The Fearless Vampire Killers Review

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The old bat researcher, professor Abronsius and his assistant, Alfred, go to a remote Transylvanian village looking for vampires.


An almost-forgotten but mainly delightful entry in the Roman Polanski filmography, this is a beautifully-designed, subtly subversive parody of the 1960s Hammer films. Best remembered for the gag in which Jewish vampire Alfie Bass laughs off a peasant girl’s brandished crucifix, this is a rare spoof that works less for its laugh-out-loud moments than for a delicate, genteel rearrangement of the clichés of genre. Polanski himself is the earnest disciple of a mad old vampire hunter (Jack MacGowan) who sets out to destroy the coven of dignified Count Von Krolock (Freddy Mayne), but our sympathies wander from the supposed heroes to the fey, irritating, elegant vampires. With Sharon Tate at her loveliest as (with sad irony) the intended victim and some wonderful fairy tale imagery in its snowbound Transylvania, this climaxes with an eerie costume ball as the undead revel in their rottenness. Usually known in Britain as Dance Of The Vampires, this is actually slightly different from the version that plays on British television.

Funny and scary, this is vintage Polanski.