“He had a heart attack.” And you get a heart attack! Everybody gets a heart attack! Is that normal? Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they count the heart attacks while they continue their reverse trek through Hammer’s Karnstein Trilogy with Lust for a Vampire (1971).
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 196 – Lust for a Vampire (1971)
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In 1830, forty years to the day since the last manifestation of their dreaded vampirism, the Karnstein heirs use the blood of an innocent to bring forth the evil that is the beautiful Mircalla, or as she was in 1710, Carmilla.
- Director: Jimmy Sangster
- Writers: Tudor Gates (screenplay); J. Sheridan Le Fanu (based on characters created by)
- Selected Cast:
- Barbara Jefford as Countess Herritzen
- Ralph Bates as Giles Barton
- Suzanna Leigh as Janet Playfair
- Yutte Stensgaard as Mircalla / Carmilla Karnstein
- Michael Johnson as Richard Lestrange
- Helen Christie as Miss Simpson
- Mike Raven as Count Karnstein (dubbed by Valentine Dyall)
- Christopher Cunningham as Coachman
- Harvey Hall as Inspector Heinrich
- Michael Brennan as Landlord
- Pippa Steel as Susan Pelley
- Judy Matheson as Amanda McBride
- Caryl Little as Isabel Courtney
- David Healy as Raymond Pelley
- Jonathan Cecil as Arthur Biggs
- Erik Chitty as Professor Herz (as Eric Chitty)
- Jack Melford as Bishop
- Christopher Neame as Hans
- Kirsten Lindholm as Peasant Girl
- Luan Peters as Trudi
In the Seventies, Hammer Films struggled to find its way as horror films moved away from gothic horror into modern-day terrors; however, the company famous for Dracula and Frankenstein did earn some success with a trio of films referred to as The Karnstein Trilogy. The Grue Crew settles in to revisit the middle entry, Lust for a Vampire, which follows Vampire Lovers (1970) and leads into Twins of Evil (1971). Unfortunately, the film was plagued with misfortune from the onset: both Peter Cushing and Ingrid Pitt refused to return; the original director, Terence Fisher, suffered injuries when he was hit by a car and was replaced at the last minute by Jimmy Sangster; the director and the writer clashed with producers who insisted on including the pop song “Strange Love.” Even co-star Ralph Bates called the feature, “One of the worst films ever made.” Certainly, there must be some highlights. Certainly…
At the time of this writing, Lust for a Vampire is available to stream from Shudder, AMC+, Tubi, and Flix Fling. The movie is also available on physical media as a Blu-ray from Shout! Factory.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode, chosen by Doc, will be Kingdom of the Spiders (1977). William Shatner and 5,000 spiders! What could go wrong?
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