Hammer, one of the most innovative studios ever. Combining classic movie monsters with ample amounts of blood, and nudity, they were producing a line of films vastly different than American audiences were used to seeing. Some of there films in there vampire showcase were heavily sexual. Vampire Lovers, Twins of Evil, and Lust for a Vampire, the “Karnstein Trilogy”. Made in 1971 Lust for a Vampire was one of the more erotic films to come from the studio. It feels slightly out of place in terms of the atmosphere audiences were used to when watching a Hammer production. This one has more of a Drive-Inn style about it in my opinion.
The film takes place in 1841, 40 years after the death of Carmilla Karnstein. We see the Count and Countess Karnstein as the film begins. They grab a young girl from the village and take her back to their castle. Once there the Count performs some type of Satanic ritual. He slashes the young women’s throat and fills a chalice with the blood. He then pours it over the remains of Carmilla. This works wonders as it brings her back to life. We then meet Richard, he’s a writer researching the legend of the Karnsteins. He is looking around the castle grounds when he meets Giles, a professor at a school located near the Castle. He takes Richard to the school to talk when Carmilla arrives. She is using an alias of Mircalla and plans on feeding on the unsuspecting students. Richard, who has no idea she is really a vampire becomes instantly attracted to her and gets a job at the school as an English teacher just to be close to her.
It does not take Mircalla long to begin seducing the other girls, yes you read that right, and killing them in good old fashioned vampire blood draining style. Now it does not take long for people to figure out what’s going on. Richard figures it out fast and truthfully doesn’t care. He simply loves Mircalla and begins a relationship with her. He does want her to stop killing people but its not his top priority. Giles, figures out she’s a vampire and tries to make a deal where he can serve her family. And because the town knows the legend of the Karnsteins they safely assume that there the family responsible for all the dead bodies piling up around the village.
The film has a lot of nudity in it. A lot. More than your average Hammer Film. The only issue is, its not really erotic, not that interesting. I dig the atmosphere and score, which is amazing like all Hammer films. The acting is good, not to campy, not to serious. The special effect are well done. There is a nice amount of blood and gore. And the film has a pretty standard run time of around 93min. The problem is, its just really slow.
Scream Factory has done an amazing job once again with the transfer. The colors are bright and vibrant. The dark scenes look fantastic as Scream Factory is always able to avoid that blue tint that plagues many transfers. The audio is crisp and the score sounds fantastic playing through your surround sound. The release also boasts a great amount of special features.
· NEW 4K Scan Of The Negative – Presented In Two Aspect Ratios – 1.66:1 And 1.85:1
· NEW Audio Commentary By Author/Film Historian Bruce Hallenbeck
· NEW Interview With Actress Mel Churcher
· Audio Commentary By Director Jimmy Sangster, Star Suzanna Leigh, And Hammer Films Historian Marcus Hearn
· Theatrical Trailer
· Radio Spots
· Still Galleries
Fans of Hammer films will ant to pick this up, as Scream Factory is doing an amazing job regarding their catalog of films. Average horror fans may find this a bit slow. Its not the best effort from Hammer but its definitely worth watching.
Overall 2.5 out of 5 Stars!