“Do you know who it was, Mircalla? The portrait of Carmilla Karnstein — it was you!”
An author (Michael Johnson) visiting a finishing school becomes enchanted with Mircalla (Yutte Stensgaard), a resurrected vampire from the nearby Karnstein castle. Meanwhile, a sycophantic instructor (Ralph Bates) uncovers Mircalla’s secret identity and is determined to become her disciple, while a concerned gym teacher (Suzanna Leigh) worries about the mysterious disappearance of Mircalla’s beautiful roommate (Pippa Steele).
Following in the footsteps of Roy Ward Baker’s The Vampire Lovers (1970), Lust for a Vampire was the second of Hammer Studios’ three “Karnstein vampire flicks”, based on the novella by Sheridan Le Fanu. As many have noted, Danish beauty Yutte Stensgaard is sexy but lacks charisma, and her character pales in comparison to Ingrid Pitt’s more nuanced portrayal as Carmilla in The Vampire Lovers. Meanwhile, Bates — so compelling in the same year’s Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971) — simply comes across as silly, and the film’s obvious replacement for Christopher Lee (Mike Raven as Count Karnstein) merely lurks menacingly in the shadows. The entire film is essentially an extended excuse to show off nubile young women with heaving bosoms in various states of skimpy dress and undress. The most laughable moment by far: Johnson and Stensgaard get romantic (he cares not a whit about her inconvenient status as a vampire) while a ballad entitled “Strange Love” suddenly begins playing in the background.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Lush cinematography
No; this one is only must-see for vampire-flick completists. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.