The Kiss Of The Vampire 1963
Director: Don Sharp
Writer: Anthony Hinds
Starring Clifford Evans, Edward De Zousa, Noel Wilman, Jennifer Daniel and Barry Warren
Hammer films had to get very creative with their vampire films between 1958 to 1965, as Christopher Lee refused to don Dracula's cape till 1965's Dracula: Prince of Darkness. This was the 2nd follow up after Brides Of Dracula and it is original enough to be a well remembered film. A Gothic vampire film that combines vampirism, black magic and cults, and it does so flawlessly. The evil vampire is very charismatic and I really enjoyed Clifford Evans as the vampire hunter, he is a decent replacement for Cushing's Van Helsing. The film is tightly woven and also has a feel similar to Corman's Masque of the Red Death.
The plot basics are this, Gerald (De Souza) and Marianne (Daniel) Harcourt are traveling newlyweds and they run out of fuel for their car and are stuck in a isolated burg until they can get some fuel for their vehicle. They find a inn to stay at, and the owners seems cold and distant, and while they are getting settled in their room, a courier comes with a letter from a Doctor Ravna (Wilman) inviting them to dinner. They go to his mansion and have dinner and Marianne is swayed by their sophistication. Next, they are invited to a masquerade ball and Marianne is taken by Ravna and Gerald is drugged and when waken up they try to make him believe he came alone. He is rescued by Professor Zimmer (Evans) and is told that Ravna and all his ilk are vampires and runs a vampiric cult. It is now up to these two to save Marianne and to put an end to the diabolical deeds of Ravna, with the help of the Black Arts.
This is a really underrated vampire film. The direction by Sharp is tight and flies by quickly. The writing by Hinds is tight with special consideration with the characters of Ravna and Zimmer, they really make the movie a delight to watch. The acting by Evans and Wilman are great and they really personify good and evil. Especially Evans, who plays a broken hearted father very well. De Souza is great as the lead, another great role of his after his turn in the Phantom of the Opera. There is some blood in this film and it is utilized quite well. I also loved the climax of the film, was quite a creative way to defeat the vampires that I had never seen before. This is a great gothic vampire film that should agree with fans of the Lee films too.
This one gets 5 out of 5