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Review: ‘Therapy for a Vampire’ strikes a vein of Freudian fun

Jeanette Hain in "Therapy for a Vampire."
(Petro Domenigg / Music Box Films)

“Therapy for a Vampire” may not pay off on its promising title, but this spoofy trifle still offers its fair share of diversions. Writer-director David Rühm enjoyably mines every vampire trope in the book to spin this Mel Brooksian-lite tale of thwarted romance, psychobabble, vanity, envy and the pursuit of plasma, set in 1932 Vienna.

The bloodsucker-on-the-couch here is one Count Geza von Közsnöm (Tobias Moretti), a dashing, centuries-old Transylvanian who informs a rather obtuse Sigmund Freud (Karl Fischer) that he no longer has “a thirst for life.” The Count’s blues are due largely to hating his longtime vampire wife, Elsa (Jeanette Hain), and missing his former lover, Nadila, who died literally ages ago.

Meanwhile, portrait painter — and Freud’s assistant — Viktor (Dominic Oley) is on the outs with independent-minded girlfriend Lucy (Cornelia Ivancan) who it turns out is a dead ringer for Nadila. This coincidence, which does not go unnoticed by the Count, sets off a nutty wave of twists and turns and several brief romantic entanglements.

Although amusing and filled with many well-timed comic bits, especially by the deft Moretti, the movie loses some of its farcical steam en route and suffers from a diffused point of view. Whose story is it really: the Count’s, Viktor’s or Lucy’s?

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In addition, Freud goes curiously missing for far too long. There is, however, enough Freudian symbolism on display to fill quite a few intriguing therapy sessions. Still, this is fun stuff.

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‘Therapy for a Vampire’

Not rated

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Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Playing: Landmark Nuart Theatre, West Los Angeles


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