Ferat Vampire (Upír z Feratu)

Directed by Juraj Herz

North American Premiere of Národní filmový archiv’s New 2K Restoration, Courtesy of Severin Films



Juraj Herz


Jan Fleischer, Juraj Herz


Jiri Menzel


Severin Films

Czech Republic 1981 94 mins OV Czech Subtitles : English
Genre HorrorClassique

“Herz’s demented shocker has been likened to VIDEODROME meets CRASH. A satire on consumerism, a potent piece of anti-automobile propaganda, and perhaps the purest horror exercise that Herz produced.”
– Nick Pinkerton, METROGRAPH

Czech New Wave actor and director Jiri Menzel stars as Dr. Marek, an ordinary, somewhat nerdy ambulance driver who finds himself at the centre of a mystery involving a strange car that may or may not run on human blood as fuel. When Marek and his paramedic crew partner Mima (Dagmar Veskrnová) stumble across a racing-car driver with an injured foot while out on a call, they initially think little of the woman’s complaint — dismissing her injury as non-serious — until she turns up dead shortly after as a result of a serious crash that appears to have no obvious cause. While Marek wants to investigate the company that made the driver’s strange car — run by a suspicious wealthy woman, Madame Ferat — for shady goings on, Mima swaps sides, offering to drive one of Ferat’s prestige vehicles in a high-profile race under the mentorship of a corrupt retired racing driver.

While director Juraj Herz was just about the closest Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia got to a “horror director’ — with many of his films featuring aspects of gothic, eroticism, and dark fantasy — it took until 1982 for him to realize an actual horror film (in the Western sense of the word) with FERAT VAMPIRE. Unlike his previous gothic, fantasy infused films, this one has a contemporary vibe, meshing elements of science fiction, with erotic notes, and visceral horror; including one seriously disturbing fantasy scene that wouldn’t look out of place in the work of David Cronenberg from the same era. Hertz’s film came out a year before the filmic adaptation of Stephen King’s CHRISTINE (1983) and while it shares some traits in common — ambiguity, an emphasis on psychological horror — under Herz’s unique command the concept becomes a potent tool for dark social satire. Presented in a new 2K restoration by Národní filmový archiv, courtesy of Severin Films. – Kat Ellinger