Female Vampire – Redemption Films (Blu-ray)
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
Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Approximate Running Times: 100 Minutes 56 Seconds (Female Vampire), 70 Minutes 57 Seconds (Erotikill)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC (Both Versions)
Sound: LPCM Mono English, LPCM Mono French (Female Vampire), LPCM Mono English (Erotikill)
Subtitles: English (Female Vampire)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
"Countess Irina (Lina Romay) lives on the island of Madeira, Portugal, where she must drain the ''life force'' of men and women for her own survival. One of her lovers/victims is a poet (Jack Taylor) who believes the undead countess is meant for him." - synopsis provided by the distributor
Video: 3.5/5 (Female Vampire, Erotikill)
Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, “Mastered in HD from the original film elements”
Female Vampire and Erotikill come on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.
Disc Size: 43.4 GB
Feature: 22.4 GB (Female Vampire), 12.8 GB (Erotikill)
Though no restoration has been done in the form of removing print damage, the sources for the two versions are comparable; there is color and density fluctuation; black levels are adequate; and the image generally looks crisp. That said, these are very good transfers that fans of this film are sure to be extremely satisfied with.
Audio: 3.25/5 (LPCM Mono English), 3.5/5 (LPCM Mono French)
Female Vampire comes with two audio options, a LPCM Mono mix in English and a LPCM Mono mix in French with English subtitles. Erotikill comes with one audio option, a LPCM Mono mix in English. Background noise is minimal, everything sounds balanced, and dialog always comes through clearly.
Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer for Female Vampire (1 minute 17 seconds, LPCM mono French, no subtitles), an interview with director Jess Franco titled Destiny in Soft Focus: Jess Franco Remembers Female Vampire (13 minutes 37 seconds, LPCM stereo English with non-removable English subtitles), an interview with film critic and actor Jean-Pierre Bouyoux titled Words for Lina (12 minutes 39 seconds, LPCM stereo French with non-removable English subtitles), and an alternate horror version of Female Vampire titled Erotikill.
Other extras include trailers for Exorcism (Demoniac), The Rape of the Vampire, The Nude Vampire, and Requiem for a Vampire.
Female Vampire was made during Jess Franco’s most productive year as a filmmaker, 1973. He would complete 12 films during the 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 The 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. The two most well-known versions are a 100-minute version titled "Female Vampire" and a 70-minute standard horror version titled Erotikill.
The Female Vampire marks an important moment in the career of Jess Franco. It would be the first star vehicle for Lina Romay, his latest muse and longtime companion at the time. This collaboration would span four decades and over 100 films.
The cast 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, whose scores have graced more Jess Franco films than any other composer (excluding Jess Franco himself).
Content-wise, Female Vampire would see Jess Franco return yet again to vampires and lesbians. The plot, like most Jess Franco films from the 1970’s and onward, is 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 the 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's cinematic obsessions are sure to enjoy every moment of sublime bliss that unfolds onscreen.
Without a doubt, the most memorable moment is when Lina Romay’s character, Countess Irina Karlstein, takes her sexual frustrations on a wooden bed post. The use of such an object in a scene like this aforementioned moment is ripe for interpretation. unable to have a sexually fulfilling moment with the living. She is forced to find her pleasure in an object that is as cold and lifeless as she is. 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 gets a first-rate release from Redemption Films that comes with two versions of the film, a strong audio/video presentation, and a pair of insightful extras, recommended.
Written by Michael Den Boer