Friday, December 14, 2012

Vampire Blues – review

Director: Jess Franco

Release date: 1999

Contains spoilers

Now, I am not quite up to date with my Jess Franco reviews but I really did have to gird my loins (if that isn’t an unfortunate phrase when connected with this sub-art house, sub-porn offering) before I tackled the review of Vampire Blues.

You see it really is that bad, shot on a cheap camera in Malaga and then drowned in visual effects that were cheap and just did not work this really was Franco at his worst. The flimsiest of stories, no dialogue worth writing home about and softcore porn scenes that were neither erotic nor titillating particularly, it was a big old mess. But on with the story (or what there is of it)

Rachel Shepard as Rachel
Rachel Crosby (played by Rachel Sheppard, voiced by Jessica Luo) is on vacation in Spain. She spends her day taking photos, lying topless on the beach and walking round the town taking more photos. Whilst she lies on the beach lounger the “fairground music” is broken with a discordant guitar and a flash of a vampire’s face. The vampire is credited as Countess Irina von Murnau (played by Analía Ivars and voiced by Leyora Zuberman).

cocked up quote
We see a detail of the face again with a quote “Be careful you, lonely people are the best prey for the searchers of blood.” It is attributed to Sheridan Le Fanu but it is from no Le Fanu work that I am aware of (as always, with a statement like that, I stand to be corrected). Countess Irina observes the girl from some trees and growls (in a barely distinguishable voice) something about obsession, blood and death.

Lawd help us
That night, as the girl sleeps, the Countess dances to a blues guitar song whilst shot through a glass vase. As things drag out intolerably a second version of her appears and the soundtrack melts into mild jazz as some imagery appears (later shown to be a picture in her rooms) that is clearly yonic by design, and the second Irina dances close to the camera, showing only her genitalia. I was far from aroused. Rachel wakes and asks who is there?

The next day she does the same thing as the day before but goes into a beach-front shop. She is looking at hats but the shopkeeper (Jess Franco) points out a t-shirt with Irina on it. He says it was made especially for her and she buys it, goes to the beach and falls asleep clutching it. When she awakens she is drawn to a house; the vampire is in it and the t-shirt has no picture. Eventually she ends up writhing on the bed with the vampire who eventually bites her.

bad effects over gypsy
The only other thing to really mention story wise is Rachel going to a mystic show and Marga the Gipsy (Lina Romay) recognises the girl, knows her name and the danger she is in and sets about trying to save her. How does she do this? Slowly, with little dialogue and by handing the girl to the vampire. However before she does hand the girl over, we see her preparing a dildo… ah… we can at least see the thought behind the ‘story’ yonic symbolism versus phallus.

blood at mouth
I have to mention the fact that they get to the vampire’s house and call out to the creature of the night but there is no response for approximately five minutes. The vampire is too busy masturbating and we are ‘treated’ to this, with so much post production effect over the imagery that the only thing clearly on screen is a puckered anus… in any sense of the word this film is a front runner for the prize of being the epitome of bad film-making  Vampire is killed by phallus (and, sorry Jess, but that isn’t the first time that has happened – see The Case of the Smiling Stiffs), victim wakes up but the vampire on the t-shirt is now her… yawn.

I think (or hope) I have expressed, through the review, how poor this film is. One of Franco’s worst 0.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


RoseOfTransylvania said...

Countess Von Murnau is great name for a vampire. Seems to be one of the very few virtues of this movie.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

there ia little in the way of virtue here Rose, I'm glad you could find a positive :)