Gerald (Edward de Souza) and Marianne Harcourt (Jennifer Daniel), are a honeymooning couple in early 20th-century Bavaria who become caught up in a vampire cult led by Dr. Ravna (Noel Willman) and his two children Carl (Barry Warren) and Sabena (Jacquie Wallis). The cult abducts Marianne, and contrive to make it appear that Harcourt was traveling alone and that his wife never existed. Harcourt gets help from hard-drinking savant Professor Zimmer (Clifford Evans), who lost his daughter to the cult and who finally destroys the vampires through an arcane ritual that releases a swarm of bats from hell.Clifford Evans as Professor Zimmer
Noel Willman as Dr. Ravna
Edward de Souza as Gerald Harcourt
Jennifer Daniel as Marianne Harcourt
Barry Warren as Carl Ravna
Brian Oulton as 1st disciple
Noel Howlett as Father Xavier
Jacquie Wallis as Sabena Ravna
Peter Madden as Bruno
Isobel Black as Tania
Vera Cook as Anna
John Harvey as Police sergeant
Originally intended to be the third movie in Hammer's Dracula series (which began with 1958's Dracula with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, and was followed by 1960's The Brides of Dracula with Cushing alone), it was another attempt by Hammer to make a Dracula sequel without Christopher Lee. The final script, by Anthony Hinds, makes no reference to "Dracula," and expands further on the directions taken in Brides by portraying vampirism as a social disease afflicting those who choose a decadent lifestyle. The film went into production on 7 September 1962 at Bray Studios.
This is the only credited feature film screen role of Jacquie Wallis, who plays Sabena.
The film's climax, involving black magic and swarms of bats, was originally intended to be the ending of The Brides of Dracula, but the star of that film, Peter Cushing, objected that Van Helsing would never resort to black sorcery. In fact, the paperback novelization of Brides does use this ending.
Retitled Kiss of Evil for American TV, Universal trimmed so much of the original film for its initial television screening that more footage had to be shot to fill the missing time. Additional characters that didn't appear at all in the original release were added, creating a whole new subplot. Every scene that showed blood was edited out, e.g. the pre-credits scene in which blood gushes from the coffin of Zimmer's daughter after he plunges a shovel into it. Also, in the televised version it is never revealed what Marianne sees behind the curtain, a sight which makes her scream. A couple of the cuts result in scenes that no longer makes sense: while the theatrical release had Harcourt smearing the blood on his chest into a cross-shaped pattern (keeping the vampires away as he escapes), the televised version omits the blood-smearing, leaving the vampires' inaction unexplained.
The additional footage shot for the televised version revolves around a family who argue about the influence of the vampiric Ravna clan, but never interact with anybody else in the movie. The teenage daughter throws over her boyfriend in favor of Carl Ravna (unseen in these scenes) who has given her a music box which plays the same hypnotic tune that he plays on the piano elsewhere in the movie. The middle-aged parents are played by Carl Esmond and Virginia Gregg (who gained fame by voicing Mother in three of the Psycho films), while their teenage daughter is played by Sheila Welles.
In North America, the film was released on 6 September 2005 along with seven other Hammer horror films--The Brides of Dracula, Nightmare, The Evil of Frankenstein, The Curse of the Werewolf, Paranoiac, Night Creatures, The Phantom of the Opera--on the 4-DVD set The Hammer Horror Series (ASIN: B0009X770O), which is part of MCA-Universal's Franchise Collection. This set was re-released on Blu-ray on 13 September 2016.