Female Vampires (1973) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I looked at this film for Jess Franco's 70th birthday, May 12, 2000. Probably the best thing about Franco is that in four decades of filmmaking, including a stint working with Orson Welles, he hasn't learned one blessed thing. The movies he makes today are every bit as bad as his first efforts, possibly worse. You have to sit back in awe of an accomplishment like that. So happy birthday, Jess. Feliz cumpleanos, amigo.

 This film is also known as "The Loves of Irina", "Les Avaleuses", and about a dozen other names, and it's available in many, many different versions. The fairly rare x-rated version (available on German DVD and VHS tape, but not on Region 1 DVD) shows no penetration, but features an on-camera BJ, and a whole bunch of footage trapped between hardcore and softcore, like spread shots and carpet munching. I wish the whole film were lighted a little better, because Romay is so hairy that you usually can't see anything but hair, even when she opens up. 


see the main commentary

The tame "horror only" version is about the usual type of vampire who sucks blood through the neck. The x-rated version is about a female vampire who sucks ... um, well, not necks, if you catch my drift, and I think you do.

An IMDb comment summarizes the various versions now available:

'Les Avaleuses' was released in the UK by Redemption Video in a heavily censored form under the title "Female Vampire" (cuts were required by the censors). It was this version I first saw on UK television some years ago. Redemption Benelux released the uncut version of the film some years later, and is perhaps the definitive director's cut of Franco's film, but that version doesn't appear to be any longer available. In the US, the film was released on DVD by Image Entertainment - again under the title "Female Vampire" - but unfortunately they decided to censor one of the sex scenes, which included shots of Lina Romay sucking a man's penis, pushing the film into hard core territory...thus spoiling what is probably a very nice release, as this is no longer what the director originally intended (and more to the point, I personally refuse to buy films that are censored in such a way)! This version does contain some alternate footage in its extra's from the "blood sucking" version of the film, however, which may be of some interest.

More recently the film has surfaced on DVD in Germany under the title "Erotikill - Lady Dracula 2" (on screen title 'Lusternde Vampire Im Spermarausch'). Not a particularly good image, but satisfactory all the same, it is an uncut German language version of the film, though still not quite the original director's cut.

As stated above, two versions of the film were shot - a traditional 'blood sucking' version for places where censorship was strict, and for markets that were more relaxed, a more sexually explicit - borderline hard core - 'semen sucking' version. A few years after its initial release, additional full blown hard core sex scenes were shot and inserted into the movie. It is this version that the German DVD offers, with a running time of 105m (PAL).

My personal favorite scene is the one where Lina Romay gives a practice BJ to a penis-shaped bedpost. Presumably she does this to sharpen her skills. Or maybe to sharpen her teeth, because I don't think PetSmart sells any custom chew-toys for Vampires. The Dark Ones are too embarrassed to buy the doggie chew toys when they don't actually own a pooch.

I've discussed this film and the director, Jess Franco, many times in the past, so I'll give you some links if you'd like to learn more about the king of grade-z EuroCrap.

  1. "The Pure and Extreme Cinema of Jesus Franco"
  2. "Horrotica! The Sex Scream of Jess Franco"

Although he is primarily known for his Horrotica films, Franco did not restrict himself to making bad horror films. He made many other kinds of bad films as well. And I use the word "many" advisedly. Possibly he made more movies than anybody else in history. Unfortunately, unlike his fellow European Horrotica schlockmeister Jean Rollin, who was truly excellent at lighting, Franco couldn't match his sense of cinema with any kind of technical competence, so he has some nicely-composed scenes which are spoiled by poor lighting or fuzzy focus. Alas, his only positive is the ability to imagine some artistically conceived shots, but even they are spoiled by poor execution.

A classic moment from the wonderful world of grade-z cinema: it takes money and skill to film real bats. They generally fly at night, they fly low, and they are generally antisocial critters who hang around in unlit places away from humans. So, when Franco needed to show the Countess flying as a bat, he photographed a medium sized bird flying through the skies. They did at least find a bird that flapped its wings quite a bit like a bat. At least they didn't use a hawk or something which does a lot of gliding. But it's obviously a bird, it's obviously daytime, it's obviously hundreds of feet in the air, and Franco just added some lame bat-like noises to the footage.

DVD info from Amazon

  • This is the entire film, both the bloodsucking and semensucking versions, except it is missing the actual onscreen BJ.

During Romay's on-camera BJ, the guy's phaser never stiffened all the way, which I thought was the best acting in the movie, until I heard the guy's voice and realized that he'd be happier sitting in a bubble bath listening to his Judy Garland albums. Hey, Franco, if you just need some hetero guy to work for free and get blown by starlets, send me an e-mail. My address is in the card attached to your birthday present. Or have your people call my people. I'm pretty sure I can work some BJ's into my schedule.

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews online. The IMDb entry has several reviews from genre specialty sites.

The People Vote ...


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. Although it is actually quite a poor movie, it is a must-see for fans of Euro-horrotica.

Return to the Movie House home page