The Vampire Lovers (1970)

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Movie Review
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Vampire Lovers

Directed By: Roy Ward Baker

Starring: Ingrid Pitt, Peter Cushing, Pippa Steel, Madline Smith, Kate O’Mara, George Cole

Synopsis: The seductive vampire Carmilla stalks the country-side for new victims, most times targeting beautiful women.

Thoughts: In Hammer’s early years, they tended to produce fairly tame movies, often mimicking Universal’s formula for success.  It didn’t take them long to move to a “Blood and Boobs” philosophy, amping up both the onscreen violence and the natural gifts of their stable of beauties.  The Vampire Lover’s exemplifies that philosophy and pushed it to its limits.  While Hammer was no stranger to nudity, this is one of the few movies that featured a great deal of girl on girl action, or as the Scream Factory description refers to it as, “Lesbian tendencies.”

Much of Hammer’s success was built on their talent, and The Vampire Lovers features two of their very best.  Ingrid Pitt plays the villainous Carmilla and absolutely radiates on screen.  She truly is one of the most beautiful women of that era and just mesmerizes viewers.  One of her foils in this movie has probably slain more on screen vampires than just about anyone.  Peter Cushing is the definitive vampire hunter, often playing Van Helsing, but other times just playing someone who has to deal with the undead menace, like he does here.

Hammer also turned to one of their better directors for The Vampire Lovers as well.  Roy Ward Baker knows how give fans what they want in a gothic horror movie, and shows it here.  He lets his stars do their work and keeps the action moving.   This isn’t the best script or storyline that he has worked with, but it does have what most fans are looking for, and then some.

There are some real iconic Hammer movies out there, and while The Vampire Lovers isn’t one of them, it is a very good one.  Its stars, coupled with the gratuitous nudity of Ingrid Pitt makes this a fan favorite.  After you’ve had your fill of Christopher Lee flashing his fangs, make sure you give Ingrid Pitt a shot.  She brings a whole different presence to the screen.


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