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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Friday, June 2, 2023

Lust of the Vampire (1957)

The movie kicks off with a body being fished out of a river, supposedly in Paris. We see from a medical examiner that it has been drained of blood… like the others! Then we meet a police inspector, Chantal, and a reporter, Pierre, who are investigating the crimes. Pierre is also pursued by the most beautiful woman in town, Giselle. Got all that straight? I hope so because now is when it gets complicated!

Pierre starts to unravel things and figures out, and I’m honestly not sure how, that the killings are related to a powerful family, the Du Grands. Giselle is a member of the family, and we find out that she is desperate to make with the romance when it comes to Pierre. We also get to see a girl get abducted and meet the mad doctor, his assistant, and the junkie that they use to grab their victims. Initially it also doesn’t appear to be a monster movie as the victims all had the same blood type and the blood was removed with a needle/syringe. But in the end, we find out that Giselle is really old and only remains young by having the doctor drain the blood from other ladies and transfusing it into her. How does this happen? Science I suppose.

I wanted to like this movie. Hell, I only watched Lust of the Vampire because I read that Mario Bava stepped in and finished it. He wrote part of the script and directed a couple of days’ worth of scenes uncredited. But the plot is a mess. I mean the bones of the story is there, but the characters seem to drop in and out as well as making crazy leaps of logic without explanation. Why does Pierre suddenly know that the Du Grands are up to something bad? Other than him not liking their castle and how Giselle pursues him there isn’t any reason. This and other odd logic loopholes had me scratching my head in confusion rather than getting into the story and characters. I also wasn’t a fan of them showing us the identity of the kidnapper in the first five minutes. I thought this was supposed to be a mystery. I guess not.

The pacing is also glacial. I know that some folks online talk about how great this movie is, but I don’t get it. There are long stretches of dialogue that go nowhere. Like I’ve already mentioned they never explain the actions of the characters and you would think a few lines of dialogue would be dedicated to fleshing out the story. Also how did the doctor come upon his youth restoring process? And why did Giselle become his first patient? I know they are related but she seems to have some hold over him and that is never explained. Again, it is really confusing.

For this review I watched the original dubbed version under the Lust of the Vampire title. I know that there is an American cut with some extra scenes with Grandpa Al Lewis… how the hell did that work? That release is titled The Devil’s Commandment. It might be better, but I can’t imagine taking the chance after having already killed an hour and a half on this version. Clearly I’m not recommending it.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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