04 October, 2010

31 Jess Franco Halloween Horrors: DAS BILDNIS DER DORIANA GRAY (1976)

This 1976 female vampire film is a quiet, disturbing affair, kind of a minimalist version of Franco's 1973 LA COMTESSE NOIRE aka FEMALE VAMPIRE. Imagine if Ingmar Bergman directed a horror film using a sitar for
musical accompaniment. Doriana Gray (Lina Romay) wears a long pink chiffon gown as she sucks the life fluid from her victims during erotic encounters. Frigid, Doriana's sexual experiences are somehow telegraphed to her siamese twin sister, locked in Dr. Orloff's clinic. 

From the first shot of Doriana's castle towering above the jungle this is a visually entrancing film, perhaps the director's most stylistically accomplished and consistent in tone. It's very downbeat and mysterious, composed in a much more melancholy key than VAMPYROS LESBOS or the more recent SNAKEWOMAN. The Official Jess Franco Collection DVD* presents the hardcore version, and I find this the very best of the director's work in that genre. The sitar-like musial, the sounds of the jungle, the classic architecture all create an uncanny mood.

Highly recommended for the discerning Jess Franco collector. There reportedly exists a softcore version which I have yet to see. 

*Elite Films AG VIP Entertainment, 2003.


R. Sterling Gray said...

I've wondered about this one and Snakewoman. How is Snakewoman? I read somewhere it was a loose remake of Vampyros Lesbos.

Robert Monell said...

Yes, it does have some basis in VL in terms of characters and plot. It's good in terms of photography and one of the best looking of his digital films. Worth seeing.

R. Sterling Gray said...

You don't have to know where I can find a trailer online do you?

Douglas A. Waltz said...

Snakewoman is awesome. I guess I can see some similarities to Vampyros Lesbos, but this is actually a very good story. And Carmen Montes is gorgeous!