Blu-ray Review: LUST FOR A VAMPIRE

LUST FOR A VAMPIRE (aka Love for a Vampire and To Love a Vampire) was directed by Jimmy Sangster from a screenplay by Tudor Gates and stars Ralph Bates, Barbara Jefford, Suzanna Leigh, Michael Johnsonand Yutte Stensgaard.

In Lust for a Vampire, a mysterious man performs rites of black magic, bringing the notorious female vampire Carmilla Karnstein back to life. Looking to quench her bloodlust for the fairer sex, she enrolls at an exclusive girl’s school as the young debutante Mircalla (Yutte Stensgaard), and begins to feast on her fellow students as well as indulging in her unholy desires for a teacher. With the death toll mounting at both the school and the nearby village, can anyone stop Carmilla’s evil ways?

This 1971 Hammer Films horror-thriller (sequel to The Vampire Lovers) follows Richard Lestrange (Michael Johnson), an author who travels to an all-girls school where he becomes their new English teacher. There’s also Mircalla Herritzen (Yutte Stensgaard) who’s actually Carmilla Karnstein who gets resurrected from the dead by Count and Countess Karnstein at the beginning of the movie. This scene shows them performing a terrifying blood sacrifice that ultimately brings Carmilla back to life. What happens is, she enrolls at school so she can feed on the unsuspecting women there.

Richard ends up falling for Mircalla and it’s love at first sight but he’s warned by Janet Playfair (Suzanna Leigh), one of his collegues, that he should keep his distance from her. This collegue has fallen for Richard and he has fealings for her but he’s drawn to Mircalla. The death toll mounts at the school and the surrounding area and all is finally revealed. It all comes down to a showdown between the humans and this family of vampires. Richard tries to save the female vampire he’s fallen for and just when she shows an ounce of humanity towards him, she’s impaled as the Count and Countess watches from the background as their castle burns down.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork and movie credits so you have your choice of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Lust for a Vampire ended up being another first time watch for me and this one was more of an erotic thriller than a full-blown vampire creeper plus we get it all in its unrated glory. Sure, there are some vampires in the movie but there’s a lot more beautiful women in the nude than anything else. Well, there’s also the one sexy vampire played by Yutte Stensgaard. It definitely gets sexual, that’s for sure! As far as the story goes, I thought is was the weakest part of the movie because the cast did a great job with their characters. It just felt like something was missing here but the movie is entertaining. Maybe it needed a few more bloody kills and a little more gore? That’s it! Lust for a Vampire was the second entry in the “Karnstein Trilogy” that follows The Vampire Lovers (1970) with Twins of Evil (1971) concluding the trilogy. I do believe this one was also the weakest of the trilogy but it’s still a fun watch. Scream Factory did a really good job digging up and dusting off this Hammer cult classic because its presentation was impressive.Lust for a Vampire will make its Blu-ray debut in the U.S. on July 30th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 95 Minutes

Rated: Unrated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition (1.66:1) and (1.85:1) Color

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio Mono 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include some new audio commentary, a new interview, some vintage audio commentary, theatrical trailer, radio spots and image galleries.

  • NEW audio commentary by author/film historian Bruce Hallenbeck
  • NEW interview with actress Mel Churcher (03:35)
  • Audio Commentary by director Jimmy Sangster, star Suzanna Leigh and Hammer Films historian Marcus Hearn
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:41)
  • Radio Spots (01:33)
  • Still Gallery (09:49)
  • Poster and Lobby Card Gallery (04:57)
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