Review: Faithful Remake ‘Vampyres’ is Exquisite and Bloody
By: J. Carlos Menjivar
Remakes of classic films– especially cult classics– can be tricky sometimes, with a filmmaker’s approach holding the potential to tear opinion straight down the middle. For starters, how do you go about remaking a film? Do you opt for a re-imagining or update and hone in on the zeitgeist of the modern era, so as to correct social perspectives or outdated ideas or modes of thinking? Or do you merely take the essence of the original material and bring it over to a more palpable contemporary setting and change very little? Victor Matellano’s Vampyres takes the latter path in his faithful remake, and love letter to 70s Spanish horror, of the 1974 cult classic of the same name.
If you’ve seen Vampyres (1974), then you know the story of lesbian vampires luring men into their cottage in the woods, tempting unsuspecting men with (very) vintage wine and their voluptuous bodies. Fans of American Horror Story: Hotel, know exactly what I’m talking about. More or less, Vampyres (2016) takes much of the original story and sets the whole thing in modern day, while keeping certain elements almost completely intact.
Albeit a modern take on the cult film, Vampyres maintains a Gothic setting taking place beyond the woods in an old cottage style home. Much of the plot remains the same, with two female vampires imprisoning an older gentleman within the confines of their basement, and the group of friends that come upon the home and their bloody secret. The difference in the latter being that it is a couple that comes upon the vampires in the original film, instead of a trio of friends.
Vampyres is a faithful adaptation that doesn’t stray too far from its original source material. The update does, however, feature more eroticism than its predecessor, and that’s saying a lot, considering the high eroticism of the original. This one ups the ante when it comes to both nudity and blood and there’s plenty of both, especially blood, with some interesting torture and death scenes, something the original doesn’t partake too much in (despite being bloody in its own way). Some of the sequences, recalled films in the vain of Mark of the Devil, the classic 70s Udo Kier film about witchcraft and persecution.
Furthermore, as most modern updates do, this one incorporates, conservatively, special effects that really give a sense of these women and their physical abilities. The original doesn’t tread beyond the mental prowess they posses over men, but here, the vampires are a real force to be reckon with and are both mentally and physically attuned to take hold of anyone.
Vampyres is a film for both fans of the original and newer audiences unfamiliar with its predecessor. This one offers plenty to devour and something for new viewers to, hopefully, gravitate towards the original (which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime). To say the least, Vampyres, is an excitingly titillating adaptation that really captures the 70s lesbian vampire film vibe with an exquisite modern twist.
Vampyres is out now on DVD and VOD. You can purchase the DVD on Amazon, Turner Classic Movies, and DVD Planet. You can also catch the film on VOD on both Amazon Instant Video and Vimeo.
Keep the Fear Alive!