I have to admit, not only had I never seen The Vampire Lovers, but I had never even heard of it. So I truly did not know what to expect from the film. That said, it did have a lot of good things going for it; primarily a top-notch cast.
With a fine actor like Peter Cushing and actress Ingrid Pitt you really couldn’t go wrong with this film. On top of that, it was a Hammer Film!
For those not familiar, Hammer Films made some of the most significant horror and fantasy movies from the 1950s through the 1970s and made household names of actors like Cushing and Christopher Lee. Going in this already gives a certain amount of respect due to the film. Knowing that, I was ready to jump right in.
In 1790 Austria, a general throws a ball and one of the guests is a strange countess and her daughter. The countess says she must leave and asks the general to take in her daughter while she goes o visit a sick relative.
He does and soon his daughter starts having nightmares about a black cat. She soon dies of anemia and fang marks have appeared on her chest. The countess’ daughter has disappeared. The general calls a well-respected vampire hunter and they vow to track down the countess and daughter to get revenge.
As they search, the pair of vampires make various stops to lure unsuspecting men and women into their clutches and feed on them. Finally resting in a town where they stay and feed on people in the local areas. Eventually, the general and hunter catch up to then for a showdown.
Note: This trailer is not a reflection on the HD quality of this release
What I Liked
The quality of this film is amazing for a low-budget film from the 1970s. They took the original Eastman Color negatives and gave them a serious upgrade. The colors, palette, and rich black colors are superb. It looks as close to 4K as one could get in blu-ray format.
This film also was very groundbreaking in that the lovers in the title are two women. For a film made in 1970, it was pretty ahead of its time.
What I Didn’t Like
Just to be fair, Hammer Films has a certain level of quality that is expected so this is not technically a dislike but some of the dialog is a bit stale and uneven. Not enough that it ruins the film, but it certainly could have been a little more solid in some areas. At times the erotic nature of the film does feel a bit gratuitous. It never delves into anything overly overt but does seem to be a deliberate choice.
Blu-Ray Bonus Features
- NEW4K Scan From The Original Camera Negative
- NEWAudio Commentary With Film Historian/Author Dr. Steve Haberman And Film Historian/Filmmaker Constantine Nasr
- NEW The Rapture Of Cruelty: Carmilla In Classic Cinema– An Audio Essay Read By Actress Madeline Smith
- NEW To Love A Vampire – An Introduction By Actress Madeline Smith
- NEWCarnal Crimson – Film Historian/Author Kim Newman On The Carmilla Legend
- NEW Fangs For The Memories – Film Historian/Author Jonathan Rigby Remembers THE VAMPIRE LOVERS
- Audio Commentary With Director Roy Ward Baker, Actress Ingrid Pitt, And Screenwriter Tudor Gates
- Audio Commentary With Film Historians Marcus Hearn And Jonathan Rigby
- Feminine Fantastique – Resurrecting THE VAMPIRE LOVERS
- New Blood: Hammer Enters The 70s – Film Historians Discuss Hammer Films During The 70s
- Madeline Smith: Vampire Lover– An Interview With Actress Madeline Smith
- Reading Of CarmillaBy Actress Ingrid Pitt
- Deleted Shot Of The Opening Beheading
- Trailers From Hell: Mick Garris On THE VAMPIRE LOVERS
- Theatrical Trailer
- Radio Spots
- Photo Galleries – Movie Stills, Behind-The-Scenes Stills, Posters, And Lobby Cards
The Vampire Lovers Blu-Ray Review
For fans of the Hammer Films, this is a must and is certainly the best quality you will ever get it. For others, it’s a good watch but may not as strongly appeal to your sensibilities.
The Vampire Lovers is currently available from Scream Factory.