Customer Reviews


53 Reviews
5 star:
 (29)
4 star:
 (14)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All cats are grey in the dark....
I can't remember the author of that quote, but it fits this film well. A classic of latter-day Hammer Horror, The Vampire Lovers is a very good adaption of LeFanu's pre-Dracula vampire story, Carmilla (1870s). The aristocratic and drop-dead hot Ingrid Pitt plays the tortured vampire who not only lusts for blood, but for the love of young women--both forbidden to her, of...
Published on November 5, 2000 by Will Errickson

versus
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The first and best of Hammer's erotic vampire movies
"The Vampire Lovers," directed by Roy Ward Baker in 1970, is the first in the Karnstein trilogy of Hammer films, all based quite loosely on Joseph Sheridan LeFanu's story "Carmilla." The Karnsteins are a clan of vampires, represented in this version by a bunch of scantily clad women. Ingrid Pitt stars as Carmilla, who also goes under the anagram...
Published on May 21, 2001 by Amazon Customer


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All cats are grey in the dark...., November 5, 2000
By 
Will Errickson (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
I can't remember the author of that quote, but it fits this film well. A classic of latter-day Hammer Horror, The Vampire Lovers is a very good adaption of LeFanu's pre-Dracula vampire story, Carmilla (1870s). The aristocratic and drop-dead hot Ingrid Pitt plays the tortured vampire who not only lusts for blood, but for the love of young women--both forbidden to her, of course.
Peter Cushing adds his usual stoic, stiff-upper-class persona to the proceedings as he marshalls the fathers and male suitors of the victims against the power of the lovely undead. The wide-eyed innocent that falls under Carmilla's sway is played by Madeleine Smith--Mmmmm. Hammer gets the seduction scenes just right, mingling horror and eros with unexpected skill and taste. The sexual tension is high, and the scenes of bosomy women in bodices bearing huge fangs has always been a Hammer staple. I love it, myself.
The Vampire Lovers is competently acted, with a nice turn by Pitt especially, showing how unhappy she is and how she what she wants--love--will always elude her; what she needs--blood--will always cause death. Not that the movie gets too heavy into Anne Rice territory, but Pitt definitely brings some shading to her character. The atmosphere and sets are top-notch, and the story moves along at a leisurely pace, obviously holding to the original story.
I recommend this film highly to fans of softcore erotica, vampire films, and of course the tiny subgenre of lesbian vampires. You really could spend an hour-and-a-half watching far worse films. For $12, this is a real treat. Ingrid Pitt, Ingrid Pitt, where art thou?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Additional footage restored, September 8, 2000
By 
Bob (St Louis, Mo USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This edition of the movie contains two scenes that have been previously deleted from other releases. The first scene is in the prologue with the decapitation of the vampire woman. The second scene is at the climax with several cuts reinstated between Peter Cushing and the demise of Carmilla. With these scenes finally added and a reproduction at standard play, this video is a must for any serious Hammer horror film fan.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The first and best of Hammer's erotic vampire movies, May 21, 2001
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)   
"The Vampire Lovers," directed by Roy Ward Baker in 1970, is the first in the Karnstein trilogy of Hammer films, all based quite loosely on Joseph Sheridan LeFanu's story "Carmilla." The Karnsteins are a clan of vampires, represented in this version by a bunch of scantily clad women. Ingrid Pitt stars as Carmilla, who also goes under the anagram names of Mircalla and Marcilla at various points in the story (yes, there is a story). The last of her clan, Carmilla is trying to rebuild, turning first to Laura (Pippa Steele), the daughter of General Spielsdorf (Peter Cushing) and then Emma (Madeleine Smith), the daughter of Roger Morton (George Cole). Along the way she turns Mademoiselle Perrodon (Kate O'Mara) into a sexual slave. In the great tradition of Dracula and most other vampire films, Laura dies before anyone recognizes the marks of the vampire and then the goal is to save poor Emma from the same fate.
There is a lot in "The Vampire Lovers" that never makes much sense. Who is the countess (Dawn Addams) who travels with Mircalla? What is up with the black-clad vampire (John Forbes Robertson) who keeps hanging around? Supposedly Mircalla is the last of her clan, but maybe not. Mircalla keeps saying she loves her victims, but they all end up dead, which certainly does not help out her clan much. In the end it is clear that Hammer, aided and abetted by American International in this instance, was making a flat-out lesbian vampire film. As such, I can honestly say that you are not going to find a better one out there. Ironically, "The Vampire Lovers" ends up being more erotic than the vast majority of films featuring heterosexual relationships between the undead and their victims.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Hammer vampire films and Hammer beauties, this is your film!, May 13, 2013
By 
Monty Moonlight (Austin, TX, U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Hammer Studios' 1970 film, "The Vampire Lovers", based on the 1872 novella "Carmilla", is the story of a beautiful young girl named Emma (Madeline Smith) whose father takes in a mysterious and charismatic traveler, the young woman Carmilla (Ingrid Pitt). She and Emma form a close bond as Emma's health begins to deteriorate during Carmilla's stay. Emma is plagued by nightmares of a great cat visiting her in her sleep and attacking her, but while father is away, the family's butler gets wind of local gossip and discovers that a vampire is suspected to be claiming young girls in the area. He quickly realizes what ails Emma and takes on the dangerous job of revealing Carmilla for what she truly is before Emma's time runs out.

