Vampyros Lesbos (Spanish: Las Vampiras) is a 1971 West German-Spanish erotic horror film directed and co-written by Jesús Franco. The film stars Ewa Strömberg as Linda Westinghouse, an American who works in a Turkish legal firm. Westinghouse has a series of erotic dreams that involve a mysterious vampire woman who seduces her before feeding on her blood. When she travels to an island to settle an inheritance, Linda recognizes a woman as the vampire from her dreams.
The film was shot in 1970 in Turkey. It was a popular success in theaters in Europe on its release and was the first film to have a more psychedelic score for a Franco film and the first to have a lesbian theme as a prominent feature of the film. The film's score became popular in the mid-1990s when it was included on the compilation Vampyros Lesbos: Sexadelic Dance Party, an album that became a top ten hit on the British Alternative charts.
German film poster
|Directed by||Jesús Franco|
|Edited by||Clarissa Ambach|
On a remote island, the beautiful vampire Countess Nadine Carody (Soledad Miranda) lures unwary victims with her seductive nightclub act and sets her sights on Linda (Ewa Strömberg). Linda begins dreaming about Nadine and seeks her home on an island. She is interrupted by Memmet (Jesús Franco) who warns her not to go to the island. Linda follows Memmet to his chamber where she walks in on him torturing a young woman. She escapes this encounter and proceeds to the island where Linda meets Nadine. The two go swimming and Nadine notes that the home they are staying at used to belong to Count Dracula. After Linda begins to feel dizzy from drinking wine, Nadine takes her to a room where the two have sex and Nadine draws blood from Linda's neck. Linda later finds Nadine motionless in a swimming pool and faints.
The next day, Agra (Heidrun Kussin) appears in mental distress at a hospital, where she claims to have visions of Nadine. She is under the care of Dr. Seward (Dennis Price) who then treats his new patient, Linda, who does have any memory of what she encountered with Nadine. At Nadine's home, she appears alive and recounts to her servant Morpho (José Martínez Blanco) about how she became a vampire and her obsession with Linda who she wishes to become a vampire. Nadine uses her powers to contact Linda to return to her island where the two drink blood and have sex. On her return to hospital, Dr. Seward informs Linda that to remove herself from the vampire's curse she must split the vampire's head with an axe or pierce it with a pole.
Linda is then kidnapped by Memmet, her boyfriend Omar (Andrés Monales) begins to search for her. Nadine later arrives at the asylum to have Linda return with her where she meets Dr. Seward. Dr. Seward admits that he only attempted to help Linda in order to draw Nadine to him so he can become a vampire. Nadine refuses and has Morpho kill him. As Omar searches for Linda, she is told by Memmet that all women, including his wife Arga, who return from the island become insane which has driven him to kill various women around the island. Linda manages to kill Memmet with a saw and escapes to find Nadine. She finds Nadine at her home near death in desperate need of blood to survive. Linda ignores Nadine's plea and bites her neck and stabs her with a pole through her left eye. Morpho commits suicide and Linda is found by Omar who tries to convince her that the whole experience was a dream.
Vampyros Lesbos was filmed in Turkey between June 1, 1970 and July 10, 1970.  Franco applied film devices that were used in his previous film such as long strip club sequences and female protagonists while the lesbian subtext was more prominent in this film than any previous work. The music score also differs from the jazz soundtracks of his previous films with a more psychedelic music influenced soundtrack. The soundtrack was composed by Manfred Hübler, Siegfried Schwab and Jesús Franco who credited himself under the alias of David Khune. The film went under several titles before being released as Vampyros Lesbos including 'Das Mal des Vampirs (Evil of the Vampires) and Im Zeichen der Vampire (Mark of the Vampire). Less than a month after finishing production on Vampyros Lesbos, Franco began working on his next film She Killed in Ecstasy (1971).
Vampyros Lesbos was released in July 15, 1971 in Germany and in Spain in 1973 where it was a popular with audiences in Europe.  The film was released on DVD by Synapse Video on January 4, 2000. Image Entertainment released the film on December 27, 2000 on DVD.
