Vampyres (1974)
By: David Michael Brown on May 11, 2004  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Magna Pacific (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1:85:1 (16:9 enhanced). Dolby Digital 2.0. 87 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director:José Ramón Larraz
Starring: Marianne Morris, Anulka, Murray Brown, Brian Deacon
Screenplay: Diane Daubeney
Music: James Clark
Tagline: "They share the pleasures of the flesh…And unleash the horrors of the grave"
Country:Spain/ UK
AKA: Daughters of Dracula; Vampyres: Daughters of Darkness
A curious mix of hot blooded Mediterranean sex and good old English stiff upper lip; this immoral tale of two beautiful bisexual vampires draws in its audience with its hypnotic style and erotic tension. Vampyres stars Marianne Morris and Playboy Playmate Anulka as the sultry blood suckers Fran and Miriam. They live in a gloomy English mansion deep in the heart of the fog filled countryside. Picking up lonely men on the streets, they lure them to their abode with salacious promises of the carnal delights ahead. Unluckily for the men the torrid sex soon unleashes the girl's carnivorous passions and they are soon dead or dying as their blood supply is sucked away.

A young couple are camping nearby, their caravan in view of the girls stately home. Their suspicions are aroused as various male guests enter but never leave. Eventually one of the victims escapes, barely conscious and staggers to the caravan, the couple try and help but are savagely murdered for their act of kindness. The girls vicious shenanigans cannot, however, continue. Knowing that they will soon be discovered they flee into the wilderness. Vampires, ghosts or psychopaths, all are hinted at but none are confirmed.

The graceful images as the girls run through the house's dark corridors or brush through the wooded grounds are beautifully shot. In sharp contrast the sex scenes are down and dirty, the urgent grappling before the men fight for life are some of the most graphic sex scenes in the genre. Way beyond the Hammer horror films of the era, The Vampire Lovers and Lust for a Vampire are tame in comparison even though they were being hailed as the ultimate in erotic horror just a few years before. Its amazing how tastes and sensibilities can change in such a short time. Saying that Vampyres has a long history of censorship throughout the world and has only recently been seen uncut, US company Anchor Bay proclaimed their initial DVD release was uncut but it was shorn of just under a minute of footage. This was followed last year by Blue Underground's region 1 disc that, at last, was the real deal. Magna Pacific's disc, full of naked flesh and gushing blood is also a fully uncut print.

Director Larraz was also involved in another video nasty, the sleazy Udo Kier and Linda Hayden starring sexploitation epic Exposé, also known as House on Straw Hill. Both films have a certain charm, maybe it's the English countryside locations that set them apart from other films of the era. The performances are generally very good, Morris and Anulka flaunt their voluptuous charms in brave and uninhibited performances. The male cast is also unafraid to disrobe but that's maybe not a good thing in those days of hairy Seventies beefcake! In these days of big budget Van Helsings it's great to see a film that isn't afraid to show the squalid side of vampirism.
Video
The print is clear and sharp. The gloomy countryside and the dark corridors of the mansion are shown to great effect.
Audio
The stereo mix is adequate. A fair job has been done on this budget disc.
Extra Features
No extras.
The Verdict
An excellent addition to the Vampire genre, Larraz's erotic masterpiece deserves better than this in terms of extras, the Blue Underground Zone 1 disc provides a plethora of extras and a re-mastered uncut print. However, this version retails at $9.95 so for anyone just looking to test the water this is a perfect economic disc.
Movie Score
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