The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)
Critic Consensus: This uneven but amiable 1967 vampire picture is part horror spoof, part central European epic, and 100 percent Roman Polanski, whose signature sensibility colors every frame.
A pair of bumbling vampire-hunters attempts to destroy an undead nobleman and his cronies and rescue a buxom maiden in actor/director Roman Polanski's playful update of the venerable vampire genre. Bat expert and vampire obsessive Professor Abronsius (Jack MacGowran) barely survives his journey through the Alps into snowy Slovenia to continue his oft-maligned research into the undead. Thawed out by his hapless assistant, Alfred (Polanski), and the frisky local innkeeper, Shagal (Alfie Bass), Abronsius quickly notices the overabundance of raw garlic as a decorating motif in the inn and its environs. Too ineffectual to save Shagal from having his blood sucked, the professor and Alfred miss the boat again when the mysterious Count Von Krolock (Ferdinand Mayne) kidnaps Shagal's built, beautiful daughter, Sarah (Sharon Tate). The itinerant vampire hunters must travel through the icy wilderness to Von Krolock's abode and evade his manservant and his effete son Herbert (Iain Quarrier) before Sarah joins the ranks of the ghouls. They soon learn, however, that the luxury-starved lass actually enjoys her captors' lavish attentions. The action climaxes during a costume ball attended by a phalanx of blood-suckers, although the laughs and surprises continue until the very end. Sixteen minutes of unauthorized cuts have been restored in some video editions of The Fearless Vampire Hunters, although the animated credits sequence that replaced them is also retained. The film marks the feature debut of Tate, who replaced Polanski's original choice, Jill St. John, on the advice of producer Martin Ransohoff. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi … More
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as Prof. Abronsius
as Sarah Shagal
as Mrs. Shagal
as Count Von Krolock
as Herbert Von Krolock
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Critic Reviews for The Fearless Vampire Killers
Ferdy Mayne is the menacing Dracula, and Sharon Tate, lady in question, looks particularly nice in her bath.
The film amiably runs through all the standbys associated with vampire movies, putting a personal and goofy spin on most of them.
Messy vampire spoof-cum-homage to Hammer, which doesn't really come off on either count.
He was evidently only trying to make fun of horror films, forgetting that horror films, played straight, are now more often funny -- unconsciously to -- than horrible.
Audience Reviews for The Fearless Vampire Killers
Polanski's vampire comedy is hilarious and cute. Polanski plays the sidekick in the movie, and he's a really good actor too. I really liked this movie, he has such a cool style and the story and characters are so funny. If you love vampire movies I highly recommend this one.
I really don't understand why Roman Polanski ever decided to make a vampire movie in this fashion. You'd think that with all of his mastery in suspense, he would produce a truly terrifying film. However, the result is little more than cheap physical comedy and corny dialogue. I would say that I blame that more on the writing, but it's not excusable from such an amazing director. Truly my least favorite Polanski film.
The comedy here seems to be more farce than humour (personally I didn't find it funny) but you can see which staples of the vampire film has been subverted or used for farce, especially if you've seen a lot of old horror films. The way it is shot also contributes to this.
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