Plot: A bus has broken down in an isolated stretch of road, leaving the ballerina troupe on board stranded, at least for the moment. The lone shelter seems to be a a large, eerie castle and as such, the girls venture inside. But unknown to the dancers, the castle is even creepier on the inside and also happens to home to actual vampires, all too welcoming ones, in fact. As the ballerinas try to pass the time and get back on the road, the vampires see a chance to add some fresh blood to their ranks. Can the dancers somehow manage to avoid the vampires’ seductive ways and if not, however will the show go on?
Entertainment Value: One of the earlier movies from director Renato Polselli, The Vampire and the Ballerina is a stylish and atmospheric slice of horror, but it also shows some the zaniness he would embrace in his later work. The movie greatly benefits from the eerie castle atmosphere, which ups the horror feel more than a little by itself and lends some of that classic, old school horror texture. I don’t think anyone will be scared by this one however, I just appreciate the old, creaky castle vibe and how it adds to the movie’s style and mood. There’s also a strong artistic feel here, despite how silly some of the dialogue and set pieces can be. The visuals are impressive and the sight of our ballerinas performing in the creepy castle has a fun flavor, so the movie has some fun to offer genre fans. The pace is a little slow, but it is never a dull ride and for those who appreciate 60s horror, this blend of arthouse and campiness is a fun ride that is well worth a spot in the collection.
The movie has a tame, but tease driven erotic slant, with plenty of skin of showcase, just not the naughtiest of flesh. A lot of lustful moments, longing camera shots, and forbidden romance drive the movie here, so we have a mostly innocent, but sexually charged gothic style romance picture. Not much blood in this one, as this is more about mood and atmosphere, as opposed to rampant bloodshed. But we do have some vampire bites and of course, one of the strangest looking vampire creatures ever, looking like a bug eyed, oatmeal covered lunatic. If you watch the movie in the original Italian, the cheese laden dialogue might be able to sound serious, but most of the lines are rather stilted and often fall into silliness. The highlight has to be the odd dynamic of a male character who seems to have some deep rooted issues, which manifest in ridiculous verbal ways. Not a flood of wild or memorable lines, but some solid stuff. As for craziness, the odd artistic vibe, weird masculinity starved dude, oatmeal face vampire, and just ballerinas in a creepy castle add a few points. This isn’t an off the rails ride by any means, but it has some campy touches and odd moments.
Overall Insanity: 3/10