The Curator of Schlock #179: Lust for a Vampire

The Curator of Schlock #179 by Jeff Shuster

Lust for a Vampire

Don’t lust after a vampire, kids! 

So we’re continuing Hammer Month here at The Museum of Schlock. Tonight’s entry is a vampire picture called Lust for a Vampire from director Jimmy Sangster. If memory serves, lust is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. I was taught to avoid the Seven Deadly Sins because the Seven Deadly Sins will lead you to do stupid things. Like lusting after a vampire. Why is lusting after a vampire so stupid? Because vampires eat people!


We’ve got some truly evil vampires in this motion picture. They kidnap this barmaid in broad daylight. They then bring her to some ruined castle and start performing some kind of Satanic Mass. They slit the girl’s throat and pour her blood all over the desiccated remains of Carmilla Karnstein, a dead countess or something. Tendons and muscles form on the bones and before you know, there’s a beautiful, young, blonde woman sitting up the coffin.


Oh, and she has fangs because she’s a vampire. Looks like vampires can be resurrected with black magic by other vampires. Kind of puts the kibosh on the whole stake-through-the-heart solution.

Enter the movie’s hero, Richard LeStrange (Michael Johnson), writer of horror stories and heir to some title. While visiting the town of Styria, Austria, he happens upon a finishing school for young ladies. The prim and proper Miss Simpson (Helen Christie) runs the academy and she does not approve of the kinds of stories LeStrange writes, but she still allows him to lurk about the campus since he’s royalty. Let’s see. There’s also a creeper history teacher named Giles Barton (Ralph Bates) who always seems to linger around the girls while their doing their Roman jazzercise sessions. These sessions are lead by another teacher, Janet Playfair (Suzanna Leigh), who would be a potential love interest for LeStrange if not for the arrival of a new student, Mircalla Herritzen (Yutte Stensgaard). Yeah, she’s the vampire we saw get resurrected at the beginning of the film. 


Mircalla manages to capture the obsessive eyes of a few characters in this movie. First there’s an American student by the name of Susan Pelley (Pippa Steele), who has a passionate affair with Mircalla. You could say she lusts after a vampire. Mircalla sucks her blood and kills her. You know, there’s something I just don’t get about the vampires in these movies. Whenever they bite someone, they only drink a little bit of blood and just leave the rest of the body to rot in a field somewhere. That’s a lot of blood going to waste. Can’t they get someone to drain it for them, store the blood in some milk bottles somewhere?


Anyway, the creeper history teacher finds Susan’s body and dumps her in a well. Through research, he’s discovers that Mircalla is vampire. When Barton confronts Mircalla on this, he tells her that all he wants is to serve her. Mircalla bites Barton and leaves him behind to die while he screams her name. What a maroon? Didn’t anyone tell him that nerdlingers never get the girl, vampire or no vampire? Next up is the dashing LeStrange who manages to capture the heart of Mircalla. There’s even a cheesy song that accompanies their love scene. And the two of them live happily ever after. Not really.


There are more deaths. A castle is set on fire by a mob of angry villagers. Mircalla gets a stake through the heart. The end.


Jeffrey Shuster 1
Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

One response to “The Curator of Schlock #179: Lust for a Vampire”

  1. Back in the ancient mists of time, before the Intent and when September 11 was just one in a grab-bag of insignificant dates that were neither Cup Day or Christmas, e they had movies on TV after midnight. (Indeed, I seem to remember the Wheat Brothers’ “After Midnight” being on after midnight, but I digress…) No-one I knew had a VCR in those days, either, so I sat up to watch “To Love A Vampire” as it was called in the Southern hemisphere Spring of 1979 and, to my 17 year old self, Yutte Stensgaard was nothing short of staggering. I still think she is gorgeous beyond the power of prose to tell, but in the more eclectic appreciation of women, I’ve acquired since actually sleeping with some, I’d give mor than a casual handshake to Suzanna Leigh as well. But Miss Stensgaard is proof, if proof be needed, that the guiding force of the universe that hates my guts is at least nice enough to put such beauty on the Earth – twelve thousand miles away and six years in the past, but I’ve already established that its intentions may be good, but its timing is malevolent.

    And all these thoughts stem from the Bowdlerised version we got on TV. When I finally got the DVD, one of my first purchases if I recall correctly, she’s the exact sort of vampire you would lust after. Comparisons to Ingrid Pitt, for example, are just stupid. This movie, excepting the song, is miles ahead of ‘The Vampire Lovers’.

    There is something about Hammer’s ability to find absolutely gorgeous women for their movies that is unmatched in these times. Pretty women now aren’t willing to just carry a basket of food through the forest and get dragged into a coach. They all want to be Jennifer Lawrence or something. And if ms lawence were to pay Mircala in a remake of this, I would be more lusting for a vodka martini than the vampire.

    And it was sa to see how poor Mircala died. No vampire movie is bad where you can feel sorry for the vampire. When the vampire isn’t a whining bipolar Goth played by Brad Pitt you just want them to die.

    The moral lesson from this movie is that if you’re going to climb down a well after your ded daughter’s exsanguinated corpse, have someone up the top to prevent the rope from being cut. Also, an exsanguinated corpse and fng marks is a sure sign hat whoever it is died from “a heart attack”.

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The Drunken Odyssey is a forum to discuss all aspects of the writing process, in a variety of genres, in order to foster a greater community among writers.


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