Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Cinema - Jess Franco Gets Me Again

Stupid reporter, left, about to get the treatment from the Countess.

The first thing I noticed about the imaginatively titled
Female Vampire (1973) was the insipid music. (Actually the first thing I noticed was the nekkid lady in the forest. Is that a dark loincloth? No, it's just...her.)

The musical motif re-occurred throughout the picture, driving me almost insane in the process, until I remembered where I had heard it before - in the immortal
Zombie Lake!


Countess Karlstein lives on an island in Spain and is a sexual vampire. It's a little confusing, as she operates in broad daylight and with none of the usual vampire trappings - coffins, Transylvanian dirt, fangs.

She does have the ability to turn herself into a bat, though.

But mostly she has the ability to walk around mostly nekkid and have sex with people, which is shown in fairly graphic detail.

So she backs a farmer against the fence and apparently bites him in a highly personal and sensitive area at a highly personal and sensitive moment in their encounter.

The Countess seduces (and, ergo, kills) the lady reporter who comes to ask her questions while wearing the world's largest white patent leather knee-length platform boots. Did I mention the Countess is a mute? This was not an especially bright reporter.

And the hotel stud. And a couple of whips 'n' chains lesbians. And some guy who wears eye liner, Edwardian shirt cuffs and spends his days on the balcony staring into space.

Meanwhile the director, schlockmeister supreme Jess Franco, plays Dr. Roberts, Nebbish, who is determined to get to the bottom of these weird and savage killings. He eventually makes his way into the Countess' bathroom, where she is writhing around in a tub of what appears to be unformed cherry Jello.

And she just croaks, for no apparent reason at all.

We're talking massive nudification and sexotology here. Solo and group sex with farmers, reporters, poets, mean lesbians, pillows, bedposts, and a bathtub full of alleged blood. One dead mute manservant. One blind idiot who performs a rather clumsy post-mortem. Lots of slobbering. One fat vampire hunter who does nothing. Atrocious dubbing. Theme music from
Zombie Lake. Gratuitous voiceovers from the Countess during shots of the car's hood moving along, with a flying bird hood ornament (the wings flap).

An outstanding, if at times tedious, piece of doo-doo. Three coils.

Further readings from geek academics:

This one is not as dumb as this one

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