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The Fearless Vampire Killers
AKA: Dance of the Vampires, The Fearless Vampire Killers or: Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck,
Vampire Ball, The Vampire Killers, Tanz der Vampire

GB, USA 1966, colour, 107 min
Director Roman Polanski
Screenplay Gerard Brach, Roman Polanski
Photography Douglas Slocombe
Musix Krysztof Komeda
Jack McGowran Prof. Abronsius
Roman Polanski Alfred
Sharon Tate Sarah
Ferdy Mayne Count Krolock
Alfie Bass Shagal
Iain Quarrier Herbert

The crotchety professor Abronsius, called "the old weirdo" by his colleagues due to his thesis concerning vampirism, is on his way to cold and frosty Transsylvania, in order to proof his theories with the help of his assistant Alfred right on place. They find accommodation at the inn of the Shagal-family, where Sarah, the daughter of their host soon gets kidnapped from the bath tub by the local vampire Count Krolock. Father Shagall, well-equipped with garlic, follows them, but is found deep frozen and emptied from his blood the next morning. Abronsius declares that Shagall has turned into a vampire and has to be impaled and beheaded, a procedure his widow does not really appreciate. The just-turned-into-vampire Shagall can flee at dusk and shows the fearless vampire killers the way to the vampire headquarters, Krolok Castle. On arrival they are welcomed by the master of the house, who presents himself as well-read man about town and invites them to stay at his castle. Soon they also get to know his son, Herbert who quickly develops a special interest for Alfred and was probably the first gay vampire in movie history.

The next day, when the vampires are sleeping peacefully in their coffins, Abronsius and Alfred try to make an end to their foul work by means of a wooden peg. But they can try as hard as they can - something always goes wrong and the night of the ball - the dance of the vampires, where Sarah and our two heros are supposed to be served as main course of the menu - is getting closer. But with ruse and a good disguise Abronsius and Albert manage to free Sarah - too late, as we see after an adventurous pursuit where a coffin serves as a sleigh. Sarah has already turned into a vampire and Alfred becomes her first victim. And this is how the evil could be spread throughout the whole world with the help of professor Abronsius.

With "the fearless vampire Killers" Roman Polanski created one of the great classics of the genre. Murnaus "Nosferatu" probably is the most uncanny and Coppolas "Dracula" the most splendid movie of the genre; "The fearless vampire Killers" is without doubt the funniest one. Polanski and his co-author Brach built in so many ludicrous elements that we can nearly call it completely crazy: hair-raising pursuits, gay vampires, Jewish vampires, where crucifixes lose their effect, crotchety vampire hunters - there is a sly idea in nearly every scene. Polanski does indeed know how to make a horror movie, but here he makes fun of those details we know only too well - requiring some basic knowledge of vampire movies in general. If you didn't know and/or like movies as the Hammer-Vampire movies, that were so popular at that time, you probably would not have enjoyed this movie as much as fans of the vampire genre had then, and hopefully still have today. Meanwhile "The fearless vampire killers" has been shown on TV innumerable times, and should be one of the most popular vampire movies ever. Nevertheless - it's always great to watch this cult movie again.


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