Slaughter of the Vampires

Slaughter of the Vampires 1964

Italian Dracula-imitation highlighted by good cinematography and camera composition. Hampered by a story that is basically Bram Stoker's Dracula recast as an Italian nobleman's family problem.

Director: Roberto Mauri

Slaughter of the Vampires - 1964

This low budget Italian horror film borrows heavily from Bram Stoker's Dracula: a vampire noble menaces the happiness of a newly wedded couple who live on a large estate featuring beautiful 18th century outfits, winding staircases, landscaped grounds and sumptuous interior art direction, all heavily draped in shadow with precise lighting.

What carries this film beyond the predictable story and acting is the well done, economical cinematography. Director Mauri (who also wrote the screenplay) often moves his camera around and generally executes some first-class storytelling despite the stodgy material.

While the conflict between the vampire and the victims is rote and any familiarity with the many previous Dracula films from Hollywood makes the outcome here entirely predictable, nonetheless the angles and motion of the camera is frequently interesting and inventive. None of this can salvage the mundane elements of the story, but Slaughter of the Vampires (Italian: La Strage dei Vampiro) tries to compete with the quality standards of something higher in calibre like a Hammer film, and visually speaking, often succeeds.

Cast: Walter Brandi, Graziella Granata, Luigi Batzella, Dieter Eppler

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