Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Fearless Vampire Killers, or: Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are In My Neck

I think the name says it all, but in case you want more: In this horror/comedy by Roman Polanski, two vampire hunters travel to Transylvania and face off against a powerful vampire Count (not Dracula, though, some other guy).

I was conflicted during The Fearless Vampire Killers. On the one hand, it's silly, tongue-in-cheek story never much interested me, and the movie didn't make me laugh much (though some sight gags do work). On the other hand, I can't remember the last time I saw a horror movie this visually ornate. It's a real feast for the eyes, and rich with atmosphere.

I think the visuals win out. It achieves a sumptuous visual extravagance; crisp colors, beautiful landscapes, dazzling sets and costumes, complex camera movements. In that sense, it achieves what the Hammer Dracula films and the Roger Corman Poe adaptations always seemed to aim for, a faux classy, baroque production design with an element of spectacle.

It's only been two days since I watched this, and I can barely recount the story, but the style is burned into my mind. And I don't mean that as qualified praise, I think the movie is a real achievement and something I would highly recommend to those who, like me, kno how to appreciate garishness when done right.

Grade: B

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