Vampyres (1974)

UK, 1974
84m
35mm film, Eastmancolor
mono, English

A British horror film directed by José Ramón Larraz.

Plot Summary

A pair of lesbian lovers are gunned down in their bed by an unknown assailant and later return as vampires, hitching lifts with passers motorists and luring them to their deaths in a creepy old mansion. But one of the vampires, Fran, starts to fall in love with one of her potential victims, Ted, and keeps him alive but drained in one of the bedrooms. Meanwhile, a pair of campers near the house start to suspect that something is very wrong…

Credits

Crew
Directed by: José Ramón Larraz
© Essay Films Ltd MCMLXXIV [1974]
Made by Essay Films Ltd.
Produced by: Brian Smedley-Aston
Screenplay by: D. Daubeney [real name: Diana Daubeney; José Ramón Larraz *
Director of Photography: Harry Waxman
Film Editor: Geoff R. Brown
Music Composed by: James Clarke
Sound: Trevor Carliss, Hugh Strain
Wardrobe: Dulcie Midwinter
Make-Up: Colin Arthur
Art Director: Ken Bridgeman

Cast
Murray Brown (Ted)
Brian Deacon (John)
Sally Faulkner (Harriet)
Michael Byrne (playboy)
Karl Lanchbury (Rupert)
Bessie Love (American lady)
Gerald Case (estate agent)
Elliott Sullivan (American man)
Douglas Jones (manager)
Margaret Heald (receptionist)
Marianne Morris (Fran)
Anulka [real name: Anulka Dziubinska] (Miriam)

Alternative Titles

Blood Hunger – US video title (on Lettuce Entertain You)
Daughters of Dracula – US re-release title
Satan’s Daughters – US video title (on Majestic Home Video)
Vampyre Orgy
Vampyres, Daughters of Dracula
– alternative US title
Vampyres: Daughters of Darkness
– US title

Remake
Vampyres (2014)

Includes extracts from
The Vampire Lovers (1970) – US version only

Extracts included in
This is Horror (1989)

Press

1974
Variety 20 November 1974 p.16
Despite its excesses, this British-made vampire saga is a well-handled horror entry that blends suspense, sex and mayhem with credible characterizations, an above-average storyline and a picturesque and often evocative setting . […] The script by someone listed as D. Daubeney is the weakest element in “Vampyres” since, among other things, it endows the victims with a curiosity about the femmes and the countryside mansion of lethal proportions. Even so, storyline is functional for the horror genre, and rarely gets in the way of a series of surprisingly good performances. Director Jose Larraz extracts convincing portrayals from the femme leads and from Brown. Brian Deacon and Sally Faulkner are right as the young couple, and Bessie Love and Elliott Sullivan put in fine but all-too-brief character stints as a house-hunting couple in pic’s finale. Although sex depicted is softcore, it is performed convincingly in context of a bizarre situation, and is unusually erotic. In the pic’s gorier moments, the blood flows like Mogen David at a well-attended Bar-Mitzvah. Those with less than cast-iron stomachs should be forewarned. The production values are especially strong. Harry Waxman’s photography faithfully records both the misty ominousness and natural beauty of pic’s country location. Geoff R. Brown’s editing is taut and James Clark’s score is fully up to the level of emotional evocativeness always demanded by horror films of background music. Overall, an offbeat but well-packaged suspenser. – from a review by Sege

1976
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.43 no.509 (June 1976) p.132
[A] sex-horror film about lesbian vampires for which budget and schedule were insignificant, even by British exploitation standards. The plot is perfunctory and the characters mere tokens, down to the constantly speculating couple in a nearby caravan. But this minimalist aspect does highlight the film’s obsessive theme – basically a record of the hero’s increasing sexual enfeeblement at the hands of two omnivorous nymphets, and enables the director to concentrate almost exclusively on a steadily intensified sexual claustrophobia, which the film’s cheapness and grainy visuals in no way impede. […] [T]he bloodletting is fulsomely incorporated in the sex act itself, and it is rare for sex and violence to be so completely and graphically integrated in a British movie (left surprisingly intact by the censor). – from a review by David Pirie

1994
Flesh and Blood no.3 (1994) pp.51-53
With its strong lesbian overtones – undermined by a narrative that requires the women to feed off men – Vampyres rests within that genre of the vampire film occupied by Daughters of Darkness, The Velvet Vampire and The Hunger. The visual qualities of the film point towards the director’s training as a painter and the film is well-mounted enough to keep the eyes fed off the lavish visuals. […] Considering the quality of English language vampire films of the period (especially Hammer’s attempts to bring their count into the swinging seventies) Vampyres presents itself as an interesting addition to the genre. – from an illustrated review by Andrej Karczewski

References

Periodicals

  • Cinefantastique vol.4 no.3 (Autumn 1975) p.36 – review
  • CinemaTV Today no.10075 (23 March 1974 p.11 – credits
  • Fangoria no.194 (July 2000) p.73 – DVD review
  • Films and Filming vol.22 no.9 (June 1976) pp.48-49 – credits, review
  • Films Illustrated vol.5 no.58 (June 1976) p.370 – credits, review
  • Flesh and Blood no.3 (1994) pp.51-53 – illustrated credits, review (by Andrej Karczewski)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.43 no.509 (June 1976) p.132 – credits, synopsis, review (by David Pirie)
  • Necronomicon no.6 (october 1994) pp.20-22; 23 – illustrated interview with Brian Smedley-Aston (Interview with a Vampyre by Tim Greaves); illustrated review by Tim Greaves
  • Screen International no.35 (8 May 1976) p.28 – credits, review
  • Variety 20 November 1974 p.16 – credits, review (by Sege)

Books

  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.299
  • Cinematic Vampires by John L. Flynn pp.195-196
  • Dracula in Visual Media: Film, Television, Comic Book and Electronic Game Appearances, 1921-2010 by John Edgar Browning and Caroline Joan (Kay) Picart p.183 – credits, review
  • Elliot’s Guide to Films on Video Guide to Films on Video p.848 – review, credits
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.253, 255-57, 256, 260, 261,
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.251, 255, 288, 312
  • Film Review 1977-1978 p.145 – credits
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis 417 – credits
  • Horror Films of the 1970s by John Kenneth Muir p.339 – credits, note
  • The Illustrated Vampire Movie Guide by Stephen Jones p.96 – credits, review
  • Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith pp.227-228
  • Vampire Films of the 1970s: Dracula to Blacula and Every Fang Between by Gary A. Smith pp.77-79; 222 – illustrated review; credits
  • Vampyres: A tribute to the ultimate in erotic horror cinema by Time Greaves – production notes, video data
  • X-Cert 2: The British Independent Horror Film: 1971-1983 – by John Hamilton pp.176-181; 284 – illustrated article; illustrated credits

Other sources

  • Darkfest III Official Programme p.5 – illustrated listing