A Virgin’s View on The Vampire Lovers (1970)

_78643284_ingridpitt(thevampirelovers1970)
Marcilla (Ingrid Pitt) goes in for the kill in The Vampire Lovers (1970). Picture: Hammer Film Productions.

Welcome to the seventh instalment of “Virgin’s View” where I review a classic vampire film without being exposed to any background information or reviews, hence the term “virgin.” Beware spoilers ahead!

Plot

iCRFPx1
This guy again. Peter Cushing, in red, turns up in The Vampire Lovers wearing another fancy outfit. Picture: Hammer Films Productions; tehPARADOX.

The Vampire Lovers (1970), A Hammer/American International Production, was directed by Roy Ward Baker. The film starred Ingrid Pitt, George Cole, Kate O’Mara, and Peter Cushing. When I saw Peter Cushing’s name in the beginning credits, I instantly thought back to one of my previous reviews, Horror of Dracula, where Cushing sported some rather fancy outfits.

We  are introduced to Baron Hartog (Douglas Wilmer), a Three Musketeer groupie look-alike complete with his own sword.

Hartog was on a mission to avenge his sister’s death. He had the balls to steal a vampire’s shroud, which is needed to return to the grave and lured the vampire into a trap by waving it from the castle window.

tumblr_o9eki0Ayup1u9ihu1o1_1280
“a Three Musketeer groupie look-alike”: Baron Hartog (Douglas Wilmer) lies in wait for a vampire. Picture: Hammer Film Productions; Hammer Film Actors & Actresses 1955 to 1976.

The well endowed femme fatale took the bait. She attempted to seduce Hartog and instead burnt her boobs on his cross right before being decapitated.

Fast forward to a party with aristocrats dancing in elegant ballgowns, servants wearing powdered wigs, and guests arriving in horse drawn chariots. I half expected Cinderella to make an appearance.

The host of the evening, the General (Peter Cushing), welcomed the Countess (Dawn Addams) and her beautifully voluptuous daughter Marcilla (Ingrid Pitt). The women’s foreign accents made me think they were vampires, but would have to wait till later to find out.

Marcilla stood out of the crowd being the only woman in red and had no problem finding a dance partner. The next dance was interrupted by the grand entrance of a vampire version of Mr. Bean (John Forbes-Robertson) wearing a flowing red cape as he waved around his fancy walking stick.

blah blah
The strong silent type. This mysterious Man in Black (John Forbes-Robertson) makes numerous appearances throughout the movie and never says anything, but has the evil laugh down to a science. Picture: Hammer Film Productions; Ema Edoreteho/YouTube.

He briefly speaks with the Countess and quickly takes his leave. She goes straight to the General and makes arrangements for her daughter to board with the family for a short while.

The General’s daughter, Laura (Pippa Steele), and Marcilla quickly become BFFs. Meanwhile Marcilla has that whole creepy Fatal Attraction (1987) vibe going on when she declares her love for Laura. She also disappears and reappears randomly like a ghost.

Coincidentally, Laura is having crazy nightmares where a huge cat chokes her each night. She falls ill and dies a few days later. They suspect anemia until the body is examined and to no one’s surprised, discover two puncture marks on her breast.

The Vampire Lovers
The vampire’s grasp. Marcilla (Ingrid Pitt) entrances Laura (Pippa Steel). Picture: Hammer Film Productions; Bitch Flicks.

The General goes on a rampage continuously yelling Marcilla’s name. She is nowhere to be found, and the scene ends with a gravestone sporting her name and her ghostly figure disappearing into the night.

But this isn’t the last we see of Marcilla. There is a stage coach accident in the woods and Emma (Madeline Smith) and her father Morton (George Cole) come to the aid of the travellers. Out pops the Countess pouring on the charm and she is travelling with her daughter “Carmilla,” not Marcilla, despite being the same woman.

It’s rather genius if you think about it. Mother and daughter team up and plant the daughter into unsuspecting households where she has an endless smorgasbord of fresh blood. The Countess uses the same story and Morton agrees to look after Carmilla for her. The kicker is his daughter Emma, was actually best friends with the recently deceased Laura. The only part I can’t figure out is where the vampiric Mr. Bean comes into play.

