The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)

Article #618 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 11-23-2002
Posting date: 4-18-2003

A newly-married couple become stranded on their honeymoon, and encounter a friendly nobleman who turns out to have vampiric plans for the bride.

A single glimpse at the title tells you it’s about vampires, and if it played out all the usual vampire scenarios and trappings I wouldn’t have a great deal of use for the movie. However, that is not the case; the vampires here have a social structure of sorts which makes their modus operandi a very different thing than you usually find in movies of this ilk, and the movie gets a great deal of mileage out of carefully drawing you into their methods. Furthermore, there are some interesting characters; the Van Helsing type may be a hero, but he is also a grief-stricken drunkard, definitely not the usual hero type. In fact, personal loss and tragedy plays a strong role in this movie, making it more immediate and compelling, more sad and more real. The only unfortunate part of the movie is that the ambitious ending is marred by less-than-convincing special effects, but I’m willing to forgive the movie this, if for no other reason that it works so strongly, sadly and beautifully up to that point. Though I am not a particular fan of Hammer, this one has very quickly become one of my favorites of theirs.

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