VAMPYRES (1974) Reviews and overview

 

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‘They shared the pleasures of the flesh and the horrors of the grave!’

Vampyres is a 1974 British horror film directed by José Ramón Larraz (Deadly Manor; Edge of the Axe; The National Mummy; Symptoms; Scream – and Die!; ).

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The film’s delightfully discordant score was by James Kenelm Clarke who directed Exposé aka House on Straw Hill a year later.

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Plot:

Two beautiful undead women roam the English countryside, luring unsuspecting men to their estate for ravaging and killing. But when an innocent young couple stumbles into the vampires’ lair, they find themselves sucked into an unforgettable vortex of savage lust and forbidden desires…

Reviews:

” … quite decent, achieving some good shock moments and showing a taste for the sombre visual…” Films Illustrated, 1974

“A non-too-original idea loses through poor acting and the film that emerges is a stock sex-horror exploitation vehicle that gets better direction than it deserves.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook, Batsford, 1982

“… the film is essential viewing for the serious aficionado of British screen terror. Even as the decades pass, it remains one of the most haunting and atmospheric pieces ever committed to celluloid. Few films of such limited funding can claim to be the subject of continued celebration so long after their lensing.” Tim Greaves, Ten Years of TerrorFAB Press, 2001

Vampyres Blu-ray

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Vampyres certainly unfolds like a dream … The inconsistencies can partly be explained away by the rush to get the script written and the film into production, as well as the director’s penchant for creating shocking tableaux, irrespective of any logic. In that latter respect, Larraz is spectacularly successful, his use of hand-held camera contributing to some ferocious murder scenes in which the gore was literally sprayed over the actors with a stirrup pump.” John Hamilton, X-Cert 2

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Buy: Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

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Cast and characters:

Marianne Morris … Fran
Anulka Dziubinska … Miriam
Murray Brown … Ted
Brian Deacon … John
Sally Faulkner … Harriet
Michael Byrne … Playboy
Karl Lanchbury … Rupert
Margaret Heald … Receptionist
Gerald Case … Estate Agent
Bessie Love … American Lady
Elliott Sullivan … American Man

Filming locations:

Oakley Court, Windsor Road, Oakley Green, Berkshire, England
Denham churchyard, Buckinghamshire, England
Harefield Grove, Rickmansworth Road, Harefield, Hillingdon, England

Technical details:

87 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: Mono

The film has also been released as Daughters of DraculaVampyres, Daughters of DraculaVampyres: Daughters of DarknessSatan’s Daughters and Blood Hunger.

Release:

Vampyres was initially released in the UK by Rank Film Distributors on a double-bill with The Devil’s Rain then played on a variety of double-bills for many years after.

Censorship:

The British cinema version was heavily cut by around 3 minutes by the BBFC and the 1989 video was pre-cut but lost a further 26 seconds. The cuts were fully waived for the 2003 UK Anchor Bay DVD.

Although the Anchor Bay release claims to be “uncut and uncensored”, it is actually missing about 29 seconds of footage during the murders of the two campers. There are a total of 5 separate cuts during this sequence which make up the missing 29 seconds. The DVD release from Blue Underground is the completely uncut version as is its subsequent Blu-ray released on 30 March 2010. The disc includes a commentary by director Larraz and producer Brian Smedley-Aston, interviews with stars Marianne Morris and Anulka, the international trailer, and the US trailer.

A novelisation was belatedly published in 2001 by Tim Greaves via FAB Press.

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