So once again we have survived.

Hammer’s Karnstein trilogy

Well the votes are in. We got like 11 or so experts on the films of Badass Cinema rating over 300 quality Badass pictures. We got these points all added up and averaged and what not to determine their true Badass quality levels. The mathematicals are all calculated and tabulated something fierce. And what better way to celebrate the 50th VERN TELL’S IT LIKE IT IS column than with the long awaited list of the 100 Most Badass Movies of All Fucking Time?

Only thing is boys I gotta mold them all into a presentable type format. Only then will they be available to the public, or anyone else not including me. Doesn’t matter if this is a round number or not.

Now like I said before, or maybe some of you noticed this independently, but Halloween is coming up. October 30 or 31st or so I believe. And to me, as a Writer on the films of Cinema, I feel this is a good time to start watching the horror pictures. Last year – and yes, I was out of prison and Writing for the computers last year, can you believe it? – I reviewed the Halloween movie series starring Michael Meyers. But you know what, maybe that was a little obvious. A little on the nose. So this year I’m just going for the horrors in general. The wolfmans. The frankensteins. The blood and guts and etc. and most of all, of course, the lesbian vampires.

Seriously people there are a whole fuckin lot of lesbian vampire pictures here. And I’m not 100% positively sure but I THINK it’s mostly the straight men that jack off to these things. It is probaly not considered a genuine work of gay Cinema, in my opinion. It is more about men’s fear of women’s sexuality, a theme in vampire fiction and myth before even Brad Stoker’s Dracula came out in hardcover.

Now in most vamp stories, from Stoker’s melodramatic maidens to the titty bar vamps of From Dusk Till Dawn, vampire gals are real hot lookin. And maybe… MAYBE… that is why us men like them. On account of the tits and what not. In my opinion. There is also the fear factor – what if she bites me, though? I think she’s plannin on it. This appeals to alot of dudes in the same way as a spanking or getting a blowjob on the freeway or getting hot wax poured on their chest by Madonna in that one movie where she kills people by fuckin em. These guys like the danger, the pleasure and the pain. Yeah, try a catheter up your dick, asshole. Real sexy.

The Vampire LoversAnyway, who better to combine good looking gals with big tits and the horror of the vampire picture than the wonderful Hammer Studios over there in Britain. This is exactly what they did in their Karnstein trilogy, based on the book Carmilla which predates Dracula. I mean, fuck Dracula. This and John Polidori’s The Vampyre and Thomas Presket Prest’s Varney the Vampyre were all first. Just cause I watched over a dozen Dracula pictures once in a week of introspection and personal discovery doesn’t mean the dude is anything special.

The trilogy begins in excellent style with The Vampire Lovers which has recently been re-issued in a beautifully restored, uncut version with extra copulation and decapitation. The kinds of thing audiences want in these more media savvy 2000s. Sorry, VHS only because apparently these MGM motherfuckers haven’t heard of the letters DVD.

Anyway this is the story of a female vampire who gets her kicks by riding a carriage into town and feigning a family emergency so that rich folks will look over her young “niece” Carmilla. Carmilla will stay in big mansions as a beloved member of the family, next thing you know she’s rolling around in bed with their naive daughter, lickin some nipple and then climbing out the window to bite motherfuckers in the moonlight, etc.

Hammer great Peter Cushing plays a general in the beginning and ending of the picture who encounters the girl but until later doesn’t know she’s the one doing all this biting. Then he finds out about her staying with 2 different families as 2 different nieces and goes, waaaaaait a minute. He figures out what’s what and goes Van Helsing on her ass.

Despite its literary basis this picture has the more original-creation type feel of Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter than the based on a book feel of Draccy and Frankenstein. But then maybe that’s because nobody has ever read the book Carmilla I mean do they even make it anymore, who knows. Anyway there is some great vampire mythology that you don’t get in the Dracula pictures. My favorite is how a vampire must sleep in the veil in which it was buried. So vampire hunters like to steal them. Hammer didn’t follow this concept in the rest of the trilogy but in this one it makes for some eerily beautiful imagery when vampire gals are floating around misty graveyards covered in shimmery white silk. And who doesn’t love that sort of eerily beautiful shit?

Lust for a VampireThis movie has the strong classic horror atmosphere you expect from Hammer and throws in the sexiness and gore free of charged. Jsut an extra bonus, not tge reason d’whatever of the piece like in most lesbian vampire Cinema.

