A bumbling professor and his equally talented apprentice try to rid a town of vampires.
Directed by – Roman Polanski
Written by – Gerard Brach, Roman Polanski
Starring – Jack MacGowran, Roman Polanski, Alfie Bass, Jessie Robins, Sharon Tate, Ferdy Mayne, Iain Quarrier, Terry Downes, Fiona Lewis
Here is the perfect example of why I never watch those movies that everyone says you need to see. I’ve heard countless good things about this movie so I was quite excited to watch it. Honestly, I’ve never been more bored in my life. I didn’t find it the least bit funny and probably only chuckled to myself about twice. The movie had only two good things going for it. One was the incredible look of the movie. The castles, houses and costumes were incredible and some of the shots of the countryside were gorgeous. The only other great thing about the movie was Sharon Tate. She is absolutely stunning here. What a beautiful woman. Every time she was onscreen I didn’t care what else was happening, which was a good thing because everything else about the movie was awful.
I’m sure this one has its fans out there but you won’t find me among them. Normally even a bad comedy has a few good laughs in it but I didn’t find any here. There’s also a general lack of dialogue or soundtrack through a lot of the movie. If nobody is talking then all your jokes are going to have to be sight gags but the best they could work up here is someone dropping a bag on their foot or getting dragged behind a sled. I don’t quite understand the soundtrack either. There are moments where there’s some great background music but other times there is nothing, typically when something comical is happening. I don’t know why but when someone is doing something stupid I kind of expect there to be some sort of music to it.
The professor and his assistant start in the small village by a castle when Count von Krolock, the head vampire, swoops in and kidnaps the inn-keepers daughter Sarah (Sharon Tate). The assistant Alfred (Polanski) had instantly fallen in love with Sarah and seems determined to save her. Professor Abronius (Jack MacGowran) is only concerned with stopping the Count and then they can worry about Sarah. The film starts to pick up a bit towards the end when the professor and his assistant reach the vampires castle and try to kill him before he wakes up. There’s a ball planned for midnight and when they screw up their one chance to kill the Count von Krolock, they wind up trapped in his castle as a graveyard full of vampires awaken for their party. The reason for the party? All those vampires will be feasting on Sarah along with Alfred and the professor as dessert.
Once the ball starts things really get rolling. The castle and the costumes of its inhabitants are spectacular to look at but that isn’t enough to save the movie. Nothing sucks more (no pun intended) than a comedy that isn’t funny. Except for a zombie movie without any zombies I guess. The movie ends on a great note though and was probably the best part of the movie. Too bad it was the last minute of it.
I’m really disappointed by this one. I was expecting so much more but I should have known what would happen. I always seem to be let down by films that many others consider classics. If this had been anything other than a comedy I would probably recommend it. The ending is pretty bleak and the design of the film is great. How can I recommend a comedy that didn’t even make me laugh a little though? At least I got to watch Sharon Tate for about an hour of the film. That was much better than anything else in the movie.
Under the marquee – Will