The Slaughter of the Vampires is a 1962 Italian horror feature film written and directed by Roberto Mauri (Night of Violence; Kong Island). The original title is La strage dei vampiri (“The Massacre of Vampires”). The movie stars Walter Bigari, Dieter Eppler and Graziella Granata. It was promoted as Slaughter of the Vampires.
La strage dei vampiri was a low budget production, so much so that actor Dieter Eppler (also in Castle of the Walking Dead) stated that many cast members were not paid for their work.
In 19th Century Germany, a newly-wed couple Marquis Wolfgang (Walter Bigari) and Louise (Graziella Granata) acquire a castle. To commemorate the occasion, Louise performs a piano piece she has written during a party. Louise then feels a strange sensation and retires to her room.
She is visited by a vampire (Dieter Eppler) who she originally sees at the party she was in and sucks her blood, leading her to desire him.
As a result, Louise’s health declines which leads to Wolfgang seeking aid from Doctor Nietzche (Luigi Batzella). Wolfgang is too late as when the doctor arrives Louise is already dead. As the doctor diagnoses this, Wolfgang is shocked to find Louise alive as she approaches him and sucks his blood.
The doctor later seeks out Louise’s hiding place and stakes her to death, along with the servant Corrine, who is also a vampire. Wolfgang’s hiding spot is not found as the doctor seeks another abode in the castle. Wolfgang, who is not entirely converted into a vampire, corners his adversary and stakes him with spikes of an iron grating…
“Beyond mere one-dimensionality, the characters in this movie are scarcely even worthy of the title “character;” […] With all these strikes against it, the main vein of enjoyment to be mined from The Slaughter of the Vampires (apart from its undeniable cheesecake value) is its wildly ridiculous dialogue.” Scott Ashlin, 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting
“The movie is certainly no gem and weighed down more than a little by Walter Brandi’s central performance as the eternally puzzled and powerless Wolfgang (who, it’s worth noting, mans up in the third act) but it looks great and the production has a kind of starchy poetry to it.” Arbogast on Film
” … an engaging gothic tale from the golden age of Italian horror. Filled with romantic melodrama, exceptional period costumes and exquisite locations, the film is less silly than the previous vampire films Brandi starred in, and quite frankly, more entertaining.” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In
” …Mauri’s direction is tautly edited, with an impressive number of inventive set-ups and roving camera shots of good locations, and at just 79 minutes interest never flags. The film may be the first to offer a vampire bride whose ample, heaving bosom almost becomes a character in itself (themselves?). Granata’s low-cut dresses pre-date what became the standard at Hammer by a half-dozen years.” Stuart Galbraith IV, DVD Talk
” …the action devolves into a slow and deadening plod […] for the most part, however, Mauri focuses firmly on Graziella Granata (as both the living and undead Louise), in the process making her cleavage the true star of the picture. Aldo Piga offers some compensation with a swooning score that matches his work on Brandi’s previous vampire titles.” Jonathan Rigby, Euro Gothic
“Some good moments can be found in this otherwise lackluster film, including a highly atmospheric early bit in which the vampire spies on Louise through bushes outside her house, and a later scene in which Louise stalks Wolfgang through a courtyard at night. Graziella Granata is quite alluring as the vampirized Louise, and makes for an extremely compelling sight.” Fright.com
“Eppler’s vampiric assaults on Granata provide a few mildly erotic moments […] Ugo Brunelli’s camera makes the most of the atmospheric sets and enhances the sense of foreboding present within a few eerie clusters of trees. Aldo Piga’s heavy-handed score seems more appropriate for a tearjerker than for a vampire flick.” Lawrence McCallum, Italian Horror Films of the 1960s
“While the movie might have looked good and its stars even better, especially the gorgeous Graziella Granata, the script in contrast was lacking with some fairly cheesy dialogue and the story being somewhat unoriginal. Both were fine if a little unexciting and nothing that we have not seen or heard of before…” The Telltale Mind
“You only have to wait about a minute to see a vampire get slaughtered in this flick. […] Too bad things get so goddamned sluggish about halfway through. Despite the time the flick was made, we do get to see a little bit of blood and a lot of cleavage on Graziella Granata.” The Video Vacuum
Cast and characters:
- Walter Bigari … Marquis Wolfgang – The Devil’s Wedding Night; Bloody Pit of Horror
- Dieter Eppler … The vampire – The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle; The Head
- Graziella Granata … Louise
- Luigi Batzella … Doctor Nietzsche – director of The Beast in Heat; Nude for Satan; The Devil’s Wedding Night
- Gena Gimmy … Corinne
- Edda Ferronao … Nietzsche’s maid
- Carla Foscari … Teresa
- Maretta Procaccini … Resy
- Alfredo Rizzo … Servant – Bloody Pit of Horror; Terror Creatures from the Grave; The Playgirls and the Vampire
The Castle of Monte San Giovanni, Italy
A 1966 British release by E.J. Fancey was cut for an ‘X’ certificate by BBFC censors but their website unfortunately contains no details of the deleted material.
In the United States, the film was re-titled Curse of the Blood Ghouls in 1969 and issued on a double-bill with Bloodsuckers.
Image credits: OriginalPosters.co.uk