Every so often, a movie comes along that almost prods one back to life. Rino Di Silvestro’s WEREWOLF WOMAN isn’t necessarily that movie, but this 1976 Italian horror picture does pack enough punch to warrant a mention. This is almost entirely the project of Di Silvestro, who’s also blessed the cinematic world with such outings as WOMEN IN CELL BLOCK 7 and THE EROTIC DREAMS OF CLEOPATRA.
WEREWOLF WOMAN is the tale of a young woman named Daniella (Annik Borel). She is, to put it plainly, going through some stuff. She has what some hirsute clinicians refer to as a “sexual phobia” and it’s not hard to determine why given the way men have treated her. This phobia branches out into what could best be described as a lycanthropic fixation, which is to say that poor Daniella imagines herself to be a werewolf. This is based on an ancestral legend and subsequently leads to a trail of blood, murder and nudity.
In a sense, WEREWOLF WOMAN runs like a road movie with flavours of revenge. It commences with a woman dancing around in a fire circle and ends in similar fashion, so everything burns in Di Silvestro’s pseudo-academic universe. Daniella moves through various episodic plot points, from a stay in an institution to a relationship with a stuntman (Howard Ross). Nothing overly goes well for the heroine and few encounters end without someone gnawing on someone’s throat.
Lest it be though that WEREWOLF WOMAN is not a semi-serious study of serious matters, Di Silvestro’s casts things as more psychological thriller than horror. That calls Mario Capriotti’s lens to commit to all sorts of tricks, including rapid zooms and befuddling wheels. It’s all part of the fun of putting the viewer inside Daniella’s righteously warped mind. The best and most troubling scenes toy with how quickly the sexual can become violent. And, truth be told, vice versa.
To say that THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES, the ninth and final movie in Hammer Film Productions’ DRACULA series, differs from the rest would be the ultimate understatement. This 1974 outing is a joint production between Hammer and the venerable Shaw Brothers Studio. Roy Ward Baker is credited as the director, but Chang Cheh had a hand in things as well. The screenplay is the work of Don Houghton.
The movie opens in Transylvania circa 1804, with a shaman (Chan Shen) summoning Count Dracula (John Forbes-Robertson). This pisses off the vampire, but he inhabits the body of the shaman and heads for China. A century later, Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is trying to convince the Chinese intelligentsia of the existence of vampires. Only Hsi Ching (David Chiang) believes him. Ching tells Van Helsing about vampires in his village and the fight is on.
THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES is about as good as it has any business being. It manages a rather sophisticated meshing of worlds and cultures, with the Westerners admiring the martial arts displays of Ching and his siblings and the Chinese surprised by the starchy brainpower of the Brits. One character, the well-heeled Vanessa Buren (Julie Ege), seems to straddle the line. She eschews the anticipated “fragility” of the Western woman while craving adventure.
Also shunning the notion is Mai Kwei, played by Shaw Brothers stalwart Shih Szu. She draws the eye of Van Helsing’s son (Robin Stewart) and holds her own against the vampires and gangsters of the unknown. She is as tough as the rest of the characters, which leads things back to Cushing and his brain. He delivers the final blow, both to the Count and to the series, and his command is as assured as ever. It’s a remarkable conclusion to a remarkable series.
FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL has the distinction of being the last of Hammer Film Productions’ FRANKENSTEIN series and the last movie directed by the great Terence Fisher, who helmed THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN in 1957. The journey from there to here passed through a great many brains and body parts, but FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL seems a significant if not particularly final turn of the screw.
The movie opens with Dr. Simon Helder (Shane Briant) taking a great interest in the work of one Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing). He’s busted for “sorcery” and sent to an asylum, where he draws the attention of the depraved director (John Stratton) and his malevolent staff. But as luck would have it, the asylum has the one and only Baron Frankenstein serving as its medical director. And guess what? He’s still doing experiments. Helder and Frankenstein work together to once again create a monster.
FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL comes on the heels of FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, which is the most brutal of the series. It found its Baron in an almost incorrigible place, so it stands to reason that he’s in the margins now. And while this 1974 picture does find Cushing’s character enjoying a modicum of success within the borders of an asylum, there’s sure darkness to the possibilities and blackness to the academic comedy. How seriously his science will be taken in the land of the insane is up for grabs, especially with his hands on the fritz.
