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|Index||70 reviews in total|
I was very curious to see this film after having heard so many things about it! And indeed, "Vampyros Lesbos" even exceeded my expectations! Loaded with symbolic language, an almost dream-like atmosphere, unusual camera angles, a fantastic score and some Franco typical lesbian soft sex the Spanish director created an absolute masterpiece of Europe´s early 1970s sleazy cinema. Both main actresses Soledad Miranda and Ewa Strömberg are excellent in the lead and maybe one of the hottest lesbian couples ever brought on the screen. Some people may find it boring, cheap and eventless, but "Las Vampiras" is not a film you should watch about story or suspense! It is a brilliant mixture of art and trash, and I was truly surprised what great film it is after having seen so many different works of the director. This gem is a pure trip into surreality: Wonderful! Psychedelic! Watch it and LIVE!
Jesus Franco's 1970 VAMPYROS LESBOS (inexplicably titled above "El Signo del
vampiro") is the masterpiece of all Euro-exploitation genres. You can swoon
over the Greenaway lighting in SUSPIRIA; you can thrill to the comic-book
metaphysics of THE BEYOND; a few solitary freaks might smack their chops
over CANNIBAL FEROX. But the Big Mama, the 2001 or INTOLERANCE of the
litter, is Franco's fever-dreamy Z movie, a dusted-out collage of St. Tropez
glamour, poisonous softcore sex, platter-party lounge music gone Satanic,
and more crazy zooms than the entire body of martial-arts movies
Franco has made more movies than probably any other living filmmaker, and there's something intuitive and inspired in each of them. But in none of his other works did he so perfectly combine what he learned, in his zonked-out way, from his masters (Resnais, Antonioni and especially Welles), and his own lurid, kick-addicted, grade-Z technique. This movie isn't just for B-movie weirdos; hardcore Tarkovsky fiends might find themselves after fifteen minute saying, "God...I kind of like this...what's happening to me?"
After missing it a couple of times on TV (one of them in the guise of
the shorter and 'clothed' Spanish version) and thinking about picking
up the DVD in either region on several occasions, I finally managed to
sit down and watch (via the now-OOP R1 DVD from Synapse) what is
perhaps Jess Franco's best-known film. Not having been particularly
bowled over by either of the two Soledad Miranda films I had watched
until now EUGENIE DE SADE (1970; though this is one I need to watch
again) and SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY (1970) I was surprised by how much I
actually enjoyed VAMPYROS LESBOS. The reasons for this are many and
varied and, all in all, I'd say it is without a doubt one of Franco's
most enduring and impressive works.
As most of you probably know already, the film is based on nothing less than that vampiric chestnut Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' which Franco had already filmed a year before and in which VAMPYROS' leading lady, Soledad Miranda, had also appeared! Not having watched that particular adaptation, I cannot say which 'version' is the more successful but, in the case of VAMPYROS LESBOS, Franco certainly imbues it with an overwhelming visual style (which goes hand in hand with a bizarre and intoxicating soundtrack) that almost encourages one to overlook its deficiencies which, being a Franco film, it could hardly fail to be without!
