The Vampire and the Ballerina (1960)

The first time I saw THE VAMPIRE AND THE BALLERINA, it was in an 8-millimeter version that belonged to my cousin(remember the old 8 and Super 8 millimeter versions of old movies you could buy at K-mart and show on your folks home movie projectors?)That abbreviated version only included the final scene, and honestly, that was the best part of this Italian-made horror cheapie that obviously filled out many a drive-in double feature or “shock theater” spooky show on independant television. A troupe of dancers come to a spooky medieval castle for . . . some reason. It’s not clear. At any rate, they’re accompanied by several males: a choreographer, a male dancer, and a boyfriend(if I remember). The next door neighbors in the ajoining castle are a strange, imperious woman and her male servant who, in his more interesting moments, turns into a mouldering, rubber-faced vampire. But who are they really? Is the woman the master of the vampire, or the vampire the master of the woman? The vampire attacks one of the dancers(the “ballerina” of the title)and makes her his slave, which leads two of the male characters to chase the vampire and the mysterious lady to a thrilling rooftop climax! Inbetween there’s lots of nonsensical action, such as dialogue with long meaningful pauses, sequences in which the dancers are alternately chased or are following people, usually traversing steep banks in stiletto heels, and dance rehearsal scenes in which nary a hint of a ballerina is seen–unless all ballerinas rehearse by doing cartwheels and interpretive dance moves while wearing black leotards and character shoes. Go figure. If you rent this thing, fast forward to the last ten minutes. Therein lies the payoff.