Of course, it’s hard to entirely respect the Baron. In this instance, he’s yanking the body parts of the criminally insane patients of the asylum. He’s a moral individual in contrast to the director, who takes sexual advantage of the patients, but that’s not saying much. And when his latest conception is born a shaggy man-beast with generous lips, he’s a little disappointed it doesn’t quite catch on intellectually. But as anyone who’s been following the script so far is aware, a more suitable brain is always right around the corner.
Hammer Film Productions takes a swing at a franchise with CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER. This 1974 outing was written and directed by Brian Clemens, who made a lot of hay in the 1960s with THE AVENGERS on television. In many ways, CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER is suggestive of the TV show, with its handsome hero and sexy sidekick and know-it-all buddy. But in many other ways, this movie is a bore.
Things begin in a village where people are being drained of their life essence. Dr. Marcus (John Carson) summons Captain Kronos (Horst Janson), an old pal with a specific set of skills. Kronos shows up with his hunchback Hieronymus Grost (John Cater) and it is determined that a different sort of vampire is responsible for the terrible events. Kronos, Grost and the gypsy Carla (Caroline Munro) get to work at overcoming the profound, youth-loving evil.
While CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER has the pieces to function as a brisk, pulpy vampire movie, it’s a tough sell. The biggest problem lies with the title character and Janson, who occupies the role with negligible charm. He’s a granite-carved dope, a mimbo with wooden delivery. He lacks the swashbuckler appeal his character requires and the film blunders around him. Even Munro’s Carla fails to slog much out of his tank.
There are some decent details on the periphery. Munro is nice to look at for those so inclined, while Grost is an entertaining character with a love for chess and esoteric knowledge. Clemens isn’t afraid to pop in a droll line or two and there’s some good stuff involving the village tormenter (Ian Hendry). The vampires come together in the context of the Durward’s youth obsession, but the circle drifts back to the Captain. Thusly considered, it’s probably a blessing that the franchise hopes for CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER withered on the vine.
Perhaps best known for being the final cinematic smackdown between Christopher Lee’s Count Dracula and Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing, THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA is a pretty decent effort from Hammer Film Productions. This 1973 outing is directed by Alan Gibson and features a screenplay by Don Houghton. It comes on the heels of DRACULA A.D. 1972 and likewise utilizes a contemporaneous setting in which to work its dark magic.
After an undercover agent (Maurice O’Connell) flees the scene of some Satanic rituals, the Secret Intelligence Service has some questions. They’re most interested in why four prominent members of British society have been taking part in such rites, so they ask occult expert Lorrimar Van Helsing (Cushing) for assistance. The spies and the vampire slayer put together the clues and determine that Count Dracula (Lee) is alive and well and scheming to bring back a dastardly version of the Black Plague.
There is a method to the Count’s madness in that he palpably opposes the “decadence” of modern society and wants to cure its ills by wiping it the hell out. He dispatches a government official and a biochemist (Freddie Jones), among others, and promises them power in exchange for their vassalage. This intermingling of occultism and vampirism seems to strike these sophisticated men right where they itch, speaking power to power in a livid amalgam of all that’s evil.
In THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA, the Count becomes the villain in a spy picture and one almost imagines 007 crashing through a nearby doorway to save the world. Not only does Lee’s character establish a supervillain cadre, his designs on domination are more explicitly stated than his other impetuous, blood-driven schemes. When he and Van Helsing face off across a desk in a chatty confrontation, it feels almost official and the two share transitory respect. As usual, it doesn’t end well.
DEMONS OF THE MIND is, bluntly, a madcap movie from Hammer Film Productions. This 1972 outing is directed by Peter Sykes, with a screenplay by Christopher Wicking. It is sometimes a rebellious tale of psychological profundity and inner sanctum horror, but it is also a hare-brained piece of work beset by breath-taking accents and thick overacting. Stringing the plot together, such as it is, remains an exercise in futility.
