I have to confess I’ve never seen the original 1974 version of this film that shares the same title. I’ve heard good things about it, although several comments did claim it was quite tame compared to today’s horror movie standards. From what I’ve read, it seems director Victor Matellano’s remake of VAMPYRES is a faithful but gorier adaptation; this suits me just fine, as I believe a hearty does of carnage can greatly aid almost any horror movie. But regardless of whether it’s a decent compliment to its predecessor, Matellano’s VAMPYRES is a hell of a good film, and I highly recommend it.
If you are not familiar with VAMPYRES, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Artsploitation Films:
Faithful to the sexy, twisted 1974 cult classic by Joseph Larraz, VAMPYRES is an English-language remake pulsating with raw eroticism, wicked sadomasochism and bloody, creative gore. Victor Matellano (Wax, 2014; Zarpazos! A Journey through Spanish Horror, 2013) directs this tale set in a stately English manor inhabited by two older female vampires and with their only cohabitant being a man imprisoned in the basement. Their lives and lifestyle are upended when a trio of campers come upon their lair and seek to uncover their dark secrets, a decision that has sexual and blood-curdling consequences. Infused with eloquent and atmospheric cinematography, impressive special effects makeup from master Colin Arthur (THE NEVERENDING STORY, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY) and starring screen genre icon Caroline Munro (THE GOLDEN VOAYAGE OF SINBAD, AT THE EARTH’S CORE, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, MANIAC, SLAUGHTER HIGH), “VAMPYRES remains faithful to the original while creating its own neck-biting, sexually violent tale.”
Now…when discussing this version of VAMPYRES, you have to look at the film for what it is: a deeply visual and atmospheric horror film, rife with sensuality and raw violence. This is not a jump-scare film, nor is it a straight-forward tale, like many modern movies in this genre. The concept here is simple, but the execution is excellent.
VAMPYRES is shot very well and expertly uses the cinematography and sets to create a foreboding backdrop on which the story plays out. I viewed the decrepit house as a purposeful contrast to the primal beauty embedded in the sexuality exhibited by the vampires as they feed. This confliction enhances the power of those scenes and forces an uncomfortable air upon the viewer as they unfold.
The acting is honestly not very good overall, although it’s thankfully not downright awful. But the two actresses portraying the vampires are vivacious eye-candy, sensuous lovelies with beautiful bodies, which allows a lot of leeway for most audience members in the acting department.
The special effects in VAMPYRES are outstanding. There are many blood-bursting throat slashes throughout the film, and they all look excellent. My particular favorite comes from a girl that is hung above a bathtub; the vampires slit her throat and then take an erotic bath as her lifeblood pours all over them. This is a lengthier scene, so the effect has to remain in motion for a while; as such, it looks amazingly real, and I loved every second of it.
VAMPYRES probably won’t appeal to everybody, but I loved it, and I recommend giving it a look if you are a fan of Jess Franco or Tinto Brass, or just erotic horror in general. Well-executed with a lot of heart, this visual feast should definitely earn a place in your film library soon. It is available now.