The Fearless Vampire Killers

Synopsis: Roman Polanski's vampire comedy features an eccentric professor and his assistant (played by Polanski) who travel to Transylvania in search of the living undead.
Genre: Comedy, Horror
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
91 min


Screenplay by ROMAN POLANSKI


1 The whole screen is bluish.

We discern shadowy abstract shapes. As the titles unfold these shapes become more distinct until, finally, they represent the surface of the moon with volcanoes and craters. Gradually also a silver tinkle of cells grows stronger.

The film titles are finished.


2 The full moon has become normal size in a mountain landscape of wildness and grandeur. Cold moonlight illuminates the snow.

In long shot a sledge. dashes along drawn by two horses, their nostrils steaming.

Behind the driver two figures sit absolutely motionless. A harsh and frightening voice intones:

“That night, penetrating deep into the heart of Transylvania, professor abronsius was unaware that he was on the point of reaching the goal of his mysterious investigations, in the course of which he had journeyed throughout Central Europe for many years, accompanied by his one and only faithful disciple alfred.

“A scholar and scientist whose genius was unappreciated, abronsius had given up all to devote himself body and soul to what was to him a sacred mission. He had even lost his chair at Konenigsberg University, where for a long time his colleagues used to refer to him as ‘The Nut’.”

As the commentary is ending on these words, the sledge approaches. In close up we see abronsius and alfred, They are huddled together; only their noses, purple from cold, emerge from the pile of furs and rugs which muffles them. They seem asleep, lulled by the throbbing sound of the bells as they sway to the swift regular glide of the sledge.

3 Leather trunks with huge iron fittings and quantities of luggage are stowed away, secured by ropes.

As they speed along, the wind whips up the snow like a swirl of dust around the heap of baggage.

In the muffled silence a long dismal howl is heard.

4 alfred looks up. Troubled he listens. Nothing. He slips back into drowsiness. Perhaps it was a dream?

5 A moment later, close behind the sledge, the howling breaks out anew. This time alfred straightens up and painfully looks round.

6 In the wake of the sledge shadows are galloping, lithe, swift, silent.

7 “Wolves…!” alfred articulates, but no sound can be heard as his jaw is clenched tight by the cold.

With a hand stiff in spite of the mitt protecting, it he taps abronsius on the arm. The professor, literally frozen by the cold, remains as static as a dummy.

The wild beasts get nearer, leaping, yellow eyes glittering, fangs gleaming within their red jaws.

They are now right alongside the sledge,

9 alfred jerks up clumsily, tugs at the driver’s cloak. But the man does not even turn round. Through habit or fatalism, he seems indifferent.

10 alfred, in a panic, heaves awkwardly around, kicks away at the most aggressive wolf who is furiously clamping his jaws at him.

11 alfred’s hand feels something lying between him and the professor and instinctively brandishes it. It’s his master’s huge umbrella, with which in desperation he bangs down on the beast.

12 In no time the umbrella is slashed to pieces. Long strips are torn off revealing the frame.

13 Finally the jaws of the wolf snap together on it like a vice.

14 alfred will not let go of the umbrella, loses his balance and half slips off the sledge.

Then a more violent shock makes him lose his grip.

15 The wolf dashes off, the umbrella bristling from his jaw like a giant spider. The pack chase after him as though the umbrella were the only thing that had ever interested them.

16 alfred tails back on the seat, gasping.

17 abronsius still does not stir.


18 In the valley below, the glimmering lights of a small village can be seen.


19 The sledge drives into the courtyard of an inn. The windows of the big room are lit up.

20 the driver jumps off his seat.

21 alfred gets painfully down, his legs are stiff. abronsius stays where he is, motionless.

22 The door of the inn opens. A little man appears amidst a cloud of steam. He goes down the steps, comes forward bowing amiably, rubbing his hands in a way which one feels is habitual.

This is yoine chagal, the innkeeper.

At the sight of the professor he instantly grasps the situation, raises-his arms to heaven, shouts: “Quick ... quick ...!”

23 abronsius is removed from the sledge. He is still in a sitting position, paralysed and frozen.


24 In this manner abronsius, carried by chagal and the driver and followed by alfred, makes his entry into the hot and smoky room of the inn which is packed with customers, rough mountain folk.

25 At once everyone rushes up, bustling around in a hubbub of commotion, giving manifold, and contradictory advice: “... Rub the ears with snow, the nose as well. No, no, not the nose. Gently, it can break like glass ... A mustard bath for the feet… Not too near the fire because of gangrene... Mull hot wine with cinnamon, etc.”

26 abronsius is deposited on a chair, alfred close by him.

27 In front of the huge fireplace where there hangs an enormous cauldron, master and disciple, trousers turned up, their feet plunged into the same tub of steaming water, sit side by side recovering their spirits.

28 Now that they are stripped of their accoutrements we can see them. The blood is flowing again and with their natural colour returning they look human once more.

abronsius is a long thin old man with stray locks of white hair.

A bushy moustache practically conceals his mouth. Round his neck eyeglasses hang on a ribbon.

alfred, his hair cut page-boy fashion, is small and stocky and looks all there.

29 For the moment he is gazing at magda, a serving-wench. In front of him, on her knees, she is gently but steadily massaging his toes with her strong hands reddened by chilblains. alfred’s toes quiver and he giggles in spite of himself.

30 She raises her head, not displeased to notice that alfred has his eyes glued on the deep cleavage of her ample bosom.

31 chagal is glad his future customers have recovered.

He asks rebecca his wife if the “Bigos” is ready for the gentlemen.

32 She goes off towards the kitchen which is visible from the big room,

33 At a table the sledge-driver is relating his adventures and restoring his strength by quaffing copious tankards of beer,

34 abronsius puts his eye-glasses on his long nose, looks around for the first time.

All of a sudden, from under his bushy eyebrows, his eve lights up with the boundless joy of a man of science, He is staring at the ceiling.

35 Up there, tied to the rafters, huge bunches of garlic hang in festoons,

36 abronsius comes to life, turns round:

37 On the hasp of the windows hang more bunches of garlic, and in addition on the windowsills there are vases containing large bunches of dried garlic flowers.

