Nestled in the mountains of Germany, a grim and secluded castle stands - the haunted legacy of the beautiful medieval vampire Baroness Varga. Put to death for her ravenous hunger for female blood, the Baroness uttered a curse that she would one day return to forever satisfy her unnatural lust...and that day has finally come. Four women have gathered at the castle unaware that its darkly seductive housekeeper is a satanic high priestess presiding over a coven of delectable servants who each night perform sensual rituals and profane acts to keep the Baroness' spirit alive. As the women are drawn deeper into the ultra erotic nightmare, it will be the most uninhibited among them who shall serve as the vessel into which the Baroness passes... to continue her unholy reign of terror.
Nadia Henkowa, Anke Syring, Ulrike Butz, Nico Wolferstetter, Flavia Keyt, Alon D'Armand, Claudia Fielers, Natasha Michnowa, Eric Mancy, Christa Jaeger, Heidrun Hankammer, Marie Forså
Spoilers follow ...
- Vampire Ecstasy review by NP
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Baroness Varga was put to death 400 years ago for her Bathory-style attraction to human blood, and she put a curse on the place. She promised to return one day, and it appears that time has come.
Hungarian actress Nadja Henkowa plays Frau Wanda Krock, the housekeeper, who bears a passing resemblance to singer/songwriter PJ Harvey. She is is head of a coven of stern eye-browed maidservants who ‘welcome’ a disparate crew of travellers forced to seek refuge in her castle due to stormy weather (Henkowa’s performance is my favourite in the film – a fine balance of brooding menace, fearsome rage and passionate sensuality). The characters address each other with exquisite politeness, but a tone of condescension and abhorrence. In the great cellars of the castle, you see, erotic rituals are taking place that imply the maidservants are not so straight-laced after all.
Apart from Henkowa, who steals every scene she is in, Marie Forså is very good as Helga. Her transformation from seemingly ‘innocent’ to something far more provocative is well played.
Everything you need for a typical Euro-horror is here – much stilted acting, bare-breasted erotica, unconvincing day-for-night shots and a genuine crumbling castle set in spacious, beautiful locations.
This Swedish/Swiss/German collaboration is directed by Joseph W. Sarno, who began his pioneering work in the sexploitation genre in 1961 with ‘Nude in Charcoal’, before venturing into more explicit territory.
The story is regularly padded out/interrupted/enlivened (the choice is yours) with lingering sex scenes of varied persuasion. The resulting film is vastly overlong and has a disappointingly low-key ending, but nevertheless, is a very enjoyable example of its genre. The physical and mental connection between vampire-like curses and sensuality has always been a selling point, and is portrayed quite explicitly and very effectively here. Although it could be argued that the whole venture is just an excuse for lots of heaving breasts and softcore activity, and that the performances (from a cast who are not speaking in their native tongues) are typically ‘Euro trashy’, this is a powerful meeting of sexuality and dark rituals - complete with phallus-shaped candles and a tribal drum-beat that will stay with you long after the film has ended!