Vampyres DVD Review

Reviewed by Peter West

DVD released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

Directed by José Ramón Larraz
Written by D. Daubeney (actually José Ramón Larraz wrote it using his wife's name)
1974, Region 1 (NTSC), 87 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on May 9th, 2000

Starring:
Marianne Morris as Fran
Anulka Dziubinska as Miriam
Murray Brown as Ted
Brian Deacon as John
Sally Faulkner as Harriet

Movie:

Vampyres opens in scene where it looks like a ending. Two beautiful girls (Fran & Miriam) in bed making love and a intruder arrives and shoots the two of them. We next find Ted (the hero or the victim?) checking into a hotel in a small English village. The Innkeeper claims to know him, however Ted denies ever being in the village previously. We next shift to John and Harriet, a typical married couple on holiday. John to fish, and Harriet to paint. Harriet notices a female hitchhiker on the road and becomes disturbed by her. She also sees another girl hiding behind a tree.

Ted winds up picking up Fran at the side of the road and gives her a ride home to what looks to be a mansion in ruin. The old house is falling apart with the exception of Fran's living quarters. They imbibe on fine wine and make love. When Ted awakes he is physically drained and he has a nasty wound on his arm. He thinks it was caused by a broken wine glass. He seeks first aid at the trailer of John and Harriet who have setup camping nearing the old house. Harriet's questioning of Ted leaves her with even more questions about the activities of the two young ladies she spied earlier.

Fran and Miriam continue to seek men at the side of the road, killing them and feasting on their blood. But for some reason Fran cannot bring herself to kill Ted, who is getting weaker and weaker and drawn deeper into the madness these beautiful women are causing. Harriet on the other hand is getting too nosey in the the affairs of these two women. Will Ted survive? Will Harriet's curiosity cause her doom? The ending of this movie brings a answer to these intriguing questions.

Video and Audio:

Absolutely incredible! If only The Godfather had a transfer this good! Even though this movie is 28 years old, it looks like it could have been filmed yesterday. I think you'll find the quality of the screen shots reflects this. I did not notice any damage or color problems. Anchor Bay really sets the standard for other companies to live up to with this one!

A little note about the scenery. The house used for the film was a common staple in Hammer films of the 60's and 70's. It is now a luxury hotel, restored to the beauty it deserved. This movie is in a anamorphic presentation and is as enjoyable today to watch as the intial showings must have been.

The movie is presented in Dolby Digital Mono. José Ramón Larraz used some unique sounds to add to the erie nature of the scenes in the basement of the old house (he claims many have stolen them for later movies). I found it to really add to the classic suspense tracks interwoven throughout the film. The music is clear and crisp. Overall a great track for it's times.

Special Features:

This DVD comes with two trailers: An International and US one. What I found surprising is the American one was far more explicit than the International. There is a great still gallery of shots (I have have included one on this page) of scenes from the movies capitalizing on the erotic tones and shocking violence.

The biggest surprise of the entire movie is the audio commentary. Director Joseph Larraz and Producer Brian Smedley-Aston not only go over the beginings of the project details, but Joseph Larraz steal the show with his humourous recollections.

Larraz claims censors would not allow any shots of the two girls french kissing or showing any pubic hair, then as we get into the later portions of the film, low and behold the shots you see above and below. "Oh my god, there is Anuka's Pussy!" Larraz exclaims. He then talks about how his private copy of the film has been sanitized by the Vatican.

I expected nothing with this commentary and was shocked really how enjoyable it was. I had heard of Larraz and had seen The House that Vanished, his only other movie to get major screenings in the U.S.. I did not know what a entertainer this man is. Why he does not make movies now is our loss.

Conclusion:

This movie has everything a red blooded horror fan could ask for: Lesbian vampires, gratuitous nudity, excellent gore (especially for its time) and a intriguing plot to boot! I've watched this about 5 times to prepare this review and enjoyed every viewing

Every time I see a classic of this genre it really makes me appreciate how lucky I was to grow up during a time when movies did not have to have a HUGE Hollywood budget to get shown, and every weekend you could go to the local Drive-In and watch a triple feature for a few bucks.

This is going to be a favorite of mine for many years to come. I do hope this review inspires you to purchase this gem. You will not regret it!

Grades:

Movie – 4 Stars
Video – 5 Stars
Audio – 4 Stars
Features – 5 Stars
Overall – 4.5 Stars

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