‘A satyrical horror comedy of a beautiful woman with bizarre tastes’
The Vampire HappeningÂ – original title:Â Gebissen wird nur nachts “Bitten Only At Night” – is a 1971Â West German comedy horror filmÂ directed byÂ Freddie FrancisÂ (The Deadly Bees, Torture Garden,Â Tales from the Crypt).
In 1970, ItalianÂ producerÂ Pier A. CaminnecciÂ was looking for a film for his wifeÂ Pia Degermark,Â whose previous filmÂ Elvira MadiganÂ (1967) was a critical and financial success.Â Caminnecci set up an international production for her written by German screenwritersÂ August RiegerÂ andÂ Karl-Heinz Hummel.
Clearly influenced by Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers,Â which also starredÂ Ferdy MayneÂ asÂ Count von Krolock,Â the script also features a sub-plot based onÂ Theophile Gautier’s short story “La Morte Amoureuse”.
The lounge soundtrack was provided by Jerry van Rooyen.
An American actress inherits a castle inÂ Transylvania. What she does not know is that her ancestor, the Baroness Catali, was in actuality aÂ vampireÂ 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.”Â George R. Reis,Â 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.” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings & Ramblings
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In his bookÂ Comedy-Horror Films: A Chronological History, author Bruce G. Hallenbeck referred to the film as “sort of a rip-off ofÂ Polanski’sÂ The Fearless Vampire Killers” that “doesn’t come within light years of Polanski’s vision.”