Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Vampire's Day Soiree

Lust for a Vampire

Thank you for joining me for my contribution to the first annual Vampire's Day Soiree, and thank you to the delightfully dark Holly, of Holly's Horrorland blog, for hosting this bloody affair! As it is both Valentine's Day and Vampire's Day, I thought it would be appropriate to feature a vintage vampire movie with a lustful theme. 

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I persuaded my father to let me watch To Love a Vampire. At the time, neither he nor I was aware that this movie was a renamed, and censored for television version of the Hammer Horror Production, Lust for a Vampire. In fact, it wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that the uncut version was quite the risque romp in its day, abounding with boobs and saucy lesbian hijinks.

Part of the "Karnstein Trilogy" of Hammer Horror films, and loosely based on the J. Sheridan Le Fanu novella, Carmilla, the story is set in 1830 at an exclusive finishing school in Styria, overlooked by the ruins of the ominous Karnstein Castle. When a beautiful young girl named Mircalla joins the school, students and local villagers begin to die. A visiting horror author, Richard Lestrange, also takes up a teaching position at the school, and promptly falls in love with the mysterious Mircalla.

Lust for a Vampire has been called silly and camp, and truthfully there are some spectacularly ludicrous scenes in this film. The most memorable one is a when the girls perform a scantily clad Greco-Roman calisthenics routine on the school lawns. Made in 1971, it also includes a song called "Strange Love" that is featured in a couple of musical sequences, one of which is a somewhat psychedelic dream montage. That said however, this movie is fine example of Hammer's ability to create wonderful Gothic atmosphere with their locations and sets.

Despite the many ridiculous elements in the film, it holds great sentimental value for me. Even as a young child, I found its visual style aesthetically appealing, and Yutte Stensgaard's "Mircalla" was like a vampire Barbie doll come to life in my youthful eyes. In fact, so taken was I with it at the time, that when asked by a teacher what I wanted to be when I grew up, I responded: "A vampire!"

Now, in this post-Twilight era, vampirism may be seen as a perfectly valid career choice, but back in my day, such a response was apparently shocking enough to warrant my parents being summoned to speak with the school principal. My mortified mother briefly banned me from anything vaguely horror-related, but fortunately, as I think my father rather appreciated having a companion for spooky films, besides the family dog, the ban was lifted. 

For more blood-soaked shenanigans, you can mingle with the other guests at Holly's blog, here.


  1. my post so far sucks... everyone has such a cool post, i guess this is what happens when you invite a zombie to a vampire party.


    Part of the Vampire's Day Soiree!
    Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
    Visit The Madness:

  2. I love the Karnstein Trilogy, they aren't very much like the book Carmilla (it's a very loose base), but they are wonderful in their own way :)

  3. LOL! I wanted to be a vampire too, but I also wanted to be a stripper (I didn't know what a stripper was at the time), A Garbage Pail Kid, and April O'Neil. Can't really trust my instincts, but at least we had imagination.

    Happy V-Day, Emma!


  4. Someday I am going to use the phrase "Spectacularly Ludicrous" in one of my reviews and I hope that's OK with you. Love it.

  5. I love your vampire post. Have a great day, Emma!

  6. OMG that is too funny! When I was in third grade we were asked what type of animal we would want to be. I proceeded to explain my mythical black monster unicorn that spit fire and had claws. My mother had the same parent-teacher conference over it. Thank goodness for cool dads!

  7. Happy Vampire Day! And if you want to grow up and be a vampire, Emma, that's okay with me!

  8. The tagline "abounding with boobs and saucy lesbian hijinks" could probably sell a few DVDs. :)

    This is one Hammer film I haven't seen, but it sounds worth watching for the unintentional humor. Mircalla does look like a Barbie doll!

    That's such a cute and funny story about you wanting to be a vampire when you grew up. I have no idea why that should warrant a parent teacher conference. Kids use their imaginations all the time! Sounds like one stuffy teacher to me...

    Happy Valentine's Day! :)

  9. Thanks for the informative vampire post. Happy Fatty Chocolate Day! :)

  10. I had forgotten this movie altogether. It would appear that your dad and mine took the same parenting class. LOL

  11. Yes, that '70s vibe is really atmosphereic now in retrospect. It's like The Night Gallery. "Lust for a Vampire" looks good. More great movie choices..

  12. Hi LuLu,

    Happy Heart Day to you too!

