THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE is not part of Hammer Film Productions’ DRACULA pictures. It is its own animal, an ancestor to Bram Stoker’s character and a thick-blooded contrast. The movie is directed by Don Sharp from a John Elder screenplay and it seems to sprout from the mythology of THE BRIDES OF DRACULA, in which the darkness is a mood that cannot be easily escaped and vampirism is itself a foul social disease
The plot finds Gerald (Edward de Souza) and Marianne (Jennifer Daniel) as newlyweds on their honeymoon. They run out of petrol and take up at an empty inn run by Bruno (Peter Madden) and his wife Anna (Vera Cook). Gerald and Marianne are summoned to the castle of Dr. Ravna (Noel Willman), where they meet his adult children. The couple is eventually swept up into a vampiric cult, while Professor Zimmer (Clifford Evans) has his own concerns.
THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE is an gracefully mounted Gothic horror and it’s also a nasty little monster with some profound psychology. Gerald is ecstatic about starting his life with Marianne, but Dr. Ravna’s intrusion leads to a set of lurid circumstances. The poor lad is put through his paces and everyone around him – save Zimmer – participates in a dreadful farce. The truth is out there, probably up in Dr. Ravna’s haunting domicile.
The subtext is rich. From the latent defilement of marriage vows on the honeymoon to the collision of high society types and their underlings, THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE weaves a seductive tale with meat on its bones. We’re attached to Gerald as he unpacks his surroundings. Ravna and his clan are intoxicating, with their wealth and masquerade parties and sexy daughters. And Professor Zimmer doesn’t seem to pack much by way of moral character, even if he does paint a mean black cross on the devil’s door.