Euro-Horror Project: The Vampire Happening

(Freddie Francis, 1971) When a Hollywood star inherits the family castle back in the Old Country, things get a little funny – the situation comedy kind of funny, with false eyelashes and teased hair. Sharon-Stonesque Pia Degermark glides through a dual role as the Hollywood siren and her undead grandmother, who creates confusion with her appetites and her endless collection of wigs. Enjoyable absurdities include a monk’s corpse on a bulldozer shovel, his subsequent funeral, and lots of topless go-go dancing in period kostüme. The film tries to imitate Polanski’s inimitable Fearless Vampire Killers in style and humor, but of course it can’t, despite some quiet, intelligent moments and the bumbling antics of Yvor Murillo, who plays a vampire-killing valet. Still, Happening is a happening enough sex comedy and will please the right viewers if they’re in the right mood. Others can simply admire the film’s metaphorical cheek when the lax morals of Hollywood invade European monasteries and boarding schools; meanwhile the real bloodsucker lands in L.A., already a star. — Ranylt Richildis

What’s the Euro-Horror Project?

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