Directed by Roman Polanski
Story and screenplay by Gérard
Brach and Roman Polanski
Produced by Gene Gutowski
Jack MacGowran as Professor Abronsius
Roman Polanski as Alfred, Abronsius' Assistant
Alfie Bass as
Shagal, the Inn-Keeper
Jessie Robins as Rebecca Shagal
Tate as Sarah Shagal
Ferdy Mayne as Count von Krolock
Quarrier as Herbert von Krolock
Terry Downes as Koukol, the Servant
Fiona Lewis as Magda, the Maid
Ronald Lacey as Village Idiot
Bromley as Sleigh Driver
Andreas Malandrinos as Woodcutter
Matthew Walters as Woodcutter
Film Editing by Alastair
Production Design by Wilfred Shingleton
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.
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
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
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!
Run Time: 107 minutes
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Audio Tracks: English, French - both Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Vintage making-of feaurette