Kiss Of The Vampire (1962)

Rating: *
Review Date: 5/3/20
Cast: Clifford Evans, Edward de Souza, Jennifer Daniel, Isobel Black

Gerald (Edward de Souza) and Marianne (Jennifer Daniel) are a newlywed couple travelling through Germany by motor car. When their car runs out of gas, they are forced to spend the night at a creepy nearby village. Their misfortune catches the eye of Dr. Ravna, who falls for Marianne's beauty and extends an invitation for the couple to dine at his castle with him. There, an elaborate plot is put in motion to seduce Marianne and turn her into a vampire. After kidnapping Marianne, Ravna's family and the villagers try to convince Gerald that he's insane and that Marianne never existed, but an eccentric drunk named Professor Zimmer (Clifford Evans) knows the truth and performs some black magic to combat the evil Dr. Ravna. The film ends with Ravna and his followers trapped inside his castle and ravaged by a swarm of vampire bats.

While it's a good looking film shot in the traditional Hammer style, I simply can't give it more than a one-star rating. It's painfully slow, dreadfully dull, tediously uninteresting, and makes no sense. The entire film revolves around people acting strange, speaking in riddles, and never answering questions, which rightfully makes Gerald and Marianne feel paranoid and uncomfortable. Even Zimmer, who knows the truth about Ravna and whose own daughter was turned into a vampire, refuses to warn the couple about the mortal danger they're in, and only cryptically says "be careful" when they visit the doctor's castle. The attempts to make Gerald think that he's losing his mind are ridiculous and unfounded, and it's unclear why Ravna didn't just kill him rather than engage in such an outrageous ruse. He eventually offers to make Gerald a vampire as well, so why didn't he just do that in the first place? The climax with dozens of rubber bats on strings is exceedingly silly, but it's also the best part of the film. Reportedly, this ending was originally intended for "The Brides Of Dracula" (1960), but they lacked the budget to film it. While it's definitely a different take on vampire lore, the execution is tiresome and it's a serious chore to watch.