‘A satyrical horror comedy of a beautiful woman with bizarre tastes’
The Vampire Happening – original title: Gebissen wird nur nachts “Bitten Only At Night” – is a 1971 West German comedy horror film directed by Freddie Francis (The Deadly Bees, Torture Garden, Tales from the Crypt).
In 1970, Italian producer Pier A. Caminnecci was looking for a film for his wife Pia Degermark, whose previous film Elvira Madigan (1967) was a critical and financial success. Caminnecci set up an international production for her written by German screenwriters August Rieger and Karl-Heinz Hummel.
Clearly influenced by Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers, which also starred Ferdy Mayne as Count von Krolock, the script also features a sub-plot based on Theophile Gautier’s short story “La Morte Amoureuse”.
The lounge soundtrack was provided by Jerry van Rooyen.
An American actress inherits a castle in Transylvania. What she does not know is that her ancestor, the Baroness Catali, was in actuality a vampire countess, and emerges from her tomb to ravage the nearby village and Catholic seminary…
“Francis accepted this assignment due to a Hollywood production that went the way of the wind, giving us his most unusual effort (though not his worst film as a director). Most of the toilet humor gets lost in the atrocious dubbing, but Francis is able to mount a handsome production, aided by lavish sets and locations.” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In
“The tone is that of a German sex comedy, with a gay air steward being symbolically hanged, a bare-arsed vampire monk struggling to get at various bare-breasted over-age schoolgirls, and a family retainer saying: “I’m getting completely mixed-up” prior to breaking the fourth wall with “I’ll bet you are, too.” Jonathan Rigby, Euro Gothic
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In his book Comedy-Horror Films: A Chronological History, author Bruce G. Hallenbeck referred to the film as “sort of a rip-off of Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers” that “doesn’t come within light years of Polanski’s vision.”