The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)

fearless vampire killers

Originally written and posted on November 25, 2006.

I’ve knocked off the “mini” in my mini movie review titles. I figure you guys can figure out it is “mini” by the length. The original description was really to designate a difference between my full-on, very well-written pieces and the smaller, quickly put-together reviews. The small reviews are designed to give a quick opinion of the films I see, whereas the longer reviews are meant to be better written and give more insight. A small distinction I know. But you guys are smart, you’ll figure out the difference.

Roman Polanski is one of those directors that I know of, but don’t really know all that well. In fact, I’ve only seen three of his films (Chinatown, The Ninth Gate, and this one) so it is difficult to compare The Fearless Vampire Killers to his other works. I’ve also heard various things about this film ranging from absolutely brilliant to rather dull.

And that’s pretty much how I’d describe it. It is beautifully and carefully shot. The mountainous landscape is gorgeous (even if half of it is painted) and the village/castle scenes are marvelous. The juxtaposition of the whiteness in the snow and baths with the dark red blood is a wonder to behold. The camera moves like a dancer.

Yet I never really found it all that funny. Perhaps it is that the film was made in 1962 and I’m too young to ever really get it. Or perhaps it is too British for this dumb American to understand. Whatever the reasons, while much of it was rather silly and a bit of a goof I never found myself really laughing at the events onscreen.

All of this tended to make it a rather beautiful bore.

The plot is your basic gothic vampire tale. A Van Helsing-like vampire hunter enters a small eastern European village with his assistant. The lovely ladies begin winding up dead with two small holes in their necks. Being a comedy the two vampire hunters aren’t very good at vampire hunting and supposed hilarity ensues.

It is a film I won’t be watching again I suspect, but one I wouldn’t mind recommending as it is beautifully shot and the humor could befall someone with different sensibilities.

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