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The Fearless Vampire Killers

1967

The Fearless Vampire Killers
 

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Movies from the 1960s

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The Movie

Directed by Roman Polanski
Story and screenplay by Gérard Brach and Roman Polanski
Produced by Gene Gutowski
Executive producer: Martin Ransohoff

Cast

Jack MacGowran as Professor Abronsius
Roman Polanski as Alfred, Abronsius' Assistant
Alfie Bass as Shagal, the Inn-Keeper
Jessie Robins as Rebecca Shagal
Sharon Tate as Sarah Shagal
Ferdy Mayne as Count von Krolock
Iain Quarrier as Herbert von Krolock
Terry Downes as Koukol, the Servant
Fiona Lewis as Magda, the Maid
Ronald Lacey as Village Idiot
Sydney Bromley as Sleigh Driver
Andreas Malandrinos as Woodcutter
Otto Diamant as Woodcutter
Matthew Walters as Woodcutter

Film Editing by Alastair McIntyre
Production Design by Wilfred Shingleton

Review

This really is a rather special film, in many ways. It's an important example of Polanski's best work, contriving to be a suspense movie while also being a slapstick farce and a spoof of the many vampire movies being made at that time.

It was also intended to be a showcase for Sharon Tate, and many would now see it as a fitting tribute; she has a cool beauty and a strong presence. She had reason to be proud.

And it's also one of the few satires on the vampire universe that doesn't fall flat on it's face. Our Heroes are incompetent, stupid, constantly missing the obvious, while trying every trick in the vampire hunters book with panache and perfect timing.

The photography is superb, managing the limited light destiny of the vampire movie without excessive gloom. Costumes and settings are imaginative, with intelligent use of contrasting colours and brightness; Polanski's hand on direction is confident and economical, keeping a relentless pace from beginning to end.

Some of the set pieces are simply superb; I don't think I'll ever forget Koukol (the perfect 'Igor') zooming down the snow covered hill from the castle, in hot pursuit of Our Heroes, while riding a coffin as a bobsleigh; perfect! There's an object lesson in the use of religious items to ward off an attack (Alfie Bass playing his stereotype perfectly). And, of course the ending - absolutely appropriate, but frustrating at the same time.

Most of all, this is fun. Watch it. Watch it again .... you will!

The DVD

Released: October 5, 2004
Run Time: 107 minutes

Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Audio Tracks: English, French - both Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono

Special Features

Vintage making-of feaurette

How To Buy This DVD

The Vampyreverse 10 January 2016 Copyright Andrew Heenan Privacy