The Body Beneath (1970)

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The Body Beneath: Directed by Andy Milligan. With Gavin Reed, Jackie Skarvellis, Berwick Kaler, Susan Heard. A family of vampires takes over an estate known as Carfax Abbey. Since inbreeding is destroying the family line, they need new blood to keep the family going, so they set out to find new sources.

“The Reverand Alexander Algernon Ford (Gavin Reed) is from a long line of vampires, and tries to ensure the continuation of his lineage by abducting distant relative Susan Ford (Jackie Skarvellis), imprisoning her at Carfax Abbey, and using her as breeding stock. Susanu0026#39;s boyfriend Paul Donati (Richmond Ross) isnu0026#39;t about to let that happen without a fight…u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAny review that claims that this is a good Andy Milligan film is misleading: itu0026#39;s not good… itu0026#39;s just not his worst.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eA vampire film set in London, The Body Beneath sees Milligan taking a stab at classy horror, the director striving for style and atmosphere, but failing to achieve either. His attempts at a dreamlike Jean Rollin-esque ambience is ham-fisted, in particular the scenes featuring a trio of female vampiresses: dressed in garish coloured outfits and with crudely painted faces, theyu0026#39;re like an unholy cross between Princess Fiona and Grotbags, unlikely to strike fear in the heart or arouse feelings of carnal desire. Andy simply doesnu0026#39;t have Rollinu0026#39;s flair for cool compositions, gothic eroticism, or ethereal vibes.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eMilliganu0026#39;s clumsy direction makes this film a challenge to finish, but the dreariness is compounded by amateurish performances, a diabolical script, and a lack of gore, the only graphic scene of horror being a woman stabbed in the eyes with a pair of chunky knitting needles. The final 15 minutes or so see Milliganu0026#39;s awkward Euro-style surreality taken to extremes, with canted angles aplenty and vaseline on the lens for a weird vampire feast, where the Reverand announces that he and his clan will up sticks from Highgate to California, where he has secured tombs at Forest Lawn. I almost dozed off.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIn what is clearly intended to be a poetic, darkly romantic ending, the now vampiric Susan and Paul awaken in Carfax Abbey to find the place empty… itu0026#39;s all theirs, for eternity!u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003e2.5/10, rounded up to 3 for Spool (Berwick Kaler), the hunchbacked henchman, u0026#39;cos every film should have one.”


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