24 October 2014

The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)
88 min.
Directed by Don Sharp.
With Clifford Evans, Edward de Souza, Noel Willman, Jennifer Daniel, Barry Warren, Brian Oulton, Noel Howlett, Jacquie Wallis.
This 1963 Hammer vampire flick distinguishes itself by breaking from the pack in several key ways.

British couple Gerald and Marianne Harcourt (de Souza and Daniel) are enjoying their honeymoon vacationing through Europe when their car runs out of gas near a remote village.

They stop for the night and easily find lodging in a charming hotel.

Strangely, an invitation arrives for them to dine that very evening at the home of one 'the most respected' local citizens: Dr. Ravna (Willman).

The two accept, and find the Ravna family a gracious and well educated bunch.

But it's not long before these unfortunate lovers discover the Chateau Ravna is home to an aristocratic vampire cabal! And for the Harcourts, there will be no return to life as they knew it...

Smartly paced, Kiss lays claim to some good performances (most notably from Evans as Professor Zimmer and Willman as Ravna) and gets kudos for its suspenseful restraint.

The 'bat attack' ending is very weird, but thanks to a crafty buildup and clever editing, it's actually an effectively unique climax.

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