A remake of Vampyros Lesbos directed by Matthew Saliba was released in 2008. The film follows the story of Franco's film.
Total Film gave the film three stars out of five, noting that "Despite (or perhaps because of) the hilariously leaden acting, dull script and amateurish direction, this film still exerts a certain fascination." Jonathan Rosenbaum of The Chicago Reader gave the film a negative review, comparing director Jesús Franco to Ed Wood. The website Slant Magazine gave the film a positive review of three and half stars out of four, finding the film "effortlessly dreamlike" as well as praising the soundtrack. Film 4 gave the film a mixed review, noting that "you never come to Franco's films (over 150 of them) for the plots, but his dreamy, unsettling direction does develop the central tragedy of Carody's love for Westinghouse." as well as praising the film's soundtrack. The Dissolve, an online magazine, gave the film a three out of five star rating, find that large portions of the film "lapse into tedium, whether they're extensive love scenes or, worse, the blatherings of serious men with "Dr." before their names" as well as that the film "gave exploitation audiences something different, a mesmeric vibe" which originated from the film's score and the presence of Soledad Miranda.
In his 2009 book The Pleasure and Pain of Cult Horror Films: An Historical Survey, Bartomiej Paszylk took umbrage with some of the high-brow critics of the film, though ultimately acquiescing to its shortcomings, "Truth be told, Franco's vampyros are far more interested in being lesbos than in drinking human blood, but the movie is so mesmerizing and so outright sexy that you really shouldn't mind that.
|Vampyros Lesbos: Sexadelic Dance Party|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Genre||Film music, psychedelic|
The soundtrack to Vampyros Lesbos was released as Vampyros Lesbos: Sexadelic Dance Party on compact disc in 1995 by Motel Records. The music on the album is compiled from the albums Psychedelic Dance Party and Sexadelic and consists of film music of three Franco films: Vampyros Lesbos, She Killed in Ecstay and The Devil Came from Akasava. The album was released during a period where there was a resurgence of interest in Space age pop music, a style focused on easy listening music from the 1950s and 1960s. The track "The Lions and the Cucumber" from the album was later used again on the soundtrack of Jackie Brown by American director Quentin Tarantino. The album is dedicated to actress Soledad Miranda.
The soundtrack was a top 10 hit on the British Alternative charts on its release over 20 years after the film was released. On September 29, 1997, a remix album titled The Spirit of Vampyros Lesbos was released. The album was a collection of remixes from various electronic artists including Two Lone Swordsmen, Cristian Vogel and Alec Empire who released their own mixes of the film's soundtrack.
Allmusic gave the album a rating of three stars out of five referring to the album's music as "excruciating" as well noting that a track on the album is "built on a shameless ripoff of the "Satisfaction" guitar riff". Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B+ rating, opining that it was "not for cheese lovers only."
All tracks are written by Manfred Hübler and Siegfried Schwab.
