Image Entertainment // 1962 // 80 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Steve Evans (Retired) // December 23rd, 2005
Vampires, Italian Style!
Here's a real pain in the neck for the bad-movie gang: a badly dubbed Italian horror flick replete with gorgeous female vampires, their heaving bosoms not quite spilling out of their nightgowns. Every aspect of the production screams overwrought melodrama. Yes, this picture has it all: babes with come-hither gazes, Eurotrash vampires, fey aristocrats, and spooky cemeteries. But gothic horror to make your hair stand on end? Nonsense. This is one of the funniest movies ever made. Now inflate a bag of microwaveable popcorn and fetch me a beer while I cue this sucker up.
An unnamed vampire hides in the wine cellar of an Italian mansion while the nondescript residents enjoy their luxurious lifestyle upstairs. But it's not the well-stocked selection of vintage clarets that this old Nosferatu is interested in. Oh, no. He's got the hots for the bored babes hanging out at the mansion, especially Louise. She's looking at a life sentence, I mean, marriage, to a nobleman who's about as exciting as a dog's hind end. It's a sad situation all around. The gals yearn for distraction, some action, just a little satisfaction -- anything to take their minds off the dull society dudes with names like Wolfgang and constipated expressions to go with their boring balls (dance parties, that is). Day and night, the guys parade around in evening clothes with puffy shirts, yammering all serious in monotone. No wonder the women are ready to scream -- for a randy vampire, if need be.
A solid opening gives us angry villagers with torches and pitchforks, sprinting after a vampire babe in a flowing white gown. They dispatch her within seconds and just as quickly the highlight of the film has passed. From here on, it's all talk, talk, talk, with the occasional vampire seduction (rather chaste, I would add) to enliven the proceedings. A chirpy theremin (early synthesizer) rises on the soundtrack to mark each of these liaisons, adding unintentional hilarity to all the solemn necking. Movies just don't get much better than this.
Dialogue is absolutely precious, straight from the pages of a paperback romance. Here's a sample: "Who can you be that you have this mysterious power over me? Who can you be that you poisoned all the love I bore my husband and made me become your slave?"
Even though the players act with conviction and the gals are red-hot, Slaughter of the Vampires doesn't add up to doodly-squat. Guilty of causing convulsive laughter, it slays us with humorous yakety-yak in place of action -- typical of inept horror films that cheat an audience by poking around the obvious without working up the courage to stick it in.
The print, like the plot, is all over the place: scratchy and jumpy one moment, then almost pristine the next. Rice Krispies may have been used to augment the soundtrack, full of snaps, crackles, and pops.
The lone extra on the disc is a trailer for the film, presented here under its alternative title Curse of the Blood Ghouls. But a goofy film by any other name...
If you're looking for quality horror from this period, pick up something from the Hammer Studios collection, instead. If you need an obscure bit of rubbish for bad-movie night, bring it on home.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English, dubbed)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 1962
MPAA Rating: Not Rated