Get ready to bite down on some classic cult films!
WARNING! NUDITY AND CULT EROTIC HORROR AHEAD!
Yes, I need to warn you that some of the images to follow include nudity – because this story is about a time when movie studios were desperate to keep up with the times, and if a horror film was going to connect with an audience, it had to look current even if it took place in the past!
Let’s go back to the 70’s – to an era in English movie history when some of the most famous movie studios were desperate to stay alive – so they found a way to take their classic horror films and turn them into something much more popular – by adding lots of blood and nudity!
Check Out “The Virgin Witch!”
Click here to see what I’m talking about!
Need more proof?
Yes, the 70’s were a time when all rules were thrown out the window as movie studios struggled to stay current…and this was how one iconic horror studio took timeless horror stories and sexed them up!
It’s Hammer Time!
Hammer films became legendary in the 50’s and 60’s by offering up vintage horror tales with Dracula, Frankenstein, and lots of medieval atmosphere!
However, by the 70’s, movie studios were amping up the sex and violence, and that meant taking a classic horror genre and spicing it up!
The Modern Era Of Horror!
Hammer was struggling to survive, as their retro horror films like “Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed!” were looking out of touch at a time when such modern, nihilistic horror films as “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Last House On The Left” were a new way to show horror…so the company came up with an plan to win their audience back….and it involved THIS:
And guess what? It worked! Let’s look at some of Hammer’s best erotic horror films from the 70’s – the golden age of naked horror!
Here is an example of a modern take on a classic tale!
Like all vintage Hammer horror, the plot is simple but effective: In medieval Europe aging Countess Elisabeth rules harshly with the help of lover Captain Dobi. Hammer scored big with sex kitten Ingrid Pitt, who was not only a great actress but a great beauty as well!
So an evil Countess – how to make it erotic? Easy! The Countess realizes that washing in the blood of young girls makes her young again!
“Washing In The Blood Of Young Girls” Indeed!
“Erotic horror” was Hammer’s attempt to stay relevant, and “Countess Dracula” and was a big hit that offered up lots of nudity and gore! All of this led to what many consider to be Hammer’s greatest achievement:
The Karnstein Trilogy!
The Karnstein Trilogy was based loosely on J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s early vampire novella Carmilla. These three films were a major step forward for Hammer – as they showed some of the most explicit scenes of lesbianism yet seen in mainstream English language films!
The Vampire Lovers (1970) – “Taste The Deadly Passion Of The Blood-Nymphs!”
First, check out this classic movie trailer!
Here’s the simple plot: The Countess is called away to tend a sick friend – so she asks her friend the General to let her daughter Marcilla stay as a house guest. Of course, soon villagers begin dying, and the General’s daughter Laura gets weak and pale – but Marcilla is there to comfort her. Like I said, Hammer went lesbian!
Of course the villagers rebel, more people die, and there is a lot of nudity and female-on-female vampire action, thanks to Marcilla…
Marcilla: You must die! Everybody must die!
Legendary Horror Actor Peter Cushing starred in the film as well, and got to hold some fun props:
Baron Joachim von Hartog: They were all evil and remain evil after death!
They sure are…and, in trying to be more contemporary, there were plenty of scenes that allowed the Actresses the chance to “work” together:
I love the posters of this era, including this one from overseas:
After the success of “The Vampire Lovers”, another film in the series quickly followed…
Lust for a Vampire (1971)
“Welcome To The Finishing School – Where They Really DO Finish You!”
How can you argue with THAT? Check out the trailer:
In 1830, forty years to the day since the last manifestation of their dreaded vampirism, the Karnstein heirs use the blood of an innocent to bring forth the evil that is the beautiful Mircalla – or as she was in 1710, Carmilla.
The nearby Finishing School offers rich pickings not only in in the blood of nubile young ladies but also with the headmaster who is desperate to become Mircalla’s disciple. Again, lots of beautiful women taking their clothes off for the sake of horror.
The film has a cult following, and its most famous scene shows Actress Yutte Stensgaard drenched in blood and partially covered by blood-soaked rags…a good look for a horror film…
Hammer films began to showcase much more flesh to go along with the blood, which was their only way to compete against the more modern films of the time…
As good as “The Vampire Lovers” and “Lust For A Vampire” were, the masterpiece of the three was the final film in the trilogy…and as you can see from the poster, they were selling it on explicitness!
Twins of Evil (1971) – AKA “Twins Of Dracula!”
“In Old Gothic Europe They Had Two Burning Passions: Witch Hunting and Devil Worship!”
They sure do, no matter which title you use – because they used them both! Let’s check it out:
“Twins of Evil” starred Peter Cushing, along with the real-life twins and former Playboy Playmates Mary and Madeleine Collinson. Yes, the twins had been in Playboy in October, 1970 – and Hammer saw a smart commercial idea when they saw one – put them in a horror movie and make them wear lots of lingerie!
It is the third film of The Karnstein Trilogy, based on the vampire tale Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu. The film has the least resemblance to the novel and adds a witch hunting theme to the vampire story.
Much of the interest of the film revolves around the contrasting evil and good natures of two beautiful sisters, Frieda and Maria Gellhorn. Of course, all of the publicity shots focused on the twins in all their sexy glory…
The plot allowed plenty of opportunity for the girls to undress – and of course, for one of them to be EVIL…
As you can see, the twins were front and center for nudity and bloodletting…
Ultimately, this type of film wound up at drive-ins, as part of a “sexy” double bill designed to draw in carloads of teenagers looking for a cheap thrill…
Ultimately, no matter how much Hammer tried to become “hip”, the classic look of the films, and their medieval setting, branded them as “square.” But these films are classic horror with a modern touch, so check them out!
Categories: 70's Films, Artsploitation, Books / Media, Camp Cult Classics, Classic Horror, Cult Classics, Exploitation Films, Grindhouse, Horror films, JRsploitation, Nudity, Sexploitation Films
Ah, the Golden Age of sexy horror, when Hammer pushed the boundaries. We got to see so many sexy girls on screen, and the story took second place. Halcyon days indeed. 🙂
Best wishes, Pete.
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