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This review appears direct to the web courtesy of THE CINEMA LASER.


Image Entertainment Inc. should be embarrassed by the utterly deplorable edition of THE VAMPIRE LOVERS ($40) which they released. When Laserdisc companies still release titles that look this bad, is it any wonder why so many Laserdisc collectors refuse to pre-order titles. This Laserdisc is a total disservice to the Hammer film studios, and to the Laserdisc collectors who love these films. With the deluxe Elite Entertainment Hammer titles on the way, Image Entertainment should have know better than to release this piece of garbage. As a Hammer fan, I feel that this edition of THE VAMPIRE LOVERS should be recalled. The titles should then be re-mastered in its proper aspect ratio, and the film to tape transfer should be made from decent material. If Image Entertainment is unable to do a better job with THE VAMPIRE LOVERS, then the title should be turned over to Elite Entertainment who have shown that they can give horror films the kind of respect that they deserve.

So what’s wrong with the Image Entertainment edition of THE VAMPIRE LOVERS? First of all, the transfer looks like it is over ten years old. If this is a new transfer, the person responsible should never be allowed near video equipment again. The transfer is very dark and murky. There is no detail in the darkest sequences, and it is impossible to tell what is going on during these scenes. The colors are fair during a couple of the daylight sequences. Unfortunately, these few sequences are the exception, instead of the rule. At its best, the transfer is passable, but it lacks the depth and clarity that one comes to expect from a Laserdisc or a recent film to tape transfer. Another strike against this edition of THE VAMPIRE LOVERS is the source material. The film element appears damaged in a number of places. The reel changes are particularly bad, with white dots and scratches distracting one from the film proper. THE VAMPIRE LOVERS also appears to have a couple of bad cuts- indicating missing footage. Some of the more gruesome elements in THE VAMPIRE LOVERS appear to be missing from the American print, while the nudity appears in tact. This transfer isn’t Letterboxed, so the film lacks any sort of compositional balance. The transfer appears to be full frame, with very little information missing from the sides of the image, but far too much on the top and bottom. Full frame transfers tend to rob films of the style and atmosphere the director had hoped to achieve through composition- THE VAMPIRE LOVERS is no exception.

THE VAMPIRE LOVERS is the first chapter in Hammer’s lesbian/vampire trilogy, which also features LUST FOR A VAMPIRE and TWINS OF EVIL. The plot line was loosely derived from Sheridan LeFanu’s CARMILLA. The story centers around the Karnstein family of vampires, but on Mircalla Karnstein in particular. Mircalla has a predilection for young, beautiful women whom she seduces and then drains their blood. Under Roy Ward Baker’s direction THE VAMPIRE LOVERS has some nicely eerie sequences (which the awful transfer diminishes), as well as a bit of titillation. Ingrid Pitt is terrific as Mircalla. She is utterly beautiful, and utterly deadly in the role. Hammer film icon Peter Cushing plays a small, but pivotal role as the General who loses a niece to Mircalla’s deadly appetite. Ferdy Mayne, Douglas Wilmer, George Cole, Kate O’Mara, Dawn Addams and Pippa Steele fill out the cast of THE VAMPIRE LOVERS. In direct opposition to the terrible transfer, Image Entertainment has packaged THE VAMPIRE LOVERS in a respectable looking gatefold jacket which features a number of nice stills and liner notes. While the Laserdisc jacket is nice, it cannot hide the fact that this Laserdisc is a complete abomination.

Attention Hammer fans: This edition of THE VAMPIRE LOVERS is a complete insult to you, and to the legacy of the Hammer studios. If you would like to see THE VAMPIRE LOVERS issued properly please contact Image Entertainment Inc..


Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1996 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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