The Vampire Lovers' true merit is often overlooked when viewers scoff at its gratuitous (and quite lovely, even tasteful by today's standards, ha) nudity and lesbian themes. Hammer Studios eventually became known for the bloodshed and bosoms mantra they adopted over time, and Vampire Lovers is one of the peak examples, but it's also one of the more justified, since many would agree that the original story was all about lesbian eroticism. I have not read it yet, myself, so I cannot comment on that, but I can say that what struck me most about the film's plot at first was how similar it seemed to that of "Dracula", which has been filmed many times by Hammer and other studios. This at first made me feel that Vampire Lovers was just a lesbian themed knock off, purely for the sake of making Dracula an even sexier story. However, I have recently discovered that the story "Carmilla" predates Dracula by a good 25 years. Hmm, maybe Bram Stoker wasn't all that original. Or maybe Hammer made the film version closer to Dracula than it was supposed to be. At any rate, that is very much how the film plays, as a Hammer film in which Dracula is a lesbian vampire named Carmilla. That's not to say that's a bad thing. I mean, what's not to love? Ha. The film is full of great performances you come to expect from Hammer, including Peter Cushing in a smaller role than usual. Hammer's ladies are often lovely, and while the actress playing Carmilla was not to my tastes (and a good deal older than she is in the book), Madeline Smith is an absolute goddess in this and makes the film worth owning all on her own (and, yes, she does go topless in this, and yes, she is incredible). In addition, there are two quite beautiful blondes as well (Kirsten Lindholm and Pippa Steel). Harvey Hall is worth making note of as well, whose butler character, Renton, is pretty darn cool. Definitely a highlight of a fun and sexy Hammer film. Other highlights are the very creepy scene in the beginning, with a shrouded vampire searching the graveyard for a missing piece of its shroud, and the bizarre, laughing "Man-in-Black", a vampire who clearly controls Carmilla and the other vampires in the film, perhaps forcing them to commit lesbian acts for his viewing pleasure (that seems to be implied, anyway). Honestly, the man in black is a very interesting addition, but also takes away from feminist, pro-lesbian (if you could call this that, it's debatable), women with power themes you might come to The Vampire Lovers for, and perhaps betrays the book a bit in this respect too, since here he is yet another man holding power over these 19th century women. Still, I doubt many people watching The Vampire Lovers are doing so for anything other than bloodshed and bosoms, and in that department it delivers beautifully. Just another reason classic Hammer Studios is one of my top favorite horror film sources.

