FEAR ON FILM by Michael Bill
February 2003

"The Fearless Vampire Killers" (or "pardon me, but your teeth are in my neck")
In 1966 director, cowriter, and star Roman Polanski put together a fantastic vampire film that is creepy and hilarious at the same time. Being his fourth feature film, he captures the essence of vampire film lore in a very oddball, comedic sense, argumentatively pioneering what would become a very popular theme in years to come: paying homage to previous vampire films by poking a bit of fun at them.

Which is not to say the film is merely a spoof comedy. It does have its share of horror, but the scares come sandwiched between the borderline slapstick humor that makes fun of its predecessors.

The story is very good, yet simple. Professor Abronsius (Jack MacGowran) is extremely serious about killing vampires. His assistant Alfred (Roman Polanski) is not as daring, and their relationship is the main source of comedy. As they travel through snowy Transylvania (which is a nice touch, as it is probably the first vampire film with snow), they stop at an inn for the night. They soon discover two things: the Professor finds evidence of those nasty undead, and Alfred discovers the mammalian protuberances (I call them tits) of his real-life ho, Sharon Tate. And what a pair of tits she has (or had, thanks to Chucky Manson).

Anyway, the pair (The Professor and Alfred, not the tits) spend the night at the inn and sure as shit, the "head-vampire-who-is-not-Dracula" guy shows up and whisks away Ms. Tate and her rack attack to his (of course) castle on the mountain.

So our heroes make it in Abbott and Costello fashion to the castle for the big rescue, and maybe while they're at it, pop a few ol' wooden stake caps in some vampire asses. From there, they meet the main vampire guy and play dumb like they don't have a clue about who he is, while they formulate "the plan" to save little Ms. Tate and her marvelous jugs. Of course they end up being captured, figure out a plan to kill the main vampire man and save the girl at the end (well, sort of. I don't want to spoil anything for you).

Now sounds like a pretty run of the mill vampire film, huh? Have you ever seen a Polanski film?

If so, you're probably sitting there going "This guy is obviously leaving out some shit." If not, you're probably sitting there going "This guy is obvioiusly shit."

Either way, I must warn you about the head vampire guy's gay vampire son and his hard-on for Alfred. Oh, and the mongoloid that looks like Al Roker. And then there is the big vampire ball where the professor and Alfred dress up all gay-looking, trying to escape while dancing in front of a mirror so that all the vampires can see that they aren't vampires after all. Then there is the professor getting his ass stuck in a window.

This film is currently available on VHS with no immediate plans to release it on DVD at this time, which sucks. Get it? Sucks? Oh, never mind.

Overall, I give this film 4 out of 5 heads on a stake. Although I don't usually like comedy mixed with horror, Polanski bundles it together nicely in this one. The film also captures the creepy mood that a Hammer film or Corman film is known for, while making light of it at the same time. Also, did I mention Sharon Tate's tits?

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