The Fearless Vampire Killers (Dance of the Vampires)
Release year: 1967
Director: Roman Polanski
Screenwriter: Gérard Brach, Roman Polanski
Starring: Roman Polanski, Jack MacGowran, Sharon Tate, Alfie Bass, Jessie Robins, Ferdy Mayne
Professor Abronsius (Jack MacGowran) and his assistent Alfred (Roman Polanski) arrive in a remote Transylvanian village looking for vampires. They enter the Inn in town and find it decorated with garlic and inhabitated by jumpy villagers. Alfred instantly falls for the Inn keper’s beautifull daughter Sarah (Sharon Tate) and when she is kidnapped by Count Von Krolock they set out to rescue her and kill the vampires.
This incredibly charming movie is directed by Roman Polanski who also stars in it. He surrounds himself with an excellent cast that delivers humour and warmth to the story and stunning scenery and sets filling the movie with atmosphere. So charming are the characters and the performances in the movie that you easily forgive the movie its occasional sillyness and though it certainly is a comedy it manages to balance beautifully on the line, where it doesn’t tip over to pure comedy, by adding enough suspense and drama. The chemistry between the professor and his assistent is great, leaving the impression of two people who have been through enough to not only know each others strenght and weaknesses but too also have accepted them. The fact that they, and especially Alfred, are not quite fearless, leading to some of the best working comedic acting in the movie. The chemistry between Polanski and Tate is sizzling, maybe due to the fact that the two fell in love during filming and later married. Tate looks absolutely stunning as the love interest of the clumsy and unsuccesfull vampire killer. This is not a fantastic film, but it is so darn charming that I absolutely love it and have watched it several times. If it is unknown to you, I highly recommend it.
Sharon Tate who plays Sarah later married director and co-star Roman Polanski. When she was pregnant with their first child, she and four of her friends were brutally murdered by some of Charles Manson’s followers on August 9, 1969.
Picture copyright: Warner Bros