|1.||"Droge CX 9"||5:11|
|2.||"The Lions and the Cucumber"||5:10|
|3.||"There's No Satisfaction"||3:10|
|4.||"Dedicated to Love"||2:32|
|5.||"People's Playground Version A"||0:50|
|6.||"We Don't Care"||5:20|
|7.||"People's Playground Version B"||1:17|
|8.||"The Ballad of a Fair Singer"||4:35|
|13.||"The Six Wisdoms of Aspasia"||4:20|
|14.||"Countdown to Nowhere"||2:27|
Baskervilles are Christoph Gerozissis, Rob Keith, Stephanie Finucane and Craig Van Orsdale. Formed in New York City in 1997. They started life as the Baskervils in 1993 in Tampa, fronted by Laura Taylor. During that time, they had a self-published label called Baskervinyl Records.Eugenie… The Story of Her Journey into Perversion
Eugenie… The Story of Her Journey into Perversion (original titles: De Sade 70 and Marquis de Sade's 'Philosophy in the Boudoir') is a 1970 softcore film adaptation and modern-day update of the Marquis de Sade's book Philosophy in the Bedroom (1795) directed by Spanish filmmaker Jesús Franco. The second of Franco's de Sade-themed films after Marquis de Sade: Justine (1969), it has often been confused with his later and more explicit Eugenie de Sade (shot 1970, released 1973), an adaptation of de Sade's short story "Eugénie de Franval" (1800) which starred Soledad Miranda, as both films are often referred to simply as Eugenie. To complicate matters further, the director went on to make a second adaptation of Philosophy in the Bedroom, entitled Eugenie (Historia de una perversión), in 1980.Eugénie de Sade
Eugenie de Sade (original titles: Eugénie and Eugenie Sex Happening) is a softcore film adaptation and modern-day update of the Marquis de Sade's short story "Eugénie de Franval" (1800) directed by Spanish filmmaker Jesús Franco in 1970 and released in 1973. It has often been confused with his earlier Eugenie… The Story of Her Journey into Perversion (1970), an adaptation of de Sade's book Philosophy in the Bedroom (1795), as both films are often referred to simply as Eugenie.Ewa Strömberg
Ewa Strömberg (13 January 1940 - 24 January 2013), was a Swedish actress. She appeared in a number of Swedish films before her international career. She is possibly best known for her appearance in a number of films by Spanish director Jesús "Jess" Franco, most notably Vampyros Lesbos (1971). She retired from the film industry shortly afterwards.Fénix Cooperativa Cinematográfica
Fénix Cooperativa Cinematográfica is a Spanish production company based in Madrid known for The Lady Doctor (1958).It produced Night of the Blood Monster (1970) along the Italian Prodimex Film, the Spanish-Italian-German-British film Count Dracula (1970) along Towers of London, Corona Filmproduktion and Filmar Compagnia Cinematografica, and Brandy (1963) by José Luis Borau and Mario Caiano. It also produced ¿Por qué morir en Madrid? (1966), by Eduardo Manzanos.Jaime Chávarri
Jaime Chávarri de la Mora (born 20 March 1943) is a Spanish film director and screenwriter. Best known for his films Las bicicletas son para el verano and musical film Las cosas del querer.Lesbian vampire
Lesbian vampirism is a trope in 20th-century exploitation film and literature that has its roots in Joseph Sheridan le Fanu's novella Carmilla (1872) about the love of a female vampire (the title character) for a young woman (the narrator):
Sometimes after an hour of apathy, my strange and beautiful companion would take my hand and hold it with a fond pressure, renewed again and again; blushing softly, gazing in my face with languid and burning eyes, and breathing so fast that her dress rose and fell with the tumultuous respiration. It was like the ardour of a lover; it embarrassed me; it was hateful and yet overpowering; and with gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips travelled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, 'You are mine, you shall be mine, and you and I are one for ever'. (Carmilla, Chapter 4).
This was a way to hint at or titillate with the taboo idea of lesbianism in a fantasy context outside the heavily censored realm of social realism. Also, the conventions of the vampire genre—specifically, the mind control exhibited in many such films—allow for a kind of forced seduction of presumably heterosexual women or girls by lesbian vampires.List of Spanish films of 1971
A list of films produced in Spain in 1971 (see 1971 in film).List of horror films of 1971
A list of horror films released in 1971.Severin Films
Severin Films is an American film production and distribution company.She Killed in Ecstasy
She Killed in Ecstasy (German: Sie tötete in Ekstase Spanish: Mrs. Hyde) is a 1971 West German-Spanish erotic thriller film directed by Jesús Franco. The film's plot borrows elements from previous Franco films Miss Muerte and Venus in Furs. The film's productions staff includes many cast members and nearly the same crew as his previous film Vampyros Lesbos.Soledad Miranda
Soledad Rendón Bueno (9 July 1943 – 18 August 1970), better known by her stage names Soledad Miranda or Susann Korda (or sometimes Susan Korday), was an actress and pop singer who was born in Seville, Spain. She starred in many films directed by Jess Franco, such as Count Dracula (1970) and Vampyros Lesbos (1971). She also released numerous Spanish-language pop songs throughout the mid-sixties. She died in a car accident on a Lisbon highway at age 27.Synapse Films
Synapse Films is an American DVD and Blu-ray label, founded in 1997 and specializing in cult horror, science fiction and exploitation films.The Awful Dr. Orloff
The Awful Dr. Orloff (Spanish: Gritos en la noche, lit. 'Screams in the Night') is a 1962 horror film, directed by Jesús Franco. It stars Howard Vernon as the mad Dr. Orloff (or sometimes Orlof) who wants to repair his disfigured daughter's face with skin grafts from other women with the aid of a slavish, blind henchman named Morpho. The film is considered to be the earliest Spanish horror film. Howard Vernon continued to appear in a number of Franco's horror films up until his death. Franco would later feature a number of blind or disfigured henchmen also named Morpho in many of his later horror films, such as Vampyros Lesbos and Revenge in the House of Usher.The Blizzard of Odd
The Blizzard of Odd is an Irish comedy television programme broadcast from 2001–2005 on RTÉ, presented and written by Irish comedian Colin Murphy. The half-hour show (including commercials) was aired usually on Tuesday nights at 22:25 on the RTÉ Two channel.