38 The professor nudgees alfred in the ribs with his elbow, leans towards him and whispers in his ear in a voice quivering with emotion:

“Garlic ... “

“Garlic? ...” alfred answers absently, still rapt in the contemplation of magda’s cleavage.

“Garlic, my boy, garlic.” abronsius goes on in a louder voice, a prey to an excitement which he can hardly conceal.

alfred looks in the same direction as his master. The corners of his mouth droop in a wry grimace whilst he murmurs: “You think?”

abronsius’s answer is a grave nod of the head, followed by an affirmative flicker of the eyelids.

alfred painfully swallows his saliva and, no longer concerned with the maid’s breasts, stares at this garlic which seems to upset him very much.


39 Hands are putting some coins on a table, beside a beer tankard with a pewter lid held in the grasp of a huge fist.

40 alfred has just paid off the sledge-driver, who pockets the money, not sorry to see the last of his strange customers.

41 The room is now less crowded. alfred goes back to the table where his master is sitting in front of a steaming “Bigos” The garlic seems to have spoilt alfred’s appetite, He starts to eat without much relish.

42 chagal, rubbing his hands, is replying to a question from the professor:

“Any length of time the professor may desire. The whole winter if he wishes and indeed summer as well. At Yoine Chagal’s it’s a home away from home.”

“Tell me,”abronsius asks gently after wiping his moustache.

“I was about to tell you—” chagal is already saying.

“That garlic ?”

“There’s no garlic here ...” the innkeeper interrupts coldly. His face freezes.

“What’s that up there?” abronsius insists putting on his eye-glasses and looking up at the ceiling.

“Up there?” chagal,, rolling his eyes ingenuously and in front of the evidence, has to admit: “Up there, oh that’s a bit of garlic ... “ Then, suddenly, he starts to wail:

“Oooh ... Don’t mention garlic to me, business is already bad enough ... not garlic, professor, not garlic.”

“Is there by any chance a castle in the district?” the professor continues still on the same tack.

chagal’s eyes grow round with surprise: “By any chance, in the district ... “ he repeats before exclaiming with conviction: “On the word of Yoine there’s no more a castle here than a windmill.!” He calls the gathering to witness: “Do you know of a windmill in the district?”

43 No one says a word. “And a castle … know of a castle?” he asks again Only one person, a kind of village idiot, is about to reply, but his neighbour slaps a hand on his mouth.

44 “You see! No castle, no windmill, professor,” chagal concludes and hurries off to the kitchen.


45 Laden with some of the luggage, chagal perspiring and puffing, walks up a little staircase followed by abronsius and alfred. He stops in front of a door, and, still panting, says;

“I’ve given you the best one, a little gem ...”


46 They go in. chagal dumps down the luggage amidst several other pieces already there and proudly proclaims:

“One of the only two in the house which has its own bathroom.”

47 He proceeds to a door, opens it with a flourish:

“Look,” he says, watching for the glow of pleasure he expects to see on his customer’s countenance.

48 Actually alfred’S face shows unbounded amazement. abronsius slips on his eye-glasses.

49 In turn chagal looks into the bathroom: Seated in a slipper-bath which takes up nearly all the space of the narrow room, a young girl with long red hair and dark eyes is taking a bath. She immerses herself up to her nose in the frothy water, abashed and blushing, apparently scared of chagal.

From the little one can see of her, she is very beautiful.

50 For a second chagal does not react, then hastily shuts the door. He is scarlet with rage and splutters with emotion:

“I... I’d forgotten Sarah… I mean, this bath will be free when this ... I promise it will be free tomorrow. Tomorrow professor,” he says as, bowed down, he walks backwards to the door.

He goes out and shuts it.

A second later he reopens it, pushes his head through:

“The usual conveniences are in the corridor, last door on the left. Goodnight, Gentlemen.”

He closes the door

51. Alone with his disciple at tact abronsius can give full rein to his joy.

“alfred, all these signs, all these signs... we are nearing the goal, my boy, nearing the goal....”

52 He rushes at one of the trunks, opens it, leans over and rummages feverishly inside.. He extracts from it a huge parchment manuscript, then is taken short: “Last door on the left,” he says to himself as he hurries out of the room leaving the manuscript on one of the two beds.

53 “We are nearing the goal,” murmurs alfred ominously as he slumps on the other bed.

Suddenly, in the room next door (separated by the bathroom which serves both rooms), sounds of a squabble and sobs breaks out.

54 alfred rushes to open the bathroom door: the bath is now empty,

He glues his eyes to the keyhole of the next door.


55 chagal seated on a chair, is spanking with resounding smacks the young girl clad only in a nightdress.

“No, Papa, no, papa!” she yells.

“A bath, another bath, always a bath, I’ll give you a bath!” chagal answers as he spanks her to the rhythm of the words.


56 A hand touches alfred’s shoulder. He gives a violent start.

abronsius is already leaning forward and, interested, takes his disciple’s place as he slips on his eye-glasses…


57 rebecca is asleep beside yoine, He raises himself a little, makes sure his wife is asleep. Reassured he gets up wearily and in his nightshirt wends his way towards the door which opens into the kitchen.

Before slipping out he takes down from a peg a coat with a shabby fur collar.


58 On one of the two beds abronsius in long drawers is lying on his stomach. With his chin on his hands he is reading the manuscript placed on a pillow in front of him.

alfred is gingerly applying the last of twenty cupping-glasses which already adorn the professor’s back.

Indifferent to the treatment the latter goes on with his reading. Suddenly he frowns, can’t believe his eyes, carefully re-reads a sentence.

“Incredible!” he mutters to himself after a moment of profound reflection.

“Read this to me, my boy,” he asks, pointing with a skinny finger to the passage in question.