Scream Factory provides an excellent Blu-Ray for this one, provided you aren't deterred by the warning, "Not for the mentally immature!" Clearly an out and out lie, but let's view it as a joke instead, ha. At any rate, this is not the Blu-Ray's warning, but the film's. What SCREAM Factory does give us is a beautiful film experience with some really excellent bonus features (and some great cover insert and disc poster art!). The bonus features include the theatrical trailer and a radio spot, a photo gallery, a lengthy interview with Madeline Smith, a very fine behind the scenes featurette, a bit of a reading of "Camilla" by star Ingrid Pitt, and a commentary with director Roy Ward Baker, Ingrid Pitt, and screenwriter Tudor Gates. The commentary can be a bit tedious, but not at all without merit. Overall, this is an excellent addition to your collection, both in quality of film and of release, and I highly recommend it. Also worth mentioning, this is considered part of a loosely connected trilogy, the Karnstein Trilogy, which follows with "Lust for a Vampire" and "Twins of Evil". I have yet to see those other two, myself.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Vampire Lovers - A.T. Squire's Exteneded Review, August 27, 2005
By 
A.T. Squire (England, Nothumberland.) - See all my reviews
The Vampire Lovers

'The Vampire Lovers' is the first of the Karnstein Trilogy, and in my opinion the best. The film captures love, unhappiness and evil, which makes the film brilliant.

'The Vampire Lovers' is based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's Brilliant Vampire story 'Carmilla'. The Novel, and the film, is set in the Austrian Province of Styria.

The 'Evil' of this story comes in the form of Ingrid Pitt, who plays Mircalla Karnstein, a centuries old Vampire. Mircalla travels around Styria looking for 'fresh meat' (e.g Beautiful young females!) under Pseudonyms

of her real name, Marcilla and Carmilla.

She seems very lonely in the film. She wants Emma to be with her, I am not saying she isn't evil but there is a certain sadness about her character. I think Ingrid Pitt played the part well, some people say she was just good in 'nude' scenes but I think she is a good actress and especially good at facial expressions and showing emotions.

The cast of this film include Peter Cushing as General Spielsdorf, Madelyne Smith as Emma Morton, Pippa Steele as Laura Spielsdorf, George Cole as Mr Morton, Douglas Wilmar as Baron Hartog and a virtually mute John Forbes-Robertson as The Man in Black aka Count Karnstein.

'The Vampire Lovers' is a surprisingly close adaptation of Le Fanu's 'Carmilla and a ground breaking film for Hammer, as it was the first Hammer film to have nudity and first to get an X rating. After this film Vampire Films were very erotic and female Vampires made appearances in more and more films, including films by Jess Franco and other 'Euro-trash' film directors. This film did very well in the theatres and even spawned two sequels.

This film has a lot to offer the main character, as stated before, is very interesting. Though Mircalla is clearly 'Evil', you (the viewer) do sympathise with her. I love the funeral scene it is very effective and once again, as I have commented on before of times Ms Pitt uses her facial talents to good effect. I also liked the Bath scene (not just for the nudity) because there is a great chemistry between Carmilla and Emma, and until the end of that scene, Carmilla seems just like an ordinary girl.

Peter Cushing acts brilliantly, as usual, his General Spielsdorf is a very interesting character. Cushing portrays a devastated man very well.

There isn't a lot of gore but, in my opinion, too much gore would ruin the plot. Fans of Vampire films will not be disappointed.