The programme incorporated a number of segments such as Boggle Box, reviewing the week's television programmes, Made in Ireland, which features clips from various Irish B-movies (including low budget Irish pornography films, which Murphy dubbed "Lepraporn"). Also "reviewed" in comical fashion were bizarre cult material such as recurring favourites Vampyros Lesbos and the Leprechaun film series, plus other segments which varied from week to week.
On one occasion Murphy was reviewing Star Trek, in particular the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The High Ground" However, he was unable to show any clips of it, as the episode was banned from broadcast in Ireland and the UK due to a positive reference to Physical force Irish republicanism. Murphy got round the ban by reading out the script of the offending scene, attempting to play both characters (Jean-Luc Picard and Data).
While the show was produced on a small budget – the set for later seasons was simply a white backdrop onto which Murphy occasionally brought props – it remains a cult favourite among sections of the viewing public in Ireland. It is on an indefinite hiatus and hasn't aired since 2005. Although it has been removed from the RTÉ website, the show has yet to be formally cancelled or renewed, leaving it in a state of limbo.
The show's title music was "Television Screen", a cover of The Radiators from Space's 1977 debut single by Centipede on the Roof.The Cooler (night club)
The Cooler, a music and performance space, opened on Wednesday, September 22, 1993 at 416 West 14th Street in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan. The club showcased a wide variety of experimental music, Americana music, roots music, and spoken-word performers. Performances at The Cooler also included dance, film and video arts, and club parties. The Cooler blended live music, DJ's, turntablists, and electronic dance music (EDM).
The Cooler's early period featured many mixed-genre downtown New York City musicians and DJ's. The late period incorporated fewer bands and booked more EDM, mixologists and electronic music. The club closed on June 2, 2001 with a performance by Michael Karoli of Can, Botanica, Jim Thirlwell, James Chance and Suicide.The Vampire Sound Incorporation
The Vampire Sound Incorporation was a psychedelic rock band best known for providing the soundtrack to the 1971 erotic horror film Vampyros Lesbos. The film's score became popular in the mid-1990s when it was included on the compilation Vampyros Lesbos: Sexadelic Dance Party, an album that became a top ten hit on the British Alternative charts. Their song The Lion and the Cucumber is featured as the 16th song on the sound track of the Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown. The band was led by the German guitarist Sigi Schwab.Venus in Furs (1969 Franco film)
Venus in Furs (Italian: Paroxismus - Può una morta rivivere per amore?, German: Schwarzer Engel) is a 1969 Italian supernatural erotic thriller film directed by Jesús Franco and starring James Darren.The film (also known as Paroxismus and Black Angel) bears only a superficial resemblance to the 1870 Venus in Furs novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The title and character names in Franco's original script were changed to the novel's for commercial reasons. Franco's film is a surreal supernatural erotic thriller about unattainable love and how far one is willing to go for the person they desire. It is not a study in masochism as portrayed in the novel.
Films directed by Jesús Franco