Friday, January 11, 2013

Franco Friday #35: Erotikill

Franco Friday #35: Erotikill

Two weeks in a row? I hope this means I’m back into the swing of things. I’ve had Female Vampire in my pile of Franco for a long, long time. After a few aborted attempts to review it, I gave up. Then some kind soul put the VHS version, called Erotikill up on Youtube (sorry, Redemption, your Blu-ray is not on my shortlist). When I realized that this version was over 30 minutes shorter than the Female Vampire cut, well, I just had to go for it. Haven’t I seen enough of these extended lesbian and simulated bonking scenes? Here’s a hint: YES! So, dear reader, here is me taking the sting out and just pretending that this is the only version available.

AKA Female Vampire
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Lina Romay, Jack Taylor, Alice Arno, Monica Swinn, Jess Franco, Anita Watican
72 minutes (VHS version)

The Countess Irina Karlstein (played by Lina Romay) walks out of the mist, eyes sunken, breasts not sunken, wearing only a belt and a cape. The camera zooms to her PUBIC REGION then back up to her face. Then the Countess proceeds to walk into the camera lens. Poetry? Comedy? All I know is that an actress couldn’t ask for a better entrance than that. She goes to a farm in this getup, seduces a simpleton, and bites his neck. His strangely guttural cry can be heard miles away by Baron von Rathony (played by the brooding mustache of Jack Taylor). Suddenly, the Countess flaps her cape and flies away. Scree! Scree! Woosh!

We are briefly introduced to Inspector Idiot and Dr. Robertson (played by Jess Franco). He tells the inspector that the murder victim was killed during orgasm and was drained of blood and semen. Gee, I thought the Countess only bit that dude’s neck. She’s amazing! It’s almost like this version of the film is missing something. Meanwhile, back at the hotel, we see that this lady vampire likes to sunbathe, in the nude? No, actually fully clothed. Haven’t you read your vampire lore?

So my favorite scene of this entire movie happens when Anna (played by Anna Watican), an intrepid reporter, approaches the Countess for an interview. Of course, she agrees and they go sit in a hotel room to talk (one-sided, of course). For what feels like hours (oh God, I wish!), Anna interviews the mute vampire. This is seriously the best interview of a mute character ever filmed. Next, the Countess writhes around on a bed while her mute servant (good old Luis Barboo) smiles, appreciating every moment. The Countess decides to kill the hotel masseuse and she hypnotizes him by flashing her vagina at him over and over and over and over and over.

Frustrated by trying to convince Inspector Idiot that vampires exist, Dr. Roberts meets up with Dr. Orloff. He’s the blind son of an old colleague, eh? Very interesting. The Countess shows up in Anna’s hotel room and licks her lips and touches herself (while fully clothed) for a while, driving Anna mad with desire. Then she leaves Anna horny, totally unfulfilled, and crying in torment. Ha ha! She comes back after a costume change and then kills Anna. That makes everything all better, doesn’t it?

The Baron finally meets the Countess. He asks her if she will one day take him with her behind the mist. I drop my pen (what did you think I was holding?) and just stare at the screen, entranced. This movie just got to me. Next, Alice Arno and Monica Swinn magically appear in the film, playing Yahtzee, and waiting for The Countess to appear. She does and the two of them show her just how they treat their guests. Nakedness, shackles, and a very thick, sharp switch are utilized in their games. After some bloody whipping, the Countess calls bullshit, hypnotizes Arno, and then drinks Swinn dry. All the while, the soundtrack drops out, making the whole scene very uncomfortable; like it was totally unplanned.

The Baron admits that he has a mega-crush on the Countess. They kiss and she’s like “No! Go away! You’re too vanilla. And I’ll drink your mustache!” Look, she’s mute, I have to ad lib. They kiss again, they screw, and she kills him. She gets a little bummed out and tells Dr. Orloff that she wants all vampires to go away forever or something. Then she takes a bath in some bloody bathwater, writhes around, and then arches her back in order to shove her PUBIC REGION into the air repeatedly. Dr. Robertson shows up, kills her manservant, and then watches her drown in the bloody bathwater. Maybe. They show her walking around in the mist some more so who the fuck knows?

I don’t know what cracks me up more, the barely competent as well as successfully hilarious dubbing or the Peanuts-like jazz that plays through some of these scenes. The rest of the score is snippets of haunting melodies and classical yearnings. As for the dubbing, everyone involved is reading off the most banal claptrap ever written without missing a beat. The dude who dubbed Jack Taylor is the worst though. His accent is almost impenetrable. Lina Romay is lucky that her character is mute but not even she can escape the cheesed out voice-acting. Her internal monologues are delivered by a melodramatic robot.

I’m not going to lie to you, I love Erotikill. It has a few slow spots but I fell deeply for this very flawed gem. All of the shit that is wrong with this version just works perfectly for me. Lina Romay was very amateurish as an actress at this point in her career but she was also a mesmerizing weirdo (as always) so this film is perfect for her with the muteness and the nudeness. Her breasts almost steal the movie. I can wholeheartedly recommend Erotikill to anyone who likes watching Jess Franco movies with all of the boning cut out and presented in a pitifully cropped full frame transfer. One day, if I ever give a double damn, I might sit down and give the Female Vampire cut another go.

“You can well listen: I am quite sane. And I state that this murder is surrounded by a mystery that is not easy to elucidate.”

“But what you say is more than terrifying. The demons must be killed. And it must be forever.”


  1. This is an awesome text. I had a few laughs reading through it. That's the way to review Franco - not too seriously yet not without feeling! Cheers :)

  2. That was fun! I'm very happy to see the return of Franco Fridays!

    I've never seen this version, but Female Vampire is among my fave Franco films. Just recently I saw it again (the Blu-ray, and since Erotikill is on there as well I might have to check it out) and had to watch it in, err, French? Spanish? Can't remember, but I couldn't stand Jack Taylor's dubbing anymore. Lina steals the show though. What a perfect match for Franco she's been.

    Looking forward to more Franco Fridays popping up now and then!!

    On a totally unrelated note: Is there a decent DVD for The Sweet Body of Deborah? There is a German edition coming out with Italian and German dubbing, but wanted to compare in case there's a good US or UK release.


  3. @Alex B. - Thanks, man! I was inspired by the material.

    @MLP - It's always good to hear from you, captain. All I've ever seen of Sweet Body Of Deborah is the boot that I got from Cinema De Bizarre. It's in English and widescreen. It looks pretty decent. I didn't even know there was a German edition.

  4. Excellent stuff Richard. I'm saving 'The Female Vampire' for Franco #50. I recently caught up with Revenge In The House Of Usher and was delighted to see it was one you liked. The only really duff JFs I've seen were Cannibals, Sadomania, Love Camp and (yes really) Succubus. I can't quite see you're praise for Blue Rita but I do think it was one of the funniest fights ever captured on celluloid. Keep going!


    F Marsh Esq