(1974/aka Daughters Of Dracula or Vampyres: Daughters Of Darkness/Blue
B- Sound: C+ Extras: B- Film: B-
early to mid-1970s, vampire films reached an interesting peak of depth that has
never been seen again. Skipping spoofs,
there were darker-if-somewhat-comic looks at vampirism (Morrissey’s Blood For Dracula) and many that delved
into the sexual and spiritual side of vampirism. Among these films is José Ramón Larraz’s Vampyres (1974), a nearly lost film
(via censorship, et al) about two female vampires who love each other and plot
to survive no matter what.
thanks to new U.S. and U.K. horror
films leaving the Hammer style behind, partly thanks to a new sexual freedom in
cinema, these films were quietly groundbreaking and among the best vampire
films ever made. Miriam (Anulka
Dziubinska, credited by her first name only in the film) and Fran (Marianne
Morris) pose as helpless women stuck on highways and hitchhike for their latest
victims, unbeknownst to the drivers and passengers, of course. Then they kidnap them top make them into
blood banks in a mansion they live in.
Larraz (The House That Vanished, Deviation) creates a moody, suspenseful
film worthy of similar films of the time like Ganja & Hess and The
Velvet Vampire (both reviewed elsewhere on this site) that not enough
Horror and Vampire fans are aware of. Blue Underground has reassembled the best
possible print of the film after so many cuts to return it to its X-rated
glory; a rating it received for sex, blood, nudity and violence.
are very sexy and the film takes place in England giving it a solid cast of
British actors including Michael Byrne (Saracen,
Apt Pupil, Roald Dahl’s Tales Of The Unexpected), Murray Brown (The Deadly Affair, The New Avengers), Brian Deacon (A Zed & Two Noughts, The
Guardians), Bessie Love (The Wild
Affair, The Sentimental Agent)
and Elliott Sullivan (The Revolutionary,
The Great Gatsby, The Persuaders! and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, whom
he appears with Miss Love in) among others, so you also get a richer cast than
you might expect. I also liked very much
the mansion used and all the great locations.
result is a must-see vampire film for all serious film fans, one finally
restored to its original glory.
1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image has some more dated footage, but that is
how the film survives, yet there are also some great shots throughout with some
great color, plus you get some interesting visual moments, none of which DVD
could deliver with this kind of fidelity.
Director of Photography Harry Waxman (the original Wicker Man, Journey Into
Fear, Night Child, Endless Night, Twisted Nerve, The Nanny)
is a visual master at his best and this has some of his best dark work. I liked the mood the visuals present and it
goes beyond location. The image has to
convey the narrative when it comes to the vampires and succeeds. Waxman also shoots nudity well.
MA (Master Audio) lossless 7.1 mix is a little better than the DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) lossless 1.0 Mono mix spreading around the older theatrical
monophonic sound the best it can and with more room, smaller details can be
heard, but it also shows the limits of the film’s budget and age. However, it is also warmer than the Dolby
Digital 5.1 EX mix, which sometimes does not seem to have all the smoothness of
the DTS-MA 1.0 Mono. James Kenelm
Clarke’s score is good and the DTS-MA 7.1 mix is the best offered here.
include the original International and U.S. Theatrical Trailers, Return
Of The Vampyres interview with Morris and Anulka and a feature length
audio commentary by Larraz and Producer Brian Smedley-Aston that are all
- Nicholas Sheffo