This storyline reminds me of Heartbreakers (2001), a rom-com starring Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt. A mother daughter team that work cons across the country for financial gain and they prey on men of wealth. This case instead of swindling money, it’s blood. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 23.45.02
It takes two. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sigourney Weaver playing the game of seduction with an unsuspecting victim. Picture: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; IMDB.

With Emma, we get a repeat performance; nightmares, BFF’s with Carmilla and then she comes down with the sickness.

A romantic interest is suspected between the two women when they run around Emma’s bedroom topless and collapse lovingly on the bed together.

My suspicions were confirmed later when Carmilla professes her love for Emma and that she doesn’t want anyone to take her away. If this doesn’t cinch it, at the forty-seven minute mark Carmilla strips down an entranced Emma and seductively kisses her naked body.

yD7DBJLCaMh2nvQ5IQrVeC7zaPC
A sucker born every minute. Marcilla/Carmilla (Ingrid Pitt) finds a new squeeze: Emma (Madeline Smith). Hammer Film Productions; vostfr.club.

Next Carmilla strategically seduces the nanny, Madame Perrodot (Kate O’Mara), who was left in charge of Emma when her father went away. She wanted to prevent the doctor from checking on the ailing Emma.

The butler, Renton (Harvey Hall), throws a spanner in the works when takes the initiative and summons the doctor (Ferdy Mayne) despite the nanny’s objections.

The doctor discovers Emma is on the brink of death and places a cross around her neck and bombards her room with garlic flowers. Renton confirms vampires are at play when he offers the garlic flowers to Madame Perrodot (Kate O’Mara) and she runs like a scared child. Carmilla tries to visit Emma and backed off when she saw the vampire repellants in the room.

Carmilla was angry the doctor cock blocked her and we finally see fangs when she goes after him in the woods. She bumps off Renton next and then Madame Perrodot.

Carmilla tells Emma she is taking her home, which tells you that she really cares for Emma. In the end she wasn’t just killing for fun, she was protecting her love, not just a blood bag.

Carl (Jon Finch), a family friend, bursts in the house just in time to save Emma with a trusty cross and Carmilla vanishes into thin air.

Meanwhile, the General and Morton succeeded in their own mission and found the horribly aged Baron Hartog. They all return to the original castle and realize Carmilla is the vampire that got away when Hartog cleaned house the night he avenged his sister. Funnily enough, Carmilla appears at the castle and settles into her coffin.

The men know what they have to do and the General does the deed Van Helsing style. He stakes the vampire and then decapitates her. For someone’s first time, he seemed like a natural, almost like he had done it before in a land far away.

We see a little blood, but nothing graphic. The cool part was how the painting of Carmilla morphed and aged within seconds. Kind of like in The Horror of Dracula when Dracula basically burnt slash melted at the end. The strategy of using the cross at the end to disable the vampire was the same too.

Review

the-vampire-lovers-peter-cushing-ingrid-pitt-hammer-horror-1970
Death blow. Baron Hartog (Douglas Wilmer) watches on as the General (Peter Cushing) gets ready to finish off Carmilla. Picture: Hammer Film Productions; Horrorpedia.

This film humanized the vampire and showed to what ends Carmilla was willing to go to for her love. Maybe she was taking Emma home to turn her and be together forever? I guess Laura was more of an infatuation than long term relationship material.

The angle of making the love interest two females, must have gone over well with the audiences back in the 1970s as they approached the hippy era of free love. There was a pattern of low cut dresses and flowing locks. I was totally surprised at amount of boob you saw. I don’t know about others, but when I was younger I didn’t romp around half naked with my female friends. Perhaps this was the norm for the era they were going for?

When Carmilla killed her victims I think they could have made things more realistic instead of her supposedly drinking them dry in seconds and dying instantly. Ideally there should have been way more blood and maybe some last words from her victims.

