HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
   
 
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Bare Breasted Countess, The Blood, bosoms and blow-jobs
Year: 1973
Director: Jess Franco
Stars: Lina Romay, Jack Taylor, Alice Arno, Monica Swinn, Jess Franco, Luis Barboo, Jean-Pierre Bouyxou, Raymond Hardy, Anna Watican
Genre: Horror, Sex, Trash, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: On the island of Madeira, sexy, mute vampire Countess Irina Karnstein (Lina Romay) prolongs her immortal existence via death-dealing doses of overwhelming oral sex. Emerging through the mist, naked save for her black cloak and leather boots, she suckles the “life essence” of various victims at a local holiday resort. After quizzing the countess about her vampire heritage, bikini-clad journalist Anna (Anna Watican) is haunted by nightly apparitions. She eventually succumbs to Irina’s sapphic passion with inevitably fatal results. Irina’s activities soon alert the authorities, but also a pensive poet (Jack Taylor) who believes he is fated to join her in the world of eternal life.

Given Spanish schlockmeister Jess Franco first saw the late Lina Romay as something of a reincarnation of his tragically short-lived, original muse Soledad Miranda, it is little wonder their first collaboration with Romay in the lead plays like a variation on Vampyros Lesbos (1970), which featured Miranda in her signature role. The Bare Breasted Countess, which exists under an array of alternate titles for variant versions ranging from straight horror (Female Vampire) to hardcore porn (The Loves of Irina), opens with a typically idiosyncratic Franco shot combining his propensity for the lyrical and the crass. As a naked Romay strolls towards us, her languid gaze seemingly confronting the viewer with their own voyeuristic impulses, Franco glides his camera down her body, lingers on her bare breasts then zooms into her crotch. Yet rather than simply sleazy, there remains something intriguingly elegaic, almost wistful about the film, an aspect underlined by its tranquil seaside setting and the beautiful score by Franco’s regular composer, Daniel White.

Although Franco sold his films on the porno circuit, he seldom catered to the tastes of their audience. The melancholy tone of The Bare Breasted Countess is at odds with a grindhouse fan’s expectations of overheated eroticism and liable to disappoint those unsympathetic to his more contemplative agenda. As Irina’s mournful monologues make clear, she takes no joy from killing but is driven this need to feel alive by means of sexual communion, even as she longs for an end to her immortal existence. The film bears all the usual bugbears of Franco filmmaking: zoom-happy camerawork, somnabulant pacing, dialogue that wavers from disarmingly poetic to outright gibberish (sometimes in the space of a single sentence), gratuitous crotch zooms. But in spite of its obvious failings there remains something laudable about Franco’s attempt to convey an almost indefinable intermingling of loss and desire, an emotion key to the mystery of human existence but almost incommunicable onscreen.

There are surprisingly lyrical sequences, such as when Irina leads a presumably undead Anna into the afterlife and Franco even makes slightly silly scenes with a naked Romay writhing sensually in bed, sucking and humping the bedpost, strangely poignant and powerful. Though she never utters a word, Lina Romay delivers a surprisingly expressive performance and is ably supported by co-stars Jack Taylor and Anna Watican, who each convey a genuine frisson of terror and arousal in their encounters with Irina. Stock Franco players Monica Swinn and Alice Arno also appear in a frankly incomprehensible interlude where Irina is held captive and abused by two lesbians at an S&M nightclub until her powers drive them to turn on each other. Franco himself appears as forensic pathologist-turned-would be vampire hunter Doctor Roberts who consults none other than Doctor Orloff. The film hints this the son of the mad scientist from his breakthrough horror film, The Awful Dr. Orloff (1961), played in very eccentric fashion by Belgian film critic and underground filmmaker Jean-Pierre Bouyxou who waxes philosophical about the countess’ killings: “How are we to know that pleasure isn’t worth life itself?” Of course, he says this whilst probing his fingers inside a dead woman’s vagina. But, hey, you take your pearls of wisdom where you can get them.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 4622 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Jess Franco  (1930 - 2013)

Legendary director of predominantly sex-and-horror-based material, Spanish-born Jesus Franco had as many as 200 directing credits to his name. Trained initially as a musician before studying film at the Sorbonne in Paris, Franco began directing in the late 50s. By using the same actors, sets and locations on many films, Franco has maintained an astonishing workrate, and while the quality of his work has sometimes suffered because of this, films such as Virgin Amongst the Living dead, Eugenie, Succubus and She Killed in Ecstasy remain distinctive slices of 60s/70s art-trash.

Most of his films have been released in multiple versions with wildly differing titles, while Franco himself has directed under a bewildering number of pseudonyms. Actors who have regularly appeared in his films include Klaus Kinski, Christopher Lee and wife Lina Romay; fans should also look out for his name on the credits of Orson Welles' Chimes of Midnight, on which he worked as assistant director.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: