*** Out of 5
Tagline- Maailman Kuulu Shokki
Release Date- April 14th, 1973
Running Time- 100-Minutes
Screenplay- Gerard Brisseau & J.P. Johnson
Director- J.P. Johnson (Jesus Franco)
Starring- Lina Romay, Jack Taylor, Jesus Franck, Luis Barboo
At one time in the horror genre there was a saying horror films were one step above porn, but with Female Vampire you can make a case for this being one step below porn. The production values are cheap and at times the camera out of focus (not sure if that was a creative choice or Franco being a hack). The whole production does seem like something out of a porn film. As for the plot there is one sort of, but honestly porn flicks have had better plots. Female Vampire is a sexploitation film and while I have zero problems with sex in film I’ve never been overly fond of sexploitation films. I quite honestly don’t really see the point of them with that said it doesn’t mean I dislike them its more of I simply don’t seek them out. But with films like Female Vampire why not just make it a porn flick since the film is very sexual and feels like a porn film to begin with since more effort was put on sex than anything else. The film was co-written and directed by Jesus Franco under the name J.P. Johnson and those who know Franco’s work should more or less know what to expect.
The film is about Countess Irina Karlstein (Romay) who suffers from the curse of her ancestors, vampirism. But you see she isn’t the typical blood sucking vampire her thing is while going down on someone she drains the life from them.
The film opens with Irina nude, all she has on is a cape, belt and boots. The camera moves in on her breasts than a little lower if you catch my meaning. And as Irina is walking she bumps into the camera (I told you this was a Jesus Franco film). So right from the very start we know exactly what we are in for. For most of the film Lina Romay is nude and when clothed its see through. The film is quite graphic in its sexuality, which isn’t such a bad thing considering Lina Romay is stunningly beautiful. I’m not even sure this film should be called a horror movie. There are 2 cuts of the film; we have a 72-minute cut, which plays up to the horror (which is very little to begin with) and 102-minute version that is more sexually explicit. And yes there is that much sex that 30-minutes could easily be cut, and seeing as all the deaths occur during a sex act there would still be plenty of sexual situations. I saw the longer sexually themed cut and I’m not sure if there really is a point of seeing the shorter cut.
The screenplay by Gerard Brisseau & J.P. Johnson is more or less just filling in time until we get to the sex scenes. Outside of the sex scenes there really isn’t much going on and the script is what you would expect from this type of film and while not the worst written movie again it’s just filling in time until the sex scenes. There are some good ideas however, but neither Brisseau or Franco are competent enough to develop these ideas. We also have a pointless subplot with Jack Taylor (known to horror fans from the cult classic Pieces) and if anything like the non-sexual themes this is just there to fill in some required time before we get back to the sex and nudity.
Director Jesus Franco crafts an uneven flick and at 102-minutes it can be overly long at times and even a tad but boring until we get to the sex scenes. Having Romay naked throughout does help make up for the sluggish pacing. The film is also quite sleazy as one scene has Irina going down on another woman and when her head pops back up she has some fluids dripping from her lips and by that point the other woman is dead and Irina begins to rub herself (I’m sure you know what I am referring to) and yes we see all of the lovely Lina Romay. When the focus isn’t on sex, Franco delivers a very sluggish paced film that can be a tad bit boring at times. Like how the script had a few good ideas so does the direction, but Franco simply isn’t a good enough director to work these ideas.
The sex scenes are quite erotic and are meant to turn on the viewer and it is quite sexy even if sleazy. We have some long scenes of sex and again Lina Romay is stunning and it is exciting to watch as we have Lina Romay with men and women (2 scenes of girl on girl with the 2nd going for an S&M vibe). However the problem we have at times is things are sometimes shot too close up and here and there the camera is out of focus, but overall the film is very sexy and Romay so beautiful the film will no doubt turn the viewer on as its quite erotic. Jesus Franco does seem to have little interest in anything not revolving sex and perhaps that’s why the non-sex scenes are poorly paced and any decent idea Franco had is downplayed. When Irina isn’t having sex with someone she’s also pleasing herself as there is a crazy scene featuring Lina and a bedpost and while I get the appeal of these films and again it was quite erotic I think Franco would have been better off making a porn flick.
Fans of sexploitation films might wanna seek this one out and while I did like the film since its hard to dislike it since Lina Romay is so beautiful and the sex acts quite erotic I still really don’t see the point of these films since you’re basically watching a porn just without real sex scenes. Overall I did like the film, but wouldn’t rate it as a favorite or anything, but what I do find interesting is so many people complain about sex in cinema and while sure some films can be a little graphic, but not go too far so they can keep the R rating I often wonder what those prudes would think seeing something like this, which makes R-rated sex scenes PG material. So I guess moral of the story is I liked the film, but by no means a favorite, but if you can get past some of the sluggishly paced scenes its worth it for Lina Romay.
Besides co-writing and directing, Franco also appears as Dr. Roberts under the name Jesus Franck and was also the DP under the name Joan Franco and lastly was the editor using the name P. Querut.