Being an avid horror fan for as long as I can remember, I wish I could say that I’ve watched every film ever released in the genre. Sadly this is not the case and realistically, it never will be. Because of this, there are remakes that I get a chance to watch before ever seeing the original production they are based off of. This happens to be the exact case with Victor Matellano’s newest film, Vampyres, a faithful re-imagining (so I’m told) of the 1974 Joseph Larraz film of the same name.
A trio of young campers searching for inspiration in their various artistic endeavors happen to set up their place of rest near an old, seemingly abandoned, house that is actually inhabited by a couple of ancient vampire lovers and their various captives.
I admittedly cannot compare Vampyres to the original ’74 version, so I can only critique what I know of this film in particular, as true to the source material as it may or may not be. An English-speaking film set in England, produced entirely in Spain, Vampyres consists of a mostly foreign cast, as made evident by most of the performers’ accents. But Frank, couldn’t the actors be American, using foreign accents? Well, they could be, but judging by the level of talent displayed on-screen, I’m going to say this was not the case. There were a good amount of characters present in this film, but regrettably none of the performers’ acting chops matched the lady lover’s fierceness or sex appeal. I wasn’t impressed by any of our stars, shockingly including Miss Caroline Munro (Maniac, Slaughter High), herself.
While the performances were unbearable at times, there are quite a few good things to be said about Matellano’s film. Most notably, how great the film looked. The production value of the film is top-notch, which is always a welcome trait for an independent horror film. Couple that with the beautiful cinematography of Daniel Salas Alberola and add into the mix the master skills of long-time special effects artist, Colin Arthur, and Vampyres is aesthetically one impressive little film.
I absolutely loved the gore spots throughout the film’s 82 minute runtime; The slit throats, impaled skulls, and gushing blood all looked frighteningly authentic, aiding in momentarily distracting me from the lousy acting and sucking me right back into the tale unfolding before me. Vampyres is as raw a vampire film has ever been, sometimes unapologetically so. With tons of nudity from the bodacious lesbian vamps and more blood than you can dream of, all of you depraved gore-hounds will be beyond pleased with this one!
Vampyres may have its setbacks, but what film doesn’t these days? It features a story of classic vampire mythology mixed with a few noticeable slasher tropes — a group of young, unsuspecting campers, a formula made famous by Friday the 13th and a countless number of other slashers from the golden years of horror — making for a pretty enjoyable modern-day vampire tale. Whether you’ve seen the original or not, give Vampyres a shot and let me know what you think in the comments below.
You can pick up a copy of Vampyres on DVD, available now from Artsploitation Films.
I give this one 2.5 basement bear traps out of 5.