23 February, 2012


The mysterious, sensual gaze of Lina Romay.

When I heard about the passing of Lina Romay earlier today (on Feb. 15, reportedly of complications from cancer) I immediately experienced a sensation of free falling into space. I felt lost and a sense of personal loss for an indeterminate period of time. That vague realm of emotional/temporal/spiritual/physical dislocation and melancholy is best illustrated by her signature performance and the overall mood of Jess Franco's minimalist vampire masterwork LA COMTESSE NOIRE (1973).

Lina Romay, in her signature role of the Countess Irina Von Karlstein in LA COMTESSE NOIRE (1973)

I am reflecting on the sense of loss which Jess Franco must be feeling right now. I send him  my sincerest condolences. Thank you Jess, for introducing us to Lina Romay,  we are all thinking about you at  this time. 

The world of cinema has lost a unique, irreplaceable presence. Lina Romay was an actress who didn't need words to express strong or subtle emotions. She was an often underrated performer who could evoke lonliness and melancholy as the mute vampyre in LA COMTESSE NOIRE (1973) but she could also be an effective comedienne or portray corrupted innocence as she with the character of Linda in LORNA, THE EXORCIST (1974). She could be a prison bull dyke as in GRETA, THE MAD BUTCHER (1977) or the  vulnerable inmate as in BARBED WIRE DOLLS (1975). 
An incarcerated innocent in BARBED WIRE DOLLS

Born  Rosa Maria Almirall Martinez in Barcelona, she reportedly studied Art before meeting Jess Franco. Eventually, as a central figure in the Franco alternate universe, there would be many Lina Romays, including the blond Candy Coster, usually cast as a ditzy character in Jess Franco's 1980s genre parodies (LA MANSION DE LOS MUERTOS VIVENTES) but also in serious roles like the femme fatale in BOTAS NEGRAS, LATIGO DE CUERO (1982). She was also Lulu Laverne, who was featured in many of Franco's hardcore films (EL MIRON Y LA EXHIBICIONISTA-1985, being one of the best examples), and was also the co-director of that film, with Jess Franco, along with such other films of that period as LAS CHUPONAS (1986) and Un Pito Para Tres (1984) as Candy Coster.
                         As the melancholy, compulsive, self destructive vampire in DORAINA GRAY (1976).  

She played any and every type of role and was the longtime companion, co-director, muse, editor, assistant director to Jess Franco. I will be publishing numerous images from her films and career here for the next few days, as well as links and videos, as a tribute to her and as a way of thanking her for sharing her talent with us. She will be missed.


BELOW: A painting of Lina by artist Mick Cantone.
Download LB_Middle.jpg (502.3 KB)

ABOVE: Lina in her "Candy Coster" persona as seen on the cover of EL SEXO ESTA LOCO (1980) DVD.

As Linda, the about-to-be-corrupted-innocent in LORNA, THE EXORCIST (1974).

 Lina as a topless female Zorro in Jess Franco's 16mm comedy western Les Chatouilleueses (1974).
This one is worth repeating! The actor playing the red coated Governor is the late Olivier Mathot (1924-2011)
Lina Romay's longest running role was as the best friend, lover and companion-for-life of Jess Franco


Mick Cantone said...

Bob, you have expressed most eloquently the quality that Lina Romay brought to the screen and why any film lover who has seen her is forever enthralled. Also, Jess is in my thoughts and I send my love and light to him.

Nostalgia Kinky said...

Thank you Robert. I know you will put on a moving and wonderful tribute to her. I still can't believe the news.

Alex Jowski said...

Lina Romay was one of my favorite actresses in the exploitation genre. Nobody was as sexually brazen (and fun) as her onscreen personas. I am truly sorry to hear of her passing.

scott said...

so sad, just found out now

Douglas A. Waltz said...

Trying so hard to find the right way to say what I am feeling, but can't. Just so very sad.

scott said...

I started my Lina tribute tonight with an odd choice, HELTER SKELTER; which i'd only seen one time years ago. More will follow over the next several days for sure.

RIP Lina Romay

Ryan Clark said...

Well said, Robert. I haven't been able to stop listening to the gorgeous Female Vampire theme while thinking of her.

David said...

A devastating loss.

Astrum said...

Lina Romay...A few words ...



See you in Horroerotica
A10 Astrum X

Mick Cantone said...

Ryan, I too have spent the past 24 hours listening to the theme from Female Vampire and have been sobbing like mad.

Robert Monell said...

Thanks, everyone. Keep coming back to this blogpost. I'll be adding dozens of varied, multi media images of Lina over the next few days and weeks and will try to make this the ultimate Lina Romay Tribute blog!

Robert Monell said...

Thanks, everyone. Keep coming back to this blogpost. I'll be adding dozens of varied, multi media images of Lina over the next few days and weeks and will try to make this the ultimate Lina Romay Tribute blog!

cinemarchaeologist said...

Waltz has it right--it's hard to know what to say, because nothing one can say seems adequate. I wrote a little something of my own, and I'm thinking of taking it down, because it just doesn't do justice to it.

Awful news.