(ot Dance of the Vampires) UK movie (1967). MGM/Cadre/ Filmways. Pr Gene Gutowski. Exec pr Martin Ransohoff. Dir Roman Polanski. Mufx Tom Smith. Screenplay Gerard Brach, Polanski. Starring Alfie Bass (Shagal), Fiona Lewis (Maid), Jack MacGowran (Professor Abronsius), Ferdy Mayne (Count von Krolock), Polanski (Alfred), Jessie Robins (Rebecca), Sharon Tate (Sarah). 107 mins (initial US release cut to 91 mins). Colour.
A sporadically amusing Parody of the Dracula-Movie canon. Abronsius (cf Van Helsing) and servant Alfred come to Transylvania in search of Vampires. Both men fall for the charms of their innkeeper's lovely daughter Sarah, but she is snatched away by von Krolock (cf Dracula) to his castle. After much clowning they rescue her and leave Transylvania, not realizing that she too is now a vampire and will spread the bloodsucking "plague" worldwide.
Although it has impressive moments (as when our heroes are recognized as mortals at a ghostly ball because they are the only ones whose reflections appear in a Mirror), this movie defaults too easily into buxom-bathing-belles humour, and is elsewhere leaden; it is a step up from the previous year's Carry On Screaming (vt Carry On Vampire), but only a step. The movie was initially released in Europe as Dance of the Vampires, but in the USA Ransohoff, concerned there was too much Horror for a comedy, cut 16 mins, dubbed out the Yiddish/East European accents (Polanski's included) and instituted the title by which the movie is now universally known. The movie flopped in Ransohoff's version but was successful in Polanski's, under both titles. [JG]