The Vampire Lovers (1970): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

A replacement disc program is currently available for this disc. FOLLOW THIS LINK to request one. The cut of the film featured on the first pressing has an alternate edit of the iconic moment of Ingrid Pitt rising from the bathtub.

Filmmakers, writers, and artists alike have always been enamored with the legend of the vampire Carmilla. She’s a mystifying vampire and seductress who bewitches literally every woman she comes across, and “The Vampire Lovers” sets her front and center. While Ingrid Pitt as Carmillla is arguably the central character, she’s hardly what you would define as a heroine. She exists to feast on men and indulge in other women.

Pitt stars as the buxom and desirable Mircalla (or Carmilla) a young countess who stays over the house of the local lord. Taking a liking to his young daughter Emma, the pair becomes quick friends and eventually lovers. She, the vampiric predator masquerades as damsels and maidens thanks to her handler. Left at the manors of her hosts for weekends, she insinuates herself in to the family, and eventually seduces the innocent taut daughters of the owners of the house, engaging in affairs, eventually transforming them in to her own vampiric, love obsessed minions.

While much of “The Vampire Lovers” is virtually left to suggestion, the symbolism and overt commentary is by no means subtle. In fact, Peter Cushing, who has a small supporting role as a grieving lord who lost his daughter to Mircalla’s deadly sex games, forms a band of grieving fathers hoping to find Mircalla and put an end to her reign before she murders Emma. Wielding their phallic stakes and puritanical mission statements, they seek to keep Mircalla from making more vampires… or… you know, “converting” (grooming…?) more women. Star Ingrid Pitt is the primary reason to watch what is, despite its flaws, a very erotic, engaging vampire romance. Pitt is absolutely supernatural in her portrayal of Carmilla, and director Roy Ward Baker is great at knowing when reveal, and when to withdraw for his audience.

The Collector’s Edition comes with a reversible cover featuring the original poster artwork from the Hammer Films’ release. Along with the plethora of special features (some new and carried over from the previous release in 2013), there are a trio of Audio Commentaries. There’s one with Film Historian/Author Dr. Steve Haberman And Film Historian/Filmmaker Constantine Nasr, one with Director Roy Ward Baker, Actress Ingrid Pitt, And Screenwriter Tudor Gates, and another with Film Historians Marcus Hearn And Jonathan Rigby.

There’s the audio essay “The Rapture of Cruelty: Carmilla in Classic Cinema,” and the nineteen minutes “Carnal Crimson: Kim Newman on the Carmilla Legend” with the critic/historian going over where the impact of Carmilla as a novel, Hammer’s utilization of it for its Karnstein trilogy and how Ingrid Pitt is the definitive cinematic portrayal of the titular character. “Fangs for the Memories: Remembering The Vampire Lovers” is a twenty four minutes a detailed account of the film’s production with Film critic/historian Jeff Rigby. It includes stills.

“There’s To Love A Vampire: An Introduction By Madeline Smith” is a fifteen minute extra interview with Madeline Smith, who reflects on the film and how she’s always found herself championing it as her finest work. There’s the twenty minutes interview “Madeline Smith: Vampire Lover,” the HD “Trailers From Hell: The Vampire Lovers,” the ten minutes “Feminine Fantastique: Resurrecting The Vampire Lovers,” the twenty six minutes “New Blood: Hammer Enters the ’70s,” bells and whistles including the original trailer, a radio spot, an HD image gallery, and a deleted Scene. Finally, there’s “Reading of Carmilla by Ingrid Pitt” which clocks in at twelve minutes.