Director: Don Sharp
Starring: Clifford Evans, Edward de Souza, Noel Willman, Jennifer Daniel
More info: IMDb
Tagline: Giant devil Bats...summoned from the caves of Hell to destroy the lust of the Vampires!
Plot: When car trouble strands a honeymooning couple in a small Southern European village, an aristocratic family in the area reaches out to help them with sinister consequences.
My rating: 6/10
Will I watch it again? Ehhhh, probably.
#17 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)
#22 of 31 Days of Horror 2010.
Gothic. Vampires. 1960s. Hammer. I'm there. I remember seeing this one a few years ago for the first time and not thinking an awful lot about it. Time hasn't changed my opinion. It starts out like you'd expect - the wealthy couple traveling and somehow gets detained in a quaint forest village that sits below an ominous castle where the evil aristocracy lives and happen to be a cult of vampires, little bits of happenings in the middle and then a confrontation to cap it all off. By the way, why is it that it's always the rich and powerful that are the vampires? Is it because they've lived for generations and have built up the wealth?
There are two great things about this picture that stand out - another fantastic score by James Bernard and the awesomely insane ending. Bats everywhere and it looks convincing, too. Yeah, it's rubber bats on strings but there's shitload of them and the editing and special effects really make it work. I also really dug how Professor Zimmer decides to fight fire with fire by battling the vampires with black magic. Supposedly, that kept Cushing from being in the film because he felt Van Helsing would have never gone down that road. I liked it but it would have been cooler to see Cushing doing it instead.
As always, the sets, costumes, acting, music, atmosphere are wonderful. I could have used a bit more life in the mid-section and have more to do for Zimmer but the ending almost makes up for that. Had this been a Lee/Cushing Dracula/Van Helsing picture, it could have been one of Hammer's best 60s vampire outings.