VAMPYRES: LUST FOR BLOOD

PrintE-mail Written by James Evans

Ah, the 70s… It might seem (to crib from a moderately popular film of that decade) ‘A long time ago…’ but really it’s not so different these days: dubious wars, political upheaval, financial crises, immigrants, casual sexism and racism, and the threat of imminent destruction (then: nuclear apocalypse, now a demented Wotsit inching closer to being the Most Powerful Man in the World).  Misogyny is still going strong too, though it’s arguably of a different flavour now.  One thing we have left back there in the main is old-school horror of the Hammer-like variety.  In the early part of the disco decade, with censorship relaxing and profits diminishing, Hammer was still making much the same film as nearly a decade or two before, but adding lesbianism and boobs to pull punters in.  Other studios and filmmakers also took note of trends and one such feature was 1974’s Vampyres.  As with many films of the time it has developed a cult appeal.  Vampyres (subtitled pointlessly for the UK market with ‘Lust for Blood’…it’s hardly going to be a Lust for Quilting, is it?) is a remake that’s been languishing for a couple of years and is now heading straight for a budget Sainsbury’s chart near you.

That doesn’t automatically mean it’s rubbish, though.  It’s got genre icon Caroline Munro in it, that was quite promising.  The basic premise is the same as the original: Two female vampires pick off unsuspecting travellers, both male and female, to take back to their home for some sex, bloodletting, and ultimately death.  A camping party doesn’t know two of their friends are already on the list of the missing and eventually end up stumbling into the lair of the vampires (or vampyres, whatever).  The original was notorious for being (even for the time) unusually graphic in both the sex and murder and was heavily cut for release.  This being the modern age, writer-director Victor Matellano can expect no such censorship and so he aims full-tilt for a mix of eroticism and sadistic violence.  Whether any of this is any good is open to personal interpretation on amounts of gore and body parts necessary in a film of this kind, and how much patience you have with idiots.  Take away the nudity and savagery and you’re mostly left with a stupid-people-in-the-woods film (hint: if you’re camping and the first night’s sleep is interrupted by ominous visions of horrors ahead, perhaps consider moving on to a Butlin’s or something).   

On the plus side, it’s nice (well, not nice, but you know what I mean) to have some actually murderous, unrepentant vampires in films again.  No sparkling here, or attempts to humanise creatures of the night.  For what it is, it’s made well enough and mercifully short, with some attempt at the dreamlike approach of the original.  If you like sex and death, nakedness and blood together, well there’s lots of that.  It’s alright, I suppose.

VAMPYRES: LUST FOR BLOOD /  CERT 18 / DIRECTOR: VICTOR MATELLANO / STARRING: CAROLINE MUNRO, VERONICA POLO, ANTHONY ROTSA / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 5TH
 


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