a.k.a. Vampyre Orgy, Daughters of Dracula
***/**** Image B+ Sound B+ Extras B+
starring Marianne Morris, Anulka, Murray Brown, Brian Deacon
screenplay by Diane Daubeney
directed by José Ramón Larraz
by Bryant Frazer SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. One of the hallmarks of Eurohorror is brightly-lit sex scenes. Rather than reveal nudity in chiaroscuro, or in the kind of colour-gelled Hollywood glow meant to suggest candlelight or moonlight, cinematographers working in this mode step right up and wash light over their actresses to ensure that no detail is lost in shadow. This tableau looks a little strange from a contemporary vantage--off the top of my head, I don't think anybody but Paul Verhoeven and maybe the mumblecore crew shoots sex scenes so plainly these days--but it's a stylistic disconnect and a marker of a sense of time and place that makes these films a conduit for nostalgia among cinephiles of a certain age. José Ramón Larraz, a Barcelona-born director working in England, doesn't let Vampyres out of the gate before staging a bedroom scene involving two young, completely naked women. The sleepy brunette Fran (Marianne Morris) and the pale blonde Miriam (Anulka, a former PLAYBOY centrefold) are rolling around in bed before a killer in a top hat arrives in silhouette and fills their nubile bodies with bullets. (Were the title not Vampyres, you'd be forgiven for assuming the film had just announced itself as a giallo.) With that violent flourish, the opening credits begin.