Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 29th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Belgium / France, 1973
Director: Jesus Franco
Writers: Jesus Franco, Gérard Brisseau
Cast: Lina Romay, Jack Taylor, Alice Arno, Monica Swinn, Jesus Franco, Luis Barboo, Jean-Pierre Bouyxou, Raymond Hardy, Anna Watican
BluRay released: October 16th, 2012
Approximate running times: 100 minutes (Female Vampire), 70 minutes (Erotikill)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono French (Female Vampire), DTS-HD Mono English (Erotikill)
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber / Redemption Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
Female Vampire was made during Jess Franco’s most productive year as filmmaker 1973. He would complete 12 films this during this year. Besides Female Vampire, a few other notable films that he directed this year include, Sinner: The Secret Diary of a Nymphomaniac, Countess Perverse, A Virgin Among the Living Dead and Other Side of the Mirror.
And like many of Jess Franco’s films from this era of his career, Female Vampire would have multiple versions of the film released, including a hardcore version. With the two most known versions being the 100 minute version released under the title Female Vampire and a 70 minute standard horror version of the film titled Erotikill.
Female Vampire marks an important moment in the fiilmography of Jess Franco. It would serve as the first starring vehicle for Lina Romay, at that moment his latest muse and his longtime companion. There collaboration would span four decades and over 100 films.
The cast for Female Vampire features several recognizable faces, who have worked with Jess Franco on numerous occasions like Jack Taylor (Succubus, Count Dracula), Alice Arno (Tender and Perverse Emanuelle) and Monica Swinn (Barbed Wire Dolls). Other key Jess Franco collaborators in Female Vampire, include co-screenwriter Gérard Brisseau who worked on several films as Jess Franco’s cinematographer, most notably Diary of a Nymphomaniac, Countess Perverse and Plaisir à trois. And composer Daniel White, who’s scores have graced more Jess Franco films than any other composer (excluding Jess Franco himself).
Content wise, Female Vampire would see Jess Franco returning yet again to vampires and lesbians. The plot like most Jess Franco films from the 1970’s and onward it anemic. With the emphasis being more on the mood created via atmospheric visuals and the tour de force performance from his leading lady Lina Romay, who gives what is arguably her greatest performance of her career.
To the uninitiated, when it comes to cinema of Jess Franco. Pacing is sure to give some novices a fit, since this film takes its time to get where it wants to go. While those more familiar with Jess Franco cinematic obsessions are sure to enjoy every moment of sublime bliss that unfolds onscreen.
Without a doubt this films most memorable moment is when Lina Romay’s character Countess Irina Karlstein takes out her sexual frustrations on a wooden bed post. The use of such an object in a scene like this aforementioned moment is ripe with interpretation. Unable to have a sexually fulfilling moment with the living. She is forced to find her pleasure is an object that is as cold and lifeless as she it. And let’s not overlook the irony that a bedpost also resembles a stake, the most commonly used object to kill a vampire.
Female Vampire / Erotikill comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. Both versions of the film are presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Just like their release for Exorcism / Demoniac no restoration has been done for this transfer in regards to print damage. With that being said the end result is a very good transfer that fans of this film are sure to be extremely satisfied with.
Female Vampire version of the film comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English and a DTS-HD Mono mix in French with English subtitles. The Erotikill version of the film comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English. Background noise is minimal, everything sounds balanced and dialog always comes through clearly.
Extras for this release include the aforementioned standard horror version of the film titled Erotikill, two interviews, the first one with director Jess Franco titled ‘Destiny in Soft Focus: Jess Franco Remembers Female Vampire’ (13 minutes 37 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English with English subtitles) and the second interview with film critic and actor Jean-Pierre Bouyoux titled ‘Words for Lina’ (12 minutes 39 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in French with English subtitles) and a trailer for Female Vampire (1 minute 17 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in French with no English subtitles). Topics discussed in the interview with Jess Franco include the origins of the film and what he was trying to accomplish with this film, the first time he meet Lina Romay and he also briefly touches upon another one of his frequent leading ladies Soledad Miranda. Topics discussed in the interview with Jean-Pierre Bouyoux include working with Lina Romay, who passed away earlier this year and her relationship with Jess Franco. Also included with this release are trailers for Exorcism / Demoniac, The Rape of the Vampire, The Nude Vampire and Requiem for a Vampire. Overall Female Vampire / Erotikill gets a first rate release from Kino Lorber / Redemption Films.
Note: This film is also being released by Kino Lorber / Redemption Films on DVD.