Titillating Italian vampire tale looks great on DVD
Surfink | Racine, WI | 02/16/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having been fairly unimpressed by the censored, interrupted-by-a-dozen-commercial-breaks version of this (Curse of the Vampire) on USA channel years ago, I was curious to see how the original would hold up. Perhaps I've simply matured, but uncut and uninterrupted on disc, Playgirls is much more entertaining than I remembered. The plot is standard issue: a bus carrying a troupe of showgirls breaks down, stranding them at the castle of one Count Kernassy (Walter Brandi [Slaughter of the Vampires, Vampire and the Ballerina]) who reluctantly allows them to stay the night, whereupon they move in and sponge off of him seemingly indefinitely. The movie provides some occasional unintentional amusement, but it's certainly no Bad Film atrocity; it's competently produced and fairly absorbing, if you're not too demanding of the logic of the script. There are a number of "wandering the castle corridors at night" scenes (requisite in Italian horror films), a few effective shocks, some icky-cheesy gore effects when a vampiress gets staked, the bloodsuckers all sport highly visible pearly fangs (de rigeur for movie vampires after Horror of Dracula), and convincingly creepy gothic atmosphere is generated throughout. Fashionistas will no doubt marvel at the eccentric '60s wardrobe (Lila Rocco sports a very mod checked coat and the Count favors pinstripe and plaid suits over flowing capes). As expected, the dubbed vocal performances all have that annoying stuttering cadence that Euroshock and kaiju eiga fans know and love. The 'Adults Only' sequences that we've waited years to see amount to a few scenes with barely-discernable nipples glimpsed through very sheer nighties, one quick topless shot, and a mildly sexy striptease, to her undies, by one of the 'playgirls.' Somehow she manages to remove about a half dozen undergarments without actually getting naked! It's hard to believe Richard Gordon made any money at all with this on the grindhouse circuit; its definitely not for the trenchcoat-and-kleenex crowd. Although not as horrific or sexy as one might wish, Playgirls and the Vampire still provides plenty of camp entertainment value, and is essential viewing for students of early-60s Italian horror films such as I Vampiri, Black Sunday, Castle of Terror, Atom Age Vampire, etc.
Image's DVD is unspectacular but quite presentable. Thirteen chapter stops are listed on the main menu screen, and a pretty decent-looking trailer, with no dialog or narration and marred only slightly by some light speckling and vertical scratching, is included. The source print used for the feature actually looks surprisingly good, with generally excellent brightness, contrast, grayscale, shadow/highlight detail, and sharpness. There is some light speckling throughout, but no other notable physical damage. The Dolby 2.0 mono audio does reveal deficiencies in the source soundtrack, particularly a relatively soft but nearly constant hiss, and some sporadic crackling and popping, but the music, sound fx, and dialogue tracks are reasonably clear. All in all a very nice addition to the film library of any aficionado of Italian horror."
Mark Norvell | 12/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"PLAYGIRLS AND THE VAMPIRE is actually quite an eerie and atmospheric horror film, if you can get past the out-of-place striptease scenes and the talentless dance scene. Though the story is pretty run of the mill (sexy showgirls trapped in a castle of evil), the cinematograhper and director actually create some fairly tense moments. Throw in the overly-used element of the "scientist looking to cure an age-old evil" and you have a fun night at the movies! The DVD is wonderfully compiled and chaptered, including the trailer at the end of the film. The picture quality is quite clear and articfacts minimal. The soundtrack, however, is terribly dated with lots of cracks and pops. This is ideal for any lover of Italian horror."
ENJOYABLE EURO-CAMP TRASH GEM....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 09/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hilariously awful movie about a busload of showgirls and their disreputable manager who break down outside a spooky castle after running out on their hotel bill. Little do they know the hospitable count who owns the castle is a vampire. The girls wander around in various states of undress and practice their tacky "dance routines" while the count eyeballs them and his spinsterish housekeeper mutters snide remarks. One girl falls prey to the vampire and comes back in the nude! Wearing nothing but fangs, she attempts to vampirize the manager. The heroine becomes the object of the vampire's lust because she resembles his long lost lover. Of course it all wraps up neat and tidy. There's no gore but lots of cheap lingerie and atmosphere. This is a wonderful example of sixties EuroTrash at it's most silliest. I love this movie on terms that are hard to explain to the uninitiated. It's released by Image and the print is good and the soundtrack adequately clear so you can relish the cheesy dialogue and psuedo-atmospheric sets. No budget, bad acting, bad dubbing and the script sounds like it was made up as they went along. Servicable b&w photography works well, the ENERGY is there and the earnestness to put over a Gothic horror movie in a spooky castle despite the frequent lapses into tasteless cheesecake is what endears this one to me. The people who can appreciate this flick on it's own terms, like me, know who they are and I hope they enjoy it as much as I do. It's a lot of fun and a true Euro-shlock classic."
Not a good film,but did you expect one by that title?
James Simpson | USA | 01/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a film,this is two stars.
As a piece of Trash-cinema for the exploitation junkie,it rates soemwhat higher.
Silly and harmless movie tells the story of a group of models and there promoter who get stranded at a old,dark castle.
This is black and White italian cinema of the 60s,so there is plenty of gothic atmosphere and a creepy vampire on hand who has an eye on the babes.
And babes they are!
The girls are all cute and are in various stages of undress throughout,including a busty blonde striptease and a very sexy vampire girl who prefers to walk about in the nude!
(She's usually in the shadows,but there are a couple of choice shots,being this is an uncut european print).
All ends predictably,as the vampires are destroyed and the babes move on to....whatever there destination was.
Ridiculous,but if your open minded to such ridiculous fare,you may enjoy this as much as I did."