It’s Hammer time! And though it might not be a popular opinion to express, this film is, for me, classic Hammer. With the dawn of the 1970’s the studio started to put out films that featured more explicit gore and nudity. In The Vampire Lovers, there are some fairly gruesome decapitations and some totally gratuitous nakedness. Brilliant.
Based on Sheridan Le Fanu’s novel Carmilla, The Vampire Lovers stars the late, great Ingrid Pitt as Mircalla/Carmilla. She charms her way into the houses of well-to-do families and seduces their daughters with her vampiric powers. Peter Cushing – total hero – makes a cameo appearance and we even get to see George (Minder) Cole in a substantial role.
The sets are quite lush and the atmosphere is archetypal Hammer Gothic fare. But the real stars here are the lovely ladies – Ingrid, plus Kate O’Mara and one of my all time favourites, the beautiful Madeline Smith. Maddy looks wonderful in this film and plays the doe-eyed innocent perfectly.
The Vampire Lovers ticks all the Hammer boxes. And with a line-up that includes Pitt, Smith and O’Mara, offers possibly the greatest Hammer Glamour cast for a single film of all.
“Alien isn’t a horror film – it’s science fiction!” Nonsense. Despite the sci-fi setting, this film is pure horror – and one of the all time greats. It still has the power to shock all these years later, not to mention some very gruesome scenes. Gripping and shit-your-shoes off scary.
The design is faultless – both H. R. Giger’s creature and the lived in space ship sets. The film looks great and the viewer is totally immersed in the world on-screen. I don’t need to add more, just watch it and be mesmerised.