59 alfred, docile as he always is with his master, picks up the manuscript, gets close to a candle, reads aloud in Latin, stumbling over the words:

“…According to Alibori they cast no reflected image, Thus, for example, one cannot see them nor can they see themselves in a mirror nor in any other object serving the same purpose like water, window-panes, etc,…” At this moment we hear someone walking stealthily in the corridor. “Water, window-panes, etc...” alfred repeats softly, lifting his head and listening silently.

“What next?” abronsius asks, his face buried in his folded arms.

“Someone was walking in the corridor,” alfred murmurs putting down the manuscript. He goes up to the door, sticks his ear to it, shuts his eyes the better to hear.

“Pstt, pstt ... “ Imprisoned beneath the cupping-glasses, abronsius calls him and tells him to have a look.

60 With great caution, alfred puts his head cut.. He sees ...


61 ... The figure of chagal holding a candle-stick, still walking on tiptoe, his coat flung over his nightshirt, is disappearing down the end of the corridor.


62 ... “Quick, quick!”...The professor is restless and beckons to alfred to remove the cupping-glasses.

“Quick!” alfred removes the first one.


Illuminated fro underneath, chagal’s head appears on the attic floor of the inn. He bobs up from a small and very steep staircase leading to it, then walks towards a low door at the bottom of which shows a streak of light.

Gently he opens it, goes in.


64 chagal is in the maid’s garrett.

She is sitting up sewing in her little bed at the head of which can be seen a crucifix.

She goes on with her work, humming away as though chagal has not come in,

“Good .. good ... “ the innkeeper says softly, closing the door, “Always singing.”

65 chagal puts down his candle-stick and sits by her.

In a fatherly way he makes a show of being interested in her work “What’s my little good fairy at, eh? What’s she doing?” Your little good fairy is mending your nightshirt, sir.“ chagal. taken aback from a moment. pulls himself together:

“My nightshirt. that?” He affects surprise, fingering the material. She starts humming again. chagal scratches his nose, clears his throat, comes to a decision:

“Right. Good. It’s perfect as it is, Now I’ll try it on, eh?”

He laughs a little to thaw the atmosphere, gets up and takes off his coat.

“If you try on your nightshirt in my room, Sir, I’ll scream,” the maid declares without stopping her sewing.

chagal ill at ease, makes a pretence of being angry, and after a moment of awkward silene says: “What for? Little fool, would I scream if you tried on your nightshirt?”


66 rebecca realises her husband is no longer by her side in bed. She gets up, goes into the kitchen, takes down a huge sausage hanging with some others, and sweeps out like a silent fury.


67 “Plock’ “ alfred detaches the last cupping-glass from the professor’s back now covered with circular red patches.

The old man hurriedly dons his dressing-gown.

68 alfred signals to him not to move. Once more footsteps are heard in the corridor.

69 abronsius pushes his head through the door.

70 He sees the figure of madame chagal vanishing like a ghost, for she is not carrying a light.

71 They both silently creep out of their room.


72 MADAME chagal’s head bobs up in the half--light of the attic floor.

She gives a nasty look at the night showing under the garret door, then her whole body appears as she goes towards it, opens it violently whilst keeping the sausage concealed behind her back.


73 Without a word, her hand on the door knob, she lets her eye rove fiercely all over the garret. Nothing.

74 The maid does not turn a hair. She just stops her darning and looks up quite naturally, without evincing the slightest surprise.

rebecca turns her head, listens behind her, quietly closes the door.

We discover chagal, his coat on his arm, standing behind the door, flattened against the wall, cowering with shoulders raised...


75 abronsius’s cranium appears in the half-light, sticking out of the trap-door of the staircase up which yoineand madame chagal have passed.

76 She is standing behind abronsius, brandishing the sausage with both hands. As soon as he has got his body half out of the trap-door, she bangs down her improvised cosh with all her strength. With a great crash, the professor’s body vanishes.

77 rebecca well satisfied leans over, looks down.

She clamps a hand on her mouth to stifle the scream of horror and surprise which she nearly emits at the sight of the entangled bodies of abronsius and alfred, who pick themselves up at the foot of the staircase and make off at top speed,


78 It is early morning.

ln the half-light of their room abronsius and alfred are asleep.

The door slowly opens. Gradually the face of chagal appears. He looks around. His mouth seems to be bristling with hideous fangs. As we get closer we find that in fact he has a handful of nails sticking from his lips as upholsterers do.

He slips sideways through the half-opened door. Progressively there appears a long board which he is hugging.

chagal moves silently towards the bathroom. His hands cluttered up with a hammer, he opens the door with some difficulty, goes in and shuts it…

79 … He starts to nail the board to the further door (the one leading to the room of his daughter sarah) in order to barricade it once and for all. He taps away with his hammer hoping against hope that his activity will be noiseless…

80 …In the end the banging awakes alfred and abronsius. Glassy-eyed, they gaze bemused at chagal who, having finished his job, walks past them as though nothing had happened.

81 Bowing he makes little gestures which mean “all is well” and murmurs “Good-day ... gentlemen.” He slips out backwards through the door which he noiselessly closes.


82 alfred, with reddened hands and a drop at the end of his nose, is putting the finishing touches to a snow-man on which he has been at work in the yard of the inn.

Behind him stands a shed merely consisting of a roof attached to the inn building and supported by three large beams.

Odds and ends are piled up within: old barrels, toboggans, skis. etc.

83 sarah has lifted up the curtain from a window and is watching alfred, who knows it.

84 He looks up and smiles. The curtain falls but she can still be seen through it.

alfred restarts his work, watching out of the corner of his eye. Slowly up goes the curtain. He turns round and smiles again.

This time she responds to his smile without letting go of the curtain.

85 alfred makes signs inviting her to join him.

86 She answers by a negative shake of the head and a gesture of helplessness.

87 alfred stays with his face lifted up, already in love with the mysterious beauty.

88 In close up we see something burst silently in a powdery gush of white over alfred’s face.

Blinded, he wipes himself.

89 Two cheeky kids rush out of the yard, giggling.

90 alfred once more looks up at the window.

91 sarah is no longer there.


92 alfred goes into the inn, blowing on his numbed and tingling fingertips.

