Yeah, yeah, we know what you’re thinking. But no, this German-Spanish horror film is not quite like that. Vampyros Lesbos is a poetic and dreamlike twist on Bram Stoker’s classic tale. With an underwater scorpion, a talking kite and a lot of sex. Oh, who are we kidding? You were probably right the first time.
Linda (Ewa Strömberg) works for a Turkish legal firm called Simpson & Simpson (no, really) and sees Nadine (Soledad Miranda) doing a sexy nightclub act with a woman who looks like a mannequin but isn’t (we think). She’s obviously impressed because she nibbles her lip a lot while she’s watching it and, as far as we understand the rules of cinema, this means she’s a bit turned on. Needless to say, Linda starts to have dreams about Nadine. As luck would have it, she’s called to the island Nadine lives on (who turns out to be Countess Nadine Carody, so she’s obviously a vampire) to make arrangements for her inheritance. Oooh, bit like Jonathan Harker then. Despite receiving warnings not to go from what turns out to be the local psycho (Jesus Franco himself), she goes along anyway and a kite (repeatedly) calls her name. Seriously, there’s an awful lot of that kite. She checks into the local hotel (without any luggage, we couldn’t help but notice) and meets up with Nadine who obviously isn’t one of those sunlight-fearing vampires as she likes to sunbath in a white bikini. Like all good business meetings, they start off with some skinny-dipping and then they have sex (Tod Browning obviously missed a trick there). And then it all gets a bit complicated. There’s lots of dreamy-weirdness involving an underwater scorpion (no idea, sorry) and there’s even a Doctor Seward (Dennis Price) just to give it a bit more Stokeresque authenticity. A bit unconvincing on that front, we’re afraid. But there’s a lot more sex and a soundtrack that makes you think you’re in a 1970s curry house.
So you’re probably wondering if all of this is any good . Actually, to be fair, you might not be wondering at all as you may well have made your mind up from the title. It’s not a bad way of judging it. Vampyros Lesbos does indeed have an artsy-beauty to it all and it’s certainly dreamlike as long as you’re prepared to accept being a bit slow as part of the deal. But that probably isn’t going to be quite enough to keep you entertained if the sight of Ewa Strömberg and especially Soledad Miranda going girl-on-girl isn’t your thing. It has to be said that the very beautiful Miranda (who died in a car crash just a month after completing the film) is very much the star here even if Strömberg gets top billing. If you’re a fan of Miranda, then you’ll probably love this.
We still don’t get the kite...
Special Features: Interviews / German trailer / Opening titles
VAMPYROS LESBOS (1971) / DIRECTOR: JESÚS FRANCO / SCREENPLAY: JAIME CHÁVARRI, JESÚS FRANCO / STARRING: EWA STRÖMBERG, SOLEDAD MIRANDA, ANDRÉS MONALES, DENNIS PRICE, PAUL MÜLLER / RELEASED: NOVEMBER 30TH