The Vampire Happening
German film poster for The Vampire Happening
Directed byFreddie Francis
Written byAugust Rieger
Karl-Heinz Hummel[3]
Produced byPier A. Caminnecci
CinematographyGerard Vandenberg[2]
Edited byAlfred Srp[2]
Music byJerry van Rooyen[2]
Release date
  • June 4, 1971 (1971-06-04) (West Germany)[1]
Running time
102 minutes[2]
CountryWest Germany[2]

The Vampire Happening (German: Gebissen wird nur nachts, lit. They only bite at night) is a 1971 West German comedy and horror film directed by Freddie Francis.[4]


An American actress inherits a castle in Transylvania. What she does not know is that her ancestor, the Baroness Catali, was in actuality a vampire countess, and emerges from her tomb to ravage the nearby village and Catholic seminary.



In the early 1970s, Italian producer Pier A. Caminnecci was looking for a film for his wife Pia Degermark whose previous film Elvira Madigan (1967) was a critical and financial success.[3] Caminnecci set up an international production for her in West Germany directed by British director Freddie Francis and written by German screenwriters August Rieger and Karl-Heinz Hummel[3] The script features a sub-plot based on Theophile Gautier's short story "La Morte Amoureuse."[3]

Francis later stated:

I was aware from the start of the difficulties in shooting a horror parody. I really believed that I was working with normal people in the movie industry, and thought I could have made a decent film. With time, I became aware that the producer was an imbecile who treated the project like a home movie. He wanted to do the casting, make cameos in the film, and wanted his wife as an actress. It was a disaster which I can't say anything serious about.[5]


The film was not well received.[6] Allmovie gave the film one and a half stars out of five, stating that it is "not considered to be one of the crown jewels of the genre"[4] In his book Comedy-Horror Films:A Chronological History, author Bruce G. Hallenbeck referred to the film as "sort of a ripoff of Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers" and "doesn't come within lightyears of Polanski's vision"[7]

See also


  1. ^ "Gebissen wird nur nachts - das Happening der Vampire". Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e Browning & Picart 2010, p. 91.
  3. ^ a b c d Hallenbeck 2009, p. 92.
  4. ^ a b c Fountain, Clarke. "Vampire Happening". Allmovie. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  5. ^ Zatterin, M., "Carreras, Francis, Guest, Lester", Fantafestival, 1986.
  6. ^ Hallenbeck 2009, p. 93.
  7. ^ Hallenbeck 2009, pp. 92–3.

Works cited