"The world is a stage. But sometimes it isn't."
It's 1902 in the city of Dublin and just as a troupe of actresses finish the closing night of their show, handsome Count Richard Marnack (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart) arrives. He is infatuated with actress Evelyn (Patrizia Webley) and invites her and her colleagues – actresses Cora (Krista Nell), Rosalind (Mariza Damon), and Penny (Lidia Olizzi) and stagehand Samuel (Leo Valeriano) – to join him at his castle. While Evelyn and the Count take romantic walks by the seaside and Evelyn and Penny entertain themselves in their bedroom, lusty Cora nets herself a local fisherman. But things turn sinister when the Count admits his family's dark past – both his father and his grandfather murdered their wives with the same ceremonial dagger and the Count's own wife went missing several years ago and is presumed dead. Before long, the visitors start turning up dead, decapitated with the same cursed blade. Could the killer be Sybil (Femi Benussi), the jealous maid or Gregory (Luciano Pigozzi), the creepy gardener? Is it possible that a ghost of the Count's ancestor has returned to fulfill the family curse?
The title Bloodsucker Leads the Dance is, perhaps, the most misleading non-sequiter in a genre filled with nonsensical titles. There are no vampires, as the title suggests, no one dances (even metaphorically), and there is certainly no one who leads any dancing. I suppose that's why the movie is sometimes known as The Passion of Evelyn, which is a little more apt. It seems that all the money for this film went into the period costumes and locations - and certainly not the script with its laughably awful dialogue (see above). It did have lofty aspirations, though, borrowing elements from such esteemed literary sources as Rebecca, Jane Eyre, and The Man in the Iron Mask.
- Here's how the movie breaks down: 20 minutes of exposition, then 40 minutes of gratuitous nudity and grownup time, and then the murders all occur and are wrapped up in the last 25 minutes. This definitely falls under the category of a "sexy" giallo.
- Director Alfredo Rizzo was also an actor. He focused mainly on low-budget horror flicks, but perhaps his biggest mainstream success was as a cab driver in the Audrey Hepburn movie Roman Holiday.
- Bloodsucker Leads the Dance features two giallo all-stars: you may remember Femi Benussi from Strip Nude for your Killer and Luciano Pigozzi from the classics Blood and Black Lace and Naked You Die.
What the Hell am I Watching?
The movie is strange enough, but the versions you'll see on DVD and Netflix have a wonderfully crazy special bonus: an eight-minute intro by horror host Redemption. Imagine a lesbian vampire Isabella Rossellini look-alike with a geographically untraceable accent wearing black-wings, leather, and white contacts. Now imagine her making out with mostly-naked chicks dripping with fake blood in slow motion. Then, in her sexy, slow purr, she talks a little about the history and development of the horror genre. It's exactly as awesome as it sounds.
Bloodsucker Leads the Dance drinking game! Drink whenever someone insults Samuel's masculinity. Chug whenever the camera lingers on a horse's butt.
Here's the scene where Evelyn first arrives in her room at the castle.
Notice that her amber dress and blond curls are in perfect harmony with the room's maple furnishings and gold filigree. Even the creamy sheets match her blouse. It's as if this is just where she belongs. For ever and ever.