White Coats : Vampyros Lesbos

| January 12, 2018

A PSYCHO-SEXADELIC HORROR FREAKOUT!

So I’ve been meaning to watch this one for awhile. Vampyros Lesbos is arguably the most famous film directed by exploitation master Jesús Franco. The poster for this film of Soledad Miranda sitting with her legs open wearing what appears to be only a scarf is pretty iconic. But also on top of everything, the film is called Vampyros Lesbos for christ sake. Why wouldn’t I be interested in this film? So yeah. This review is for Vampyros Lesbos.

Vampyros Lesbos is Jesús Franco’s 36th film and fits his standard fare. Female main character, obviously a lot of sex and nudity, and long scenes taking place in a Strip Club. The difference from the rest of his work up until this point is the fact that the main character is a lesbian. Or has lesbian tendencies. Or isn’t a lesbian but is hypnotized. Or is a lesbian but wants to suppress it. Or is a lesbian and doesn’t want to suppress it but is in a mental institution where everyone is super cool with her being a lesbian. Honestly, I got a little lost along the way. But the important part is the main character is a lesbian.

Vampyros Lesbos follows a woman named Linda who is played by a Swedish Actress named Ewa Strömberg. Fun fact about Strömberg, she was a fairly successful actress in Sweden before working on this film with Franco. This is the first of five films that she made with Franco in 1971, then she was so fed up with Jesús Franco that she retired and was never seen ever again. So that’s neat. Anyway, Linda is kind of just hanging out in Turkey. Meanwhile, Nadine, a beautiful vampire gets her rocks off by luring people into her nightclub and eating/killing/having sex with them. Nadine is like “Hey! I’m going to get this Linda girl up in this club!” And then she does that.

The film opens with this strange lap dance performed by Soledad Miranda. And in case you are unaware of who Soledad Miranda is, her story is pretty interesting. She was a Spanish pop singer and occasional actress. She made a cameo in one of Franco’s earlier films before being the poster figure for this film. Her husband was a famous race car driver. The two had a child in 1967, which prompted Miranda to retire from media for a bit to raise her family. She eventually returned with her first big film that she returned with being Vampyros Lesbos. Tragically she and her husband were in a car crash shortly after this film wrapped production and she was killed before the film was ever released. But anyway, the film starts with this art-house like lap dance performed by her.

Then Linda is hypnotized and then goes to the island. A guy tells her she shouldn’t go to the island and she asks why, to which he tells her to meet her in the basement that night. That night Linda goes downstairs and sees that dude torturing someone and he is all surprised when she walks in on him. This was confusing to me because I genuinely don’t know what he was expecting. Either this wasn’t planned and he just accidentally started torturing this person in the basement while he was setting up refreshments to meet with Linda, time got away from him and then Linda walks in while he is torturing the person. OR, this was his way of flirting with Linda. Like hey, come to the basement and we can torture this bloke together. And he was just shocked that she wasn’t into it. Regardless, she then goes to the island.

So Linda and the Countess Vampire start hanging out naked and having sex with each other and it’s whatever. Honestly after the lap dance scene, in the beginning, I was like “I’ve seen it all now so the mystery is gone” so I didn’t care about the two sunbathing naked. While these two are doing all this stuff, Goth Art Garfunkel is just kind of hanging out. Goth Art Garfunkel is played by Andre Monales, a Spanish actor who has acted in two films, Vampyros Lesbos, and the redundantly named Nightmares Come at Night. Goth Art Garfunkel I thought was Nadine’s assistant. After reading the Wikipedia page for this film I found out that he is actually her husband. Who knew. Goth Art Garfunkel spends the rest of the film trying to stop their romance in a very Looney Tunes fashion. It’s kind of bullshit and I totally didn’t care about anything he was doing.

I’m getting bored just writing about this so here is the long and short of the rest of the film, Linda wakes up in a hospital the next day and is super disturbed and (in love?). Doctors try to help her. That doesn’t work. She hangs out with Nadine a couple more times. Then everyone dies. But yeah, that’s the story of the film.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is that there are a bunch of symbolism shots in the film throughout. Like a shot of a butterfly, a grasshopper, and a kite. I’m sure they represent something but I don’t care at all. The opening lap dance set the tone and I didn’t adjust after that for some art-house symbolism bullshit. So if you cut those parts out the film would probably be shorter but I imagine anyone watching this film is probably fast-forwarding through those parts anyway.

This film is exactly what you expect and a bit more. Not a lot more. The film is actually pretty well and interestingly shot for a film of this nature. But you know, it’s a Jesús Franco film. You are going to walk away thinking “Yeah, that was a Jesús Franco film”. If you are expecting anything different, you must be new to these parts.

About the Author:

Henry Jarvis is the youngest member of the Reel Nerds. His favorite films include Space Jam and Dude, Where’s My Car? and Lawrence of Arabia. He enjoys those pretentious art house films that Ryan hates. He sees a lot of movies! Honestly more than he should. He replaces his lack of social skills and meaningful friendships with his love of cinema! He’s also crying while he writes this biography for himself. His favorite directors are Andrei Tarkovsky, David Fincher, and David Lean.
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