KISS OF THE VAMPIRE
KISS OF EVIL
Kiss of the Vampire is an interesting effort. It has been aptly called a vampire version of Alfred Hitchcocks The Lady Vanishes (1938) a film that Hammer later directly remade in 1979. Producer Anthony Hinds sets up a fair and reasonable script, better than most of the later Dracula sequels. The focus is not so much the hardly interesting married couple but the two opposing figures of good and evil fighting on either side of the film Noel Willman who plays the vampire with glacial stolidity but alas lacks any real charismatic presence, and Clifford Evans who plays the vampire hunter with a brooding harshness. Kiss of the Vampire also comes filled with several other intriguing performances packed around the sides, most notably from Barry Warren as Ravnas very weird son and Barbara Steele-lookalike Isobel Black as the innkeepers vampirised daughter who one wishes had been given more screen time.
Don Sharps handling sometimes falters but he is aided considerably by the sumptuous production values of all early Hammer films, which buoy the film up, most notably during the beautifully staged masque sequence. [The masque scenes were later wittily parodied in Roman Polanskis The Fearless Vampire Killers/Dance of the Vampires (1967)]. There is an unusual climax featuring hordes of attacking vampire bats (a sequence that had originally been intended as the climax of The Brides of Dracula), which falters slightly through merely adequate effects.
Kiss of the Vampire was the genre debut of Australian-born Don Sharp who later became a regular director within the British horror industry making the likes of Witchcraft (1964), Curse of the Fly (1965), the first two of the Christopher Lee Fu Manchu series The Face of Fu Manchu (1965) and The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966), Hammers Rasputin The Mad Monk (1966), the period sf comedy Jules Vernes Rocket to the Moon/Those Fantastic Flying Fools/Blast Off (1967), the psycho-thriller Dark Places (1973), the undead biker film Psychomania (1973) and the lost world film Secrets of the Phantom Caverns/What Waits Below (1984).
Kiss of the Vampire exists in two different versions, the original cinematic and video release. Kiss of Evil is a cut version for tv, which adds additional scenes taken from Hammers The Evil of Frankenstein (1964).