"Naked girls and lots of blood, that's what Vampyres is about," says Joseph Larraz in the notes to the film. He rewrites the vampire myth to make his bloodsucking lovelies the restless ghosts of lesbian lovers murdered whi... more »le making love in their shadowy castle. Reappearing nightly in the twilight forest, they lure men to their castle for blood feasts until the brunette vampire, Fran (Marianne Morris), falls for her latest victim (Murray Brown) and decides to keep him alive, a sex slave she slowly drains dry. "You're playing a dangerous game," warns blonde Miriam (Anulka), perhaps just a tad jealous. As the local cops watch a veritable wrecking yard of car crashes fill up the sleepy back roads (all with naked dead men behind the wheels), you have to wonder if anyone finds this a bit suspicious. It's a slim story filled with misty forests, candlelit castle interiors, and the above-mentioned blood and naked flesh. Larraz adds a few poetic flourishes--blood dripping down pale faces, clouds crawling past a castle--but, more important, gives the living dead girls a genuinely passionate relationship and a zest for nightlife. The DVD features commentary by Larraz and producer Brian Smedley-Ashton. --Sean Axmaker« less
Share Pleasures of the Flesh...and Horrors from the Grave!
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 02/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, 1974's VAMPYRES admittedly has numerous nude scenes--full frontal female nude scenes, in some cases--that was a prerequisite for the sexploitation horror pouring out of Europe in the 1970s. And yes, the two female players have hourglass figures, ample bosoms, and beautiful faces. However, this British indie film, directed by Spanish auteur José Ramón Larraz, has a cinematic aesthetic that makes it stand out above its contemporaries as a horror film of true quality. Larraz does a fantastic job of directing, working in close conjunction with cinematographer Harry Waxman to ensure that nearly every shot of every scene is a balanced, well-framed image. In keeping with the spooky atmosphere of the moldering English manor house and surrounding grounds used for location shooting, production designer Ken Bridgeman maintains the perfect ambiance throughout. And unlike many other buxom sexploitation actresses of the era, erotic stars Marianne Morris and Anulka (Dziubinska) can actually act, and they do a superb job in making the eponymous characters both scary and sympathetic.In addition to the outstanding efforts of cast and crew, the tight, well-written script is refreshingly new--even from this vantage point of some thirty years hence. Avoiding the usual vampire clichés, these VAMPYRES are really more like ghosts who have some inexplicable but insatiable desire to feed on the blood of the living. They don't have fangs, they can tolerate moderate sunlight, and instead of resting in musty old caskets, they sleep in a wine cellar during the brightest of the daylight hours. They also can eat, drink liquids other than blood, and seem to genuinely enjoy sex. And they even sometimes have sympathy for their victims, a characteristic that may lead to their ultimate downfall.The myth of the vampire has always been regarded as sexual in nature, especially the intimacy of the flesh-penetrating bite on the neck. VAMPYRES carries this metaphor to the extreme, with heterosexual vampiric coitus portrayed as an intensely passionate, rigorous event that includes feasting on the blood of the non-vampiric partner. And the eponymous characters in VAMPYRES don't gently suck from two pricks in the neck; in the midst of sexual passion, they tear open their victims and lap up the crimson liquid with ferocious, writhing pleasure.In short, VAMPYRES is an excellent British erotic horror flick that is superior to most others from its era of origin, and it can even stand up against many straightforward, non-sexploitation horror films. It is well written, well acted, and has high production values throughout--and all this in spite of a low, low budget. Director Larraz and his co-scripters have take an idea that they could play for camp or sheer sexploitation and, instead, deliver a thought-provoking look at indiscriminate and promiscuous sex, physical obsession, and guilt. And on top of that, they still throw in lots of delicious T&A.The DVD from Blue Underground is a great buy. Not only does it present a widescreen restored director's version of this excellent film--transferred primarily from the original negatives--but it also has lots of cool extras. It offers a feature-commentary track with director José Ramón Larraz and producer Brian Smedley-Aston that is both hilarious--due to Larraz's frank use of English colloquialisms--and informative. And there are also recent interviews with Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska, the film's beautiful stars; a lost scene recreated via production stills; U.S. and European trailers; and more. This is a piece of erotic artistic cinematic history that any serious horror fans will want to add to their collections."
