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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.
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.
In the Madeira Island, the mute Countess Irina Karlstein is the last descendant of the evil Karlstein vampire family. She lives with her also mute servant and seems to be nymphomaniac, seeking for sex most of the time without satisfaction. Irina likes oral sex with men and women to suck off not only semen, but apparently also blood, killing her male and female lovers. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Jess Franco's erotic twist on the vampire legend has Lina Romay playing Countess Irina, the last member of a vampire family who plans on ending the legacy. A troubled journalist (Anna Watican) shows up to interview Irina and soon the vampire is putting a spell on her. This film is available in three different versions. A hardcore one, which I've watched before, a horror version and a softcore version, which is being reviewed here. The difference in this take on the vampire legend is that Romay doesn't suck the blood out of the neck but instead sucks the semen out of you know where. When you talk to Franco fans about this film you'll usually start a heated debate but to me this is one of the directors best films. The opening, with Romay, naked of course, walking through a fog filled forest, really sets the tone for the film, which also includes a terrific and haunting score by Daniel White. Romay plays a mute in the film and I think this is one of her best performances because she's able to display a sadness that really works for the film. It doesn't hurt matters that she walks around completely naked throughout the movie and this beauty is certainly her in prime shape. This softcore version is certainly more erotic than horror but this is just fine as I find the movie to be incredibly sexy. There's a nearly ten minute lesbian scene between Romay and the reporter, which is extremely hot. Franco himself as well as Jack Taylor, Alice Arno and Monica Swinn has supporting roles and all add fine work (although it's hard to tell with some of the English dubbing). This version runs a tad bit too long at 101-minutes but if you get caught up in the dream like nature of the film then you really are seeing one of the more unique sexploitation films out there. I've seen the XXX version, which is just downright ugly and kills the beauty of the original film but I'm still trying to seek out the horror version and will hopefully come upon it sometime soon.
Female Vampire (1973) Horror version
*** (out of 4)
I finally managed to get a copy of this alternate version of Female Vampire, which is better known as Erotikill or The Bare Breasted Countess. This is certainly a new film and really separates itself from the better known "sex" versions, which also contains another alternate version with XXX scenes. In this horror version everything is basically the same story wise with the major exception being that Countess Irina (Lina Romay) sucks blood and not other things. The differences in this version are quite major and the biggest is that this cut runs nearly 35-minutes shorter. The opening sequence with Romay walking through the woods features her wearing panties, which eliminates all of the below the waste nudity. All the attacks aren't done through sex but instead are bites to the neck, which also include shots of Romay's bloody lips. The film still has a lot of nudity but most of the below the waste stuff has either been taken out or are alternate shots with Romay wearing clothing. The subplot and relationship of Romay with the journalist (Anna Watican) is also shortened to the point where we don't see the two characters together very often. Other changes include a torture chamber sequence where Romay bites on more necks from women she has captured down there. So, is the film any better or worse? I think this horror version works fairly well as a horror movie but it's nothing we haven't seen before and it really can't compete against Franco's much better Vampyros Lesbos, which is pretty similar. I think taking away the sexual aspect of the story kills all of the originality so to me the sex version will always be the preferred one.
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