Vampyres (1974)

Did you know that in the world of genres, subgenres, and microgenres, Lesbian Vampire is a specific designation? In fact, it covers an interesting mix of film, novels, and even stage productions that range from humor to exploitation to dramatic portrayals of LGBT+ alienation. It’s got pedigree in vampire literature too, both in the 1872 novel Carmilla as well as the legends regarding 16th century Hungarian noblewoman Elizabeth Bathory. That said, it’s mostly men making these things, so yeah, it’s mostly exploitation material.

Fran and Miriam are gorgeous lesbian vampires living in an abandoned castle and waylaying travelers by hitchhiking, leading them home, getting them drunk, and then drinking them. While this may seem stereotypical, they appear to have a massive wine cellar, so if you’re a wine snob, it might be worth checking out. Anyway, John and Harriet are a couple on vacation that end up stopping by the castle for a few days rest. Every now and again, Harriet sees Fran and Miriam and notices the cars of various men that seem to end up at the castle. She freaks out at night and wonders about the pair but doesn’t investigate further…at least until a victim shows up, Ted, the one man who appears to survive for a few nights. Unfortunately, since Fran and Miriam are after Ted and intent upon finishing the job, that leads them to John and Harriet. They murder John as he tries to start the car and then kidnap Harriet. Ted escapes while Fran and Miriam enjoy murdering Harriet in their basement. The next morning, a real estate agent shows up to show off the castle to a couple, with Fran and Miriam still very much undead and kicking.

Yep, the good guys don’t win here. They also don’t have easy ends. You see, Fran and Miriam usually prefer to get their victims drunk and have fun sexy times with them because they’re not your traditional fanged vampires. They don’t have fangs, so instead they have to stab and slash their victims to get at the sweet motor fluid of life inside. Most folks are simply too drunk and oversexed from being stuck between two gorgeous women to notice. Too bad for John and Harriet they don’t get the chance to get drunk and oversexed. It would have at least been a more fun way for them to go. Hey, whatever it takes to get to the all blood buffet.

If you’re wondering whether any Playboy models appeared here, yes, one of the vampires is played by Anulka Dziubinska, AKA Miss May 1973. The other, Marianne Morris, instead went for the UK homegrown nude magazine Mayfair. Gotta give credit to her patriotism. The film also utilized Oakley Court for its setting, which should set off alarm bells of geekdom for British film nerds; Hammer loved filming there, and the place has been used for the likes of filming Murder by Death, the William Castle remake of The Old Dark House, and even The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Now that’s freaking pedigree.

Also, Britain went censorship crazy in the late 1970s, and Vampyres sadly did not escape the government’s wrath in its home country. It finally got a full release in 2010, only around 35 years later. Yet somehow it managed to avoid ending up on the Video Nasty list. I wonder why that is…

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