I Vampiri

Riccardo Freda

Sog.: Piero Regnoli, Rijk Sijstrom. Scen.: Riccardo Freda, Piero Regnoli, Rijk Sijstrom. F.: Mario Bava. M.: Roberto Cinquini. Scgf.: Beni Montresor. Mus.: Roman Vlad. Int.: Gianna Maria Canale (Giselle Du Grand e la duchessa Marguerite Du Grand), Carlo D’Angelo (l’ispettore Santel), Dario Michaelis (Pierre Valentin), Wandisa Guida (Laurette Robert), Antoine Belpêtré (dottor Julien De Grand), Riccardo Freda (un medico). Prod.: Ermanno Donati, Luigi Carpentieri per Athena Cinematografica, Titanus
35mm. D.: 85′. Bn. 

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The first real Italian horror film, which even predates Hammer’s horror series, takes place in an imaginary contemporary Paris created at Titanus’s studios in Rome by the brilliant set designer Beni Montresor. In disagreement with the producers, Freda abandoned the production, which was finished by Mario Bava, the film’s director of photography (who is apparently responsible for the ‘thriller’ interludes). I vampiri shows the key elements of both directors’ approach to horror in a surprisingly effective way: Freda’s obsession with the conflict between so-called normality made of conformism-progress-science and the irresistible attraction of transgression and sensuality; his vision of fleeting nature, beauty and physical integrity, and the desperate desire to maintain them; and, on the other, Bava’s creation of fantastic worlds made of unrivaled visual intensity and details, chiaroscuro landscapes that emerge more from the director’s magnificent control of the shot than from the psychology of the characters.

Gary Morris, Universi in collisione: gli horror di Freda, in Riccardo Freda, edited by Stefano Della Casa and Emanuela Martini, Bergamo Film Meeting 1993

I’ve always liked being the first to make a film. I vampiri came about in an odd way. We were at Donati and Carpentieri’s studio thinking of a story to film, and I threw out the idea of making a horror film. They asked me if I had something ready. I said no but that I could in a day’s time. And so I showed up with the story; I didn’t have it written but recorded on tape. I even made sounds, like a door creaking; it was a lot of fun. They called Lombardo who immediately accepted it. Perhaps it was one of his more generous moments, helped by the fact that I didn’t want any particular actor (except Canale), I was willing to do it in about ten days as long as the cameraman was Bava and the set designer Beni Montresor. I made one mistake: I made it under my Italian name, and Italians only accept fettuccine from their countrymen. Thereafter, I never made the same mistake, and everyone else copied me.

Interview by Stefano Della Casa, in Riccardo Freda, edited by Stefano Della Casa and Emanuela Martini, Bergamo Film Meeting 1993

Copy From