24 April 2014

I Vampiri (1956)
78 min.
Directed by Riccardo Freda and Mario Bava.
With Gianna Maria Canale, Antoine Balpetre, Paul Muller, Wandissa Guida, Carlo D'Angelo, Dario Michaelis, Renato Tontini, Angelo Galassi.
Excellent vampire effort, and really the first modern Italian horror film.

Journalist Pierre Lantin (Michaelis) investigates the mysterious disappearances of girls around Paris and unwittingly unearths the dark secrets of the mysterious du Grand family.

For example: why is it that the strange, withered Duchess du Grand is rarely ever seen? What about the sudden death of Julien du Grand?

Could the untimely deaths of the young women have something to do with the Duchess' notorious reclusiveness?

Thoughtfully paced, atmospheric and utterly beautiful, this marks the uncredited directorial debut of genre great Mario Bava (a project bestowed upon him by Riccardo Freda who left the film in mid-production).

Worth seeking out, especially for Giselle's amazing transmutation from lovely beauty to repulsive hag (a makeup effect devised by Bava himself and done entirely by lighting, and sans computers).

Also known as The Devil's Commandment and The Vampire.

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