DISCOVER--the best of Lina Romay, actress

Lina Romay was the leading lady/wife/muse of prolific exploitation filmmaker Jess Franco (all the films below, with the exception of Rolls Royce Baby and Mi Conejo es el Mejor, are Franco films directed under his numerous variety of pseudonyms).

She was a stunning, dark-eyed, dark-haired, girlish Spanish beauty, and completely uninhibited, often appearing naked and frequently in explicit sex scenes. But make no mistake, she could act. Her IMDB photo unfairly shows her near the end of her days, when in fact she did her best and most well-known work in her teens and twenties, the image most fans would recognise. She made her first appearance in 1972's Erotic Rites of Frankenstein, in a bit part as a gypsy girl, although these were inserts not in all prints, and eventually appeared in over one hundred films, almost all of them for horror and porn schlockmeister Franco. This list is in no way complete (I'm still chasing many of her films), but these are some of her more striking appearances, in chronological order.
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1.
Female Vampire (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
A beautiful female vampire lures men to their doom. (82 mins.)
Director: J.P. Johnson
“ Place-holder to secure a picture for the list. The listings begin below. ” - jonabbott56
 
2.
Tender and Perverse Emanuelle (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.6/10 X  
A Whodunit from the great! The investigation into the suicide of a young woman found dead at the bottom of a cliff uncovers many lovers of both sexes... (75 mins.)
Director: J.P. Johnson
“ Typical slice of 1970s sleaze, unintentionally hilarious and brazenly retitled to exploit the Emmanuelle phenomenon, two frequent attributes of Jess Franco films. It's laughable melodramatic twaddle, an appalling script badly acted by uncharismatic actors, but Romay shines, even at this early stage in her career and cursed with dreadful dubbing. One to watch with the sound down. ” - jonabbott56
 
3.
Female Vampire (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
A beautiful female vampire lures men to their doom. (82 mins.)
Director: J.P. Johnson
“ Romay's first leading role and significant part, and a debut not to be underestimated! Romay plays the title role, emerging from the mists in cape, belt, thigh-high boots, and little else... ” - jonabbott56
 
4.
Plaisir à trois (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
After her recent release from a deep psychiatric care institution, a Libertine-styled countess goes back to her very evil ways and fixes her eyes on a pretty girl with the intention to destroy her after fully corrupting her body and soul. (80 mins.)
Director: Clifford Brown
“ Otherwise known as How to Seduce a Virgin, this was made before, and back to back with Countess Perverse, using virtually the same cast. Franco was on fire during this period, and both the film and Romay look great. ” - jonabbott56
 
5.
La comtesse perverse (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Two wealthy aristocrats lure a virginal girl to a Spanish island for a night of sex, death and cannibalism. (87 mins.)
Director: Clifford Brown
“ Naked again, Romay is pursued all over a Mediterranean island by the equally naked Alice Arno as the huntress of humans in the title. Hot stuff. ” - jonabbott56
 
6.
Lorna the Exorcist (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A man is tormented by an ex-lover, Lorna, who posseses a strange power over a women, including the man's daughter. (81 mins.)
Director: Clifford Brown
“ Not the Romay film now known as Exorcism, this is in fact the bizarre Lorna the Exorcist, a curious Faustian yarn that exposes her considerable acting talents as extensively as her body. ” - jonabbott56
 
7.
Women Behind Bars (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  
A small-time hood brings the attention of the law with an insurance scam and diamond theft, but things... (75 mins.)
Director: A.M. Frank
“ One of her lesser women-in-prison films, I suspect the DVD illustrated is perhaps incomplete. ” - jonabbott56
 
8.
L'éventreur de Notre-Dame (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  
A madman conducts a private inquisition to exorcise demons by torturing women to death. (95 mins.)
“ Better known as Exorcism, this film rarely appears in the same cut twice, but is a hilariously loopy mad killer yarn, with Franco himself as the perpetrator, a prudish religious nut driven to distraction by spying on our Lina's lesbian antics with a bunch of pseudo-Satanists. Seriously silly. ” - jonabbott56
 
9.
Rolls-Royce Baby (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  
The "Rolls-Royce Baby" is an irresistible Erotic Diva who rides around in a Rolls-Royce in search for simulated sex with strangers. She is chauffeured by the great and multi-talented Eric. (84 mins.)
Director: Michael Thomas
“ Laughable Emannuelle clone with hilarious dialogue. An Erwin Dietrich film made without Franco, but the scene with the truckers is a stand-out. ” - jonabbott56
 