    Hi Retro-Zombie,

    That's okay, vampires are all about the sucking! It's the nibbling of the brains that's a problem. ;)

    Hi Alexandriaweb,

    My Dad's favourite in the trilogy is 'The Vampire Lovers', but 'Lust for a Vampire' is my favourite for sentimental reasons. It was the very first "horror" movie I was allowed to watch. In some ways, it's the silly bits that make these movies so memorable, and yes, I completely agree, they're an extremely loose interpretation of the original 'Carmilla' story. :)

    Hi Annie,

    Ha! Yay for imagination! Actually, my father had this little joke when I was a small child, involving suggesting different careers for me, like say, a ballerina, or a nurse, or a teacher, etc. Then he would say, "but you must NEVER be a call girl!" Of course, I had no idea what a call girl was, and I would say, "no Daddy, I'll NEVER be a call girl." Then it backfired on him, big time! At a family reunion, an old spinster aunt asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up... I announced to the entire crowd that I hadn't decided yet, but I probably wouldn't be a call girl! Hee hee. Happy V-day!

    Hi Rise and Fight,

    Haha. Be my guest! Although for your sake, I hope you don't have occasion to use that phrase too often!

    Hi Adsila,

    Thank you! Happy Valentine's Day!!

    Hi Lady Bethezda,

    Haha. You notice how all we juvenile misfits are finally finding each other now! Funnily enough, my husband got into trouble with his teacher when he answered the same question with "International Playboy!". Haha. Clearly he and I were destined to be together!

    Hi Lorelei,

    Happy Vampire's Day! Oh, I was pretty confident that you'd be fine with me growing up to be a vamp! ;)

    Hi Justine,

    Ha! Yeah, I bet that tagline would sell plenty of DVDs. Haha.

    Yes, you should definitely get around to watching this one. The Gothic stuff is actually great, and the rest I'm sure you'll get a laugh out of. I know, right?! She's Vampire Barbie! Keep in mind that this was long before the "Monster High Dolls". Mircalla was the closest thing I'd ever seen to my dream doll at the time.

    Talking of stuffy teachers, I actually had a problem with one of James' teachers, a few years back, who had an issue with me taking him to see Tim Burton's 'Corpse Bride'. She told me it was "inappropriate". Not that it was any of her business, of course!

    Happy Valentine's Day to you too! :)

    Hi Jo,

    You're welcome! :) Happy Fatty Chocolate Day to you too!!

    Hi pensive,

    Hahaha. Yeah, lucky for us!! ;)

    Hi Matt,

    Yes, '70s horror movies did tend to have great atmosphere. Some of my favourites are from that decade, like 'The Omen' and 'Salem's Lot'.

  13. It's a pity that Yutte Stensgaard gave up acting and went all religiously weird. She was much better looking than Ingrid Pitt and should have been a megastar.

  14. Hi Dr Blood,

    I wasn't aware of what became of Yutte Stensgaard. The only other thing I've ever seen her in was an old episode of 'On the Buses'. She certainly has a cult following for her portrayal of "Mircalla" though.

  15. Hi Autumnforest,

    Oh yeah! I have really strong memories surrounding this film, and it's at least partly responsible for making me the misfit that I am today! ;)

  16. Hi Emma, I discovered you via Sandy and love your blog:)). I can certainly see how your fascination with Mircalla made you want to be a vampire hehe! Following. xo

  17. Hi Pull Your Socks Up!,

    Thanks for following!

    Yes, Mircalla was definitely a glamourous introduction to the world of vampires! :)

  18. I'm so ashamed to say this...but I never seen this movie. :[ But I'm so intrigued! And so need tooo.

  19. never heard of this flick before but my goodness, that gory pic looks tremendously awesome. I put it on my must-see list.

    Say, do you know Roger Vadim's "Blood And Roses" (1960)? For some reason, everything you wrote and posted about LFAV reminds me a bit of that gorgeous classic.

  20. Sorry for the late replies. I've been having some internet issues.

    Hi Zena,

    I wouldn't worry, I bet there are far more people who haven't seen this movie than those who have. :) It has got a bit of a cult following though.

    Hi Maynard,

    Haha. Yes, that image of a blood soaked Mircalla/Yutte Stensgaard is extremely popular. I've seen it pop up in numerous books on vampire mythology.

    I haven't seen Roger Vadim's 'Blood and Roses'. I just googled it, and it's based on the 'Carmilla' story as well. Thanks for letting me know about it. I'll put it on my "to watch" list now. :)


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