Thank you for reading my review, I hope you find it helpful.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, sometimes risibly so, October 19, 2001
This film is based on Sheridan LeFanu's "Carmilla", which had noticeable sapphic and surrealist elements. The lesbian theme is here reproduced, going as far as a PG (I presume it was released with that rating) would allow in 1970. It is in that and other aspects fairly typical Hammer: enjoyable, slightly exagerated,with some sense of atmosphere and fairly busty females. The interiors are colourful verging on lushness, with some of exteriors obvious sets. Peter Cushing gives his usual professional performance. Hammer films were derided by purists when they appeared in the 50s and 60s, but had a certain standard now appreciable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scream/Shout! I'm in love with your work now...this transfer is absolutely beautiful..., December 26, 2013
"The Vampire Lovers" is a moderately close adaptation of the Le Fanu short tale "Carmilla", and perhaps the best of the later Hammer horror offerings. Ingrid Pitt, whom you get to see every inch of, is absolutely beautiful in this film. It is so sad that today's so-called horror movies have lost all sense of mystery and beauty, as they only try to shock and disturb with so much blood and bad behavior without considering the powerful metaphors that horror fiction can provide for the human condition. But I suppose that's why we have these old gems to remind those of us who care what true horror filmmaking is all about.
Scream/Shout! has taken on Hammer this time, and the result is pure magic. You get not only a great (if fairly brief) 'making of' documentary (with the omnipresent writer/historian Kim Newman present), as well as an interview with Madeline Smith (who is also drop-dead gorgeous, no pun intended guys!), but also a commentary track featuring director Roy W. Baker. And that's not all of course. This is just the kind of special deluxe treatment that we've been getting from Shout!/Scream lately, and it's more than delightful to be able to report upon their very special work. The picture is pristine, the sound is powerful, and the package/artwork is indeed collectible. I love the great supporting cast (Peter Cushing may not be listed among the Olivier's and the Hopkins's of the world, but he was a great cinematic actor who can reduce one to tears with a simple stare) and the gorgeous female leads, and the subtle, creepy, but not too scary that we can't get into it type of story. Keep them coming guys; this is the best BluRay package I have seen in quite some time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brazenly exploitive, August 22, 2000
By A Customer
Ingrid Pitt gives a fragile performance as Carmilla the lesbian Vampire in this 1970 movie by Hammer films.
The film suffered waves of contreversy on it's original release, because of the films lesbian content, but, seen today, one wonders what all the fuss was about.
There is not much neck biting, up untill the last ten minutes of the film, but, never the less, the whole movie is truely engrossing as we see Carmilla seduce, then feed from, her victims.
Ingrid Pitts seductive performance and Roy Ward bakers inventive, and at times, exploitive, direction, makes, "The Vampire Lovers" a truely memorable film.
A must see for any Hammer fan and for any one who loves to see a memorable performance, which is what they recieve from Ingrid Pitt.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovers not fighters, November 3, 2000
I had never seen this film before and when I heard MGM was putting out the restored version, I decided to skip getting an old copy of Orion's version and wait for this one. The film looks very sharp and includes the original trailer. The film focuses on Carmilla Karnstein, who is a vampire with lesbian tendencies. The story is supposed to be somewhat eroctic, but actually the characters just seem to meander around with very little feeling or action. Carmilla finds one victim then flees to a nearby residence where she switches around the letters in her name and tries to prey on two women at once. The opening is good, but then the film slows down and I found myself wanting some kind of pursuit to take place. Like many of Hammer's films from the 1970's, most of the cast is dubbed. The cast is overall decent, Peter Cushing does as well as he can in a very limited role that offers him not much more to do then stand around and look grim. When they found Carmilla in her coffin, I really expected more of a fight, but she just layed there and took it. A stronger ending may have made this a four star film. This is a part of the Karnstein trilogy, it is considerably better than the confused Lust for a vampire, but not as good as the straight forward Twins of Evil. I really tend to prefer vampire action films like Captain Kronos and Vampire Circus over films like this and Lust for a vampire. Still, this film has high production values (for Hammer), decent acting and some interesting scenes. It is certainly worth owning if you are a vampire or Hammer fan, but just do not expect as much action as some others of the time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary!!!, January 28, 2003
They just don't make'em like this anymore! Forget the holes in the storyline that make bits and pieces of this film somewhat senseless. Just relish the overall beauty of the production, the lush musical score, and the wonderful and attractive group of actors that combine to make The Vampire Lovers one of the best of the Hammer flicks and vampire films in general. Quality of the print is excellent also. This review is based on the MGM VHS version.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Vampire Lovers [Region 2]
The Vampire Lovers [Region 2] by Roy Ward Baker (DVD)
Used & New from: $21.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.