Vampyros Lesbos

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Uncut & Uncensored screams the cover, “The Citizen Kane of European Exploitation Cinema” squeals the quote, a psychedelic musical score that’s “World Famous” – come on now people! Get a grip! This is Jess Franco we are talking about here – hot sheilas, cheesy muzak, subtitles, plotlines with holes bigger than some of his former girlfriends, lots of nekkidness and a shit load of visuals that make no sense but damn they are filmed beautifully. I mean lets face it, Franco ain’t a great director by any stretch of the imagination. His movies never make sense, they’re slow, weird and badly acted for the most part, (except when he lucks into a Kinski or a Christopher Lee slumming it) but the girls always get their kit off, there’s always at least one weird moment where you go “what the fu..?” and just occasionally he gets a visual moment that’s stunning. But the Citizen Kane line? Someone needs to get out more.

Anyway, the story such as it can be deciphered revolves around a blonde Sheila (played by Ewa Stroemberg who looks a lot like our own Olivia Newton John back in the sweet young days) who has a reoccurring wet dream about another sheila – the Countess Nadine Carody (Soledad “highly humpable” Miranda) who it turns out may or may not be a genuine vampire. This point confused me because we never really see too much bloodletting and she sunbakes! (I thought vampires couldn’t be out in the sun but I forgot, this is a Franco Flick) Anyway, our Libby (as we like to call her, especially after that wonderful Xanadu movie) goes off to some island to tell the Countess about an inheritance. On the way she stops off at a hotel where she comes across a bloke with a bad sense of dress and a dead body in his cellar! Of course next morning she goes off in a rowboat as if it never happened. (oh yeah, Fulci film I forgot)

So anyway, there’s this beautiful island property that the Countess inherits from the Dracula Family, yes, that’s right, Count Dracula left it to her but apparently our Libby never watched Hammer Horror cos she don’t know Dracula from Donny Osmond. There’s a long drawn out seduction process (but at least there’s some tits out) where you just want to scream “hurry up and bite her! Hell, Christopher Lee would a chowed down on half a dozen nubile strumpets by the time you make your move!” And there’s a manservant called Morpho who has a touch of the Geoffrey Rush about him if Geoffrey was a talentless Eurotrash actor in need of a few bucks and had the cool shades that Morpho wears. And there’s a bloody reoccurring motif of a scorpion and a kite!! (amongst other shite) what’s with that? Is that art, is that Franco showing off his directorial skills, is that a waste of our time? Anyway, Nadine finally makes her move (and what sort of name for a vampire is Nadine anyway?) and the next thing we know we’re in some private clinic run by Dr Seward with another blonde called (Vi)Agra who is waiting for Nadine to come back to her and our Libby wakes up and remembers nothing. Luckily her boyfriend finds her and they go on a holiday together to forget the stuff she can’t remember anyway. (huh? oh yeah, Fulci film) Turns out though that the Countess Nadine has a wide-on for our Libby (maybe it was the songs from Grease that did it) and she calls her back trancelike and all. I’m thinking though that the trance stuff is purely cos our Libby can’t act fer shit and the less lines she has the better. But hell she gets her kit off right and that’s all that matters. Actually, for early 70s Eurotrash all the acting is pretty abysmal but Dennis Price as ‘the Van Helsing on a shitday’ Dr Seward is probably the worst. Oh yeah, Nadine does a nightclub act too, rolling around semi nekkid while bad music (sorry retro classic music) plays to a room full of spectacled gimps and uni students. Sort of like a Friday night in Brunswick Street Fitzroy only visually more exciting. In fact, Franco likes this idea so much she does the act twice! And our Libby bumps into the bloke with the bad dress sense again who it turns out is (Vi)Agra’s hubby and he’s a bit pissed at losing out to a Countess called bloody Nadine! But Libby gives him the chop and gets on with tying up the story for us so we can all go home for a hot cocoa and listen to that wunnerful Xanadu song again.

In the end, our Libby kills the love struck Nadine with a spike in the eye so as to finish the vampire dynasty that I was never actually sure had started and as we all know, went on to sing with John Travolta, dance with Gene Kelly and put out songs that will haunt us long after Franco fucks off. Oh yeah, and the bloody scorpion drowned! I will never understand a Jess Franco fillum but the masochist in me keeps drawing me back to them.

DIRECTOR(S): Jess Franco | COUNTRY: Germany | YEAR 1971 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): Umbrella Entertainment | RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes | ASPECT RATIO: 16:9 | REGION: 4 | DISCS: 1

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