The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)

Unrated   |    |  Horror


The Kiss of the Vampire (1963) Poster

When car trouble strands a honeymooning couple in a small Southern European village, an aristocratic family in the area reaches out to help them with sinister consequences.


6.4/10
2,451

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  • Jennifer Daniel in The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)
  • Barry Warren in The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)
  • Jennifer Daniel in The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)
  • Jennifer Daniel and Noel Willman in The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)
  • Jacquie Wallis in The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)
  • Edward de Souza and Jacquie Wallis in The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)

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User Reviews


9 May 2013 | Spikeopath
8
| God is hardly involved, Mr. Harcourt.
Kiss of the Vampire (AKA: Kiss of Evil in a truncated TV version) is directed by Don Sharp and written by John Elder. it stars Clifford Evans, Noel Willman, Edward de Souza, Jennifer Daniel, Barry Warren, Brian Oulton and Jacquie Wallis. Out of Hammer Film Productions in Eastmancolour, cinematography is by Alan Hume and music by James Bernard.

Honeymooners Gerald (de Souza) and Marianne Harcourt (Daniel) stop over in a remote Bavarian village and fall prey to a suspicious family headed by Dr. Ravna (Willman).

Planned as a Dracula sequel by Hammer Films, Kiss of the Vampire eventually followed in the vein of Brides of Dracula by bringing vampires into a social situation without the famous Count as the figurehead. With no Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Terence Fisher or Freddie Francis involved, it does on the outside seem it should be a lesser Hammer Horror picture. Thankfully that isn't the case at all.

There's some wooden acting, less than great effects work in the finale and a lack of blood for the gore hounds, but this is still a wonderful Hammer picture. Ripe with atmosphere, beaming with glorious Gothic set design and beautifully photographed, it's a film begging to be discovered by the vampire faithful.

Essentially a reworking of Edward G. Ulmer's The Black Cat (1934), the narrative follows the familiar vampiric formula so beloved by horror film makers, especially the house of Hammer, which is no bad thing really since they do it so well. In fact it should be noted that the finale to this one is a departure from the norm and is rather exciting, if just a little abrupt in the context of plotting.

A bevy of beauties adorn the frames while suave aristocrat type gentlemen glide around the Ravna abode, this is very much a film rich in that Hammer style. Ignore claims of it being slow, for this is considerate to setting up the characters, and ignore the butchered American TV version, for Kiss of the Vampire is a treat for like minded Hammerphiles. 7.5/10

Critic Reviews


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Did You Know?

Trivia

The rubber bats used in the movie were bought from a local branch of Woolworths.


Quotes

Servant: You keep away from here, or we'll set the dogs on you!


Goofs

The car used in the film was built in 1903. Dialogue during the movie clearly implies that the car is new, suggesting that the events take place in the first half of the first decade of the 20th century. However, the car clearly has a AA (British Automobile Association) badge mounted on the front, of a type first used in 1911 and phased out by 1924.


Alternate Versions

Retitled "Kiss of Evil" for American TV, and considerably tampered with. Bloody scenes are cut: e.g., when Herr Zimmer cauterizes his wrist after Tanya bites him, and the pre-credits scene in which blood gushes from the coffin of Zimmer's daughter after he plunges a shovel into it (even her scream is cut from that scene). A couple of the cuts result in scenes that don't make sense any more: in the cut-for-TV version, we never do find out what Marianne sees behind the curtain, a sight which makes her scream. And when Harcourt frees his hands after being clawed by Tanya, the TV version has him escape by running across the room untouched by the vampires, who just watch him get away. As originally filmed, Harcourt, after freeing his hands, immediately smears the blood on his chest into a cross-shaped pattern: the vampires now *can't* touch him. The cut running time was made up for by the addition of scenes of a family (middle-aged husband and wife; teenage daughter) who fret and argue about the influence of the vampiric Ravna clan, but never interact with anybody else in the movie. The married couple are inserted into the pre-credits graveyard scene in place of a couple of old crones. Even the final scene of the tampered-with version features this family, instead of the original cast! The theme of the family's scenes is the social disruption the vampires bring to town: specifically, women get uppity. The wife becomes the breadwinner (by sewing the vampire clan's white robes!) as the husband's business suffers, and she browbeats him about it. The daughter disses her boyfriend in favor of Carl Ravna. Carl, unseen in these scenes, has given her a music box which plays the same hypnotic tune that he plays on the piano elsewhere in the movie. The final scene has the men magnanimously forgiving the women, who meekly apologize as they all head off to church.


Soundtracks

Vampire Rhapsody
Performed by James Bernard

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