Sunday, October 21, 2012


In 1830s England, a busty village girl is picked up by a cowled figure in a coach and carted off to the abandoned Karnstein Castle. She is sacrificed and her blood is used by the Count and Countess Karnstein to re-animate the corpse of Carmilla Karnstein, vampire, who laid waste to the village forty years ago. Using the name Mircalla, the young and lovely vampire enrolls at a nearby boarding school for girls—blond, voluptuous girls only, please. Meanwhile, a writer named Lestrange who is doing research on the Karnstein family becomes smitten with Mircalla and gets himself hired as an English teacher. He suspects Mircalla's secret, especially after a couple of strange deaths, as does another professor named Barton who approaches Mircalla begging to be bitten and turned into her acolyte. Lestrange makes love to Mircalla (while a pop song called "Strange Love" plays in the background--most assuredly not the Depeche Mode song) and she, seeming to actually be in love, spares him, but by the end, torch-bearing villagers storm the castle and all the vampires are defeated. This sequel to THE VAMPIRE LOVERS is inspired by the Le Fanu story Carmilla but plays out in a totally different fashion. The idea of two men's interests, especially Barton's, is interesting but not fully explored, though the scene in which Mircalla gives Barton (Ralph Bates) more than he bargained for is the film's best. Danish actress Yutte Stensgaard (pictured) is actually more effective than Ingrid Pitt in the earlier film—she's younger and acts with more gusto—and the same-sex frolicking is a bit more explicit here, but otherwise this is the lesser film, with some good narrative ideas which are left unexplored. Apparently Peter Cushing was supposed to play Barton and Christopher Lee was in mind for the Count (a very small role, just as it was in the earlier film) but it didn’t work out. Bates is fine, and a shot of Lee’s eyes from a previous Dracula film was used for a close-up here. Not an essential film, but fun to see if you’ve seen VAMPIRE LOVERS. [DVD]

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