This two-hour, overblown adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire" was perhaps the most ill-advised of Granada Television's Sherlock Holmes series. Entirely contrary to the to... more »ne and spirit of Doyle's tale--which finds Holmes victoriously pitting his well-grounded deductive powers against irrational fears of a rise in bloodsucking--The Last Vampyre is something of an embarrassment to the largely wonderful legacy of Granada's earlier efforts. (For the record, most of the creative executives who, along with star Jeremy Brett, had made the beloved series what it was in the 1980s were replaced by 1992, the year of this film.) In this version, Holmes does battle with a Draculalike fellow who may or may not be the real McCoy. There is a great deal of padding to fill out the story to feature length, and it is mostly silly. So, you ask, is there anything to recommend this? Well, there is the ailing Brett's ever-fascinating performance, which deviates from Doyle's vision of the detective hero toward something darker and more personal. Edward Hardwicke does his usual warm and capable work as Dr. Watson. --Tom Keogh« less
""The Last Vampyre" is one of the more misunderstood entries in the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes collection.Often villified by fans of the Granada series, I think that such complete criticism is a bit unfair. Looking over the installment, one cannot help but admire the production values throughout, which are excellent. The supporting cast is well chosen and delivers, as do Brett and Hardwicke. The location settings are perfect for the tale, and the cinematography is absolutely first-class.So, why does this episode fail to please the audience? Perhaps it is all of the padding inserted into the original story, which takes us far afield from Doyle. Pointless sexual antics, vampirism, local politics, etc., intrude upon what could have been a top-notch entry, in an attempt to extend the episode to movie-length. The real pity is that all of the padding has relegated this installment to the dustbin for most fans.However, if one could excise about twenty minutes from the production, it would play much better. I think such judicious re-editing would raise the episode to at least acceptable standards on a par with other, at least average, episodes in the Granada series. The unfortunate thing is that the padding does serve to set the mood for the mystery, and would therefore be all but impossible to remove completely while at the same time leaving intact any semblence of a cohesive story.Perhaps it is all a matter of taste. I liked enough of the episode to enjoy it despite its problems, and in many ways it was probably as good as (or no worse than), "The Master Blackmailer". That installment has severe weak points as well, including the lack of any true Holmsian deductions. It leaves the viewer wanting in places, too, just as "The Last Vampyre" does.I would submit that the production values alone make the installment worth a screening, but we have Brett and Hardwicke on top of that. Take these factors, combined with the interesting and creepy character of Stockton (as played by Roy Marsden), and I don't see how the episode can be written off so casually.While "The Last Vampyre" can be disappointing when compared to the glory days of the Granada series, it is also not the abject failure that some viewers have claimed."
Mark Savary | 02/23/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In later years, the great Brett series was in decline with the loss of some apt scriptwriters and adaptions. Instead we get long, drawn-out versions of relatively simple stories, to the point that many of the characters seem annoying and the whole thing is exposed as ridiculous. Brett and Hawthorne are always good as Holmes and Watson, but their producers are not serving them well with this kind of script."
The Sussex Vampire/The Last Vampyre
Claudia A. Reynolds | Rumford, ME USA | 04/18/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I adore Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes and cannot help but admire how beautiful and authentic these adaptations were filmed. Authentic detail and great casts made this a do-not-miss series. However, this episode (The Last Vampyre) is a travesty of the original story. Instead of a moving story about a woman who is protecting her child and trying to keep peace within her home, we have this horrible (as in "horror") and mindless tale. No doubt about it. Conan Doyle was a fabulous story teller. Why present this mediocre, at best, plot instead of the real thing??? And the Eligible Bachelor (based on The Noble Bachelor) is nearly as bad. A shame, too. Both original stories were strong and impressive on their own."
Despite solid production, LAST VAMPYRE lacks bite.
Hazen B Markoe | St. Paul, MN United States | 02/11/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the short story, "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire," SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE LAST VAMPYRE, proves to a lesser entry in the now classic Jeremy Brett series. Set in a small English country village, Holmes and Dr. Watson must investigate the mysterious deaths surrounding a rather dour man named Stockton, while dealing with the paranoia engendered by the deaths. As usual, Brett is solid as Holmes, but he lacks his usual dynamic energy due to the fact that he was ailing during the filming of this episode. Edward Hardwicke is on the top of his game as the trusty Watson. Unfortunately, despite the top-notch production values, much of the episode seems overlong as the short story is padded out to feature length with motivations that are never completely explained. While the Granada TV series still entertains, THE LAST VAMPYRE has to be regarded as a less-than-satisfactory entry. Recommended for Holmes fans only."
Disappointing and veers from classic Sherlock formula
Sarah Olivia | United States | 06/14/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I love the Jeremy Brett/Granada TV version of Sherlock Holmes. Jeremy Brett is unsurpassed in his pitch-perfect rendition of the master sleuth. My mother and I were all set for a cozy mystery this evening, only to feel disappointed by this feature film's deviation from the usual whodunit formula.
Sherlock Holmes repeats the common-sense, anti-Cullen mantra, "There are no vampires," several times throughout "The Last Vampyre." Yet even he is at a loss to explain away all of the strange coincidences that dog the village of Lamberley. John Stockton, an eccentric man steeped in the occult, is a direct descendant of the Sinclair family, once the ruling family of Lamberley. The head of the Sinclair family was an unusually cruel man who was reputed to be a vampire. The angry villagers torched the manor house, so only the basic frame of the once-great house remains. After several villagers curse and blame him for unexpected deaths and illnesses, John Stockton considers restoring and relocating to his ancestor's manor. His cottage is too close for comfort to the superstitious and mob-mentality villagers.
A well-to-do family invites Stockton for dinner, ignoring the rumors that have preceded him. Yet Stockton seems to have mesmerized the entire family in one way or another after only a brief acquaintance. A seemingly healthy baby contracts pneumonia overnight, the family dog is paralyzed, the elder son Jack shares a musical interest, the maid is inexplicably attacked, and the grieving mother is comforted that Mr. Stockton understands the otherworldly.
Sherlock Holmes, that master of deductive reasoning and logical reconstructions, has heretofore disavowed us of superstitious thinking and the supernatural in general. In this film, he disappoints. He can no more explain these strange events than the next person. There seems to be a logical, rational antidote for each individual incident, yet Holmes and Watson seem at a loss when they consider the whole picture.
My mom and I were expecting the classic, "oh this was how it was done," and "pay attention to the man behind the curtains" explanation. Instead, this film seems to suggest that many things are inexplicable and that even Holmes's piercing logic cannot penetrate the great unknown, so as to render it safe and rational. The up-in-the-air conclusion could also suggest that maybe coincidences and circumstantial situations can explain what presently make up the bulk of superstitious thinking.
I don't know. I can tolerate revisionism and creative adaptations of my favorite characters, yet this case of "The Last Vampyre" just left me feeling frustrated. It was like hearing a piece of music that refused to play the final tonic chord after sounding the dominant; I keep waiting to hear the resolution."