Erotic horror “Vampyres”flows with a post-coital languor

Vampyres movie review

This slice of ’70s erotic horror comes off as a dissolute weekend project that’s best enjoyed in the same state of mind. As bereft of plot as its two female leads are of clothes, Vampyres runs with the kernel of an idea that bisexual vampires Fran and Miriam (Marianne Morris and Anulka) lure men to their deaths in an English country mansion, but not before indulging in some petite morts with their doomed dates before delivering the mortal bite. They use a hitchhiking con to get picked up by single men, but when they get spotted by caravanning couple John and Harriet (Brian Deacon and Sally Faulkner), who set up camp on the mansion’s front lawn, the vampires’ recklessness and Harriet’s nosiness eventually collide.

Director José Ramón Larraz slows the pace to a post-coital languor, admiring the country scenery and chewing on his lead actresses’ looks. It wraps itself up pretty quickly, but never feels hurried, given that its climax hinges on bystanders being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Had it gone on any longer, it would’ve reached the realm of the experimental, brushed by the recent, similarly-themed, but far more scrupulously developed Under The Skin by Jonathan Glazer. Larraz has a simpler, even purer, motivation for his easygoing entry to the lesbian vampire genre, which only gets interrupted by brief spasms of interpretive violence and smooching scenes with all the romance of repellent magnets getting mashed together by your physics professor, and that’s to show off Morris and Anulka, who garner plenty of gawks, although some well-placed potted plants get the best view in the racier scenes to keep things from getting too blue.

Writers Diana Daubeney and Thomas Owen can barely come up with a good origin story for the vampires in the first place, even if it serves to introduce the pair as take-all-kinds, sex-positive avengers. The pointlessness adds to its period charm, as does its use of the forbidding facade of Oakley Estate, recognizable from its use in several Hammer horror movies. Not that any of this makes it an essential watch, but it has all the necessary ingredients for a great comedown flick in case of hangover or post-orgy torpor.

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