Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Playgirls and the Vampire, Raw Naked Terror

"Raw Naked Terror" is the perfect tagline for 1960's "The Playgirls and the Vampire" (especially the Naked part).  From Italy, director Piero Regnoli cast five very shapely actresses to play damsels in uber distress.  Much of the film has these vixens clad in see through negligees, or just plain nude. However much danger our lovelies find themselves in, they always find time to rehearse seductive dance numbers or meticulously put on, or take off 1960s type European undergarments.  In addition to all of the aforementioned frolic, we have a neat Gothic vampire tale set in a cool old castle, with a few well placed twists at the end.
A bus carrying five sexy showgirls, their manager (Alfredo Rizzo), and bus drive (Leonardo Batta) is stranded outside an old castle after a flood.  After hesitating, Count Gabor (Walter Brandi) invites the crew to stay at the castle.  Gabor initially attempts to send them away, but after casting his eyes upon the voluptuous Vera (Lyla Rocco) he changes his mind.  However, a warning ensues..."don't leave your rooms at night."  Before turning in, our girls don some see through attire and rub their legs a lot, and then Katia (Maria Giovannini) decides to explore.  Being beautiful means not having to obey the rules, but it also means drawing the prurient inteersts of centuries old vampires.  Hence the fate of Katia, first killed.  We soon find out that Katia's death, though temporary, was a case of mistaken identity, as Vera was the intended target of the fangs. Later in the plot, Katia will return as an undead, naked, and jealous bloodsucker.
Gabor warns Vera of a centuries old curse on his family and ancestors and implores her to depart. Vera feels a strange sense of belonging to the castle, and a love for Gabor.  Of course Vera just happens to be a spitting image of one of Gabor's ancestors who died centuries ago.  Reincarnated? Now Vera is stalked by the undead bloodsucker.  With Katia now a bride of the vampire, her desire to share her fang-man with Vera is non-existent.  Now Katia is also on the prowl to protect her turf. Clad in a very see through little thing, and a leather coat (which falls off quickly), Vera is running through the castle screaming a lot in much peril.  Will Gabor protect her....or does he seek her jugular vein?
However playful this flick is, it is also stylish and suspenseful.  The eroticism missing from American horror in this era, is piled high in Italian horror.  The hard to find DVD is now available on Amazon. Though some of the vampire effects may be slightly cheesy, the seductiveness of the damsels is first-class.  

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