Nevertheless, the tale begins and ends with Baron Zorn (Robert Hardy). He’s living with his two adult children. His daughter is Elizabeth (Gillian Hills) and she keeps running off, only to be brought back to the manor and drugged. His son is Emil (Shane Briant), who remains at the house but trudges around in a daze. Baron Zorn is infatuated with the idea that something is wrong with the blood of his line, so he calls Dr. Falkenberg (Patrick Magee). Also, people keep getting murdered in the forest.
When the film begins, Elizabeth is returned home after yet another jaunt and Baron Zorn is overheard reading Psalm 38. The passage finds David contending with God’s fury, so its suitability in DEMONS OF THE MIND is compelling. Baron Zorn is bathed in guilt and he is as obsessed with blood purity as certain modern polo shirt fanatics, which puts him in a rather unsteady mental state. What’s more, he buries the odd body in the water.
How the elements come together is the weakness of DEMONS OF THE MIND, but it also sets up the ornate and nutty conclusion. For all its talk about blood, virginity, incest, impotence, and suicide, Sykes’ turn for the worst involves some hypnosis and an ill-advised game of dress-up. There’s an angry mob to head things off at the pass, too. Hammer kind of recovers this endeavour with its commitment to mania and Arthur Grant’s lush lensing, but there really is no soundness in the flesh. At all.
There’s something decidedly far out about DRACULA A.D. 1972, a movie so hazy and nebulous that it feels out of time. The Hammer Film Productions effort from director Alan Gibson tries to resuscitate the DRACULA legend in a modern context, with Don Houghton’s screenplay providing the foundation for Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee to renew their classic enmity. But this picture is far removed from their bloody good HORROR OF DRACULA smackdown in 1958.
After a brief introduction that illustrates a skirmish between Count Dracula (Lee) and Van Helsing (Cushing), the action flings forward a century. A group of London “teens” is seeking a new thrill and they turn to Johnny Alucard (Christopher Neame) for help. He drags them to a shadowy castle, where he performs a ritual to summon Satan or a reasonable facsimile. The sacrament brings Dracula back to life instead. Meanwhile, Van Helsing’s relations are battle-ready.
DRACULA A.D. 1972 is very much about ritual. The film exists in a ceremony of the 1970s, with the teenagers focused on partying and causing mayhem. They throw a party in a mansion. One of them dresses up like a monk and Jessica Van Helsing (Stephanie Beacham) is doing her best to get along. Alucard, along with hoping nobody pays attention to how his name reads in reverse, is dreams of distant, gloomy power.
The rituals draw on a Count Dracula who, like the rest of the picture, is out of time. Lee’s intimidating aura is a perfect blend with Mike Vickers’ wacky score, which is likewise out of place. The gallant rancour that spills from the lead vampire is thrust upon the world and patent as a man waiting around for teenagers to provide his nourishment, like a rapacious agent without the will to go outside. Van Helsing is likewise stuck, at least until the end, and the promise of final peace is again thrown to the wind.
It may be a form of sacred justice to visit the iniquities of the fathers on the children and even the children’s children, but this conception bears particularly ruthless fruit in Hammer Film Productions’ VAMPIRE CIRCUS. This 1972 movie by director Robert Young is a vicious piece of work and it carries a mind-altering quality that stems from the Judson Kinberg screenplay. This outing is one of Hammer’s darkest and most portentous productions.
After denizens of the Serbian village of Stetl kill the vampire Count Mitterhaus (Robert Tayman) and burn down his castle, he swears revenge. That comes to fruition in subsequent years as Stetl is thrust into disease. The neighbouring villages have even constructed a barricade to ensure absolute isolation. One day, a circus gets through the blockade. But there’s a problem: the circus performers are tasked with visiting the fullness of Mitterhaus’ curse on the villagers.
Young’s interest in generational blame is taken to some disturbing places and he does not spare the gruesome details. Children are attacked by vampires and animals alike. A family is mauled by a black panther in the woods, while the young students at a boarding school meet a grisly end. The vampiric circus is unyielding in its application of vengeance and the older men of Stetl are helpless. Redemption once more falls to the young.
