The Vampire and the Ballerina
|The Vampire and the Ballerina|
Italian theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Renato Polselli|
|Produced by||Bruno Bolognesi|
|Music by||Aldo Piga|
|Edited by||Renato Cinquini|
|Distributed by||Rome International Films|
|Box office||₤98 million|
The film's story and screenplay were written by director Renato Polselli and screenplay authors Giuseppe Pellegrini and Ernesto Gastaldi. The original screenplay for the film was written by Giampaolo Callegaris. Ernesto Gastaldi described the script as "rather canine", and wrote a new one with director Renato Polselli. Gastaldi felt the script was no different than any others he had worked on, with the only new element being vampires. Gastaldi commented that since Dracula starring Christopher Lee had been such a big hit in Italy, producers and distributors were eager to make their own vampire films.
Gastaldi recalled the casting for the film involved Gino Turini who put in part of the money for the film and Hélène Rémy as the film was originally going to be a co-production deal with France. Gastaldi also noted that the casting of Tina Gloriani was due to her being the director's lover at the time.
The film was shot at the castle of Artena, in later 1959 in three weeks. Renato Polselli has claimed that the skeletons that in the vampire’s crypt scenes were real skeletons. The shot of the vampire's face deteriorating was a homemade special effect. Polselli stated that the case was made with plaster, followed by the make-up artist molding an adhesive rubber mask over it with a layer of ash between the plastic and rubber. “We made a face cast with plaster, then the make-up artist and I molded an adhesive rubber mask over it. Our trick was to put a layer of ash between the plaster and the rubber.
The Vampire and the Ballerina was released in Italy on May 23, 1960 where it was distributed by Rome International Films. The film grossed a total of 98 million Italian lire on its theatrical run. The film was published as a photonovel in the March 1962 issue of Malia - I fotoromanzi del brivido. The film was shown in Los Angeles on October 31, 1962.
Italian censors gave The Vampire and the Ballerina a V.M. 16 rating, making it "forbidden to those under 16 years old". The censors demanded that all close-ups of the vampire's face be cut and that the final melting of the vampires be shortened. Months after the censors demands were sent, the producer submitted a new version of the film which passed with a V.M. 16 rating and no cuts.
In his book Italian Horror Film Directors, Louis Paul described the film as "an important footnote in the history of Italian horror for being among the first films to blatantly mix sex and horror", and noted it strongly influenced European horror cinema, including late 1960s Hammer productions.