I found one aspect of the plot predictable; when they introduced the Countess and Marcilla so early on. The part I am still confused about is the vampire Mr. Bean. He just lurks in the shadows the whole time and laughs showing his fangs. Perhaps he was supervising and he assigned the two ladies the job of repopulating the castle? I am assuming they were his brides, but again I can’t confirm my speculations.

I think the sets in this film, as opposed the other Hammer Film I saw were more realistic. From the atmosphere in the castle and graveyard to the houses used. I found myself paying more attention to the actual storyline in this one as opposed to the ambiance. The female characters were ditzy, but amusing.

Overall, the movie was very entertaining. The quick storyline and cheesiness accompanied by the dramatic music were a winning combination. I am curious how many Hammer Films actually exist and I can see why fans flock to them. The film also makes me want to check out this Carmilla business as I have heard the name before related to either a books or plays. That will have to wait for another day.

The Vampire Lovers gets a virgin rating of four and a half stars ★★★★½

Notes:

  1. I instantly thought back to one of my previous reviews: Erin Chapman, “A Virgin’s View on ‘Horror of Dracula,'” Vamped, July 7, 2015, accessed June 29, 2016, http://vamped.org/2015/07/29/a-virgins-view-on-horror-of-dracula/.

78 comments

  1. I like your detailed description of the film, and the simplicity of the “virgin’s view”! It appears that you haven’t yet read “Carmilla,” the story by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, upon which this movie was based. It’s practically the only pre-Dracula story (it was published in 1872, a solid 25 years before Bram Stoker’s novel) that has been made into several movies or TV dramas. (A short film in Spanish was based very loosely on Polidori’s 1819 tale “The Vampire”; that’s the only other pre-Dracula story, to my knowledge, that was dramatized in a film.) I highly recommend “Carmilla”: in fact, in my opinion, it’s the greatest piece of vampire fiction ever written (and that’s saying a lot, because I’m not putting the others down!). It’s a very rich, deep story — almost every time I read it, I discover something new and interesting — and it raises a number of intriguing questions. Carmilla is not a “good vampire” by any means; however, she is not all bad, and in some ways may be a sorrowful or even pathetic character, so the amount of “evil” in her, versus the degree to which she deserves compassion, is one of the most fascinating questions. Also, does Carmilla really love the heroine in some way? (The heroine’s name is Laura in the story, although she’s the counterpart of the movie-character named Emma; the movie-character named Laura is named Bertha in the story.) And does the story condemn lesbian relationships, or merely treat them as a benign curiosity, condemning only vampirism? This last question gets particularly interesting when we compare the story to the movie, because I think the movie really does condemn lesbianism: Laura dies — at least in part — because she goes from the “right” relationship, with a young man, into the “wrong” relationship with the lesbian-vampire, whereas Emma is rescued because she goes from the “wrong” relationship into the “right” one. The young man Carl — who starts as Laura’s fiance, and then falls in love with Emma after he loses Laura — is the rescuer, or potential rescuer (he tries to rescue Laura near the beginning, but it’s too late), which seems to suggest that heterosexuality will rescue women if they turn to it in time. Also, like you, I am puzzled about the “vampiric Mr. Bean,” as you call him, or the Man in Black as the credits appear to name him (if I recall correctly). This character has no counterpart in the original story, “Carmilla,” and in the movie his presence seems to encourage the stronger patriarchal worldview of the film (in contrast to the story, which is less patriarchal). Female vampires, his presence implies, cannot do their work alone: they must be perpetually watched over, encouraged, and held accountable to the male vampire, who watches over them almost silently, without uttering an intelligible word; the only sound he makes is his laughter. Carmilla seems bound to report to him of her work in some ways, albeit silently; that’s the impression I get. Also, aside from the one scene near the beginning, when the Man in Black enters the ballroom and speaks with the Countess, we always see him on horseback, which adds to the authority of his position: he is literally “above” the female vampires, who are always on foot. (Incidentally, this male vampire must have an unusual horse to ride, because the doctor’s horse wants to flee in the presence of Carmilla, as horses usually do in Hammer films, when confronted with a vampire. Another interesting point is that Carmilla has a reflection — both in mirrors and in a pool of water — which makes her an unusual vampire in Hammer films. Maybe female vampires need reflections because they can’t do their makeup and dresses without them! That also adds a male chauvinist element, in my view.) So, comparing the movie to the original story is fascinating, just as analyzing each by itself is also fascinating. As you might have noticed, I’ve been coming from the point of view of a “feminist literary critic,” with some academic training, which is essentially what I am, although I probably belong to more schools of thought than just “feminism” by itself. This film is indeed entertaining, and I watch it repeatedly from time to time. I’m looking forward to your “virgin impression” of the story Carmilla — and I hope I haven’t given too much away, or spoiled the “virginity” of it! It’s really a great story, and I don’t think any film has yet fully done it justice.

