Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 26th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1988
Director: Lamberto Bava
Writers: Lamberto Bava, Dardano Sacchetti
Cast: George Hilton, Patrizia Pellegrino, Riccardo Rossi, Isabel Russinova
DVD released: September 29th, 2009
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Mya Communication
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Dinner with a Vampire was co-written by and directed by Lamberto Bava, whose standout films include Macabre, A Blade in the Dark and Demons. The screenplay for was co-written by Dardano Sacchetti a prolific screenwriter who is most known for his collaborations with director Lucio Fulci on films like The Psychic, Zombie, City of the Living Dead, The House by the Cemetery, The New York Ripper and The Beyond. The score for Dinner with a Vampire was composed by Simon Boswell, whose other notable scores include Phenomena, Stage Fright, Hardware and Dust Devil.
Jurek the vampire at the center of Dinner with a Vampire owes more to the vampire in F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, than it does to Bram Stoker’s archetypical vampire Dracula. Sure the plot for Dinner with a Vampire has many instances where it defies logic and the more comedic elements often overshadow any of the film’s remotely horror related elements. With this said this film appears to have been made with the idea that this film is a comedy and not a horror film per say. Even when the film tries to frighten the end result is nothing more than a bump in the night. These short comings aside there is plenty in this film that does work most notably George Hilton’s playful performance as Jurek. Another area where this film works is it’s beautifully realized cinematography, especially during the black & white sequences. Story wise this may not rank as one of the stronger film’s that Lamberto Bava has directed and yet visually it is one of his more accomplished films. Performance wise the bulk of the cast are merely adequate with the only standout performances besides George Hilton’s being Isabel Russinova in the role of one of Jurek’s half vampire companions and Daniele Aldrovandi in the role of Gilles a hunchback servant of Jurek’s. The film’s most humorous line is at the expense of Gilles when someone says “Hey guys Marty Feldman is back”. Ultimately Dinner with a Vampire is an amusing film that can be a lot of fun if you are in the right frame of mind.
Dinner with a Vampire is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Outside of some very minor blemishes the source materials used for this transfer are in good shape as colors look lively, flesh tones look natural, black levels look solid and details look sharp throughout. There have been a handful of DVD releases of Dinner with a Vampire, a Dutch DVD release from A-Film, an Italian DVD release from No Shame Italy and a Japanese DVD from Pioneer.
This release comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital mono mix in English and a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian (no English subtitles have been provided with this release). Both audio mixes sound clear and balanced with the main difference between the two audio mixes being that the English audio has some minor instances of background hiss.
Extras for this release include an English language trailer for the film (2 minutes 43 seconds – 1.77:1 letterboxed widescreen). Overall Dinner with a Vampire makes is North American debut on DVD via a well rounded audio /video presentation from Mya Communication.