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In particular, I Vampiri modernises the vampire legend by presenting vampirism as a product of the modern world rather than an opposition to it long before the presence of a vampire within a contemporary setting became the standard. It was only in the vampire-redolent decade of the 1970s that the cinematic vampire, most notably in Romero's Martin (1977), was completely reinvented as a product of modern America rather than as an intruder from a gothic past. Yet, almost twenty years earlier, Freda/Bava's film was playing with many of the same themes, albeit in a European setting.
These are standard newspaper headlines outlining a serial murder case. It is the final newspaper, however, that introduces a more supernatural connection when it claims that the \"Vampire Continues his Killing Spree, Police Investigation Yields No Clues. Is The Monster Unstoppable\" Thus, in this opening sequence the notion of vampirism is introduced but stripped of its gothic attributes, deposited in a modern city and presented by modern science and the printing press.
I Vampiri not only modernises the traditional gothic setting of a vampire story but the notion of vampirism itself, firstly through Doctor Du Grand, a mad scientist experimenting upon young women, and secondly through Countess Du Grand and her \"niece\" Giselle (Wandisa Guida), the film's real vampires. Like Bathory, the Countess Du Grand craves youth and beauty, but rather than bathe in blood, she uses Dr Du Grand's scientific experiments in blood transfusions to turn her into the beautiful Giselle. The secret of their identity and the nature of their vampirism is, however, withheld until a fantastic transformation sequence as Giselle changes from a young and beautiful woman to a wizened old hag right in front of the camera.
It is Bava's use of special effects in this and two subsequent transformation sequences that reinterprets the magical powers of vampirism through the spectral technologies inherent in the film medium. These are show-stopping moments of cinematic spectacle, reinforced by the fact that Bava shows the transformation three times.
As the transformation began, the red light was slowly replaced by a green light, giving the appearance of sudden ageing as the make-up gradually becomes visible. Bava enhanced the effect by fitting the actress with a wig made of artificial filaments that photographed white when exposed to direct light.  The Countess/Giselle's vampirism is thereby reinterpreted as a product of modernity, for the actual drinking of blood is presented as a scientific process of transfusion while the magical benefits of vampirism are dramatically showcased as the product of spectacular special effects techniques and a heritage of cinematic transformations.
Made before such modern horror films classics as Les yeux sans visage, Psycho and Night of the Living Dead, Freda and Bava's I Vampiri marks a significant moment when European horror began to confront the terrors of modernisation. Rather than simply condemn the effects of progress, the film constructs an ambiguous image of a modern European city forced to recognise the violence inherent in technology and science that go hand in hand with their perceived benefits. Doctor Du Grande and the Countess are monstrous modern vampires who exploit science and technology to their own ends, but it is their experiments upon Joseph's corpse that brings him back to life in time to thwart their plans. Science is both the cause and the cure here. Furthermore, the manner in which cinematic special effects are utilised to represent the magical effects of vampirism plays upon the wonder and spectacle of modernity. In this film, therefore, vampire mythology is reinvented to suggest that the vampiric qualities of modern science and cinema technologies can embody both the danger and the wonder of the modern age. 781b155fdc