Thursday, October 29, 2009

Netflix It: The Velvet Vampire

Horror schlocksploitation!

Available on Netflix: The Velvet Vampire, directed by Stephanie Rothman

Synopsis/review from

They don't make 'em like this anymore.

See, there's this cat who's hanging out at this art gallery, and he meets this artist chick, who invites him and his old lady to her groovy hideaway in the desert. And this cat, he really digs this chick, so one night they make love, not war. But his old lady catches them, and seems she's got a hangup about free love, so she lays a heavy trip on him. Too bad he doesn't listen, 'cause it turns out this chick is a vampire...

Yes, The Velvet Vampire is a product of its time. A vampire film replete with hippie counterculture icons and attitudes. Lee (Michael Blodgett) feels little compunction about committing adultery with Diane (Celeste Yarnall), and when his wife Susan (Sherry Miles) finds out, he answers: "Okay, so we made love. So what's the big deal?" Director Stephanie Rothman (a Roger Corman protégée) herself seems to share Lee's attitude. Susan is miffed at Lee's infidelity, but quickly shrugs it off. At worst, she threatens to "get back" at him by taking a tumble with Diane herself.


The counterculture of the 1960s has not worn well with age. Cinema's 1940s noir anti-heroes remain influential and emulated, whereas onscreen hippies often appear silly, even unintentionally hilarious. Yet The Velvet Vampire overcomes its anachronistic milieu, and remains a beautifully haunting film, this despite a low budget and occasionally rough production values. Its erotic dream desert sequences, underscored with "dreamy" acoustic strings, evoke a psychedelic LSD trip.

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