A count and his young wife throw a lavish party for all their friends to celebrate the renovation of the medieval castle that is their brand new home. What the estate agent neglected to mention is that there’s a vampire sleeping in their wine cellar and he’s about to wake up.
Despite the title(s), this is an old school Dracula tale with a single, romantic bloodsucker threatening the luminous Graziella Granata while her real life husband Walter Brandi remains perfectly oblivious.
This is an impressively mounted Italian horror with atmospheric black and white photography, resolutely gothic architecture and an overblown soundtrack with appropriately thundering classical piano. Unfortunately, what this riff on Stoker doesn’t have is any ideas of its own. If the author was still around, he might have considered some kind of legal action. There’s little blood and proceedings remain stately and restrained throughout.
The real weakness here is Dieter Eppler’s vampire. It’s not the actor’s fault; although he does lack the necessary magnetism, his performance is derailed by some silly ‘white face’ makeup that makes him look ridiculous, rather than sinister. Story development is predictable and things never get all that exciting. What remains are the wonderful sets, the gothic trappings and the lovely Miss Granata, who exudes beauty and charisma.
The only aspect of the story that is any way memorable comes when it transpires that the gardener’s six year old daughter has the talent of a concert pianist. But that may have had something to do with the English dubbing!