VAMPIRE CIRCUS really is a dark motion picture and Young maintains an adamant tone of misery. The villagers have been through everything in the revenge rolodex, but Count Mitterhaus isn’t done with them. That this reprisal isn’t just from any moral standpoint matters little, as the children are the prime targets for the aristocrat’s cruel retaliation. It is depressingly characteristic that the young pay for the ways of their elders and VAMPIRE CIRCUS draws blood, sinking deep into the vein of morality, punishment and profane evil.
DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE is Hammer Film Productions’ third adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, with THE UGLY DUCKLING and THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL preceding it. This 1971 Roy Ward Baker picture has little to no connection with its precursors, but it does forge a compelling yarn about what happens when scientific research goes too far. The Brian Clemens screenplay adds a fair dose of humour to the mix.
Dr. Henry Jekyll (Ralph Bates) is researching a panacea to cure all disease when his friend and colleague (Gerald Sim) reminds him of his mortality. This leads Dr. Jekyll to switch things up and he begins to develop an elixir of immortality, with female hormones as the critical ingredient. He begins to come up with various ways to acquire these hormones, with a pair of body snatchers doing the job for a while. When the elixir materializes, Dr. Jekyll tries it and experiences a remarkable result.
The Sister Hyde aspect of DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE contends with ideas of sex and gender, with the not-so-good doctor transforming into a beautiful woman (Martine Beswick). This twist on the Stevenson tale contends with the merging of male and female physicality and male and female wants, with Dr. Jekyll’s neighbours providing more than a few romantic opportunities. Sister Hyde begins to manifest herself more clearly, which leads to no end of trouble.
DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE is a film about juxtaposition, so it makes sense that Baker and cinematographer Norman Warwick delves into it with delight. An early scene contrasts the butchering of a rabbit with the killing of a prostitute, while a transformation scene uses the figures of a clock to typify the change. The movie also uses the history of Jack the Ripper and Burke and Hare as context, establishing a further distorting of the lines between fiction, reality and whatever lies in the crimson splatter between.
BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB is based on Bram Stoker’s 1903 novel THE JEWEL OF SEVEN STARS, which revealed some of the author’s fascination for Egyptology. This cinematic outing from Hammer Film Productions features a screenplay by Christopher Wicking and was mostly directed by Seth Holt, at least until he died with a week left in production. Michael Carreras helmed balance, while Hammer staple Arthur Grant is billed as the cinematographer.
The star of the show is Valerie Leon, who is a young woman named Margaret. She bears a likeness to Queen Tera (Leon), an Egyptian of antiquity, and she’s given a ring by her father Professor Fuchs (Andrew Keir). The ring belonged to Queen Tera and her power begins to saturate Margaret, who finds her nightmares getting worse. Her suitor Tod (Mark Edwards) tries to hold the fort, but Professor Fuchs has some foul colleagues from the expedition and ancient history is finding its way back.
The scenario of BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB is standard. The principal villain is restricted to her sarcophagus and her reach is less perceptible in that she occupies Margaret’s mind and grants her detached power. Death moves through the air, scratching out throats and leaving bodies in the bloody expanse. There is an expedition gone wrong, just like Tod’s shrieking car ride, and Queen Tera’s trickling fingerprints are everywhere.
Lest this lack of tangibility wound BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB’s chances at the material, there’s Leon. Along with possessing many of the qualities admired by those so inclined toward such ambrosial manifestations of the flesh, Leon is a doe-eyed contestant in the mystic elsewhere. She occurs between time, lying in Tera’s tomb and reaching Margaret’s soul and sharing evil essence. Her lot is the exhibition of unseen ferocity, the inevitability of death, the blasphemy. And when she goes to hell, we’ll still remember her.
On paper, Hammer Film Productions’ TWINS OF EVIL seems gimmicky and gaudy. But in practice, this 1971 picture from director John Hough is loaded with detail and complexity. Considered the third film in the so-called Karnstein trilogy, TWINS OF EVIL follows LUST FOR A VAMPIRE and THE VAMPIRE LOVERS by trading on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s pre-DRACULA yarn CARMILLA. In the hands of Hough and screenwriter Tudor Gates, this movie has plenty of fangs.
