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LA STRAGE DEI VAMPIRI

(The Slaughter of the Vampires) - 1962

 

 

 

 LA STRAGE DEI VAMPIRI

(The Slaughter of the Vampires, Curse of the Blood Ghouls, Le Massacre des Vampires)

Dir: Roberto Mauri; Prod: Mercur; S: Robert Mauri; Ph: Ugo Brunelli; Music: Aldo Piga; Cast: Walter Brandi, Dieter Eppler, Graziella Granata, Paolo Solvay, Gena Gimmy, Alfredo Rizzo, Edda Ferronao B&W; 84 min.

A wonderfully naive vampire Romance that harks back to a more innocent time. Wolfgang and Louise host an evening in their villa. The vampire appears and sweeps Louise into an erotic delirium which will end in her death and resurrection as one of the living dead. The vampire exists in a coffin in the basement and is rather like a well dressed and barbered (he sports flared sideburns and a pompadour hairstyle) vermin. He also appears to have discovered mascara beyond the grave. There's a sensuous morbidity which billows throughout the scenes involving the female vampire's sexual slavery and Dieter Eppler makes a commanding bloodsucker. Paolo Solvay (future sleaze director Luigi Batzella--THE BEAST IN HEAT) has the Peter Cushing role as an avuncular vampire hunter who knows when to stake and when to call for a blood transfusion. Solvay/Batzella had quite a career in Eurotrash, directing everything from Spaghetti Westerns to Gothic horror (THE DEVIL'S WEDDING NIGHT). Another future genre director, Alfredo Rizzo, appears as a helpful handyman. Rizzo went on to direct his own vampire film, THE BLOODSUCKER LEADS THE DANCE. Ugo Brunelli's b&w cinematography is quite adept in creating a melancholy mood, as contrasted to the vividly colorful blood drenched Hammer vampire titles. A haunting Romantic theme by Aldo Piga gives the film a unique musical signature. This film is a reminder of an age where a dress pulled down to reveal a woman's bare shoulders could be considered an erotic signifier of vampiric seduction. How times have changed. -- Review by Robert Monell.

 

 

Comparisons between the Retromedia and Dark Sky DVDs. While picture quality is just about superb in the Dark Sky presentation, there are two problems: 1) The matting at 1.85:1 is too tight, and, a far lesser concern, 2) the coach ride of the vampire played by Dieter Eppler is rendered in a solarized tint to make the scene more acceptable to the plot. (In the regular version, this ride appears to be taking place in the sunlight, though the vampire notes to his coach driver that the sun is about to rise.)

Here are some screen shot comparisons between the earlier Retromedia version (which is unfortunately incomplete) and the Dark Sky presentation. The Retromedia DVD is full-frame, while the Dark Sky DVD widescreen. The DS element had appeared previously on the Monster HD channel, so DS took what they got, matting and all. (And the presentation appears to have been reframed in various scenes, to give the best composition in the 1.85:1 ratio.) The DS disc also contains a nice interview with the film's vampire star, Dieter Eppler, a trailer for the American release (just as dupey looking as the one present on the Retromedia DVD), and a still gallery.

THE RETROMEDIA DVD

THE DARK SKY DVD

 

 

 

 

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The above composition shows the most picture by combining the Retromedia and Dark Sky versions.

What's below the green line is missing from the Dark Sky presentation.