  2. Howdy very cool website!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful ..

    I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds
    additionally? I am satisfied to search out so many helpful information here in the
    submit, we need develop extra strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing.

    . . . . . 0mniartist asmr

  3. Thanks , I’ve just been searching for information approximately this subject for a long time and yours
    is the best I have discovered till now. However, what
    concerning the conclusion? Are you sure in regards to the supply?

  4. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I
    found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to
    her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it
    pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL
    I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

  5. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.

  6. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article!

    It’s the little changes that will make the largest
    changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  7. Thanks for every other wonderful post. The place else
    may just anyone get that type of info in such an ideal means of writing?
    I have a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such
    info.

  8. Remarkable things here. I am very glad to look your post.

    Thanks so much and I’m taking a look forward to contact
    you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  9. scoliosis
    After exploring a few of the blog articles on your site, I really appreciate your
    technique of blogging. I book marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my web
    site too and let me know what you think.
    scoliosis

  10. scoliosis
    I savour, cause I found exactly what I used to be having a look for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man.
    Have a nice day. Bye scoliosis

  11. Hello my loved one! I wish to say that this article is awesome, great
    written and include approximately all significant infos.

    I’d like to peer extra posts like this .

  12. My brother suggested I might like this website.

    He was totally right. This submit actually made my day.
    You can not believe just how so much time I had spent for this info!

    Thank you!

  13. [url=https://cialiscr.com/]cialis online legal[/url] [url=https://nfcpharmacy.com/]online pharmacy quick delivery[/url] [url=https://viagramedicines.com/]sildenafil 50 mg buy online india[/url] [url=https://onlinepharmacyone.com/]legit pharmacy websites[/url] [url=https://drugfstore.com/]best no prescription pharmacy[/url] [url=https://opstadalafil.com/]tadalafil cheapest price[/url] [url=https://999pills.com/]lisinopril online usa[/url] [url=https://brandmodafinil.com/]order modafinil usa[/url] [url=https://amiviagra.com/]viagra pills online[/url] [url=https://cialistx.com/]15mg cialis[/url]

  14. [url=http://zylopharm.com/]doxycycline tablets in india[/url] [url=http://pharmacyleo.com/]good pharmacy[/url] [url=http://viagraltb.com/]where can i buy viagra online without a prescription[/url] [url=http://myhealthsrc.com/]buy azithromycin 500mg online us[/url] [url=http://999pills.com/]lisinopril without rx[/url] [url=http://nfviagra.com/]cheap generic viagra 50mg[/url]

  15. I do not even know the way I finished up right here, however I thought this submit was once great.
    I do not recognise who you are however definitely you’re going to a famous blogger should you aren’t
    already. Cheers!

  16. [url=https://brandmodafinil.com/]purchase provigil[/url] [url=https://plcialis.com/]cialis mexico pharmacy[/url] [url=https://amiviagra.com/]viagra 50mg pill[/url] [url=https://onlinepharmacyone.com/]what’s the best online pharmacy[/url] [url=https://cialistx.com/]75 mg tadalafil[/url] [url=https://sildenafilftab.com/]how to get sildenafil[/url] [url=https://viagraimed.com/]viagra prescription india[/url] [url=https://viagraxcap.com/]best viagra price in india[/url]

  17. You’re so awesome! I don’t believe I’ve read through something like that before.

    So wonderful to discover someone with some
    unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. many thanks for
    starting this up. This site is something that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!

