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(aka "The Bare Breasted Countess" or "Les Avaleuses" or "Erotikill" or "La Comtesse Noire" )

 

directed by Jess Franco
France/Belgium 1973

 

When Countess Irina Karlstein (Lina Romay, COUNTESS PERVERSE) returns to the her ancestral home on the Portuguese island of Madeira, a series of murders of men and women drained of their life fluids attracts the attention of forensic scientist Dr. Roberts (director Jess Franco), occultist Dr. Orloff (Jean-Pierre Bouyxou, LIVING DEAD GIRL), and (separately) metaphysical poet Baron Rathony (Jack Taylor, PIECES). As Irina consumes more victims - among them a journalist (Anna Watican, DEMONIAQUES), a hotel masseur (Ramon Ardid, DORIANA GRAY), and an aristocratic dominatrix (Monica Swinn, THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY) - she becomes more despairing of her cursed existence until Rathony asks her to take him "behind the mists" which may result in his own death. After his orthodox adaptation of Bram Stoker's COUNT DRACULA and his more psychedelic improvisation VAMPYROS LESBOS which showcased the presence of muse Soledad Miranda (whose life was cut short by an accident on the Costa do Sol highway just as her career was about to take off), Franco paid his first cineamtic tribute to new muse Romay (who had already appeared in a number of smaller roles in Franco's films starting with THE SINISTER EYES OF DR. ORLOFF) with FEMALE VAMPIRE - also known as LA COMTESSE NOIRE, LES AVALEUSES (THE SWALLOWERS), and THE BARE BREASTED COUNTESS among other titles - a seminal film in Franco's and Romay's filmographies. Too uneven to be a masterpiece thanks to its endless sex scenes (of varying explicitude depending on the territory of release), the film is buoyed by Romay's mute performance as she wanders through the ghostly Portuguese landscapes (to which American ex-pat actor Taylor would return for a prominent role in Roman Polanski's THE NINTH GATE) to the mournful strains of Daniel White's theme music. The film was produced in two principal versions: a softcore/hardcore version in which Irina drinks the sexual secretions of her victims (the softcore cut of which was released to tape in the United States in an unauthorized version titled THE LOVES OF IRINA), and a "horror" version in which Irina bites the necks of her victims and drinks blood (released to tape in the US as EROTIKILL). The film also features Franco regular Alice Arno (HOW TO SEDUCE A VIRGIN) and Luis Barboo (THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN) appears as Irina's mute servant.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 24 January 1975 (Belgium)

Reviews                                                                          More Reviews                                                                 DVD Reviews

 

 Comparison:

Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. RSR Multimedia - Region 2 - PAL vs. Maison Rouge / Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL vs. Redemption - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the DVD Screen Caps!

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) RSR Multimedia - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Maison Rouge / Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Redemption - Region FREE - Blu-ray  RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

RSR Multimedia
Region 2 - PAL
Maison Rouge / Screenbound
Region 2 - PAL
Redemption
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:40:16 1:35:40 (4% PAL speedup) 1:36:24 (4% PAL speedup) 1:40:55.672
Video

2.28:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.86 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.37:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.99 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.36:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.61 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,623,959,616 bytes

Feature: 27,785,641,088 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 26.98 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Image Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

RSR Multimedia

 

Bitrate:

 

Maison Rouge / Screenbound

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

LPCM Audio French 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles None none English, none English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.28:1

Edition Details:
 Alternate Blood Drinking Scenes (16:9; 9:19)
 Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:17)

DVD Release Date: 8 August 2000
Amaray

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: RSR Multimedia

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.37:1

Edition Details:
 Jess Franco Biography

 

DVD Release Date: 10 April 2005
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Maison Rouge / Screenbound

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.36:1

Edition Details:
 'Erotikill' horror version (16:9; 1:07:48 in English)
 'Destiny in Soft Focus' interview with Jess Franco (16:9; 13:03)
 'Words for Lina' interview with Jean-Pierre Bouyxou (16:9; 12:07)
 Theatrical Trailer (1:22)
 Previews

 

DVD Release Date: March 6th, 2017
Amaray

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio: Kino Lorber

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,623,959,616 bytes

Feature: 27,785,641,088 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 26.98 Mbps


Edition Details:
• Two complete versions of the film: a ''horror version'' (72 mins) and an ''erotic version'' (104 min),
• Destiny in Soft Focus - Interview with Jess Franco (13:37)

Words for Lina - Jeanne-Pierre Bouyxou recalls working with Lina Romay (12:39)
Trailer (1:17) and for 4 other films
 

Standard Blu-ray case

Blu-ray Release Date: October 16th, 2012

Chapters: 12

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Redemption - Region FREE - