The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) – Roman Polanski

Originally known as Dance of the Vampire’s Roman Polanski’s horror comedy is the next film in the Vampire section of DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies, written by legendary director John Landis.

With the snow covered Alps standing in for Transylvania, and some nicely designed gothic castle sets, Polanski plays with the cliches of the vampire legend and throws in lots of physical comedy as Professor Abronsius (Jack MacGowran) and his simple companion, Alfred (Polanski) have arrived in the remote hamlet to seek out a vampiric menace.

Things get complicated when both Alfred, and the undead Count von Korlock (Ferdy Mayne) fall for the same woman, the innkeeper’s daughter, Sarah (Sharon Tate) – of course the vampire has the edge on him there.

When the duo follow a newly tuned vampire to a cobweb (and vampire) infested castle they find more than they expected and as they tromp around the castle attempting to put an end to the nosferatu one comedic mishap takes place after another.

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Despite the title, there isn’t a single staking in the entire film, although a few attempts are made. In fact, not a lot really happens in the film, there’s some wandering about the castle, getting stuck, mishaps, and some really funny stuff with mirrors, and a gay vampire that takes an interest in Alfred.

I do like both Mayne’s and MacGowran’s performances, Mayne’s Korlock is suitably undead without necessarily being a send up of the genre,  while Abronsius is practically a caricature of an elderly Van Helsing type character.

With its female characters outfitted in suggestive bodices, and the gothic trappings of Krplock’s castle The Fearless Vampires looks like a Hammer Film that dances on the edge of wanting to be taken seriously by everything that happens with the characters, proves to be too comedic. And what a delightful ending!

It’s a fun entry in the Vampire chapter of Monsters in the Movies, and it’s proving to be very entertaining journey through the macabre, and bloody A-list and B-list (and possibly lower) movies. Watching the evolution and the different presentation of vampires through the decades is insightful, and definitely gives on a look at the times, as films tend to be a reflection of their time.

I heartily recommend a copy of this perfectly entertaining coffee table book to guide you through the darkened theatres of yesteryear and today, seeking out ghoulish and bloody delights, watching nightmares stalk across your screen, and classics and some not so classics provide you and yours lots of entertaining.

Pick up Monsters in the Movies from DK Books tonight, and then decide whether or not you need to sleep with the lights on…

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