The Vampire Happening

Dir: Freddie Francis
Starring: Pia Degermark, Thomas Hunter, Ivor Hurillo

Clearly wanting to be a European version of Polanski's Fearless Vampire Killers, with Ferdie Mayne reprising his role from there, this delivers some unsubtle laughs, a significant number of breasts, and a severely anti-clerical stance. The last of these, when combined with the hallucinatory sex imagery, left me wondering if Francis (now best known as an Oscar-winning cinematographer) had been possessed by the spirit of Ken Russell during shooting. Degermark is actress Betty Williams, who comes out to her ancestral home in middle Europe, and resurrects the other character played by Degermark - an ancestor who, of course, is a vampire. Cue the expected mistaken identity scenes, leading up to both of them attending the annual exsanguinators convention, with the guest of honour being Count Dracula himself (Mayne). As side-plots, we have the vampiric priest and novice, etc. - this leads to the film's most memorable sequence, where the novice sees sex everywhere. None of this is underplayed in the slightest, and anyone looking for depth would be better off...well, dead. Degermark does not too badly with her double role and when the relations finally get to meet each other, it's oddly touching. The end clearly sets up a sequel in America - rather more in hope than expectation, I suspect...


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