Vampire and the Ballerina, The / L'amante del vampiro (1960)

2.5 out of 5

Much of the charm of Renato Polselli's The Vampire and the Ballerina comes from watching Maria Luisa Rolando attempting to recite her lines while wearing a mouthful of impractically oversized vampire teeth. So, for anyone who wondered what it would be like to watch Ernesto Gastaldi's dialogue delivered with a mouthful of Mint Imperials, then it would probably look like this.

Then again, the limitations of any film that features a frugging, pneumatic ensemble of Italian beauties were always going to be fairly easy to forgive. So, rubbery, shock-eyebrowed, De Niro Emoji headed Elephant Man of a vampire? Sure! Convoluted plotting? Sure! Uneven pacing? Sure! Indeed, in the name of Gothy entertainment, viewers are treated to a lazy check-box exercise in gargoyles, coffins, dark castles, grandiose fireplaces, whistling wind and lightning. Yeah... the usual stuff.

But, but... but, look at those dancing girls! Here, Italy's chunkiest troupe of interchangeable ballerinas switch, effortlessly, from the classics to contemporary jazz while, at the same time, attempting to confuse viewers with a leotard-clad shell game of imponderable motivations.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics