With all the hubbub about sexy vampires these days, courtesy of Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, it’s time to take a short stroll down memory lane to the “golden age” of vampire lesbian cinema with Hammer’s so-called “Karnstein Trilogy.”
The first of the series, The Vampire Lovers, starred beautiful Polish actress Ingrid Pitt, who had previously played Elizabeth Bathory in Countess Dracula for Hammer. In The Vampire Lovers, Pitt played Carmilla Karnstein, the literary prototype for all vampire lesbians, a character created by author J. Sheridan Le Fanu in 1872. I saw the film on a late night “chiller theater” TV slot in the mid-seventies and while it’s actually a pretty decent, serviceable period piece horror film, uh, whatever... let’s get real here, the real attraction were the bare breasts of Ms. Pitt and crew! Without them no one would probably remember this film at all.
But ask any guy who grew up in the seventies —and a few gals, too, of course— who watched horror movies and they will know all about this film and its two sequels, which were often aired—astonishingly—with the nude scenes intact. Back in the seventies, this was a cause for celebration for teenage boys. I used to scour the TV Guide searching for weird things to watch and whenever there was a screening of one of these films, I can assure you that I didn’t have anything better to do that night!
The second film in the Karnstein Trilogy was 1971’s Lust for a Vampire starring blond Danish hottie Yutte Stensgaard. Again, ask any middle-aged guy in America or England who watched horror films as a kid and… they will know the name Yutte Stensgaard, who is seen bare-breasted and smeared with blood in the film.
A still from this scene made frequent appearances in monster movie books and magazines devoted to the genre, providing somewhat unwholesome masturbatory fodder for an entire generation of horror film geeks (Sidestepping the implications of this matter entirely, here Stensgaard is seen signing it at a fan convention).