Horror films have always straddled the line between sex and violence. One could say the same about porn. Put the two genres together and add a heavy dose of irony and psychedelic drugs and you get something that approximates Jesus Franco’s 1971 film Vampyros Lesbos. In fact, all politics aside, there is nothing really horrific about this film unless you are afraid of beautiful sunbathing lesbian vampires, cool sunglasses, turtlenecks, and the beautiful and doomed actress Miranda Soledad. Nor is it really porn…it’s like a phantasmagoric orgy of Russ Meyer, Zalman King (Red Shoe Diaries), and a stoned Bram Stoker. It even conjures up the lesser elements of Enter the Dragon.
The film’s amazing soundtrack, which is still available here and there, is a self described “Sexadelic Dance Party“. It’s a trashy, fun, imaginative, lush, funky-schizoid compilation of music from the film that was released as a tribute to Soledad following her death in a car crash. Despite the film’s kitschiness, this odd album is somehow earnest and direct, perhaps most so in its incredible attention to detail and ability to be sonically pornographic. The entire sound is coated in some strange, greasy reverb. There are filthy trembling electric guitars, dripping sitars, Hammonds, and vox continentals, horns and pianos that chop,slap and wail, and endless hums, ums, oohs, meows, and grunts…. everything is fuzzy and held together by the suspicious glue of the incredibly tight and groovy arrangements of composer Manfred Hubler, and the players- who were clearly perverts at the top of their musical game. Great music for your Halloween dance party if you want to spike the punch and inspire people to get weird, hump and grind… but its strangeness and extremity detract from the aphrodisiac qualities that bands like The Dirty Three have so perfected. If you put this on during the sex, you will probably get laughed at—perhaps the most frightening scenario of all. words/ j benson
Vampyros Lesbos (1970) German Trailer