Spoilers follow ...
- Vampyros Lesbos review by NP
The title of this says it all, and the fact it is directed by prolific Spanish Director Jess Franco lets the audience know exactly what it is in for. Soledad Miranda’s mesmerising Countess Nadine Carody is a powerfully erotic force of nature, and she has set her sights on American Linda (Ewa Strömberg). Catching Linda’s attention during an erotic dance display at a local club, she then haunts her through dreams. It is a convincing dream-like entrapment, made more so by the beautiful and well-directed Turkish locations. Of all the Jess Franco films I’ve seen, this is his most effectively directed – there is less reliance on endless zooms in and out of the action than usual, and the legendary psychedelic music score, especially with its occasional weirdly distorted vocals, adds to the delirious atmosphere.
Swirling red lined stairways, sun drenched castles and ornate buildings are all filmed beautifully, and yet as always with Franco, the storyline meanders into the inconsequential. Only when Dennis Price’s Doctor Seward has a stand-off with Carody is a real kind of tension invoked (Price, who was nearing the end of his life by this time, looks healthier than he does in other films he made during this period).
Whilst this never descends into an endless parade of soft-core ‘action’ like ‘Female Vampire (1973)’ and there is actually an element of supernatural horror here, things tend to drag, especially in the middle portion of the film. And yet ultimately, this is my favourite Franco film (so far). The wraith-like presence of the sensuous Miranda combined with the more tangible acting chops of people like Dennis Price lends a definite nobility to the trance-like, vaguely erotic horror.
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