The Playgirls and the Vampire (1960)

The Playgirls and the Vampire (1960) movie poster

director Piero Regnoli
viewed: 01/23/2016

The “playgirls” of The Playgirls and the Vampire are a “feckless troupe of European exotic dancers” (thank you, Wikipedia) who are driven to a weird castle during a thunderstorm that strands them in the ancient countryside.  The castle is the home of a Count Gabor Kernassy (you know if he’s a Count then he’s also a vampire!)  One of the gals, Vera (Lyla Rocco), is strangely drawn to the Count and resembles a long-lost relative in paintings that decorate the castle.

This is the 2nd film I’ve seen of late that is a European horror film-cum-light sexploitation, brought to the states and re-dubbed in “American”.  The other film I’m thinking of is Horrors of Spider Island (1960) which also featured a troupe of dancers who liked to dress scantily.  I have the sense that The Vampire and the Ballerina (1960) might also fall into this odd categorization.  Others, too?

The Americanization of the characters is particularly odd.  Alfredo Rizzo who plays Lucas, the girl’s manager, really reads as American with his porkpie(?) hat and shtick.  I can imagine if I’d seen this as a kid, it would have been really confusing to comprehend as a cultural artifact.

In contrast with Horrors of Spider Island, this film seems bent a little more toward the horror story with its foot a little less fully extended into the sexploitation (mild as it is) arena.

Mostly, it’s pretty weak stuff, though there are segments of Expressionistic shadows and stuff (though they are more mere moments.)  Still, it’s an odd little micro-genre sample perhaps, that Euro-horror-cum-sexploitation-lite-redubbed-American micro-genre.  You can see why no one asks me to name such things.

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