‘A satyrical horror comedy of a beautiful woman with bizarre tastes’
The Vampire Happening is a 1971 West German comedy horror film directed by Freddie Francis (The Deadly Bees, Torture Garden, Tales from the Crypt). The original title is Gebissen wird nur nachts “Bitten Only At Night”
In 1970, Italian producer Pier A. Caminnecci was looking for a film for his wife Pia Degermark, whose previous film Elvira Madigan (1967) was a critical and financial success. Caminnecci set up an international production for her written by German screenwriters August Rieger and Karl-Heinz Hummel.
Clearly influenced by Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers, which also starred Ferdy Mayne as Count von Krolock, the script also features a sub-plot based on Theophile Gautier’s short story “La Morte Amoureuse”.
The lounge soundtrack was provided by Jerry van Rooyen.
An American actress inherits a castle in Transylvania. What she does not know is that her ancestor, the Baroness Catali, was in actuality a vampire countess, and emerges from her tomb to ravage the nearby village and Catholic seminary…
“Francis accepted this assignment due to a Hollywood production that went the way of the wind, giving us his most unusual effort (though not his worst film as a director). Most of the toilet humor gets lost in the atrocious dubbing, but Francis is able to mount a handsome production, aided by lavish sets and locations.” DVD Drive-In
” …this delivers some unsubtle laughs, a significant number of breasts, and a severely anti-clerical stance. The last of these, when combined with the hallucinatory sex imagery, left me wondering if Francis (now best known as an Oscar-winning cinematographer) had been possessed by the spirit of Ken Russell during shooting.” Trash City
“The tone is that of a German sex comedy, with a gay air steward being symbolically hanged, a bare-arsed vampire monk struggling to get at various bare-breasted over-age schoolgirls, and a family retainer saying: “I’m getting completely mixed-up” prior to breaking the fourth wall with “I’ll bet you are, too.” Jonathan Rigby, Euro Gothic
“This movie does have a certain amount of surreal imagery to give it flavor, and those who like lots of sex and nudity with their vampire flicks will find it more than satisfying. Me, I found it really hard to get past the fact that I found it thoroughly unfunny; with the exception of one line from Dracula (played by Ferdy Mayne) which references a well-known horror actor, I didn’t laugh once.” Fantastic Movie Musings & Ramblings
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In his book Comedy-Horror Films: A Chronological History, author Bruce G. Hallenbeck referred to the film as “sort of a rip-off of Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers” that “doesn’t come within light-years of Polanski’s vision.”