Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Jess Franco’s 1972 film ‘Female Vampire’ is proof positive that I’m one hell of a piss poor film critic.  Shane M. Dallman who is particularly knowledgeable of Franco’s work states that “To many viewers (especially those unfamliar with Franco's other work), Female Vampire will come across as nothing more than a crude European sex film.”  Uh, yeah basically.  So you see I didn’t find any deeper meaning or hidden subtextural messages in ‘Female Vampire’ and saw it as a vapid, empty showcase for Franco’s young ingénue, Lina Romay’s perfect breast.  And yes, they are perfect.

As our film opens we see our bustalicious star walking through the misty woods (if that’s not a porn star name, it sure should be) wearing only a cape and a belt.  It would seem The Countess Irina Von Karsten (Romay) is apparently very hungry and she stumbles upon a chicken farmer who can’t resist her ‘charms’ (I’m sure farming chickens represents something way deep).  Now in most vampire flicks we may expect our vamps to flash their fangs and go straight for the jugular vein, but Countess Irina has a different way of feeding.  She simply pulls down this dudes pants and begins to blow the guy. Though this may have seemed cool at the time, it becomes considerably less cool as this poor man orgasms and has his entire life force apparently pass through the tip of his penis and into a now temporarily satiated Irina. 

Doctor Roberts (Jess Franco himself) is the forensics doctor who performed the autopsy on this dude and somehow has come to the correct conclusion that this guys life force passed through his dick.  The police investigator thinks he’s insane, but Dr. Roberts believes he’s on to something.  Men aren’t the only one who in jeopardy around Countess Irina as she also sucks the life force out of female reporter who was sent to interview her and a murderous pair of Bondage, Domination, Submission and

Masochism lesbians as well.  But even an orgasm life removing countess wants to know real love and she finds it in a local poet (Jack Taylor) who has been seeking her out.  He finds her, they hit if off quite swimmingly and he desiring to know the ultimate in pleasure allows her to literally blow him to death.  From this point, as far as I could tell the movie is pretty much over, but there is another twenty minutes or so of stuff going which includes Irina taking a bath in cherry Kool-Aid and Doctor Roberts hanging around watching her take a bath in cherry Kool-aid. 

Even though there was no graphic penetrating sex in ‘Female Vampire’ I’m still thinking this is what probably passed for porno chic back in 1972.  If you look at the porno timeline, ‘Deep Throat’ which pretty much started the modern day porn era also came out 1972.  Yes there was porn before ‘Deep Throat’ but it basically consisted of grandmothers doing things with ex-cons that NOBODY wanted to see.  ‘Deep Throat’ gave porn some legitimacy but the hardocore stuff wouldn’t become ‘mainstream’ until the early eighties, which corresponds to a VCR being in every household.  So with ‘Female Vampire’ you have a shapely woman who was naked in every single scene, fake lesbian sex, fake conventional sex, sex with dead people and ton self pleasuring but falling under the banner of a ‘regular movie’ so people back in the day could pretend they were going to the show to see something other than Lina Romay give a bedpost a hand job.  Now I know what giving a bedpost a hand job represents but really, how silly is that?  It’s not like the bed post is getting any enjoyment out of it.  There also an odd scene where Dr. Roberts had this blind confidant of his wander into his lab where one of Irina’s dead female victims lay.  The blind man, apparently searching for clues, reaches down and starts digging hard into this dead woman’s vagina and spouting some nonsense. I mean this cat was REALLY looking for something in there.  I’m not quite sure what that was supposed to mean either.  Plus I’m assuming there had to have come a time during the shoot when Ms. Romay asked Mr. Franco if she could at least put some panties on or SOMETHING! 

We can assume that through this film that Lina Romay probably wasn’t much of a thespian at that time, since Fanco made the character mute and expressionless, the camera often faded in and out of focus, the dubbing was horrific and the narrative was nonsensical. But if this is what porn was like in 1972 then I must admit it’s way classier than porn in the 21st century which consists of titles like Pokahotass, Cumfuscious or Pump Friction.  Well thirty five years later Mr. Franco and wife Lina Romay are still pumping movies out at an alarming rate and though my introduction to work of Jess Franco is a shaky one, I will track down a few more of this Spanish Directors films and see what they hold.

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