Roman Polanski is one of my favorite directors, especially for his ghoulish and blood-soaked interpretation of Macbeth (1971). With this in mind, I picked up The Fearless Vampire Killers (1966) from the public library. I had heard of the film and knew it was somewhat comedic, somewhat creepy.
If you like Benny Hill, then you'd love The Fearless Vampire Killers. The movie is by far more slapstick than black comedy, but some moments are truly chilling. My favorite scene, one of the more frightening scenes I've seen in a film of its era, takes place around the 1:30 mark in this clip:
The professor and his apprentice are trapped in the castle, and by this point evening begins to fall. When Polanski (playing the young apprentice) says, "Good gracious....I'm...I'm frightened" I was too. The timing is well done, and the shot of the sarcophagi opening is delightfully wicked.
Vampires are best when they inspire terror, I think.
The last two minutes of the film are pretty dark, but overall it is a delightful romp. It was fun to see a younger, more innocent Polanski, one who was unmarred by the violent death of his wife, Sharon Tate, at the hands of the Manson family.
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