Review: Vampyres (Blu-ray)

2012/09/25 15:50:44 UTC by Derek Botelho

1974's Vampyres marks another entry into the lesbian vampire sub-genre. At the time, the film was a controversial hit, in part due to it being censored in many countries where it was released. It's not the sleaziest nor the most high brow take on the exploitation of lesbian vampires, and its methodic pacing does it no favors. However, the film does have two leading actresses who bring a lot to the film, and a director who is able to set a strange and eerie mood, helping things along when they need it most.

The plot to Vampyres is very similar to the urban legend of the female hitchhiker who leads male drivers to their deaths. Two beautiful women, Fran and Miriam (Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska, billed as ‘Anulka’), catch rides with lonely men back to their deserted estate only to keep them captive and drain them of their blood. Afterward, they take the time to stage their bodies and cars to look like car crashes.

The story sounds simple enough, but that’s part of the problem. For an 83-minute film, there isn’t too much going on. Even the addition of a flimsy subplot concerning a young couple in an RV camping out near the estate goes nowhere. The bulk of the film is relegated to these two women and a certain victim named Ted (Murray Brown) trying to escape their clutches.

Despite the thread thin plot, it’s a nice atmosphere piece. The acting is quite good from everyone, with Marianne Morris and Anulka making a nice pair. Morris’ dark, voluptuous features are a striking contrast to Anulka’s blond, girlish charm. Oakley Court, the manor from many Hammer films, and the main location in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, also adds a nice bit of gothic gloom.

Blue Underground has issued Vampyres on a good, but not great looking disc, and I would imagine it’s due to the source material. The film appears to have been shot on the lower end of the scale, and the cinematography is intentionally soft to begin with. Color appears natural, and there is a decent amount of details, but nothing to show off your system with. It’s by no means bad, just not as nice as BU’s release of Daughters of Darkness.

On the audio side of things, we have two audio tracks in English, the original mono mix and a 7.1 DTS track. The usual English, Spanish, and French subtitles are provided. Bonus features consist of a commentary by the film’s director and producer, a short interview with the two leading ladies, and two trailers for the film.

Directed by José Ramón Larraz, Vampyres has become a cult classic over the years. For those intrigued by the promise of lesbian sex and gore, Vampyres is an interesting diversion with some nice central performances, but it’s all been done before. With that being said, if you're a fan of this film, this is the best it's ever looked and may be the only version you've seen that restores all of the previously censored footage.

Film Score: 2.5/5 Disc Score: 2.5/5