The Fearless Vampire Killers or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are In My Neck Roman Polanski

Look at any list of the 100 greatest movies ever made and you'll likely find one or two by Roman Polanski. Chinatown (1974) is a shoo-in but Rosemary's Baby (1968) may also put in an appearance. One or two might even include Repulsion (1965). That Polanski could have made such a clunker as The Fearless Vampire Killers in between Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby is almost as inexplicable as the movie itself. Even if one allows for the excesses of the mid- to late '60s, both stylistic and pharmacological, it's hard to imagine how this movie went so wrong. Professor Abronius (Jack MacGowan) and his young assistant Alfred (Roman Polanski) are looking for vampires in 18th century Transylvania. What they find are some very broadly drawn ironic portrayals of horror movie types and a lot of unfunny slapstick comedy. Eventually they end up at the castle of the vampire and more "hilarity" ensues. There are a few elements present that stop one from completely nodding off: the Count's flamboyant son (hints of Frankenfurter), the kvetching old vampire Shagal and the presence of Polanski's wife, the tragically ill-fated Sharon Tate. What succeed in this film are the freaky baroque backdrops, sets, special effects and tracking shots. The dance of the musty courtesan vampires isn't too bad either. And I can tell you the best way to view this film, based on personal experience. Come home late at night, still high, turn on the TV and catch the last ten minutes of Fearless Vampire Killers without having a clue what it is. You'll definitely be entertained. The special features on this DVD are mercifully brief, although the short promotional featurette "Vampires 101" does carry considerably more comedic punch than the film itself. (Warner)