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October 29, 2015

Movie Review: Vampyros Lesbos (1971)

I’ve actually heard quite a bit about this film, mostly from my male friends. So when it arrived I was rather excited to be able to view it myself! Imagine my disappointment, though, when it turned out to be a bootleg copy that had been edited to all hell so none of the tasty bits were left in. The only way I know that for sure is when I went to find stills to include in this review, there were a SHIT TON of pics of scenes with the same actresses (Soledad Miranda and Ewa Stromberg *rowr*) all naked and awesome but were NOT in the movie I just watched.

*all the pouting*

Vampyros Lesbos begins with a banal voice over about Princess Nadia being locked up by her husband, Prince Oskudar, centuries earlier. When her attendants all begin to die off, and she gets stronger after each one, we realize something is amiss with our beautiful royalty. Then one day she disappears.

Next thing we know, we are in modern times and hear Alice explaining to her therapist about the strange dream she keeps having every night. A woman’s voice calls to her over and over while a strange amalgamation of images flash by: a scorpion, a trapped butterfly, a soaring kite. Though the dream terrifies her, she feels compelled by the voice and longs to find the source.

Obviously she works too hard and should just pay more attention to her boyfriend so the therapist recommends a vacation. What the hell, 1970s? That’s basically the equivalent of telling a chick she needs to get laid. Wow.

When Alice returns to work, she receives a letter from the Countess Oskudar (hmmm...) and immediately runs off to meet her. Though the locals try to warn her off visiting the countess and her island, Alice MUST go. And thus begins Alice’s trip down the vampire rabbit hole.

The rest of the film is the most boring version of Dracula ever. Struggle to remain human; good wins over evil; Blah Blah Blah.

Got anything bigger? I've had a rough day.

As this is a bootleg copy of the film, the quality is for shit. The film was dirty and worn so transferring it to DVD didn’t improve anything. The editing is choppy at best. Some of the dark scenes were so dark you couldn’t see anything and the bright daytime shots were completely washed out.

I also can’t stand films that want to be too artsy fartsy. All the cinematic slow shots of blood dripping down windows or the overly dramatic pauses. Ugh (this is probably why I don’t like Lars von Trier). And slapping us in the face over and over with that fucking scorpion and butterfly. Okay. Okay. We get it. Nadia is the scorpion and Alice is the butterfly. Fucking move on already.

With all the sloppy editing there really is nothing titillating about this film. I think its original format must have been (based on all those stills I told you about) but this copy is just a disjointed patchwork of some film student’s version of what it must mean to be avant garde. If I’m watching a movie about vampires, I need a lot more gore and sex that makes me feel tingly in my girly bits.

I'm Spiderman! Phffft - Phffft!

Now, all that said, the only redeeming parts of this film are the two main actresses: Soledad Miranda as Princess Nadia and Ewa Stromberg as Alice. Though I feel Soledad is a more smoldering beauty and Ewa is cute as a button, the chemistry between them is beautiful to watch, even without gratuitous nudity and make out sessions. Which says a lot about their acting and natural sensuality.

If anyone has a full unedited version of this they’d like to loan me, I’d be happy to watch it and then revisit this review. But for now, I can only give any kind of hatchet to this film because of the luscious ladies.

1.5 Hatchets (out of 5)

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