– By Dave Dubrow
Victor Matellano’s 2016 film Vampyres is a remake/reboot of a 1974 film, also titled Vampyres, about two lesbian vampires (natch) who kidnap, torment, and drink the blood of anyone, man or woman, who happens to venture near their home in the woods. There’s nothing deep, thoughtful, or complex about Matellano’s film, nor is there intended to be: it’s a B-movie through and through, and if you watch it with that in mind you’ll find a lot to like.
Aside from the intimate writhing between Fran and Miriam, the titular vampy(i)res, the performances are uniformly terrible. Harriet, the heroine, is neither brave nor plucky, and is about as dumb as the peeling wallpaper in the vampires’ ancient house. The male characters are likewise mentally deficient, and Matellano doesn’t seem to have been able to wring a single instant of authenticity out of any of their portrayals. Just say the damned lines so we can get back to the T & A.
Oh, you won’t be disappointed by the T & A in either frequency or quality. Marta Flich as Fran is every inch an alluring seductress, and her lover Miriam, played by Almudena León, exceeds her in malice even as she equals her in pulchritude. This is an exploitation film, after all. You want kissing and sex and blood? You’ve got it in spades.
When it comes to blood there’s enough here to slake the thirst of any but the most famished vampire. Throats are slit, faces are bitten, and arms are gashed aplenty. There’s a bathtub scene that’s both inspired and disgusting, and the body count is, predictably, quite high. No one is safe, not even the nice old couple who’s touring the house with a real estate agent.
As long as you calibrate your expectations accordingly, Matellano’s Vampyres is fun to watch. The unintentional humor works well within the film’s exploitative context, and if you have to roll your eyes a little, who cares? Bring on the sequel.
– By Dave Dubrow