From the very first shot, the film weaves a haunting and dream-like mood (which is, for the most part, effortlessly sustained throughout) that is as indescribable as it is hard to shake off. Frankly, this is what Franco is all about to me: counting Luis Bunuel as my favorite film-maker, I cannot but admire the ingenuity (coupled sometimes with naivete) with which Franco pulls off this surreal 'trip' of a film memorable images abound in VAMPYROS LESBOS, many of them allegorical, elliptical, or just plain weird that, in its own way, also manages to be a remarkably effective spin on Stoker's 'old' vampire tale. In fact, the film's updating/jettisoning of the 'established' vampire myths (a modern beach-house replacing the old family castle and decked out with fish-nets rather than cobwebs; instead of sunlight having a deadly effect on the vampire, we get to admire her while sunbathing and skinny-dipping though the method of disposing of her remains through incredibly violent means) is surely one of its most endearing aspects. Apart from this, not only is the vampire herself (like the nymphomaniac in SINNER  driven through rape towards lesbianism) as much taken with her victim as one expects it to be the other way around, but also we have what passes for the traditional 'vampire hunter' (Dennis Price's Dr. Seward) actively wanting to go to 'the other side' (the confrontation scene between the two, which takes place in the lobby of his clinic, is masterfully handled except for one embarrassingly amateurish moment when Price is made to slink down the stairs when he should be running for his life!), whereas the vampire's henchman (named Morpho, no less) is not the expected creepy-looking hulk if still a mute but rather a lanky thug in a suit, sporting cool shades and a pistol (not to mention being secretly enamored of his Mistress)! And then there's Jess Franco himself, in a quite revealing bit, as a crazed sadist (foreshadowing perhaps his Vogel of EXORCISM )
Of course, the film would not have worked quite as well without the beguiling presence of Soledad Miranda who dominates every scene she's in, be it the various tantalizing night-club acts (surely among the finest set-pieces in a Franco film, and several of them feature this type of scene though we are never told quite why she should be doing them, being a Countess and all!) that we see her perform or the utterly graceful and totally natural manner in which she lures our understandably confused heroine (Ewa Stroemberg) into her particular 'way of life', away from her boyfriend and the routine which governs her 'normal' existence. As has been promised by the title, we get to see a lot of female nudity a Franco trademark, if ever there was one but since the plot deals with an obsessive relationship (not only Miranda and Stroemberg's but also Heidrun Kussin's Renfield-like 'infatuation' with the former), it does not feel over-emphasized here and, in any case, is really quite tame considering the director's standards of even a few years later.
The film's basic plot is wafer-thin ('padded' by numerous repeated actions and images) which, coupled with its necessarily languid pace, induces a sense of drowsiness in the viewer; this, however, is not a detriment to the film at all, as this quality is also to be found in the work of even the major art-house film-makers (I felt entranced in much the same way, for example, while watching Robert Bresson's A MAN ESCAPED  recently a film possibly admired by Franco himself, seeing that it's referenced at the start of THE DIABOLICAL DOCTOR Z ).
For those of you who are interested, I would like to point you in the direction of an excellent analytical study of the film which lies at the heart of a lengthy article about five Jess Franco movies from the 1970s written by Maximilian Le Cain that was published in the 'Senses of Cinema' online journal. Here's the relevant link:
Immediately after watching the DVD, to my horror I discovered that both VAMPYROS LESBOS and SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY are to be re-issued next year (by a different company, Image) and that these will most probably use the reportedly superior transfers that were available for Second Sight's impossibly expensive (for my tastes, being blind purchases and all) R2 discs. Well, I'm actually thankful I paid less than $12 (shipping included) for VAMPYROS whereas I managed to acquire ECSTASY in a perfectly acceptable VHS dub. Depending on the extras not that Image has shown itself too generous in this department thus far, at least where Franco is concerned I may eventually upgrade these two fun Franco flicks featuring the lovely, talented (and ultimately tragic) legend that was Soledad Miranda!
'Vampyros Lesbos' is one of the high points of 1970s exploitation movies.
This movie has something for everybody! Vampires, gratuitous nudity
(especially memorable from the stunningly beautiful and ill fated Soledad
Miranda), violence, pretentious symbolism, some aesthetically pleasing
scenery and camera work, all bound together by one of the most unique
genre-busting rock scores ever, chock full of fuzz guitars and electric
The legendary Jess Franco has made more cult movies than the mind can conceive of, but this must surely stand out as one of the most artistically successful of his career. 'Vampyros Lesbos' manages to juggle sex, art, trash and horror, and impresses on every level. A truly wondrous movie! Don't miss this one (uncut, natch) if you get the chance!
Vampyros Lesbos is actually my first Jes(u)s Franco film. And I was
stunned, very surprised. I was like expecting a cheesy European
sex-horror film, and o'boy was I wrong, and thanks for that! For
Vampyros Lesbos is actually a weird little art-house film, whit a lot
of surrealism. And that's maybe why this film has such a bad rating on
IMDb, people (like me) thought that it was a horror vampire flick, but
get a art-house film instead. For this film probably won't appeal to
most hardcore horror fanatics. It's all about soul and atmosphere, like
the Hammer films, so if you like them, than Vampyros Lesbos is gold.
