Female Vampire/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Female Vampire

Lina Romay plays Irina Karlstein. A Countess who's ancestry traces back to vampirism---And if you already didn't know by the title, the bloodline continues to flourish through her. While on a visit to a Portgual Island, Irina claims a victim which alarms forensic physician, Dr. Roberts (Jess Franco in a usual supporting role). The victim was not only drained of his life-force, but also his semen (This varies depending on which version you watch. More on this later) Another doctor named Dr. Orloff (Played by Jean-Pierre Bouyxou, no relation to The Awful Dr. Orloff, by the way) also assures Roberts that there is indeed a vampire in their midst. Adding to the mix of characters who knows about Irina's identity is love-struck poet, Baron Von Rathony (Jack Taylor) who, rather than being some kind of vampire-hunter, is enamored by Irina and believes that his destiny is to beome Irina's lover.

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If you're well familiar with the horror filmography of Jess Franco, then you should know by now that there's basically two types of horror films that he makes. One that's very straight-forward and often formulaic (Mostly concerning the characters of Frankenstein and Dracula) and the other is where he throws almost all the conventions out the door and focuses more on sublime sensuality. Female Vampire falls into the latter category. Upon first glance, there may not be a whole lot of new territory to cover here. But from a historical perspective in Franco's career, this marks a high-point for being the first film that (Future Mrs. Franco) Romay would get top-billing in. To Franco's pleasure, Romay successfully filled the shoes for Franco's previous leading lady, Soledad Miranda, and would eventually graduate to a cult-sex-icon classification. Some could argue that this is mostly a one-note performance (Given that Romay's character is mute and is 90% nude for the whole film) but what goes overlooked are the scenes when Irina is torn to accept the poet's love, knowing well that she will be the death of him. This sequence reassures the viewer that the film is no longer a horror movie, perhaps it never was, but it's a rather personal love story with plenty of erotic touches.

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Note: There are versions of the film which vary quite a bit. One is more horror-oriented with Irina sucking blood from her victims on their necks. Another has her draining her victims by feeding on their sexual organs (The version reviewed and provided in the DVD link) and then there's a hardcore version which likely shows the previous method in more detail.

Reviewed by Laydback

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