After witnessing her abduction mid-bubble bath, the besotted Alfred and Professor Abronsius set off in high-spirited pursuit to rescue the innkeeper’s daughter, Sarah (Sharon Tate, Polanski’s soon-to-be-wife), sequestered in the castle of Count von Krolock (Ferdy Mayne) where she is being groomed to be his new bride. A droll blend of wit, slapstick, thrills and horror, Polanski and co-writer Gerard Brach mine the genre for laughs but also calibrate sumptuous set pieces such as the vampires’ spooky Midnight Ball with characteristic suspense and visually sophisticated sleight of hand. Despite the hijinks, the film’s narrative resolution has an ironic sting in the tale attuned to a characteristically Eastern European appreciation of life’s absurdities one may assume Polanski shares. The film’s ending is almost painfully poignant in light of Tate’s tragic murder two years later, in August 1969.
The Fearless Vampire Killers
14 Nov - 19 Nov
Polanski’s playfully camp spoof on the vampire genre sees the director reunite with Cul-de-Sac’s Jack MacGowran, cast in the role of bumbling vampirologist, Professor Abronsius. Polanski plays the Professor’s impish assistant, Alfred, in a role that allows the talented actor-director to show off his astute comic timing. Shooting in colour for the first time, Polanski's choice of stunning alpine locations in the north of Italy sit beautifully alongside studio interiors shot in England.