Friday, November 20, 2009

The Fearless Vampire Killers

Poster for Roman Polanski's 'The Fearless Vampire Killers' (1971)Poster for 'The Fearless Vampire Killers, or, Pardon Me But Your Teeth Are In My Neck' (1967). Polanski hated the title.
Originally entitled Dance of the Vampires, The Fearless Vampire Killers was directed by Roman Polanski (yes, boo-hiss), who also acted in the film. The story tells of a crackpot Professor named Abronsius (Jack MacGowran, looking like Albert Einstein), who, with his young assistant (Polanski), travels to the Carpathian Mountains in the dead of winter to rid the world of the 'scourge' of vampirism. MacGowran is pitch-perfect as the well-intentioned but hopelessly out-of-his depth Abronsius, and Polanski is credible as MacGowran's naive assistant. But even the occasional ham-fisted, three-stooges slapstick never dispels the hauntingly atmospheric tone of the film. As Count von Krolok, Ferdy Mayne plays one of the stateliest and most menacing vampires of all time. The film also features the first gay vampire (the Count's son), and the first Jewish vampire (crosses don't work on him), however Vampire Killers is perhaps most famous for being Sharon Tate's last film. (You can rent 'The Fearless Vampire Killers' at Netflix, or buy the DVD from

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