill-suited for the role. Similarly, Sangster replaced Terence Fisher: it would have been interesting to see Hammer's top director tackle "Carmilla" - but I wonder how he'd have handled the erotic aspects of the story. With its full-frontal nudity and scenes of lesbian love-making, The Vampire Lovers had been credited with pushing the boundaries of permissiveness in Hammer horror - and this certainly follows in that tradition, with the script coming up with every possible excuse to have its scrumptious female cast disrobe!

The film does suffer from the lack of a star cast or even those familiar Hammer faces (other than Bates, that is): there's no denying that leading lady Yutte Stensgaard looks great throughout but, ultimately, she makes for an inadequate vampire which to me is no fault of the actress since she's made to play the character as being more pathetic than evil); Suzanna Leigh is an equally attractive heroine; Barbara Jefford and Mike Raven, however, don't exactly ignite the screen as the Karnstein descendants (he was an especially poor choice and Hammer apparently realized this, to the extent that they had his voice dubbed by Valentine Dyall - while close-ups of Christopher Lee's eyes were roped in to 'aid' his character display the requisite fierceness!); Helen Christie is unintentionally funny as the headmistress of the school (where a good deal of the action takes place), who breaks down at ill-fated Police Inspector Harvey Hall's interrogation after a girl goes missing - which she fails to report immediately so as not to damage the school's reputation.

This is not one of the better efforts from Hammer but worth a look if you can get your hands on the DVD.

cancercapricorn2002
David Ladd

Super Reviewer

½

Enjoyable enough but rather silly middle part of the 'Carmilla trilogy', loosely based on a story by J.S. Le Fanu. This film was preceded by "The Vampire Lovers" and followed by "Twins of Evil", neither of which it is equal to. Yutte Stensgaard is lovely to look at but, alas, no Ingrid Pitt in the acting stakes - no pun intended. Mike Raven makes a poor Christopher Lee substitute. Look out for a cracking blooper in the final scenes when the camera crew can be glimpsed to the left of the frame as a coach hurtles towards a group of villagers.

harrycaul
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

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