Next in the series unfortunately is Lust For a Vampire which was going to be directed by Terence Fisher (Curse of Frankenstein) but he got in a car accident a week before and was replaced. That pretty much explains the movie which is surprisingly shoddy for Hammer and a little softcore porny. The screenplay is by Tudor Gates though who wrote the whole series so I don’t know why he decided to make it about a horny Writer who schemes his way into being a teacher at an all girl school so he can hit on little girls. Now I know to us, the audience, they all look like what they are – hot, voluptuous Hammer girls in their mid to late twenties wearing corsets. But in the universe of the movie they are supposed to be underage girls. So you, my friend, are a perv.

The perv of course falls in love with the resurrected Carmilla, now called Mircarla and played by a different, even hotter European gal called Utee something. I forget what else happens and I saw the fucking thing two days ago. The editing is choppy and the lighting isn’t as moody as most Hammer movies and it seems cheap because alot of the night scenes are obviously filmed in the day and there’s this stupid vampire who’s obviously supposed to look like Christopher Lee but he’s not Christopher Lee and more importantly he’s no Christopher Lee. The one positive thing is for those of us who like boobs, there are alot of them. I guess Hammer had to put them in there as part of an out of court settlement for a class action lawsuit against them for making such a sucky sequel to one of their best pictures.

Twins of EvilThe trilogy gets back on track though at the last minute because Twins of Evil is probaly the best of the series. The twins are played by real twin Playboy models who are surprisingly passable actors and dissappointingly clothed at least in the cut video version. Weird thing is, they look kind of like grown up Hayley Millses. So you can imagine if the girls from The Parent Trap grew up to be buxom 17th century rich kids flirting with the notorious Count Karnstein, this is what they’d be like.

There are some opportunities missed in the film. In the scene where one twin gets bit and the other, somewhere else, feels the pain, you wonder if there’s gonna be some tricky twin business going on here. Will she become a vampire? A half vampire? An anti-vampire, like a holy opposite to her lookalike sister? This isn’t really followed up on. But the series is back to the smooth direction and lush production value it started with, and back to the interesting takes on archetypical type material Hammer is known for.

The smartest angle Twins of Evil takes is to set up good guys and bad guys that are both bad. On the vampire side you got a decadent aristocratic Karnstein who likes to kidnap young girls and watch his servants do satanic rituals with them. You know, hoods, chicken blood, naked chicks, etc. The kind of corny sex and demons baloney that was in vogue for about 2 weeks in the 70s.

But on the side of “good” you got a returning Peter Cushing playing a fanatic witch hunter with a stick up his ass 7 times as big as the ass itself. You would think that would be physically impossible, wouldn’t you, but you’ll know what I mean when you see it. This guy is like the bitterest Jerry Falwell motherfucker you ever saw. The guy that believes anything that has to do with kissing or licking or rubbing or sticking is a sin, and is about to explode just thinking about it. He can’t stop thinking about other people fucking and how wrong it is. I should probaly mention that the tiwns are staying with Peter, because their parents died months ago. ANd he about has a coronary when he sees they’re not wearing black.

The twins just laugh it off and fortunately they don’t have to deal with him too much, cause he’s never home, always out with his buddies tracking down single women believed to be sexually active and burning them alive in case they are a witch.

So you side with satanists.

Well I don’t know if you know this but Hammer Studios is opening its doors again. They are starting by merchandising the old characters and then they’re going to slowly start producing movies again. I don’t think anybody knows for sure what type of movies they’re going to do. Maybe remakes of the old stuff it sounds like.

Well this is probaly a long shot but I hope they can go back to the type of feel they had in the old days, a niche that really isn’t be filled right now. Sure you got your teen slasher movies and your Blair Witch Project and your respectable big budget supernatural thrillers and your computery 2000 remakes of old b-movies and what not but one thing you definitely don’t got is the foggy graveyards and girls in corsets and what nots. And if you do they find a way to make it real long and boring and pretentious and what not instead of fun.

Until then, you got Vampire Lovers for some good sexy Halloween fun and hopefully MGM will reissue Twins of Evil if not Lust For a Vampire.

thanks people,

Vern

P.S. This column should do it for the straight guys and lesbians. If anyone knows how I can get the gay dudes and straight gals reading again let me know. Within reason though people I can’t put up naked photos of Russell Crow or anything like that gimme a fuckin break. thanks.

Vern again

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, October 2nd, 2000 at 2:50 pm and is filed under Horror, Reviews, Vern Tells It Like It Is. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Hammer’s Karnstein trilogy”

  1. “The kind of corny sex and demons baloney that was in vogue for about 2 weeks in the 70s.”

    Even in Hong Kong, in Super Inframan the professor dude’s daughter is reading a Dennis Wheatley book.

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