  18. [url=https://dwmeds.com/]xenical 120 mg price in india[/url] [url=https://astviagra.com/]how to viagra online[/url] [url=https://flcialis.com/]cialis 2.5 price[/url] [url=https://cdpills.com/]propecia online singapore[/url] [url=https://adocialis.com/]cialis 2 5 mg online[/url]

  19. [url=https://msnsildenafil.com/]how to buy genuine viagra online[/url] [url=https://viagrafpill.com/]find viagra[/url] [url=https://flcialis.com/]cialis prescription price australia[/url] [url=https://sildenafilreg.com/]where to buy genuine viagra online[/url] [url=https://cialisaids.com/]cialis softgel[/url] [url=https://perfectnhealthy.com/]canada neurontin 100mg discount[/url] [url=https://viagraktab.com/]can i buy viagra over the counter in canada[/url] [url=https://tadalafilnrd.com/]buy tadalafil pills[/url] [url=https://buymodafinilotc.com/]modafinil generic canada[/url] [url=https://sildenafillow.com/]buy viagra online legally[/url]

  20. you are in reality a just right webmaster. The web site loading pace is amazing.

    It sort of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick.
    Also, The contents are masterwork. you have done a fantastic
    process on this topic!

  21. continuously i used to read smaller articles which also clear their motive,
    and that is also happening with this article which I am reading
    here.

  22. [url=http://cialismstore.com/]canada cialis 20 mg[/url] [url=http://topsildenafil.com/]best sildenafil brand[/url] [url=http://viagrapos.com/]sildenafil buy online india[/url] [url=http://adnviagra.com/]viagra 4 pack[/url] [url=http://tadalafil24h.com/]tadalafil best[/url] [url=http://viagraibuy.com/]how to buy viagra no prescription[/url] [url=http://cialisnrg.com/]buy cialis over the counter usa[/url] [url=http://bluepillviagra.com/]where can i get viagra uk[/url]

  23. [url=http://pharmacynord.com/]northwestpharmacy[/url] [url=http://viagraibuy.com/]canada generic viagra[/url] [url=http://tadalafilordering.com/]cipla tadalafil[/url] [url=http://viagravpi.com/]viagra capsules online in india[/url] [url=http://viagraedpill.com/]buy viagra in us online[/url]

  24. [url=https://adnviagra.com/]where can you buy viagra over the counter in canada[/url] [url=https://valcialis.com/]cialis 20mg sale[/url] [url=https://viagraunf.com/]canadian viagra 200 mg[/url] [url=https://edkamagra.com/]kamagra medicine[/url] [url=https://metformingl.com/]142 metformin[/url]

  25. Unlike other yoga retreats, you don’t have to worry whether the dates will suit you, as our yoga vacation program runs non-stop 365 days a year. The Vikasa Experience may result in major changes in your lifestyle back home. Warning: Health and Happiness are very addicting! Many guests sent messages to us sharing their stories of transformation and how the Vikasa Experience changed their life forever. As you condition and strengthen your body and mind through physical exercise, you will become resistant to stress. Yoga is a tool set to keep yourself stress free. https://vikasayoga.com/ Eating wholesome and healthy food is part of our lifestyle philosophy at the beautiful VIKASA Life Cafe. We’ve formulated a signature cuisine, combining healthy ingredients with pure indulgence for you to savor. VIKASA serves a wide variety of food styles to suit different dietary needs; we offer vegan-friendly, international, fusion, western, raw and non-vegetarian dishes. Enjoy the evolution of food at VIKASA and join us for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You’ll have access to all the wonderful VIKASA facilities during your stay, including our famous infinity pool and secret beach. The VIKASA Bliss Spa offers a range of rejuvenating treatments to return your body to a state of bliss. Our Vitox program offers a non-invasive approach to detox. Guests have access to the SKY GYM located across the street. VIKASA Voyage offers meaningful adventure with eco-friendly and socially-conscious experiences. Our amazing staff are prepared to guide you in exploring the VIKASA facilities or explore the island paradise of Koh Samui during your yoga vacation.

Leave a Reply to signup.com Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *