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2005 IS ALIVE WITH UNDEAD DYKES AS
DVD AND CINEMA MODERNISE THE
MOST ANCIENT OF FEARS.
BY EVELYN HARTOGH.
The soon to be released film Eternal, set
today, reawakens the sixteenth century
'Blood' Countess Elizabeth Bathory,
infamous for the female body count of her
beauty routine. This historical Transylvanian
vamp seduced 650 women, simply to
murder them and bathe in their blood
because she believed it would keep her
looking young. Tapping into the current
crime obsession of popular fiction, Eternal
focuses on Detective Raymond Pope's
investigation of the very sexy Elizabeth
Kane (Caroline Néron) and her 'maid' Irina
Lovers of the velvet vampire visual feast
will be sated with the recently released
DVD of 1983's The Hunger, famous for the
lesbian sex scene between Miriam
(Catherine Deneuve) and Sara (Susan
Sarandon). Australian audiences will also
finally get a chance to see episodes of 1997-
2000's The Hunger TV series (a sort of
erotic version of The Twilight Zone) with its
release on DVD.
This should satisfy fans disappointed that
the movie adaptation of The Last Vampire,
Whitley Strieber's vampire sympathetic
sequel to his best selling novel The Hunger,
seems to have been put on hold indefinitely
(possibly because it draws parallels between
vampires and terrorists). Strieber rounded
off his vamp trilogy in 2002 with Lillith's
Dream, which likens vampires to refugees,
or asylum seekers. Strieber is unique in his
scientific and social, rather than
supernatural, approach to vampires. All
three in his lesbian vampire trilogy are well
worth checking out from your local library.
Lambert Hillyer 's 1936 Dracula's Daughter
was the first big screen Sapphic sucker but
it wasn't until the 1960s and 70s that
vampire lesbians had their heyday.
Barbarella director Roger Vadim gave us
the 1960 Blood and Roses, and Ed Wood,
the infamous worst filmmaker in history,
made the stripper-laden 1965 Orgy of Dead.
For those with more refined tastes, have a
look at arthouse legend Ingmar Bergman's
rather subtle 1966 Persona.
While the mythical Lillith and the historical
Countess Bathory inspired many filmmakers,
it is Joseph Sheridan La Fanu's 1872
Carmilla novella that most lesbian vampire
movies draw from. Published twenty-five
years before Dracula, it centres on Carmilla
Karnstein's seduction of young girls.
Almost a hundred years later Hammer
Horror made their Karnstein trilogy, based
on Le Fanu's classic novella. The resulting
1971 Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire
and Twins of Evil feature topless women,
breast biting, an all girls' school, and lots of
neck nibbling. Also in that year Stephanie
Rothman, a trailblazing female director,
brought out Velvet Vampire while Hammer
reworked the Countess Bathory tale in
Countess Dracula, and Jess Franco gave us
the bizarre Vampyros Lesbos (often shown
on SBS) while the prolific Jean Rollin
released Requiem for a Vampire and Shiver
of the Vampires.
Rollin delights in the lesbian vampire genre
with films like 1967's The Rape of the
Vampire, 1969's The Naked Vampire, 1970's
The Thrill of the Vampires, 1974's
Bloodsucker Leads the Dance, 1975's Lips
of Blood, and 1982's Living Dead Girl.
While the vamps are usually dusted by the
Buffys of yesteryear, a rare example of
lesbian vampires triumphing is Joseph
Larraz's moody 1974 Vampyres.
Even though the lesbian vampire in
literature predates any heterosexual male
vamp, adaptations of Bram Stoker's
Dracula have tended to dominate the
movies. The only time Stoker 's less well-
known The Lair of the White Worm made it
to the big screen was in 1988 when Ken
Russell drastically toned down the lesbian
content of the original text. However, it
remains a must see for any fans of camp
horror, if solely for Amanda Donahoe's
tongue in cheek portrayal of a vampiric
bisexual snake. e
Thanks to Trash Video's Andrew Leavold
for movie tips and director pointers.
Check out www.trashvideo.com.au for
cult cinema classics.
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