10.
Die Marquise von Sade (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.0/10 X  
A lonely aristocrat Miss Gray has a twin sister who's in an asylum. They share a strange bond. Miss... (79 mins.)
Director: Jesús Franco
“ Better known as Doriana Gray. For admirers only. ” - jonabbott56
 
11.
Barbed Wire Dolls (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  
Women's prison tale, with Lina Romay as Maria who is jailed after killing her father, played by director Jess Franco, who tries to rape her. Lesbian wardens, torture, nudity, sex, insanity and conspiracy round out the formula. (90 mins.)
Director: Jess Franco
“ More popularly known as Barbed Wire Dolls, or Frauengefangnis. Also features the eye-popping attributes of Marina Stedil. One of the best WIPs. ” - jonabbott56
 
12.
Wanda, the Wicked Warden (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  
Ilsa, now a vicious warden, runs a mental-hospital for young women. A girl deliberately "checks" in... (95 mins.)
Director: Jesús Franco
“ Better known as Ilsa the Wicked Warden. Romay is on the other side of the fence here, as a collaborator, and looks stunning with her new pixie-cut hair. One of her best performances. Watch her eyes, but most of all, watch the cat-fight in the showers. Mee-yow--ow! Worth enduring the hideous Dyanne Thorne for... ” - jonabbott56
 
13.
Women Without Innocence (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  
Margarita, the only witness of a brutal murder, has temporary amnesia due to shock. She's sent to a psychiatric clinic where a masked man rapes her and kills another woman. She must piece her memory back together before he returns. (76 mins.)
Director: Jesús Franco
“ Better known as Wicked Women. A routine murder mystery and brightly-lit pulp fiction that misses almost all its numerous opportunities. ” - jonabbott56
 
14.
“ Bonkers spy caper, not much to see, but fun to watch. ” - jonabbott56
 
15.
Les filles de Copacabana (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  
(95 mins.)
Director: Jesús Franco
“ A feel good film from Jess Franco? Whatever next? Teen holiday romp with much hiding under beds and behind sofas, but not enough nudity, the delightful Nadine Pascal providing the exception. ” - jonabbott56
 
16.
Mi conejo es el mejor (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.0/10 X  
The story begins as Lina in school uniform, fondled by another student. When the guard catches them... (94 mins.)
“ Romay, a little heavier here as she nears her thirties, still gets away with portraying a runaway from a juvenile detention centre who escapes into the night and falls into the clutches of a sado-masochistic sugar daddy. It has its moments. ” - jonabbott56
 
17.
Gemidos de placer (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
A Man (Mayans) invites a Woman (Romay) to his house to live with him, just before the arrival of his wife (Vela) who is coming back from the insane asylum. (86 mins.)
Director: Jesús Franco
“ A perpetual succession of attractive sex scenes wrapped in a thin murder mystery plot thinly based on How to Seduce a Virgin, with Woods and Romay once more in attendance. Not bad. ” - jonabbott56
 
18.
Night Has a Thousand Desires (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
A telepathic nightclub act becomes the backdrop for murder. (92 mins.)
Director: Jess Franco
“ Romay, looking great, falls under the hypnotic spell of a murderous hypnotist. Routine sex scenes, plenty of nudity. ” - jonabbott56
 
19.
La mansión de los muertos vivientes (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  
A group of vacationing waitresses visit a resort hotel on the Canary Islands, only to find that the former monastery's monks nearby have returned as living blind dead. (97 mins.)
Director: Jess Franco
“ Disastrous as the horror film it's supposed to be, but plenty of eye candy from the four girls, with Romay under a silly blonde bob wig and--while still very desirable--looking a bit heavier again. Slightly plumper now, and often wearing the blonde wig, Romay appeared in Franco's 1980s films often inexplicably billed as Candy Coster. By now, she and Franco were making hard-core versions of many of their films, and in some cases, hard-core only. Romay was still stripping off in Franco's increasingly unimpressive films in the '90s and 2000s, alongside actresses half her age. She cared for Franco right up until her death in 2012, and bereft, Franco himself passed away a year later.


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Obsessed with the popular culture of the 1960s and surrounding decades, Jon Abbott has been writing about film and TV for over thirty years in around two dozen different publications, trade, populist, and specialist. He is the author of several books, including

Irwin Allen Television Productions 1964-1970,
Stephen J. Cannell Television Productions: A History of All Series and Pilots,
The Elvis Films,
Cool TV of the 1960s: Three Shows That Changed the World,
and Strange New World: Sex Films of the 1970s.

See his Amazon author's page, and his other lists on the IMDB, all under the pre-fix DISCOVER. ” - jonabbott56