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Lust for a Vampire (Hammer 1971, Ralph Bates, Yutte Stensgaard)

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By the early 1970’s Hammer was losing ground to the new wave of horror movies being made in the UK and America so they concentrated on injecting a new level of sex and gore into their films. Lust For A Vampire was made in 1971 and was the second movie in a trilogy of Vampire flicks about the legendary Carmilla (who bathed in the blood of virgins to keep herself young) using novelist Sheridan Le Fanu as source material. Hammer also made The Vampire Lovers with Ingrid Pitt, Lust, and Twins of Evil with the legendary Collinson twins.

The plot for lust (set in 1830) sees novelist Richard Lestrage (played by Michael Johnson) take a job as a teacher at a school for young ladies only to find that one of the girls Mircalla (the fulsome Yutte Stensgaard) is hiding a sinister secret.

All the staples are here, from nude moonlight swims, the lurid set design, the dodgy soundtrack, the heavy smell of garlic in the air and boy is it fun. If you don’t take them too seriously the Hammer movies are great late night movies, most have casts full of great British character actors, Michael Ripper seems to be in every one of them.

Here we get to see a great performance from Ralph Bates and the hammy Mike Raven in a kind of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee type duel. Listen out too for the most unlikely love song in a film ever (a pop song called Strange Love played over one of the key love scenes).

production details
UK / Hammer / 91 minutes / 1971

Director: Jimmy Sangster
Script: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Tudor Gates,

cast
Christopher Neame as Hans
Ralph Bates as Giles Barton
Michael Brennan as Landlord
Jack Melford as Bishop
David Healy as Raymond Pelley
Suzanna Leigh as Janet Playfair
Harvey Hall as Inspector Heinrich
Jonathan Cecil as Biggs
Barbara Jefford as Countess Herritzen
Michael Johnson as Richard Lestrange
Yutte Stensgaard as Mircalla / Carmilla Karnstein
Helen Christie as Miss Simpson
Pippa Steel as Susan Pelley
Mike Raven as Count Karnstein
Christopher Cunningham as Coachman
Judy Matheson as Amanda
Caryl Little as Isabel
Erik Chitty as Professor Herz
Kirsten Lindholm as Peasant Girl
Luan Peters as Trudi

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