The Movie Waffler Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS | The Movie Waffler

Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS

the fearless vampire killers review
Polanski's pastiche of gothic vampire movies.

Review by Mike Vaughn

Directed by: Roman Polanski

Starring: Roman Polanski, Jack MacGowran, Sharon Tate, Alfie Bass, Ferdy Mayne, Terry Downes, Iain Quarrier

the fearless vampire killers blu-ray

The leaves are changing, it's getting colder outside and all the best horror movies are on TV. It must be my favourite time of year, Halloween.

If you're looking for some good spooky treats this year, Warner Archive has you covered, rolling out the second of three horror Blu-Ray releases this month. This time we have Roman Polanski’s 1967 film The Fearless Vampire Killers, also known as 'Dance of the Vampire'.

the fearless vampire killers review
Vampire expert Professor Abronsius (Jack MacGowran) and his slow-witted apprentice Alfred (Polanski) travel to Transylvania, where they discover a gorgeous inn-keeper’s daughter (Sharon Tate). Alfred falls in love with her, but it's not all fun and games when the pair discover a nest of blood-sucking vampires in this laugh-till-it-hurts horror comedy.

[ READ MORE: Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - From Beyond the Grave ]

The Fearless Vampire Killers is a side splitting love letter to the films of British Studio Hammer Horror, and over four decades later is a film that still holds up today. I will say, audiences that don’t like or appreciate a wry sardonic British wit might not find this the knee slapper that other’s do. I know that it was a movie that grew on me the older I got and the more world cinema I exposed myself to.

the fearless vampire killers review
But folks, this is a movie that for me, gets better with each viewing. I notice new little details every time I see it. Three-time Oscar nominated cinematographer Douglas Slocombe (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Lion in Winter) does an amazing job, capturing a thick sense of atmosphere that harkens back to the great old Gothic films.

[ READ MORE: Blu-Ray Review - And Soon the Darkness ]

The level of work that went into this movie is staggering. From the complex tracking shots to the detailed production design by Oscar winner Wilfred Shingleton (The African Queen), it's just mind blowing. You can really tell this movie was crafted by a mad-genius at the very height of his creativity. This movie is perfect, especially for the Halloween season.

As with other releases, Warner Archive does a fang-tastic job at providing a crisp, clean looking restoration. Colours pop, and thankfully we don’t get that blown-out look that some “upgrades” give us. You really can see all the glorious details and set decorations. If you have the older DVD release, you`ll want to upgrade. The sound is likewise great and Krzysztof Komeda's (Rosemary’s Baby) wonderful score really pops in 2.0 Mono.

the fearless vampire killers review
The only special feature is a vintage making of and a trailer. It’s a bit disappointing, feature wise. I would have loved a film historian's commentary at the very least.

Wow, this movie is a stone-cold classic and Warner Archive truly has done this release justice. Yes, sadly no new features were produced, but it's still a great release and a step up from the DVD release. A must own.

The Fearless Vampire Killers is on blu-ray October 15th from Warner Archive.

Michael Vaughn is a rabid horror and cult fan who turned that love into a career. He is a writer, blogger and film historian and now author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema' which Shock Wave Podcast named their pick of the month, and Chris Alexander of Fangoria called “recommended reading.”

His other credits include Scream Magazine, Fangoria and websites like Films in Review and Bloody Flicks(UK). Please follow his Twitter @StrangeCinema65 and Instagram @gorehound_mike.