He sit down a.t a table on which there are two empty bowl, and big slices of buttered black bread. Two or three early morning customers are already seated, gossiping.

We hear the sound of a sledge and horses drawing up in the yard. The maid comes out of the kitchen carrying a large pot of coffee.

3 The door giving onto the yard opens.

A hideous little hunchback stands on the threshold. He has long arms and huge hairy hands.

He comes in.

94 The customers stop talking.

95 The MAID who had just reached alfred ducks under the table, still clutching the coffee-pot which she had no time to leave on it,

96 The hunchback limps towards the counter.

97 alfred, puzzled by magda’s behaviour, looks under the table and says: “Coucou!”

Ashen the girl. whispers “Ssh! “ putting a finger to her lips.

98 The clatter of clogs is heard and we see the hunchback who,

emitting raucous and inarticulate noises, is trying to get something out of chagal. The latter, shod in clogs, his trousers pulled up to the knees, is standing behind the counter.

99 alfred, thinking it’s all a game, slips under the table beside the

maid, a bowl in his hand.

100 From down there we watch chagal opening a trap-door and disappearing into the cellar.

101 With his finger-tips, using the excuse of examining the pattern of the embroidery on her bodice, alfred strokes magda’s breasts.

She taps him sharply on the hand to indicate that this is no time for fooling. The situation is serious.

102 chagal reappears from the trap-door, red-faced, puffing, carrying a big bundle of candles over his shoulder. He throws it at the feet of the hunchback who, in return, throws down two “Takar” on the counter.

103 Still from under the table alfred sees abronsius, clad in a dressing-gown, hardly awake, arrive and come up.

104 The professor sits down, slips on his eye-glasses.

At once his glance lights upon the hunchback whom he studies with the same intense curiosity he showed when he noticed the garlic the night of his arrival.

105 The hunchback, the candles under his arm, makes his way out across the room, limping.

106 abronsius turns his head in order to watch him up to the last moment.

alfred emerges from under the table, straightens up and takes his seat opposite the professor.

107 The hunchback goes out. Someone spits in his direction.

108 The professor turns back, spots alfred and speaks to him as though he had been sitting opposite all the time.

“That hunchback ... that hunchback, Alfred! Did you see?”

“Revolting,” answers alfred.

At that moment the maid cautiously comes out from under the table.

abronsius looks at her severely and asks, always to the point: “Why were you under the table?”

The wretched girl doesn’t answer but shakes so violently as she pours the coffee into the bowl which alfred politely proffers her, that a long stream lands on his stomach: “Ouch!” he exclaims.

Her obvious terror makes a deeper impression on the professor than a long speech would have done. He catches alfred by the lapel and hurriedly talks into his ear, making sure that nobody can overhear. As he whispers alfred’s face becomes convulsed, a ghastly pallor. His disciple’s eyes look agonizingly at the door.

At last abronsius lets go of alfred, who moves like a clockwork puppet towards the exit ...


100 In the yard the hunchback checks the leather straps of two cadaverous black horses harnessed to a sledge equally black.

110 Hidden behind the snowman, alfred, making himself as small as possible, watches.

111 The hunchback jumps nimbly onto his seat. Dumbfounded, he is struck into immobility. His eyes glare like a bird of prey. He is looking towards the snowman but well above it. An evil smile appears on his lips, displaying a toothless jaw.

112 alfred turns his head round to see what the hunchback is gazing at.

113 It’s sarah. She smiles at alfred from the window.

114 He frantically gestures to her to hide. There is a crack of whips.

115 alfred turns round: the hunchback’s sledge is driving off. He makes a dash and leaps onto the runners at the back of the sledge, where he crouches, balanced precariously.


116 In the kitchen abronsius insists on an explanation:

“I’m not completely daft yet ... I’m telling you that someone, last night, bashed me on the skull,” he says, coming close to rebecca. She looks at the professor’s skull as she continues to grate half a cabbage with a sweeping movement of the arm.

As she remains silent, abronsius goes up to chagal and points with his forefinger at the bump at the back of his head.

chagal, inside a barrel, is turning slowly round stamping the cabbage down with his feet. His clogs lie close by.

117 chagal stops turning but continues to trample as he inspects the bump.

“I don’t see a bump,” he brazenly declares. abronsius flounces out shocked by so much bad faith.

chagal starts once again to pivot in his barrel.

118 Through the open door we can see into his bedroom. The serving-wench is humming as sile makes the bed.

119 chagal revolves more slowly, stops turning but goes on stamping dreamily. rebecca violently throws a plateful of grated cabbage into the barrel. chagal starts to revolve once more.


120 The hunchback’s sledge glides through a silent pine-forest.

121 alfred is still clinging onto the runners, numbed by cold and lack of movement.

A long howl breaks forth.

122 The horses rear, whinnying, The sledge halts with a shock. In the middle of the track a lone wolf lurks, stationary, threatening.

123 Agile as a monkey the hunchback leaps to the ground, walks slowly forward.

124 The beast backs, snarling, fur bristling.

125 alfred sees man and beast disappear into the pines.

A moment later, suddenly and violently, the sound of a death struggle breaks out mingled with panting, groans, and howls. A scream more terrible than the others is heard, ending in an agonizing death-rattle. A gloomy silence enshrouds the forest.

126 alfred’s eyes open wide in horrified astonishment.

127 The hunchback comes limping back to the sledge. He stops a few paces from it and with a wide slow sweep of the forearm wipes his bloodstained mouth.

With a leap he springs back on his, seat as though nothing had happened. The sledge starts off again with loud cracks of the whip

123 The jolt causes alfred to fall off but he still clings on with one hand.

129 For a time he is dragged along on the stomach before letting go and lying stunned in the snow, arms spread wide apart.

130 The sledge swiftly vanishes. Snowflakes start to fall softly.


131 It is nightfall.

In the main room of the inn, full of the same customers as on the evening of his arrival, abronsius, clad in his furs, ready to leave, is pacing to and fro shaking with indignation. He is holding a small case in his hand. He stops in front of chagal who is sitting on a chair looking miserable.