The stars of Vampyros Lesbos Soledad Miranda and Ewa Strömberg are both
great, and plays theirs roles with big credibility. And it's really not
hard to see why Soledad became such cult star either, she is
phenomenal. I also have to mention the ultra cool soundtrack made by
the groovy German duo Manfred Hubler and Sigfried Schwab. Really great
soundtrack, one of the music segments in the film were actually used by
Tarantino in Jackie Brown.
I liked this film, and I will give it a 8 out of 10. I also looking forward to see more from Franco in the nearest future.
This has got to be one of the most surreal films ever made. The film brilliantly combines weird art-house imagery with sexadelic soft-core to create a genuinly original film, full of strange gothic colours and futuristic, freefall visuals. The eerie soundtrack of spacey synths and sexy piano sleeze brilliantly captures Linda's confusion as she enters the world of the mysterious Countess. This film is quite unlike anything else you have seen before.
Linda Westinghouse(Ewa Stromberg)travels to a small island in Turkey to help Countess Nadine Carody(beautiful Soledad Miranda)complete an inheritance from Dracula's.The Countess turns out to be someone appearing in her dreams.But the Countess is a vampire and seduces Linda and drinks her blood."Las Vampiras"/"Vampyros Lesbos" is really a soft-core lesbian take on "Dracula".The film is filled with hallucinatory atmosphere and sensuality,so fans of violent exploitation may be disappointed.Jesus Franco plays a creepy hotel worker who likes to take women down into the basement.The soundtrack is pretty groovy-I liked it a lot.Overall,"Vampyros Lesbos" is a masterpiece and a must-see for fans of sleazy horror.
This eurohorror classic by Jess Franco stars Soledad Miranda as Countess Nadine Carody, a wealthy recluse who strips at a club in Istanbul. Ewa Strömberg plays a woman who is strangely drawn to the Countess. Nadine appears in Linda's dreams, beckoning her. Linda is then sent to the Nadine's island on a business assignment. The film follows the course of the strange romance between Linda and Nadine. Linda falls under Nadine's spell and a living nightmare soon begins. This film mixes dream and reality in a terrific way. Franco appears as Memmet, a sadistic killer. Soledad is absolutely fantastic in this movie. She's very low-key, yet totally captivating all the same. You'll wish you could be possessed by her! Franco's direction involves crazy zoom shots, interspersed footage of insects (with a scorpion that perhaps is meant to mirror the Countess), and a funky pop-art style. The psychedelic music used throughout the movie was written by Manfred Hübler and Siegfried Schwab. Despite its European success, Vampyros Lesbos never received distribution in the United States. It was long considered the Holy Grail of the European lesbian vampire genre. It was a renaissance in interest in Jess Franco, as well as the chart-topping success of the soundtrack in the '90s, that brought the film back into attention. A must-see for anyone into Soledad Miranda, Jess Franco, or vampire movies!
it's not only another sleazy sexploitation horror of the 70's. it's much more, with its eerie soundtrack and stunning visuals, edited in the manner that would become a trademark in the 80's and later for such visual masters as kubrick and scott, or maybe lynch rather. the plot may be a bit cheesy, but i think it's not the plot that matters - the main language fraco speaks here is the visual pop-art-esque language (today might be rather regarded as 'post-modern'). and the hypnotic performance by soledad miranda is worth remembering forever as well. it's a franco masterpiece, way ahead of its time. a must see!
Not much happens in this movie. Like most Franco films, it features
scenes that are slow and extended, with cliché situations. Its saving
grace is that it reflects the dreams and hallucinations of the
woman/victim, so the elongated scenes have a dreamlike quality which is
effective and sometimes seductive. The violence is restrained, some
blood here and there. Although I dislike gore, I did wish the horror
element was played up more.
I enjoyed the musical score, uniquely psychedelic. It had some success as a dance reissue in the mid 90s. Soledad Miranda is incredibly beautiful. To me, watching her is reason enough to go through this film. Her strip tease scene is very unique, and fortunately gets repeated in the film. Her looks are beguiling in every one of her seduction scenes. Otherwise the movie is an average mixed bag.
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