Kind of a mix of Hammer and Jean Rollin
Michael R Gates | 06/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A pair of bisexual women (Marianne Morris and Playboy playmate Anulka) living in a dark, decaying mansion have a craving for blood and sex. Hitchiking in long black cloaks, they lure men home and then take them to bed, slash them with knives, and dump the bodies, making it look like a car wreck. They like one guy so much they keep him around for days and he knows something bad is happening, but he's not sure what. Some people camping nearby also suspect that the women are up to strange things.... The violence is strong even though there's more blood than gore, plenty of sex and nudity, and some very lyrical, beautiful scenes. The ending throws a whole new, darker twist on the proceedings and ties it all together nicely. It has kind of a "Hammer Films" look to it, but the storyline is more along the lines of Jean Rollin. Even though the budget was small, this is a quality-looking film. The DVD looks great and contains a commentary track with producer Brian Smedley-Aston and director Joseph Larraz that's worth listening to - it's informative, and Larraz is hilarious and pulls no punches - ya gotta love the guy, even though he admits he's become a dirty old man (the comment during one of Anulka's nude scenes had me rolling on the floor). :) It's one of the most entertaining commentary tracks I've heard on a DVD, and a quality film besides."
Watch for the sex not the story!
Michael R Gates | 07/11/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you watch this movie for anything other than the sexual content you are most likely to be disappointed. The plot is paper thin (hell, I could have written it!) and poses numerous questions without bothering to answer any of them. Even the film's title is a bit of a misnomer. But, let's face it...the whole point of the film is to set up situations that allow the two female "vampyres" to disrobe and display their bodies (no complaints here!). Getting to view the two stunning ladies repeatedly in nude scenes is enough to earn this film four stars in my book! Seriously though, this film does have a Hammeresque quality to it and the setting is very atmospheric (nice blend of mid-70's style with a touch of gothic). The acting is pretty good, too. But, the film loses a star due to it's lack of storyline and departure from classic vampire lore. Classic horror? No. Classic erotica? Yes."
Erotic, bloody vampire flick
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 01/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some time ago I made a statement to the effect that I avoided vampire films like the plague. What did I do immediately after making such a pronouncement? Why, I went right out and started watching vampire films! I am nothing if not a huge hypocrite, but at least this time there is a reason for my hypocrisy. You see, I am finally getting a chance to see all the great Eurohorror classics thanks to the advent of DVD. And it just so happens that some of these great classics employ the tried and true vampire theme. How could I pass up the joy that is "Daughters of Darkness" merely because I try to avoid vampire films? Or Jose Larraz's epic "Vampyres"? Actually, I never even heard of this last movie before DVD arrived on the scene. I was thumbing through the lists of supposed Eurohorror classics and stumbled over the title. The word on it was good, great in some instances, so I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did. In fact, if I had to cite one example of a movie that embodied the look and feel of 1970s Eurohorror, I would pick "Vampyres." The only thing missing from Larraz's film is an extremely high gore quotient (the film is quite bloody, though).
Fran (Marianne Morris) and her blonde partner Miriam (Anulka) are just your average, everyday dead spirits wandering through rain shrouded cemeteries, back roads, and dark forests somewhere in England. We learn at the beginning of the film that someone, presumably a male, expressed his disappointment at finding the two young women in a compromising position and thus shot them with a handgun. Flash forward some number of years to a creepy looking castle located out in the sticks, the same castle where the aforementioned crime took place. Miriam and Fran, clad in flowing robes, flit from their abode to the roadside where they entice young male drivers back to the castle for an evening of wine, fun, and other assorted activities. Later, we see the police prying these hapless wretches from their wrecked cars, drained of blood and with watches that mysteriously stopped. Hmmm. Looks like something decidedly supernatural is going on in the vicinity. Could the accidents have something to do with our two wayward spirits? It sure looks like it, especially considering the last time we see these blokes alive is in the company of Fran and Miriam.