“Where? Where is it?” the professor asks. chagal puts a hand on his head and exclaims:

“On Yoinés head, professor, I swear I don’t know!”

“You are lying, chagal!” abronsius in measured tones indicts him.

“May I never see the New Year if I know where it is!” lies chagal avoiding the professor’s eye.

“Come now,” abronsius bursts out his voice ringing with wrath, “that garlic, that hunchback, your conniving looks, this conspiracy of silence amongst you. Don’t try and teach your grandmother how to suck eggs!” he sneers.

They all stay rooted to the spot, speechless.

132 abronsius gives full rein to his grief and reproaches himself:

“Oh! my poor little boy! fatal recklessness to have given you that order… (He turns on chagal) That heroic kid did not hesitate, not he ... (He attacks the whole gathering) There isn’t a human soul amongst you ... (He exclaims as though addressing alfred) I’m coming my boy, I’m coming!”

With grim determination he proceeds towards the door, opens it and turning round towards the room shouts for the last time:

“1 shall find this damned castle by myself!”

alfred, who was leaning against the door prostrated with exhaustion, tumbles limply across the threshold.


133 Snow is falling, heavily over the countryside shrouded in night. The hunchback drives the sledge swiftly along.

134 Upright at the back, motionless, there sits an alarming personage. The collar of his black cape is turned up and hides his face.


135 In the distance the lights of the village are twinkling as the sledge rushes towards it.


136 Loud snoring is heard while we see framed in close-up a small case which hands are opening. The case is full of crosses, small square sharp-pointed wooden stakes, cloves of garlic and hammers. Hesitatingly, a hand picks up one of the stakes.

411 Then we see that it is alfred who is scrutinizing with aversion the stake in question.

137 Slumped in front of the manuscript open on the table, abronsius is asleep with his head in his arms. A faint scratching sound is heard.

138 alfred puts the stake back in the case, shuts the lid. The scratching at the door restarts.

alfred goes up and very cautiously sets it ajar. Flabbergasted, he instinctively looks over his shoulder at the professor.

139 The latter does not stir and is still snoring away.

140 sarah stands in her nightdress in the half-light of the corridor. She slips into the room.

Now we can see she carries on her arm a large bath-towel, in her hand a sponge and a cake of soap.

alfred is embarrassed. mystified too by these unwonted requisites. There is a moment of silence during which he doesn’t venture to give a good look at sarah. His heart beats violently at the proximity of this perfection of beauty.

“‘I’m not disturbing you, am I?” she eventually says in a low voice.

“No, no, no , .. Not at all.” alfred answers in the same subdued tone.

sarah gives a sigh.

“I get so bored, if you only knew…”

alfred doesn’t dare to question her, but respectfully waits for her to continue.

“I’m not used to being locked up the whole time,” she confides.

“You mean you’re always locked up?” says alfred indignantly.

“At school one could at least skip over the wall, but here ... oh we had fun there, you know what I mean.”

“One must have fun,” agrees alfred, who has not quite understood but wants to be courteous. He has spoken a little too loudly and glances at abronsius. He is asleep.

sarah is warming up:

“And then Papa, with his garlic, he is carrying it too far. My room’s full of garlic. He says it looks pretty. Pretty? That’s what he thinks. He did not use to be like that.”

In her excitement her heavy mane of shining red hair, which she wears coiled up, gradually falls down till it covers her shoulders. With a graceful gesture she coils it up again but the sponge slips from her hand. In a trice, zealously, alfred picks it up.

“I brought it back from school,” she says as she goes on fixing her hair..

141 alfred, the sponge still in his hand, says pleasantly:

“A good idea.” He squeezes it and adds: “It’s a nice one.”

“It’s soft .. .” sarah answers him, taking it from him and running it over his cheek, alfred blushes red as a peony.

142 sarahcontinues, her speech grows morefervent.

“I adore it! I got into the habit of it at school.”

143 alfred wonders what it is sarah loves so much and “got into the habit of at school,” He can only imagine a rather scabrous explanation, which makes him titter nervously.

144 sarah continues in the same key, getting close to alfred who backs away:

“He’s funny, Papa, you just can’t change your habits in a couple of months, can you? Besides, it’s essential. It’s good for your health,” she terminates with conviction.

“Of course,” alfred agrees, clearing his throat.

“Once a day is the very least, don’t you agree?”

“Euh ...” alfred answers, his imagination filled with the wildest fantasies.

“Do you mind if I have a quick one?”

“I don’t mind at all,” alfred answers in a tremulous voice. He is perspiring.

“You’re being very nice.. Now, could you get me some hot water?” she says, opening the bathroom door.

At last alfred understands and is relieved that all the girl wants is to take a bath on the quiet.


145 chagal, lying beside rebecca, raises himself lightly on the elbow to make sure she is asleep. Reassured, he quietly gets up.

146 Slowly, on tiptoe, he creeps towards the door. “YOINE!” rebecca cries out.

He stops dead, one leg in the aït, his face screwed up, fingers stretched out.

“Where are you going?”

chagal makes a gesture meaning he has given up and turning round quite naturally, says with conviction:

“Already I’m not going.”


147 In the kitchen, squatting in front of the stove of which the red glow sheds a dim light in the room, alfred looks at the hot water running from a huge boiling pan into a large wooden pail. Another one is already filled.

Behind alfred, at a window, there appears a face of ashen pallor, terrible to behold, which watches him for a moment and then vanishes.


148 Face strained and tongue hanging out through the exertion, alfred goes into the bathroom carrying the heavy steaming buckets.

149 sarah finishes working the small hand-pump which makes cold water pour into the slipper-bath.

alfred removes the lid of the bath, then throws in the boiling water. The two young people operate silently, swiftly, accomplices together.

alfred, feeling that his task is ended, discreetly makes his exit. sarah with a grateful smile closes the door.


150 We stay with alfred.

He moves away from the door. abronsius is still snoring.

alfred snuffles, turns round undecidedly, nervily scratches his chin.

He looks at the bathroom door, first resists the temptation, then yields to it.

