aka: Evil’s Commandment, Lust of the Vampire, Lady Vampire, The Devil’s Commandment, The Vampires
Director: Riccardo Freda
Starring: Gianna Maria Canale, Carlo D’Angelo, Dario Michaelis, Wandisa Guida, Angelo Galassi
Beautiful Parisian girls were his victims!
A woman is fished out of the river Seine in Paris. Her body is totally drained of all blood and this is not the first time this has happened lately in the usually quiet town. Pierre Lantin is a local reporter who is trying to figure this case out, to much dismay of inspector Chantal who believe the media is only hurting their own investigation by causing terror in the city by even nicknaming the killer “The Vampire”. Who will find “The Vampire” first and how many more innocent lives will be lost before they find who is responsible for terrorizing the city?
I Vampiri is known as the first modern horror movie from Italy. It’s also the movie where Mario Bava gets to do some directing after Riccardo Freda left the set two days before the movie was finished. There’s been a lot of talk amongst Bavafans on what scenes he did and what Freda did. Some of the scenes here are very gothic and beautiful shot, but I’d like to give both the credit since it is a team effort with Bava originally as “only” the cinematographer.
The production was very rushed and it shows. The movie is very uneven, the acting is wooden and there’s not a lot going on in most of the film. It also doesn’t feature any traditional vampires, so fans of fangs will not be happy if they watch this expecting an italian Dracula. The highlights however is an amazing age transformation scene and the gothic castle they filmed a lot of scenes in. Since a lot of the film resolves around finding the killer, I guess you can also say that it might have been a little influential in the upcoming giallo movies, although perhaps that is a little stretch that is mostly thought of considering Bava’s involvement here.
I Vampiri is worth seeing for its historical aspect of being the first modern italian horror movie and also for showing the starting grounds for Mario Bava. It’s not a great movie and honestly gets a little boring at times, but enjoy the few great scenes in it cause the few ones who are memorable are very good.