The movie opens in Moldavia 1630 with the brutal execution of Asa (Barbara Steele) and her lover for witchcraft and vampirism by her own brother. Prior to her demise, Asa places a curse on the Vajda family and all future generations. 200 years later, a doctor and his protégé happen upon the crypt. Through a series of misfortunes (including a run-in with a giant bat), the good doctor happens to awaken Asa who summons her lover and proceeds to wreak havoc on her brother’s descendants. Asa relentlessly stalks the lovely, Katia (also played by Barbara Steele) in hopes of draining her blood and gaining immortality.
Considered exceptionally violent for its time, the film was banned in the UK until 1968. Even after so many years the film retains its chilling atmosphere and is worth watching. Filmed in central Italy, this 1960 movie has all the elements of a classic black and white vampire movie looming shadows and an eerie castle.
“You mustn’t be afraid of the dead, they sleep very soundly,” Says the doctor to his assistant shortly before awakening the vampire.
“My kiss will transform you.” Asa—Notice that vampires can get away with lines that just sound plain lame when uttered by mere mortals.