The action begins with the arrival of twin orphans Maria (Mary Collinson) and Frieda (Madeleine Collinson) to live with their uncle Gustav (Peter Cushing). He’s involved with the witch-hunting Brotherhood and is a violent dogmatist with a good heart. Or something. The twins aren’t fond of their uncle’s airless ways and Frieda takes a shine to Count Karnstein (Damien Thomas), who lives in a castle and conducts Satanic rituals.
TWINS OF EVIL may seem like exploitation cinema with the use of Playboy Playmates as the title characters, but the Collinson sisters are game. They take to the Hammer horror iconography with aplomb, personifying the skirmish between innocence and sin with elusive flashes of tooth and nail. They arrive in the “plumage” of birds of paradise, so to speak, and have already grown weary of mourning their dead parents. This immediately sets them apart in Gustav’s stale village.
It’s only natural that the twins would collide with their uncle’s fanaticism. He leads a group of men who stomp through the woods and yank out witches, burning them alive. That these men fail to contend with the Satanic Count is a matter of economics. He’s rich and the locals are frightened. Such capital affords the Jimmy Fallon lookalike the option to hold blood rituals, but his devilish tourism goes a step further. And that sets up the central incitement of TWINS OF EVIL: the fervent suspicion of Gustav and his cronies is, at least in Karnstein’s case, vindicated.
For some, the psychological webbing of HANDS OF THE RIPPER may seem as rudimentary as cod Freud. But there’s something sustaining about this bendy 1971 outing from Hammer Film Productions, especially as it plunges the depths of a grubby London backdrop and features one of the most striking conclusions in all the company’s output. Directed by Peter Sasdy, this picture is a drastic departure from his crass but oddly moralistic COUNTESS DRACULA.
After witnessing the murder of her mother by her father Jack the Ripper, Anna (Angharad Rees) grows up with some serious issues. She is taken in by Mrs. Golding (Dora Bryan), who holds bogus seances. She is even prostituted out to a politician (Derek Godfrey). Anna murders Golding and draws the attention of Dr. Pritchard (Eric Porter), who pulls a few strings to bring the woman under his care. He aims to study her under the new science of psychoanalysis, but his patient has more demons than he anticipates.
HANDS OF THE RIPPER paints a difficult image of society at large, where predators and prey hang in shadows and fog. Anna is both predator and prey, a lasting quarry of condition evermore beset by brutality. She is introduced as a partaker in a con and immediately sold to a randy crone on the promise of her virginity. One suspects this has happened before and it’s hard not to find reason in her fatal act.
When Dr. Pritchard begins his work, things move from Sasdy’s dim streets to the academic circle. Porter’s character is theoretical. He wants to study the woman’s disorder of the mind, suggesting that Freud’s psychoanalysis is the cure to her ills. Others suggest the harm is demonic, but Dr. Pritchard believes in science. He also believes that a few deaths may be worth the conclusion, which is why he turns a blind eye to Anna’s hairpin butchery. In some ways, the good doctor is evocative of Hammer’s Baron Frankenstein. Does that make Anna the monster?
Pride goeth before destruction in COUNTESS DRACULA, the 1971 horror picture from Hammer Film Productions. Directed by Peter Sasdy from a screenplay by Jeremy Paul, this movie is based on the story of Elizabeth Báthory and takes sure delight in the remarkable mythology surrounding the Hungarian noble/serial killer. But where Sasdy’s production really hammers things down is in its exploration of what drives her actions. She is a frenzied ruin, a wretch clinging to youth’s tender treachery.
The widowed Countess Elisabeth Nádasdy (Ingrid Pitt) is living a discontented existence despite the company of her lover Captain Dobi (Nigel Green). She dreadfully seeks youth, which leads her to the discovery that she can be young again with the help of the blood of fledgling women. She sets off on a crime spree, which involves the slaughter of several women and the kidnapping of her own daughter (Lesley-Anne Down).
Captain Dobi is a compelling piece of work as the acquiescent part-time lover of Elisabeth. He is hideously aware of her lust for Imre Toth (Sandor Elès) and his impeccable moustache. By hook or by crook, Dobi slogs on and seems capable of actual gladness and even some inadvertent compassion. He supplies the Countess with her supply of young flesh and blood, but he’s sure to tip the fated blonde (Andrea Lawrence) a little something extra before she meets her end.
