Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Fearless Vampire Killers 1967

The Fearless Vampire Killers is another film I have had sitting around here for months that I just got around to seeing. This is a strange little horror/comedy hybrid by Director Roman Polanski. This film was sandwiched in between Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby. It is almost as if Polanski said "OK, I need to make a fun movie with skiing and beautiful women and dancing now. Then I can go back to the heavy depressing shit." So he made The Fearless Vampire Killers, which is like a Hammer film with a touch of the Carry-On series. Polanski himself stars as Alfred, the young bumbling cowardly apprentice to Vampire Hunter Professor Abronsius. The two are in Transylvania hunting Vampires. While staying at a rustic Inn Alfred becomes enamoured with the Innkeeper's Daughter, Sara, played by the beautiful Sharon Tate. All Sara really wants to do is take multiple baths, hence, a lot of scenes of Sharon Tate in the tub. It is like Polanski's gift to all the men out there.

Alfred is not the only one entranced by Sara. The local Vampire, Count von Krolock, wants her for his coven, and he steals her away one night (while she is in the bath of course.) Sara's Father, the Innkeeper (played by Alfie Bass, one of my favorite Brits) is also turned into a Vampire. Soon, Alfred and the Professor are at the Count's castle, trying to rescue Sara and fend off the Vampire's son, Herbert, who has taken a liking to Alfred (see, this sounds like a Carry-on film. If you have never seen a Carry-on film, consider yourself lucky.)

This film is beautiful to look at. The cinematography and set design are amazing. Sharon Tate is gorgeous. The "Danse Macabre" at the end of the film is hilarious and scary. And the ending is kind of a downer, which surprised me but actually made me appreciate the film all the more. My favorite part of this film though is Alfie Bass. I love this guy. When the Maiden that he is trying to turn into a Vampire tries to ward him off with a cross he tells her "Oy, have you got the wrong Vampire!" Love it!!!

For a great recent review of this film check out "The Horror Digest" at :
and please don't let the Polanski creep factor keep you from watching this film!!

This looks pretty good actually.


Andre said...

Hehehe Polanski creep factor, love it! Thanks for the shout out! : )

The Film Connoisseur said...

I saw this movie before I ever saw a Hammer film, which is probably why I didnt "get it" as much. But now that I have seen most of Hammers library of films, I get it.

Im always amazed at how much effort Polanski put into this film, it had a big budget, big sets, big production, yet it was essentially a silly comedy. I never got that, why he invested so much into a "silly" comedy. More so even then the rest of his films! The end result is a beautiful looking film.

Sadly, the film was misunderstood by critics, by the everyone. It was destroyed by the critics but slowly gained cult following.

Fearless Vampire Killers feels like a big budget Hammer film, but funny. I agree with you on the cinematography, the colors and the sets were so beautiful.

I believe this was one of the first films I ever saw with a gay vampire in it.

Will Errickson said...

A lovely movie, and yes, the "Danse Macabre" scene is the perfect mix of humor and terror. The score by Krzysztof Komeda is also quite creepy.