The Vampire Lovers (1970)

91m, 8,177 feet
35mm film, Technicolor
mono (RCA Sound Recording), English

A British horror film directed by Roy Ward Baker. It was the last Hammer Film to be co-financed by an American company, in this case the British wing of American International Productions and the first in Hammer Film Productions' loosely connected Karnstein trilogy.

Plot Summary

Mircalla is left in the care of General Spieldorf while her mother travels around Europe. Mircalla befriends Spieldorf's niece Laura who soon falls ill and starts to dream of being attacked by a giant cat. When Laura eventually dies, Mircalla – now calling herself – turns up at the home of Spieldorf's neighbour, Morton, whose daughter Emma is seduced by Carmilla. Meanwhile, Spieldorf has heard from his friend Baron Hartog, who has been slaying the vampiric Karnstein family. He's destroyed them all except for one – a young woman whose portrait looks exactly like Carmilla…


Directed by: Roy Ward Baker
© American International Productions MCMLXX [1970]
An American International-Hammer Films production
Produced by: Harry Fine and Michael Style
Production Manager: Tom Sachs
Screenplay by: Tudor Gates
Adapted from J. Sheridan Le Fanu's story Carmilla
[Adapted] By: Harry Fine, Tudor Gates and Michael Style
Assistant Director: Derek Whitehurst
Continuity: Betty Harley
Director of Photography: Moray Grant
Camera Operator: Neil Binney
Editor: James Needs
Music Composed by: Harry Robinson
Musical Supervisor: Philip Martell
Sound Recordist: Claude Hitchcock
Recording Director: Tony Lumkin [real name: A.W. Lumkin]
Sound Editor: Roy Hyde
Dubbing Mixer: Dennis Whitlock
Costume Designer: Brian Cox
Wardrobe Mistress: Laura Nightingale
Make-Up Supervisor: Tom Smith
Hairdressing Supervisor: Pearl Tipaldi
Art Director: Scott MacGregor
Construction Manager: Bill Greene
Made at: Associated British Productions Studios, Boreham Wood, England

Ingrid Pitt (Mircalla/Marcilla/Carmilla)
George Cole (Morton)
Kate O'Mara (the governess)
Peter Cushing as the general [Spielsdorf]
Ferdy Mayne (doctor)
Douglas Wilmer (Baron Hartog)
Madeline Smith (Emma)
Dawn Addams (the Countess)
Jon Finch (Carl)
Pippa Steele (Laura Spielsdorf)
Kirsten Betts (1st vampire)
Janet Kay (Gretchin)
Harvey Hall (Renton)
John Forbes-Robertson (man in black)
Charles Farrell (landlord)
Shelagh Wilcocks (housekeeper)
Graham James (first young man)
Tom Browne (second young man)
Joanna Shelley (woodman's daughter)
Olga James (village girl)
Jill Easter [woodmans wife – uncredited]
Lindsay Kemp [jester – uncredited]
Sion Probert [young man in tavern – uncredited]
Vicki Woolf [landlords daughter – uncredited]

Alternative Titles

Amantes do Vampiro as – Portugal
Gruft der Vampire – Germany
Vampire lovers kuolleiden intohimot – Finland
Vampiri amanti – Italy
Vampyren – en erotisk mardröm – Sweden
Vampyyrit – eroottinen painajainen – Finland

Lust for a Vampire (1971)
Twins of Evil (1971)

Extracts included in
The World of Hammer: Vamp (1994)

Production Notes

Hammer's co-production deal with American International Pictures – of which The Vampire Lovers was the first and only product – was formally launched at an event at the Savoy Hotel on Tuesday 13 January 1970 with Peter Cushing, Ingrid Pitt, Madeleine Smith, George Cole, James Carreras and many others in attendance. A few days earlier, Carreras had told the trade journal The Daily Cinema that “Nobody in America makes better, more exploitable science-macabre films than American International. And here in Britain, Hammer, for more than 15 years, have held a unique record in the same field.” 1Today's Cinema no.9769 (9 January 1970) p.3


Writing in Films and Filming vol.17 no.3 (December 1970), Richard Weaver complained that “the plot lacks any kind of elaboration except for the juggling which involves some unnecessary flashbacks which together with some belaboured camera movements and dissolves gives the film a very jerky and distracting pace.” He went on to say that “much of what the film relies on in the way of atmosphere, tension and its sexual overtones is achieved never more successfully than in the pre-credit sequence.”



  • Board of Trade Journal vol.199 no.3835 (16 September 1970) p.589 – note (Registrations of British and foreign films)
  • Cinema of the '70s no.1 (2020) pp.49-68 – illustrated article (Straight on till '79: A decade of Hammer horror by Ian Taylor)
  • Filmfax no.61 (June/July 1997) pp.61, 62 – illustrated credits, review
  • Films and Filming vol.17 no.3 (December 1970) pp.56, 59 – review
  • House of Hammer vol.1 no.1 (October 1976) p.4 – note (Stop press: Late news)
  • The House That Hammer Built no.7 (February 1998) pp.380-385 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Kine Weekly no.3282 (5 September 1970) p.8 – review
  • Kine Weekly vol.631 no.3249 (17 January 1970) p.9 – illustrated note (Hammer-AIP tie-up gets under way)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.37 no.441 (October 1970) pp.207-208 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Today's Cinema no.9769 (9 January 1970) p.3 – note (Horror experts to co-produce)
  • Today's Cinema no.9772 (20 January 1970) p.8 – credits
  • Today's Cinema 28 February 1970 p.15 – note
  • Today's Cinema no.9771 (16 January 1970) p.10 – illustrated article (Togetherness)
  • Today's Cinema no.9799 (28 April 1970) p.10 – credits (Post production)
  • Today's Cinema no.9838 (11 September 1970) p.8 – review (The new films by Marjorie Bilbow)
  • Variety 16 September 1970 p.23 – credits, review
  • Video Junkie no.1 p.20 – review
  • Video Watchdog no.183 (May/June 2016) pp.39-42 – illustrated review (by John-Paul Checkett)


  • American International Pictures: A Filmography by Robert L. Ottoson p.200 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Chopped Meat: British Horror of the 1970s by Darrell Buxton p.unpaginated – note
  • Dracula in the Dark: The Dracula Film Adaptations by James Craig Holte pp.104-105 – note
  • Elliott's Guide to Films on Video p.848 – credits, review
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.100, 197-99, 198, 201, 202, 216, 217
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.83, 214
  • Film Review 1971-72 by F. Maurice Speed (ed) p.238
  • Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company by Howard Maxford pp.824-827 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • The Hammer Story by Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes p.136-137 – illustrated article, review
  • by Walt Lee p.518 – credits
  • Ten Years of Terror pp.61-64 – illustrated credits, review (by Tim Greaves)
  • Terror Tracks: Music, Sound and Horror Cinema by Philip Hayward (ed) pp.62
  • Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith pp.226-227
  • The Vampire in Science Fiction Film and Literature by Paul Meehan p.25