Captain Dobi permits the Countess’ behaviour, which stems from a lack of self-worth. The ensuing trail of blood logically settles at a wedding, with the eager woman and her followers getting what’s coming to them. This must be the ultimate indignity for Pitt’s Nádasdy, but it’s hard to argue that her vicious exploitation of the poor is something that can face adequate retribution. Sasdy is sure of this, exposing her horror for what it is and making sure her craven enablers see their share of the crossbeams as well.
LUST FOR A VAMPIRE comes on the heels of Roy Ward Baker’s THE VAMPIRE LOVERS and forms the middle portion of the so-called Karnstein trilogy, which contends with the Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu novella CARMILLA. This 1971 entry from Hammer Film Productions differs from the more orthodox DRACULA series in many ways, but it does maintain a certain Gothic receptivity in the hands of director Jimmy Sangster.
The action returns to Styria, where novelist Richard Lestrange (Michael Johnson) is hanging around. He receives word of some odd events and comes across a finishing school for girls, which is run by Miss Simpson (Helen Christie). A new arrival named Mircalla (Yutte Stensgaard) catches Richard’s eye and he works his way to a position as an instructor. He is subsequently led around by his libido, but there is trouble afoot as Mircalla may or may not be associated with the infamous Karnstein clan of vampires.
LUST FOR A VAMPIRE is less intriguing than THE VAMPIRE LOVERS, but there is some interesting material. Richard’s actions belie a greater sense for the rapacious, in that this finishing school serves as a veritable henhouse for the movie’s many foxes. Gender has little to do with it, although Giles Barton (Ralph Bates) is a more than suitable creep. Mircalla likewise sets herself up as a fanged invader, seeking nubile necks upon which to nosh.
There is plenty of flesh, often in the form of young women changing in their rooms, and that provides the requisite eye candy for those so inclined. There is a minor bit of substance when Richard arrives about he doesn’t believe the mythology of Styria’s working class and repudiates the vampire business, but this disperses quickly. Most of LUST FOR A VAMPIRE is spent rummaging through the basics, with a banal cast and an unremarkable wisp of a leading vamp.
While other pictures in the Hammer Film Productions canon have contended with the nexus of sex and horror that seems a necessary element of the vampire movie, THE VAMPIRE LOVERS wastes little time on refinement and goes straight for the jugular. This 1970 outing is based on the Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu novella CARMILLA, which precedes the Bram Stoker novel and introduces the vampire as a woman capable of exploiting social mores.
After an introduction that involves Baron Hartog (Douglas Wilmer) and the decapitation of a beautiful vampire, THE VAMPIRE LOVERS swings to the manor of General Spielsdorf (Peter Cushing). He is having a big party and winds up taking care of Marcilla (Ingrid Pitt), the daughter of a new neighbour. Marcilla takes a liking to the General’s niece Laura (Pippa Steel) and their relationship turns deadly. Some time later, Marcilla resurfaces as Carmilla and takes her act onward to the Morton family.
While some mystery wafts through the events of THE VAMPIRE LOVERS, the flesh is laid bare. Marcilla/Carmilla is a huntress of sorts and she targets her quarry with every weapon in her toolkit, exploiting emotions and loneliness where she sees fit. She is sexual, introducing a world of pleasure to her innocent victims. And she seems capable of blending dreams with reality, which causes dizzying confusion for Laura and Emma Morton (Madeline Smith). It is only when bitemarks are revealed that the sinking feeling sets in.
Marcilla/Carmilla is a member of the Karnstein clan, which includes a maternal figure (Dawn Addams) and a man in black (John Forbes-Robertson) who appears on horseback at all the right moments. There is an attempt at crafting a modest mythology, especially when the General retrieves the Baron to take care of business in the final act. What’s more interesting is the procedure of the Karnsteins, which involves exposing young women to the charms of the gorgeous Marcilla/Carmilla. There is little left to the imagination and Hammer’s approach is thankfully without shame.