Directed By: Stephanie Rothman
Starring: Michael Blodgett, Sherry E. DeBoer, Celeste Yarnall
Tag line: "They desired her body... She craved their blood"
Trivia: The sequence at the bus station was shot in Downtown Los Angeles without permits
Well, I’ll say this for 1971’s The Velvet Vampire: it’s the only movie I’ve ever seen that has a vampire riding around in a yellow dune buggy! Unfortunately, that might be the only thing you’ll remember about this flat, often boring horror flick.
While at an art show in downtown L.A., Lee (Michael Blodgett) and his wife Susan (Sherry E. DeBoer) meet a mysterious beauty named Diane LeFanu (Celeste Yarnall), who invites the two of them to spend the weekend at her desert hideaway. Feeling an immediate attraction to Diane, Lee quickly accepts the invitation, and talks the reluctant Susan into coming along as well. Shortly after their arrival, Diane shows Lee and Susan the sights, taking them first to an abandoned mine shaft (where Susan has a close encounter with a bat), then to an old ghost town situated in the middle of the desert. But as the weekend wears on, Lee becomes increasingly convinced there’s something about Diane that’s not quite right. Yet never in a million years would he have guessed the truth: that Diane is a vampire, and has lured the young couple to her home to satisfy both her carnal desires and her appetite for blood. Will Lee and Susan discover Diane’s true nature in time, or will they fall victim to her charms?
Normally, I have a soft spot for low-budget exploitation fare like this, but The Velvet Vampire is far too lethargic for its own good; aside from the occasional excursion into the desert (in Diane’s dune buggy, no less) and the odd dream sequence (also desert-bound), the 3 main characters spend the bulk of the film talking to one another (which might have worked, had the dialogue and performances been stronger). What’s more, The Velvet Vampire doesn’t feature a single effective scare (though the scene with the rattlesnake did shake me up a bit), and even its erotic sequences come up short (aside from showing a little skin, they’re as lifeless as the rest of the movie).
A tedious motion picture from start to finish, The Velvet Vampire is one you’d be better off skipping.