Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Vampire's Day Soiree
Lust for a Vampire
Thank you for joining me for my contribution to the first annual Vampire's Day Soiree, and thank you to the delightfully dark Holly, of Holly's Horrorland blog, for hosting this bloody affair! As it is both Valentine's Day and Vampire's Day, I thought it would be appropriate to feature a vintage vampire movie with a lustful theme.
When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I persuaded my father to let me watch To Love a Vampire. At the time, neither he nor I was aware that this movie was a renamed, and censored for television version of the Hammer Horror Production, Lust for a Vampire. In fact, it wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that the uncut version was quite the risque romp in its day, abounding with boobs and saucy lesbian hijinks.
Part of the "Karnstein Trilogy" of Hammer Horror films, and loosely based on the J. Sheridan Le Fanu novella, Carmilla, the story is set in 1830 at an exclusive finishing school in Styria, overlooked by the ruins of the ominous Karnstein Castle. When a beautiful young girl named Mircalla joins the school, students and local villagers begin to die. A visiting horror author, Richard Lestrange, also takes up a teaching position at the school, and promptly falls in love with the mysterious Mircalla.
Lust for a Vampire has been called silly and camp, and truthfully there are some spectacularly ludicrous scenes in this film. The most memorable one is a when the girls perform a scantily clad Greco-Roman calisthenics routine on the school lawns. Made in 1971, it also includes a song called "Strange Love" that is featured in a couple of musical sequences, one of which is a somewhat psychedelic dream montage. That said however, this movie is fine example of Hammer's ability to create wonderful Gothic atmosphere with their locations and sets.
Despite the many ridiculous elements in the film, it holds great sentimental value for me. Even as a young child, I found its visual style aesthetically appealing, and Yutte Stensgaard's "Mircalla" was like a vampire Barbie doll come to life in my youthful eyes. In fact, so taken was I with it at the time, that when asked by a teacher what I wanted to be when I grew up, I responded: "A vampire!"
Now, in this post-Twilight era, vampirism may be seen as a perfectly valid career choice, but back in my day, such a response was apparently shocking enough to warrant my parents being summoned to speak with the school principal. My mortified mother briefly banned me from anything vaguely horror-related, but fortunately, as I think my father rather appreciated having a companion for spooky films, besides the family dog, the ban was lifted.
For more blood-soaked shenanigans, you can mingle with the other guests at Holly's blog, here.