Roman Polanski’s 1967 film Dance of the Vampires (as it was originally called, but more widely known by its re-named title The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are In My Neck) is a camp horror cult classic. Though it was marketed at the time as a ‘farce’, this was overlooking the fact that this film is fantastically eerie. The major part played by the soundtrack in giving it this effect cannot be under-stated, and the cold-as-snow production did much to enhance the bleak wintery cinematography.
Polish jazz legend Krzysztof Komeda (1931-1969) provided the mesmeric score, as he did for a run of Polanki’s films from this period, namely Knife in the Water, Rosemary’s Baby, and Cul-de-Sac. These Polanski scores are of course his most known, but Komeda (also a fully qualified doctor) scored over 40 other lesser known soundtracks which deserve attention (eg Le Départ), as well as being responsible for the Komeda Quintet album Astigmatic, a jazz masterpiece. His untimely death before he even hit 40 has robbed us of god-knows-what.
Whilst this particular soundtrack is not typical Komeda and arguably one of his less fluid ‘records’ when taken out of context from the film it augmented, it is nevertheless the work of a genius and more than worthy of its first ever vinyl release. How we got there first in 2013 we’ll never understand. If those sinister choirs or skulking bass motifs fail to give you the chill – we declare thee as undead as Count von Krolock himself!