Vampyros Lesbos
Synapse Edition
Spain - Germany / 1970
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring
Soledad Miranda
Ewa Stroemberg
Dennis Price
Color / 90 Minutes / Not Rated
Format: DVD (R0 - NTSC)
Synapse Films
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Review by
Brian Lindsey
 
 
5
    5   10 = Highest Rating  
Very odd European horror movie.
    If you're expecting something along the lines of Mario Bava or Dario Argento then this isn't your cup of tea. This isn't truly a sex film, either, not in the conventional sense at least. I really just don't know what it is. "Bizarre" and "dreamlike" are all I can conjure up to describe it. It's got one weird mamajama of a music score, that's for certain,
ranging from psuedo-surf rock to ambient acid-lounge grooves. Oh, and there's quite a bit of naked female flesh on display.
   
Seductive Portuguese beauty Soledad Miranda (The Devil Came from Akasava) plays Countess Carody, a wealthy recluse who lures young women to her private island off the coast of Turkey.
The Countess, a descendent of Dracula, is a lesbian vampire, but also an erotic performance artist at a night club — or something. (Not a whole lot of plot here, folks, and what little there is meanders about without any real focus.) The bulk of the story concerns the Countess' seduction of a woman named Linda, played by Ewa Stroemberg, who looks a bit like Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls. Other characters become involved somehow, and there are various weird occurances involving lots of zoom shots. Women get naked. The Countess' silently sinister manservant, Morpho (José Martínez Blanco), hovers in the background.
    Actually, there isn't much horror to be found in the movie's rather languid narrative. This is one of those flicks you can watch and let your mind wander off for awhile and you've still not missed very much.
   Miranda (who perished in a car crash within a year of making the film) is sexy and beguiling, but she can't carry this muddled bit of psychedelic silliness alone. Uber-prolific director Jesus "Jess" Franco (The Awful Dr. Orlof, Lust for Frankenstein), helmer of a gazillion movies in Europe and South America, amply demonstrates with Vampyros Lesbos that, well... he's a very strange man.
    This is weird stuff, y'all. Best viewed while imbibing certain substances. (Provided you'll sit through just about anything to look at naked women.)

The disc, which comes in a funky blood-red keepcase, features some interesting liner notes by Video Watchdog's Tim Lucas. While not pristine, sound and picture quality are more than adequate; the film is presented in German with easy-to-read English subtitles. The trippy theatrical trailer is the only bonus feature. 4/10/01
UPDATE Since this review was written the Synapse DVD has gone OOP. Image Entertainment is slated to release a new version (using different source elements) on October 5, 2004.
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