He slinks up, starts to bend down towards the keyhole. He controls himself in time, straightens up and moves off. A nervous tic makes the corner of his mouth twitch. He gives his arm a pinch and listens to the sound of the gently splashing water....


151 sarah, immersed in the water is soaping herself delicately, evidently enjoying it. The big sponge lies before her on the bath-lid.


Î~ theroom window ~E ~ ~ ‘-~-1 ` ~

,`~ In i~i~ narrow room w~~ 2!);tf a there Is Ui? L’ i;îi.~ «1~,,,Tht white

152 Continued 23

Its layer of snow is suddenly brushed off. A hand wipes the pane then, slowly, the same ghastly face which had appeared at the kitchen window. leans forward and looks at sarah.

Although the face is seen in close-up it remains hazy because of the steam and frost which blur the skylight.

153 We focus now on sarah.

She is rubbing herself with the sponge.

Suddenly light flakes of twirling snow fall on her.

For a second she is stricken with amazement at this mysterious snow falling, before thinking of looking up.

154 At the same moment as she looks up at the ceiling the man, his body already thrust through..the skylight, drops down…


155 ... alfred once more goes up to the keyhole, but once more discretion overcomes desire. He moves away ...


156 ... Kneeling on the lid of the bath, the man is having a confused and silent struggle with sarah who is struck dumb with terror,

Water spurts out, splashing the door.

157 Through S R AH’s eyes we see the man’s face.

Livid with bloodshot staring eyes, he opens his thing brownish mouth

in a grimace, displaying the sharp pointed fangs of the vampires.

158 He leans over the milk-white throat and slowly bites into her jugular vein.

159 After a last violent ,vrizr,ch sarah overwhelmed with pleasure

surrenders to the embrace of the vampire who with great .cps is sucking her blood


160 ,..alfred i5 ; o saint, :.~~t~.~,:” ~?1.~ s;??k~ hesitation he sticks his ~~,’~. •

. . ~



161 At first he can’t see exactly what is happening, but when the vampire, sated, turns his face towards the door, alfred sees the loathsome creature with its bloodstained mouth.


It’a2 alfred receives such a shock that all his muscles grow rigid.

Half paralysed he straightens up, His eyes starting out of his head, his mouth open for a yell which refuses to come, he goes up to the professor and hysterically shakes him,

163 abronsius wakes up with a shock, looks for his eye-glasses, but • can’t find them.

- 164 alfred waves his arms wildly around, pointing in every direction

at the same time, then crooking both forefingers in front of his mouth, he manages to stutter hoarsely:

“I ... I .... I saw him. I saw him. He ... he’s there, there. Here. He points towards the bathroom door.

165 abronsius rushes forward, knocks over a small table with a vase on it which breaks in pieces; and opens the bathroom door.

166 The room is empty.

A little blood is reddening the soapy froth. Snow is still falling through the open skylight.

“sarah!! r T,

A yell-causes abronsius and alfred to turn .around.

167 In nightshirt and nightcap chagal is standing behind them. He to has understood.

168 ‘He rushes to the window and opens it in a whirl of snow. At the risk of falling out he leans forward, spreading his arms as he cries, a humble suppliant, into the night:

“Your Excelle:
:c,, . your E xt”ellency von krolock . . .

give me back my daughter .. give her back to me.” He fails slowly

to his knees speaking more quietly as he :’‘r iT?~s his hands: “My


daughter . . . little ES; .. Excellency ... my little girl , . .

5 4

169 rebecca in turn appears and starts to weep with him, silent, accustomed as she is to disaster


170 abronsius paces up and down the room.

chagal is sitting in dumb misery, arms dangling, staring listlessly

• into space.

Standing next to him, one hand on his shoulder, rebecca hides her face with the other one.

Also present is the maid snivelling away in the background.

alfred, his head lowered, fists clenched, looks tough and resolute. The professor stops pacing.

171 He slaps his hand hard down on the manuscript several times, releasi little puffs of dust.

He stresses with conviction:

“Everything is here, everything.. You can read it. We can,’, we should, we must destroy them. “

“We must,” alfred answers, echoing him in dull tones,

172 abronsius planting himself in front of chagal speaks to him in a more gentle and persuasive fashion:

“Mr chagal, do you realise what’ he’s going to do?”

chagal doesn’t stir. abronsius goes on:

“Suck her, suck her, till he’s drained every drop of her

blood, ; V b;HY DROP! Can’t you understand?” He shouts in order

to get some reaction out of chagal. In view of the latter’s silence he continues:

“We could still save your daughter with a transfusion, if we rescue her at once. “

“I’ll give my blood,” alfred piIJes up rolling up his sleeve_

173 Bending over CHACAL and shaking him to and fro like a plum tre abronsius veils:


173 Continued

“Where is it? Where’s von krolock’s castle?”

174 “His Excellency’s castle?” CHACAL mumbLes.

Faced with a man of such obstinacy that he deems a “VuIgus Vampirum” to be an Excellency, ABRONSILJS can’t believe his ears.

A hand on his hip he straightens up:

175 “Do you hear AIfred. His Excellency’s.” he repeats

mimicking with irony a deep obeisance. (To chagal) “Poor wretch, if you call that Excellency, then what’s alfred I ask sou? Eh? (He searches fora comparable personage and finds one) A prince! That’s It, alfred’s a prince and I’m a Pope, “ tie shouts rather pleased with his happy turn of phrase. He becomes serious once more.

“Come on, let’s be serious, you’re not a child, garlic isn’t enough. You certainly put on a.good show, I will say. But good God you saw what happened ... Will you never get it into your head? Until we’ve destroyed the last one of them the danger will remain and the evil will spread.” After a silence he solemnly declares: “chagal, unless you help me, your daughter is going to die. And even when dead, for reasons which I still haven’t fathomed, she will go on living but ... without a soul. (He points at chagal) For her, you will no long€ be a father, nor you a mother, Madam. She will belong to the family of those creatures of the night, a monster amongst soul-less monsters unt The Day of Judgement.”

