Chick Habit – Jess Franco’s ‘Vampyros Lesbos’ (1971)

8 Feb

What can I say about Jess Franco’s 1971 release Vampyros Lesbos? Honestly? Not a lot, which is hugely disappointing. The film, inspired by Bram Stoker’s short Dracula’s Guest which was first published in 1914, is an incredibly underwhelming experience, a mix of psychedelic would-be beautiful shots and an awful pace that never picks up when it should.

On a remote island lives Nadine, a Countess who happens to be a vampire and lures potential victims through a nightclub routine she performs. Linda, a lawyer, is sent to the island to sort out an inheritance issue for Nadine (she inherited property from Dracula himself!). When they meet, Nadine falls for Linda and is intent on turning her into a vampire and showing her love from beyond the grave. Other than that, I really have no idea what else goes on in the film because the plot becomes irrelevant once the very slow pacing of the film begins to take over your concentration. Linda is taken to a hospital, there’s a Doctor there who is also a vampire expert, another blonde girl who is completely insane and whose role is never properly explained, some random guy on the island spying on Linda and Nadine… None of it really makes a lot of sense.

Which is an awful shame because there could be a lot of potential in that storyline but it’s never fully realised by Franco. Lesbian vampires are a very erotic idea but in this film they come across as ludicrously dull and about as sexy as a Disney movie (and I mean that in a bad way, not in a ‘Lydia reads too much into films and makes Disney sexy’ way). Nadine’s seductive nightclub routine looks more embarrassing than arousing and the moments the women share together feel wooden and awkward. Saying that, the locale is stunning and Franco’s shots of nature interlaced between the growing relationship between the two leads is a nice touch, showing and emphasising the naturalness of lesbianism and fluidity of human sexuality. Despite being as boring as hell, the film is worth a watch for Soledad Miranda in the role of the Countess, who is possibly one of the most beautiful creatures to ever be placed upon this Earth. That is something no-one can argue against.

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