Vampyres is an English film with a Spanish director and it has that certain European sensibility that shows serene indifference to the how and why of many things. So we spent a lot of time afterward pondering what exactly was supposed to have happened. Let's stick with some facts on screen.
Ted (Murray Brown) tries to meet cute with Fran (Marianne Morris), not knowingthat a fate like this guy's (below) may await him.
John and Harriet are an objective element in the story that complicate any attempt to figure out what's happening. There are hints dropped throughout the picture, including a comment at the end about "the criminal returning to the scene of the crime" that lead Wendigo to suspect that Ted is either the man who killed Fran and Miriam or perhaps a reincarnation of the same. But neither Fran nor Miriam betray any knowledge of Ted as their killer and are interested in killing him later only to prevent him from reporting their racket to the police. The ending is vague enough to leave an "it was all a dream" option open, but that would require Ted's dream to take the form of the movie Vampyres as we see it, including the scenes with John and Harriet long before Ted meets them. That seems unlikely but it isn't impossible. In simplest terms, Ted is a man with a mysterious past who has a mysterious experience. As for Harriet and Fran's recognition of her, and Harriet's superior awareness of the vampyres, Wendigo has no clue whatsoever.
Everyone's a critic. Fran contemplates Harriet (Sally Faulkner, left) and her artwork.
So how are Fran and Miriam vampires? Wendigo explains that murder victims traditionally were liable to return as vampires because they died unconfessed, through no fault of their own. But not every murder victim starts sucking blood, so perhaps the women's presumably adulterous, definitely sinful affair may explain their "curse." Of course, once you read enough folklore you'll realize that there are way too many ways you can become a vampire, and the Vampyres method is a relatively reasonable one. Otherwise, they're bound by folklore only by their implicit invisibility in mirrors and their apparent torpor after glutting themselves, while their apparent need to reach their graves by dawn (complicated by said glutting) is a vampire rule that dates back only to F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu. Another arguably folkloric element is the way watches and clocks stop at Fran and Miriam's house, which could also encourage a "dream" interpretation of events.
As for their being lesbian vampires, Vampyres differs from the Hammer "Karnstein" films, as Wendigo remembers them, in establishing that our protagonists were lesbians before they were vampires. Lesbianism and vampirism seemed like a good match at the time, with censorship going by the boards, as representations of female transgression and dangerous sexual power. It evokes male fear of modern succubi, sexually liberated and insatiable women whom men cannot please without possibly sacrificing all their vital powers. Of course, misfit that I am, I was rooting for Fran and Miriam all the way through the picture. Wendigo isn't as much of a girl-girl fan as I am, and isn't usually keen on the mix of sex and horror, but he thinks that Larraz mixed the two fairly well, especially by emphasizing how crazed and feral the ladies get when they feed on blood. Morris and Anulka convey quite effectively both the animalistic and erotic aspect of their bloodlust. Wendigo adds that their bloodlust could be partly explained by the especially bloody manner of their demise, as if they're perpetually trying to get back the blood they'd lost
Writing the still-mysterious elements of the story off as "dream logic," Wendigo thinks Vampyres is a well-done blend of European-style eroticism and traditional gothic horror. The loose ends do nag at him simply because he'd like a settled idea of Ted's backstory, not to mention the significance (if any) of Harriet, but the direction, cinematography and lead performances are good enough to outweigh his objections. Larraz has made a nicely atmospheric film with great locations and sets that Wendigo can recommend to horror fans in general, not just erotic-horror buffs.
Here's a trailer, uploaded to YouTube by DarkScoreReviews.