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Image Entertainment presents
Female Vampire (les Avaleuses) (1973)

"Why, why, yes why. All this time, this never ending time. The hours of sorrows and pleasures, of solitude and fear in the cold coffin, lost deep down in the mausoleum. My implacable destiny has led me to a wonderful being, who has also become a victim. I have become his judge and also his involuntary executioner, for nothing can stop the march of destiny."
- Countess Irina Karlstein (Lina Romay)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: September 05, 2000

Stars: Lina Romay, Jack Taylor, Alice Arno, Monica Swinn
Other Stars: Jesús Franco (as Jess Franck)
Director: Jesús Franco (as J.P. Johnson)

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Nudity, explicit sex, graphic violence)
Run Time: 01h:40m:29s
Release Date: August 08, 2000
UPC: 014381910520
Genre: late night

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Jesús Franco has used more aliases as a filmmaker than many directors have films (60 according to the IMDB). Amongst his 161 credited titles as director (many of which also have a list of aka's a mile long) are Vampyros Lesbos, She Killed In Ecstacy and Ilsa: The Wicked Warden. Franco is also credited for just about every other film related roll possible on many of his films. For Female Vampire (Les Avaleuses), Franco wrote, directed, photographed (as Joan Vincent), edited (as P. Querut) and acted (as Jess Franck playing Dr. Roberts) in the film.

Female Vampire was filmed when France had just made hardcore films legal, and directors began dabbling in the genre. From the opening shot, we establish the main character, Countess Irina Karlstein (Lina Romay - actually Rosa Maria Almirall in her debut starring role, then wife of Franco collaborator Ramon Ardid), walking through the misty countryside in her black leather boots, cape and belt (and nothing else). She will remain in this and less formal wear throughout the remainder of the film. She happens upon a young farmer, who, obviously impressed by her choice of wardrobe, submits to her desire to orally satisfy him, with the unexpected consequence that she (literally) sucks the life out of him. You see, our countess is cursed as a vampire, a trait she deeply regrets (she's also a mute, so she doesn't have to act much), but her insatiable need drives her to locate new victims. This quest leads her to couple with just about everyone else in the film in fairly graphic style, and also includes a session with an unsuspecting bedpost. There is no shortage of full nudity here, nor any shying away from explicit, though soft core, sex scenes.

To add some depth to the story, we have the local coroner (Franco as Dr, Roberts) who suspects a vampire is at work after a series of unexplained murders, much to the annoyance of the police detective, who feels this is nonsense. We also have a young man (Jack Taylor) who, while citing bits of poetry, feels a compulsion to seek out the Countess as his lover, and join her in imortality. Whatever.

While the premise is fine for a film that pretty much keeps its lead characters either naked or having sex throughout the whole film, I found the cinematography to be extremely annoying. Nearly every shot contains a zoomed recomposition from wide to closeup back to wide shot, which becomes very distracting after about the twentieth time it occurs. Pans and zooms are also pretty jarring most of the time, which makes them stand out more than they should. I would hazard a guess that setup for most of the shots was done fairly quickly, as there are numerous occasions where the camera zooms in, then seems to be looking for something to focus on. Some of the locations are interesting, but the constant zooming really spoils the film, though I guess it saved on setups and cutting.

Like many Franco films that exist in various versions, this was seen in the US cut under the title Erotikill (which it can be compared with in the supplements). Image has released the film in its uncut softcore version on DVD (a hardcore version, aka Insatiable Lust or The Loves Of Irena also exists, never available outside europe). If you are looking for some soft porn with a batty twist, you'll find it here.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Female Vampire is presented in an anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer. Aside from some streaking damage in the opening segment, the print quality is reasonable throughout the remainder of the disc, with infrequent frame damage, dirt or other artifacts. The image is fairly soft, but suits the picture. Colors are earthy, not unusual for a film of this vintage, and a bit dark at times, but overall fairly well delivered for this type of film.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: We have a really poorly dubbed english soundtrack, which strangely enough, completely suits the film. It services the movie, and since this isn't going to be bought for its sonic excellence anyhow, does a fine job of anchoring the soundstage while we are thrust in and out by the photography. There is also a french track, but oddly no english subtitles.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Snapper
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Alternate takes from the horror only version, Erotikill
Extras Review: The disc features 8 and a half minutes of alternate scenes from the horror only version of the film, released as Erotikill. Although there are two language tracks available, they are both the same french track - not that there is anything really said here. It is interesting to note how these differ from the scenes in the soft core feature section, though I will leave that for you to discover on your own. There is also a theatrical trailer (as La Comtess Aux Seins Nus) in anamorphic 2.35:1, again with two french tracks.

A decent overview of the film is also included on the overleaf of the foldout snapper case, detailing the film's history and information on the director and stars.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Here we have another european film never before available in North America in its uncensored cut, although this is not the complete X rated version. For Franco fans, this one is not quite up to Vampyros Lesbos standards from a story point of view, but as an excuse to watch naked women under the guise of a vampire flick it does its job. Female Vampire is definitely not for the kiddies as the sex scenes are quite graphic - I think only the hardcore erotic vampire film fan will be really interested in this one.


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