Dance Of The Vampires (1967 UK/USA?)

fearless-vk-2A Xmas post for any passing soul. Sharon Tate remains the reason to watch this film for me. Her grace and beauty are immortalized, when she was to leave so abruptly and violently only two years after shooting this film, making this a time capsule that preserves her loveliness forevermore. Has a redhead ever looked more ravishing on celluloid? I think not.

Polanski set out to make a spooky, spoofy fairy tale and he fully succeeded. The production values are excellent. The film is dazzling, full of breathtaking snowscapes and eerie, elaborate sets. The cast is great, especially Jack MacGowran and Polanski as the bumbling vampire killers. British character actor Ferdy Mayne is a wonderful vampire count, and Sharon Tate is simply fabulous and funny as the dizzy heroine, Sarah.

The movie is the story of Professor Abronsius (Jake MacGrowan), a brilliant scientist who has fallen from grace due to his belief in vampires. Along with his loyal assistant Alfred (Roman Polanski), he dedicates his life to hunt the undead creatures of the night. While spending the night on a small Transylvanian village, they find that the Inn-keeper’s daughter Sarah (Sharon Tate) has been kidnapped by a vampire, so they go on to her rescue in a series of bizarre and wacky adventures.

The first noticeable thing about this chocolate – box of a movie is its beautiful and detailed setting. From the snowy mountains to the insides of the vampire’s ancient castle, the sets and locations are beautiful and the cinematography by Douglas Slocombe is simply mesmerizing. The film mimics the style of Hammer Production horror films and takes it to a new level of perfection. Visually the film is stunning and is a vampire’s fan wet dream.

tumblr_ml6ess3w6k1r4ro7yo1_1280Jack MacGowran (as Professor Abronsius) is simply wonderful, and completely owns the movie. His presence and domain of the character is superb and his take on the vampire hunter is simply unforgettable.Equally superb is Alfie Bass as Shagal, stealing every scene he is in with his portrait of the lecherous inn keeper. Polanski himself plays Alfred, Abronsius’ cowardly assistant, obsessed with sex and cursed with more than his share of bad luck.

Roman Polanski may not have a wide range as an actor, but his performance is adequate and is the involuntary source of most of the comedy in the movie. Ferdy Mayne and Iain Quarrier complete the cast with very good performances as the vampire family our unlikely heroes will fight. Ferdy Mayne makes the vampire’s role his own in a part that seems obviously inspired by Christopher Lee. Mayne maybe more scary than Mr Lee actually.

Krystov Komeda’s music has been acclaimed as “the most innovative and haunting score ever devised for a horror movie” by the heavyweight Aurum Film Encyclopedia. This wondrous music, with its weird choral effects and little melodies, communicates the Kafka-like isolation of the setting and the characters to perfection. This may be the most beautiful film ever made. I certainly haven’t seen one better, visually speaking. Don’t miss it, You will find yourself transfixed by the snowy atmosphere and faux chills. Rest in peace, Sharon darling.

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Comments

  1. Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from.

    Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this site.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I appreciate pleasing feedback. Thank you and happy new year!

    Like

  3. Thank you for sharing your review! I have always enjoyed this film, full of wacky fun! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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