Lust of the Vampire (1957) is an Italian horror movie whose original title is I Vampiri (1957). The movie is and was filmed in Titanus Studios, Rome, Lazio, Italy and Paris, Île-de-France, France. Directors Riccardo Freda (Theodora, Slave Empress (1954), The Ghost (1963), The Two Orphans (1965)) and Mario Bava worked well together. Mario Bava (A Bay of Blood (1971), Black Sunday (1960), Hercules in the Haunted World (1961), Evil Eye (1963)) was uncredited. The screenplay was nicely done, and the directors did a wonderful job executing this movie with minor plot holes.
Lust of the Vampire revolves around numerous amounts of young females with the same blood type being murdered in Paris with their blood drained from their body in 1957. Journalist Pierre Lantin (Dario Michaelis - The Mattei Affair (1972), Heroic Charge (1952), The Mad Butcher (1971)) began investigating the murders. His girlfriend/fiancee, Nora Duval (Ronny Holiday) is a dancer, and she was kidnapped shortly after. Lantin intrudes while inspector Chantal (Carlo D’Angelo - The Great Silence (1968), Hercules Unchained (1959), The Great War (1959)) examines the crime scene. Lantin told him that he thinks it is the Vampire who is draining all of the blood from the young females. Fast forward and we see that Professor Julian Du Grand (Antoine Balpêtré - Diary of a Country Priest (1951), Before the Deluge (1954), Justice Is Done (1950), Are We All Murderers? (1952)) faked his murder. He had Joseph (Paul Muller - Journey to Italy (1954), Nightmare Castle (1965), Vampyros Lesbos (1971), Lady Frankenstein (1971)) killed after Joseph threatened him and buried Joseph’s body in place of his.
Julian later had his men take Joseph’s dead body from the cemetery to his castle where he experiments on him in an effort to discover the secret for eternal life. After a few more events, Lantin meets Gisele (Gianna Maria Canale - Hercules (1958), Tiger of the Seven Seas (1962), The Boom (1963)) at Julian’s ball. Gisele expresses her feelings for Lantin, and he turns her down. Donald tries to tell Gisele how he felt but got a surprise from her instead. His surprise is she turns him down is seeing her transform from a beautiful young lady to an aged old lady. Gisele then confesses that her youth is restored for a short time after killing someone. After a few more events, Lantin finds clues about what might be going on but will his clues be enough to solve this mystery?
The movie was a great watch, dated and not what I am used to seeing but it was a fantastic vampire movie. I gave this movie a six because I do not love it but like it. I might be biased because of how dated the movie is, but I think I will totally love it if it was revamped using today’s technologies. The special effects, sound, and acting were all excellent for that time era. Vampire lovers who want to see an original masterpiece should see this movie because as I said, it was good and entertaining. The dark corridors and sounds made the film frightening and gave it the scare factor it needed. The crazy doctor and skeleton added to the tension buildup as well as the experiments.
About I Vampiri (1957)
Starring: Ronny Holiday, Wandisa Guida, Riccardo Freda, Joy Holliday, Emilio Petacci, Barbara Wohl, Gianna Maria Canale, Carlo D'Angelo, Dario Michaelis, Angelo Galassi, Renato Tontini, Charles Fawcett, Gisella Mancinotti, Miranda Campa, Antoine Balpêtré, Paul Muller, Armando Annuale
Director: Mario Bava, Riccardo Freda