176 The force of his conviction makes abronsius perspire. He ends his tirade kneeling on the floor in front of CHACAL who has stilt not stirred an inch.

“Where’s the castle?” he implores.

177 chagal shakes his head in a gesture of powerlessness. Slowly he rises to his feet and goes out with rebecca.

178 “Sheer madness!” abronsius shouts slamming the door

in a rage..,


179 ... CHACAL stops in front of the door of sarah’s room.and, his hand shaking, gently opens it.

180 He gees in followed by his wife.


181 His eye roves over the familiar scene. Garlic hangs on the windowsill and all over the place,

SHAGAL picks up one of sarah’s dresses lying over an armchair, his hand grips the material. Suddenly, with resolution, he tears off a whole head of garlic, bites deeply into it and then masticates with a slow and pensive movement. of the jaws.


181a rebecca stands in the Inn doorway watching SHAGAL walking across the courtyard leaving to find sarah.


182 abronsius and alfred come into the big room of the inn illumined by the first rays of dawn.

183 Without a word they both sit down at the table on which there are two bowls and some large slices of black bread and butter.

184 After a moment rebecca appears, eyes red with weeping, She is carrying a big steaming coffee-pot.

“Mr Shagal. not up yet?” abronsius says in surprise. rebecca makes no reply, goes back to the kitchen.

185 The two men start to eat.

The sound of a sledge and horses drawing up in the yard is heard. A second later there is a banging at the door.

186 rebecca comes out of the kitchen, draws the great wooden bolt, opens up.

A big bearded WOODCUTTER is uneasily shuffling his feet as with his rough hands he fiddles with a fur cap. He makes way for her.

rebecca looks into the yard and darts out.

A few seconds later an agonizing scream rings out:

“YQINE ? r °”

187 abronsius and alfred jump up and rush out ... SCENE 45 EXT. DAY COURTYARD

188 ... Across some tree trunks placed on a woodcutter’s sledge lies a body covered with a piece of old sacking. The body is completely frozen, fixed in a grotesque attitude.


188 Continued

rebecca wildly clutches it, howling in her desperate grief.

THREE WOOfCTITTF,RS watch her as they fidget with their fur caps... SCENE 46 TNT. DAY INN MAIN ROOM

189 ... The three WOODCUTTERS preceded by rebecca and followed

by ABRONSITJS and alfred carry the body into the big room.

190 They carefully place chagal on a table on which he stays in the same strange twisted position.

191 RFBFCCA faits to her _knees. She bangs her forehead against the edge of the table which she is holding with both hands.

-192 The three WOÛDCTTTTF;RS step back and remain silent. ABRO ,SIDS slips on his eye-glasses, leans over chagal and inspects him.

193 On the dead man’s wrist holes caked with congealed blood can be seen.

The professor continues his examination. There are no marks on the throat but, pulling down the sock to the ankle, he finds other holes on the leg. alfred notices still more holes in the fat of the stomach which can be seen through a gap left by the rucked-up shirt.

“Look, alfred, they’ve drained him in the twinkling of an eye,” the .professor murmurs most impressed.

194 His words breaking the silence release the VOHDCYTTTFTS from their constraint so that they start to talk to one another, hypocrites in spite of the evidence.

“They are mighty fierce this winter,” says one. “Ought to organise a beat,” answers another.

“Found one in the forest with its throat slit,” continues the first one.

“Now they’ve taken to devouring each other,” adds the third.

“Poor old ChaŸ: ‘. to end up in the jaws of a wolf„ who’d nave thought it?”

• 29

195 “A wolf!” exclaims ABRONSTUS incensed by such stupidity,

“a wolf!’ ... you blind wretches! Open your eyes. You know perfectly well who has been at work.”

196 The three go hurriedly out.


197 In close-up hands are turning backwards and forwards a stake similar to the one alfred was examining in the small case.

“Stick it where.?” RRRF”rrA asks in quavering tones.

198 We now see that it is she, seated in front of the professor, who is holding the stake.

X99 The inn is shut up and silent. Night fails. CHACAL, his body now unfrozen and once again straight, still lies on the table under a sheet.

Lighted candles surround him.

“Stick it where?” rebecca repeats, dazed.

“Alas,” replies the emharra_ssed__AB_RONSIUS, “I’ve just explained it to you, Madam chagal. The body of Mr chagal is destroyed but one can save his soul. “

“With this?” rebecca asks with timid scepticsirn. “Yes. By sticking it in,” abronsius explains. “By sticking it in?” she says with surprise.



“In the heart. That’s according to the works of Alibori and my own researches, by the way, it is the only way. “ Carried away by his pet subject the professor adds, miming the action:

“Like this, in one go . . . `kVac’.t! “


199 Continued

In the heart! The works of Alibori ! In whose heart?” the wretched woman mutters bemused by grief and befuddled by the professor’s hazy explanations.

In reply AERONSflJS indicates chagal’s body with a movement of the chin. rebecca realises.

“Stick this! this’” she says raising the stake, Yoinets heart’” abronsius gravely nods his head.

“In Yoiné’s heart!... You hear Yoine, this swine wants to stick this junk in your heart ...Ha.. ha... ha... `` she yells leaping up like fury.

“I’ll stick it somewhere up you, you old goat, that I

abronsius scuttles out rapidly pursued by rebecca brandishing the stake.

SCENE 48 INT. NIGHT GUESTROOMI 200 The screen is black.

We hear the wail of the wind and, more clearly, the creak of floorboards on which someone is walking stealthily.

The camera pulls back.

We find this blackness is abronsius’ shadow projected on a wall.

The shadow holds a stake in its hand, places it level with the chest of a figure lying stretched out.

alfred’S shadow approaches, hesitant. It lifts an arm holding a hammer, brings it down hard.

There is a dull thud as the stake is driven in. alfred strikes again.

• 31

201 “Hell’s bells !” the professor curses. We see him sucking

his thumb, “if you can’t do better than that, we’ll never succeed, he moans. Sheepish, alfred, head lowered, daren’t look at his master and after fiddling with the hammer finally throws it out of sight, The hammer falls on a bed in their room: On this bed is a pillow in which a stake has been driven.