Enter three people who will soon learn more than they ever wanted to know about young, gorgeous spirit vampires. There's a driver, Ted (Murray Brown), who accepts an invitation from Fran to return to the castle only to find himself imprisoned there as a sort of ongoing snack for the voracious cutie. Then we meet a couple of campers, John (Brian Deacon) and his girl Harriet (Sally Faulkner), who set up their little trailer on the grounds of the supposedly empty castle. Camping out on the site where a couple of vampires ply their trade isn't a good idea, and it isn't too long before both John and Harriet experience several frightening up close and personal encounters with Fran and Miriam. They even have a run in with Ted, without knowing he's an unwilling participant in the festivities going on in the house, but his sudden presence along with his ghostly pallor greatly alarms our campers. Meanwhile, Miriam warns Fran that her irrational love--for lack of a better term--for Ted endangers their presence in the castle and their highway activities. Fran persists in keeping Ted around, however, and will pay a price for doing so. Maybe. O.k., she doesn't pay as much of a price as John, Harriet, Ted, and a few other sorry souls do. Spending any time at all around these vampires is extraordinarily bad for one's health.
Forget about performances or the occasional bloodshed in "Vampyres." This is a movie where the atmosphere takes center stage. Every image reeks of doom and gloom, from the forbidding castle to the rain and fog shrouded environs to the massively haunting musical score. I mentioned earlier that "Vampyres" could serve as an archetype of the Eurohorror phenomenon of the 1970s, and one need look no further than the scenes where Miriam and Fran run soundlessly through a decrepit cemetery on their frequent jaunts to the road as proof of this assertion. Anyone writing a book about the prime years of European horror films should use a still taken from these scenes for the cover. "Vampyres" isn't all about atmosphere, though. There is also an enormous amount of erotic imagery in the movie, imagery made all the more impressive considering the beautiful visages of Marianne Morris and Anulka. These are two incredibly attractive women who, despite the atrocious dubbing in the case of Morris, really help propel the plot. When you've got a film about two beautiful young ladies turned into spiritual vampires, it helps to cast two beautiful young ladies in the respective parts. European horror films are known for casting attractive women (see Edwige Fenech, Uschi Digard, Christina Lindberg, etc.), but Larraz really went above and beyond the call of duty here.
Once again, Blue Underground went overboard on the extras for "Vampyres." Interviews with Marianne Morris and Anulka grace the disc, along with a commentary track with director Jose Larraz. Too, the disc throws in a few funky trailers as well as a reconstruction of a lost scene through still photographs. The picture and audio look and sound great. I heartily recommend "Vampyres" for anyone interested in learning about Eurohorror. I would think fans of vampire films already know about this one, but they should definitely check it out if they haven't heard about it. "
Fun & Sexy Romp
Purple Bird | 09/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I rate vampire/horror movies as great, bad and terrible. "Bad" horror films can be a lot of fun with their unintentional goofs and silly occurrences. Great movies are rarely the low budget Hammer-type films, and terrible is simply that...terrible.
Vampyres falls somewhere in between great and bad to my surprise. The chemistry of the actors was superb, the vampyres always seemed to have a good time and there were some great sex scenes. The violence was pitched just right, and there was some creativity such as eschewing the traditional neck-biting for sliced bloodletting, the vampyres enjoying sex, wine and even a cigarette.
Unfortunately, the "moldering" castle looked like new to me, and the camping couple nearby was a bit annoying. Who would go camping in a tiny trailer near the castle, then sit and polish the silver?
However, another refreshing detail of this film was the lovely nude actresses had genuine breasts! Not something you see much of anymore. Get it guys? [...] I very much enjoyed this film, it is now one of my favorites. I'm not sure if I'll let my husband see it though, he might really like it! "