Fearless Vampire Killers, The (1967)

The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967), directed by Roman Polanski.

This spoof of Hammer Dracula films was one of my favorites as a kid, with that fine semi-horror delight of fools dancing on the edge of genuine fright. It's still fun, if not as much as before. Now it seems stuck in low gear and the constant slapstick is not as hilarious as it once was.

It's more lush than the originals, but has the same middle-European fantasy tone. We have the isolated village, the inn with the tight-lipped locals, the buxom daughter and serving wench, the cobweb-draped castle with the debonair undead Count, and the improvised crosses to hold back the vampires.

New features:

We have more sexual innuendo than usual:


Sarah: I got into the habit of it at school. It's funny. You can't just change your habits in a couple of months, can you? Besides, it's good for your health. Once a day is the very least. Don't you agree?

Alfred: Yes...

Sarah: Do you mind if I have a quick one?

Alfred: Huh? I don't mind at all, but...

Sarah: Oh, thank you! You are being very nice. [goes to bathtub] Now could you get me some hot water?

The wild choral music is a good addition.

Polanski plays the Prof's nervous and love-struck young assistant. Sharon Tate is the love interest who needs rescuing from the castle. As I presume everyone here knows: they married and she and four others were murdered by the Manson family about 18 months later. Polanski is currently a fugitive for a sex crime committed in 1977.