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New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - VAMPYRES

Remake of the cult 1974 erotic vampire movie.






Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

Directed by: Víctor Matellano

Starring: Caroline Munro, Christian Stamm, Veronica Bacorn, Marta Flich, Almudena León



The dialogue sounds like it was written in Spanish and translated to English through a Google Chrome extension, and the actors spend most of their time wandering around with a bemused look on their faces, as though they've gotten lost while trying to find their way back to the set from the catering truck.



The relaxing of western cinema's censorship laws in the late 1960s led to unprecedented levels of onscreen sex and violence in the following decade. With its mix of horror and erotica, the vampire genre prospered in the '70s, often featuring lesbian or bisexual female vampires writhing around in the blood of their victims. Most of these movies were shoddy productions knocked out quickly to satisfy audience's newfound thirst for fangs and fannies, but some managed to add depth and artistry to their blood and boobs. Hammer's 'Karnstein' trilogy - The Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire, Twins of Evil - is arguably the crowning achievement of '70s Vamperotica, followed closely by Harry Kumel's Daughters of Darkness and Jose Ramon Larraz's Vampyres, both of which added atmospheric dread to their scenes of nubile young British and continental starlets chewing and groping.


Larraz's film now gets the remake treatment, courtesy of director Victor Matellano. While the original film was a British production helmed by a Spaniard, this remake features a largely Spanish cast frolicking about the English countryside, some attempting and failing at English accents, others simply not bothering.

As if to encourage horny viewers to stick around, the movie opens with a flash forward to our two main female vamps (played here by Marta Flich and Almudena Leon, both of whom are a lot easier to look at than listen to) romping naked in a bath-tub while blood pours from the hanging carcass of a female victim onto their buxom bodies.


It's a long time before we get to any 'eroticism' however, as the film introduces us to a bunch of characters - all played by actors who are simply bad, or are just struggling with accents - who will eventually serve as vampire fodder. There's a trio of campers who pitch their tent in the grounds of the mansion that houses the aforementioned lusty vampires, though in this remake the 'mansion' is nowhere near as impressive as the crumbling country estate of the 1974 original. There's a David Cameron lookalike who gives a lift to a vampire and ends up with her ravishing his Dad-bod before waking with an almighty hangover. And there's British horror icon Caroline Munro in the thankless and pointless role of the manager of a local inn.

The dialogue given to all sounds like it was written in Spanish and translated to English through a Google Chrome extension, and the actors spend most of their time wandering around with a bemused look on their faces, as though they've gotten lost while trying to find their way back to the set from the catering truck. An overbearing and ever present synth and strings score kills whatever atmosphere might have been generated - individually there are some nicely composed shots, but they don't add up to anything in terms of building tension or suspense.


It's customary for movie reviewers to pretend they're asexual when it comes to erotic cinema, but this is about as much of a turn-on as watching Trump and Clinton snog after a few too many post-debate beers. Thanks in no small part to the beguiling and seductive presence of lead actress Marianne Morris, Larraz's original was genuinely sexy - Morris and her co-star Anulka Dziubinska shared a sizzling sexual chemistry - but this remake should learn it takes more than a bath full of corn syrup and a couple of Penthouse Pets to generate onscreen heat.

Vampyres is available on DVD and VOD October 18th.






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