Director: Victor Matellano
Starring: Marta Flich, Almundena Leon, Christian Stamm, Veronica Polo, Anthony Rotsa
Out NOW on UK DVD from Soda Pictures
“Life is so short. Especially yours.”
Two vampires, Fran (Marta Flich) and Miriam (Almudena Leon) waylay drivers on a stretch of empty forest road and take them home for sex followed by a little light massacring. That’s pretty much the whole plot. And before you ask (or in the event you have seen the original) yes, the two vampires make-out with each other and their victims in blood-soaked nude scenes. The latest pick-up is Ted (Christian Stamm), a bland middle-aged man who looks like a cut-rate Liam Neeson. He is apparently tasty enough to keep around for more than one meal. There is also a secondary plot about three friends camping in the woods near the vampire’s house that really has nothing to do with anything.
File this one under “Good movies that didn’t need to be remade.” The original 1974 Vampyres was a lavish, opulent, brooding, gothic sex thriller. Set in a gorgeous British country home, featuring autumnal woods and touched with misty mornings and fall leaves, the entire production dripped atmosphere. Despite its flaws, especially that of the tired trope of the lesbians dying at the end, it stands as a vampire film to be reckoned with. A yard stick by which all lesbian vampire films will be held up to, and sadly, most of them will also be found wanting.
If the original film’s watchword was ‘decadence’, the Vampyre’s watchword was ‘budget’. Gone is the stately English country home straight from a gothic novel. Gone are the fantastically scintillating 1970s costumes. Gone is a coherent plot and dialogue that isn’t a garbled mess. Everything in Vampyres 2015 is cheap, and small, and nigh incoherent. The music drowns out the dialogue (some of which was lifted verbatim from the original), and even if it had been audible it was delivered with such thick accents, the director would have been better off simply making the film in Spanish (and who knows- there may be a slightly better version in Spanish out there somewhere) and giving us subtitles, because at least then I would have known what the actors were saying. It may even have improved their lacklustre acting, to make the film in their native language. Thought to be fair it’s a pretty international production, so that might not have worked.
Usually remakes (as terrible as they often are) at the very least throw more money at the production than the original. Vampyres is by far cheaper looking than the original (which was not an expensive film to begin with). The house the two vampires are squatting in as a rundown farmhouse in the Spanish countryside, much of the place is bereft of furniture and atmosphere. The costumes are another place corners were cut. Fran and Miriam have two outfits each. A black cocktail dress and cape ensemble, and a peach negligee with a false corset that frankly looks like it came out of a catalogue of Amy Brown inspired fairy dresses.
There really isn’t much compelling about the film. Well, aside from lots of breasts. Well, at least a few pairs of breasts. Most of them will be Fran and Miriam’s. Nudity however, can only get you so far in a movie. Especially one in which there is supposed to be a plot.
But the plot is a mish-mash. Some of it is the original film, then there is the bit with the three campers who really don’t have much to do aside from discuss a book they found, their college crushes, and then finally too get picked off at the end. There is also a guy with a scythe! Who does nothing and is literally credited as “Man with Scythe” in the film credits. My guess is he was a very literal and ham-fisted personification of death.
Then there’s Caroline Munro who plays a cryptic inn keeper and spouts nonsensical lines for no reason other than poor writing. Last but not least, the burning question- did this movie “bury its gays?” Well… one of them. In an absurd turn of events Ted shoots one of the vampires (I’m going to say Fran again) with a crossbow. However the other one get away and turns the girl camper Harriet (Veronica Polo).
If you’re interested in Vampyres (or for that matter vampires) I HIGHLY recommend skipping this film and going straight to the 1974 version. The story is better, the production values are better, the costumes, the acting, the setting, everything is flat out better in the old movie. Vampyres accomplished pretty much what all remakes in the history cinema have managed to do: be worse than the original.
Kudos for: “Man with Scythe”
Lesson learned: Don’t remake good movies