Vampire Ecstasy DVD Review
Written by Sharon Davies
DVD released by Mediumrare
Written and directed by Joseph W. Sarno
1973, Region 2, 115 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 21st January 2013
Nadia Henkowa as Wanda
Anke Syring as Julia Malenkow
Ulrike Butz as Monika
Nico Wolferstetter as Peter Malenkow
Claudia Fielers as Irina Kant
Marie Forså as Helga
Director Joseph W Sarno was renowned for being a pioneer of sexploitation cinema and this 1973 classic is no exception. Vampire Ecstasy aka The Devil's Plaything / Veil of Lust (among the many titles for this little number) tells the tale of Helga and Monika, two visitors invited to a German castle run by a group of solemn and mysterious women. They have arrived to discover who will be heir to the castle and who is the long lost relation of Baroness Varga. Little do they know that the old Baroness was a lesbian vampire who was burned at the stake, and their hosts (who are in a constant state of arousal at night) are aiming to resurrect their mistress. Along for the ride is a friend of the girls, plus brother and sister Peter and Dr Julia Malenkow, who have the misfortune of a broken car and no breakdown cover, so they're all staying in the remote castle together.
The current hostesses, (under the control of Wanda the housekeeper) dress like Mormons by day and by night wear sweet F.A, using their chants to put all under their roof in a sexual trance; they retire to the basement, de-robe, chant and send all their guests into a spiral of erotic tension which is only quenched by some SERIOUS skin on skin contact. First they set their sights on Helga, which leaves her to be so superbly wound up (regardless of the constant "flicking" she serves herself) that she becomes their sexual pet and grants her the quote of the film: "Please make this throbbing stop" – it pretty much sums up the story to that point.
Monika is the doppelganger of the Baroness and their eventual target, but in the mean time they all are hell bent on inducting, having sex with and fondling all the other visitors. Julia the good doctor is an expert in the occult and smells something fishy — and it's not just the naked women — she does her best to protect everyone else armed only with her intelligence and a crucifix she has fashioned out of garlic cloves. Handy.
Can she stop them in time or will she become a sexual slave to this German Vampire hoard?
If you like horror more than you like porn, then you're not in for a great time with Vampire Ecstasy, as the first neck biting incident and blood drawn happens at 1hr 10 mins. However if you're geared up for the latter then you have a plethora of erotic treats in store including straight and lesbian sex, masturbation and all manner of objects being used for gratification.
Need I go on? Genuinely there is LOTS of sex in this film and not much horror. With that in mind I actually found it a little tedious, it just goes on and on. And on. If all the sex scenes were removed I would have been left with about seven minutes of film. Don't get me wrong, it's artistic and beautiful and the story isn't boring – there's just a bit too much sex. I just thank God I didn't watch this with my mother!
On the horror side there really isn't any to speak of, other than the occasional neck bite which comes far too late. For a horror fan like myself who likes a bit of gore, I would say that although this may have been shocking in the Seventies it's a bit tame by today's standards. Vampire Ecstasy is a bit like a teenage boy's wet dream.
Video and Audio:
With this being a Seventies production it's very difficult to compare it to clear video qualities of today, but with that considered the picture is mostly grainy with odd scenes of extreme bad quality. The colours used throughout are somewhat drained but also there are bursts of colour when it comes to the basement sex moments. The audio again is adequate considering its age, although some of the dubbing is tiresome. The constant drumming and chanting are the main musical additions and they are pretty annoying and relentless, but nothing distracts too much from the overall film. If you're going to see a cult film restored from this era you hardly expect a masterpiece.
There is one special feature in the form of a 6 min 46 second interview "A Touch of Horror: An interview with Joe Sarno" here the director discusses the production, casting and overall thoughts on the piece.