The playgirls of the title are not playgirls at all, but rather showgirls who are being bused to their next engagement when the driver learns that a storm has rendered the road impassable. The driver takes a fork in the road and winds up at the castle of Count Gabor Kernassy (Walter Brandi). They ask to stay the night and Kernassy takes little interest until he sees Vera (Lyla Rocco), who looks to be the reincarnation of Margerhita, the woman with whom his ancestor had fallen in love. Regnoli’s most effective horror moment comes at the very beginning when he borrows Tod Browning’s famous shot of a vampire’s hand emerging from an opened coffin, here restaged with a stone sepulcher. The vampire in the crypt is Kernassy’s look-alike ancestor who seeks fresh blood to sustain his immortality. Kernassy warns the troupe not wander about the castle at night, but the next morning the body of Katia (Maria Giovannini) is found dead on the lawn, apparently having fallen out of the window. Lack of originality is one of the main problems that plagues THE PLAYGIRLS AND THE VAMPIRE. Unlike Freda, whose films explored perverse sexuality such as necrophilia and sadism, Regnoli offers only showgirls lounging around in negligees, teddies, and stiletto heels. Additionally, there is minimal characterization (the three other showgirls are given no real personalities) and minimal plot as well.
THE PLAYGIRLS AND THE VAMPIRE
PIERO REGNOLI (1960)