Hello, and welcome to my 2021 April A to Z Challenge! This year, I am talking about all of the horror movies that Alec and I have seen over the course of the pandemic (so far). And… we’ve seen a whole lot of them. The list hovers around 200, and those are only the ones I can remember.
Let me get one thing out of the way at once: there are no Bigfoot movies on today’s list. It’s vampires. It’s all vampires. Or anyway, it is almost all vampires. The one thing this post is definitely missing is Bigfoot. But! Cryptid enthusiasts need not despair: there is a Bigfoot movie on the list for tomorrow.
Anyway, on with the vampires!
Without further ado…
Director: Richard Wenk
Two fraternity pledges are sent out to get some strippers for a party. They find vampires instead. Especially one really deadly vampire (played by Grace Jones, who does an excellent job of being menacing). She does work at a strip club, but seems less a stripper than a performance artist.
Anyway, Vamp is an okay movie. I had some problems with it, but it was watchable.
Vampire Circus (1972)
Director: Robert Young
So there’s a plague on (we’ve all been there), and there’s this quarantined village, with no-one allowed in or out on pain of death. Suddenly, into this plague-stricken town, rolls a circus. Hooray, a circus! That isn’t sketchy at all, in a town under quarantine. The whole village attends the performance, even though… I don’t know, if I was touring with a circus like that, I’d slap an 18+ age requirement on attendance. There’s a scene with a tiger-lady and a man with a whip which is not something I’d personally characterize as “family entertainment,” though the villagers don’t seem to have a problem.
The circus is also secretly (well, to the villagers…) full of vampires. Like this guy:
Anyway, this is a Hammer production with vampires in it. If you like Hammer, and haven’t seen this yet–why ever not?
Vampire Hookers (1978)
Director: Cirio H. Santiago
A movie that we definitely saw. It was an early-pandemic watch, and I review it here. And yes, the title sounds porn-y, and the movie does have a really sleazy ten minutes right in the middle of it, but the vampires are only pretending to be hookers, to lure their prey to a convenient graveyard, where they can share their snacks with their elderly vampire friend (played by John Carradine). Sweet of them, really.
And thinking of Vampire Hookers reminds me of the existence of the movie Nocturna (1979), which I forgot to review in my “N” post. In Nocturna, the main character is Nocturna, the grand-daughter of Dracula. She announces this proudly quite often during the film. She also goes to a disco and smiles constantly. She isn’t very interesting, and has no atmosphere about her at all, and her romance is also annoying. But! John Carradine plays grand-dad Dracula, and his romance (with Lily Munster, Yvonne De Carlo) is absolutely charming.
The Vampire Lovers (1970)
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Part I of the Hammer Karnstein trilogy (which is based on J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla). Fun, but…I mean, the book is better. Then again, it is a really good book. Kind of hard to live up to.
Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
This one also appears to be based on Carmilla. Or anyway, I can’t think of any other Le Fanu novels it could be based on, and he is credited here (“based on a book by…”). I guess maybe Uncle Silas could have taken a weird turn after I got fed up and stopped reading it? But my bet is Carmilla.
A drifter stumbles into a very strange situation. I am not entirely clear about what that situation is, but it seems to involve a girl who is turning into a vampire. This is full of atmosphere and menace, and I’d just go ahead and watch it if you like very old horror.
Director: José Ramón Larraz
Some ladies live in a house and trick people into visiting them (usually by hitchhiking and then inviting the men who have given them rides in for drinks). Then, they drink their blood. They are vampires!
I can’t remember much else about this film, except that there is one really uncomfortable murder scene near the end. Like, an awkward murder scene.
To be fair, I bet lots of real murders are super-awkward. You are talking to your friend Fred, whom you plan to stab. But he doesn’t know that. You’re being friendly–have to put Fred at his ease–but at some point you’re going to have to break that sociable mood. At some point, you’re going to have to pull out that knife and get down to business. That’s going to be a weird moment for both of you. But usually in movies, they manage to avoid putting in the awkward bits. Here, they didn’t.
Not that it’s awkward in exactly that way, I think. More of an uncomfortable-to-watch-oh-my-God-it-is-still-happening thing. But it made me think of how awkward it would be to murder someone.