202 A hand with its thumb wrapped up in a handkerchief opens the door of the big room of the inn.

203 abronsius pushes his head cautiously round the door and slips in He carries the small case, alfred follows him.

204 The flickering candlelight illuminates the table where CILAGA L lies under the sheet.

2’205 Silent and resolute abronsius goes up to the counter, puts down the case, slips on his glasses and opens it

206 alfred watches his action with sweat on his forehead and anguish in his heart.

His legs are limp as he looks in the direction of the body on which the “operation” is to take place.

207 It seems as though the sheet gives an irnn¢rrp i’ihle stir where one of chagal’s hands is placed.

208 alfred’S eyes blink.

209 Perhaps it’s only the effect of a shadow fluttering under the flickering candlelight?

210 He takes one step nearer, one only, bends down and from a safe distance stares at the sheet while the professor rummages in his case. Not a movement. Just an optical illusion. He turns round to watch the professor.

211 At this moment CHACAL slowly raises himself, The sheet falls off revealing his face. The mouth twisted in a grimace displays the two fangs of a vampire.

With bloodshot eyes he stares at the pair and sits down on the edge of the table,

212 alfred turns round ho’::,ir,- the hammer the professor thrust

into his hands.


212 Continued

A scream rises from his. throat,

213 abronsius leaps forward, flourishing the stake. Too late. Already CI-IAGAL agile as a cat, has rushed to the trap-door leading to the cellar. He opens it, vanishes, shuts it down:

214 abronsius tugs at the handle but his efforts only lift it a few inches.

215 We see chagal’s arms covered with bites Hanging on fiercely he

resists the pressure with his whole weig The trap-door clamps down violently, t

216 alfred comes to the rescue.

“One ... two a .. three, ‘’ the professor says, They give a pull. Instantly, with no effort, the trap-door opens_ CHACAL is

no longer on the other side. The two sprawl over backwards


217 abronsius and alfred are descending the last rungs of the

/adder leading to the cellar. It is small and cluttered up with all kinds of stuff. On the right: a store of candles, sacks, ropes, etc.

On the left hangs a large piece of sackcloth.

213 Stake in hand ABRONSTUS scrutinises the semi-darkness, alfred holding up the hammer does likewise,

219 ABRONSTUS points out a bulge in the sackcloth which gives a slight

quiver. He goes up quietly, places the stake where CRAG A L’s heart should be, beckons to alfred to strike.

220 The latter shuts his eyes, strikes with all his force.

A huge stream of red liquid gushes out, blinding them both so that they spin round.

221 abronsius stumbles, catches hold of the sackcloth which falls on him and alfred. Behind the sackcloth barrels of wine are piled up lying leng h”,vise

222 The stake has been driven into one of these: The wine goes on flowing onto the sackcloth under ,, hic : they are entangled gesticulating.



223 We now see chagal crouching inside an empty barrel placed upright. The barrel which was pierced by the stake has been drained dry. The one above it, now much heavier, pushes it aside, rolls forward, falls and stops on top of chagal’s hiding-place,

224 The violence of the shock bursts the bung out, causing the wine to gush out and fill the barrel of chagal who doesn’t dare to get out .. .

225 ... Reeling and staggering, abronsius and alfred manage to

extricate themselves from the sackcloth soaked heavy with wine.

226 They just have time to see chagal vanish through a vent lit up by the moonlight,

227 The professor manifestly thinks that the operation has misfired, besides which, like alfred, he is drunk,

He sits down heavily on a rung. “Muffed it,” he hiccups.

“Did the old barrel in, “ alfred giggles.

“Not bad, this little wine, “ ABRONSI JS observes after sucking his moustache.

A scream off terror rings out somewhere i the inn. Gripping A i,FRF.Dts. neck abronsius painfully rises.


228 With a kick chagal smashes into fragments a window-pane of the maid’s room. Dripping with red wine, his drenched hair hanging in wisps, he sways perilously on the ledge.

229 Terrified, huddled against the head of her bed, magda claws at

the wall behind, her eyes still watching chagal.

230 He lands on the floor with a thud.

Finally the maid’s hand finds the crucifix on the wall.

chagal lurches forward, mouth open, fangs gleaming, sight.

She brandishes the crucifix_


• ~4V

230 Continued

chagal still advancing sneers in a thick slurred voice:

“That .. , that trick wont work with old chagal ..: Oyyy’ ... hic ... have you ... got the wrong ... vampire.


In Indian file rebecca, abronsius and alfred bob up from the little staircase onto the attic floor:

The professor and his disciple bump into each other,

232 All three go into the maid’s room ,

“I thought so?” the professor declares as he looks at the shattered open window.

411 “so did-I,” alfred says wanting to make himself useful.

abronsius leans over magda. She is lying sheet pulled right up, silent and immobile.

233 Quite the professional he pushes her chin up with his finger-tips, gently brushes her hair aside. Blood is coming from two red incisions on her throat.

234 abronsius takes a deep breath and starts to address rebecca°

“Madam Jackal:
Sorry, chagal ... my pupil and I have to get down to work_ But I must ask fur your help First let’s block up the window,” On these words he starts, straining painfully, to push the wardrobe right in front of the window. “Good,” he says out of breath. “Next we need garlic, garlic everywhere.”

“Everywhere, ‘ alfred confirms.

“And some crucifixes, I’ll lend you a few.”

The maid stifles a little laugh, unbeknown to them, at the mention of the word crucifix.

A BRONSIL’S continues:

r`I shall see to the transiu tun to-morrow is e.vervthin

clear`” he asks pu tir,_; un his c ‘e

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Roman Polanski and Gerard Brach

Gérard Brach (23 July 1927 – 9 September 2006) was a French screenwriter best known for his collaborations with the film directors Roman Polanski and Jean-Jacques Annaud. At the beginning of the 1970s he twice directed the movies La Maison and The Boat on the Grass. more…

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Submitted on June 06, 2017

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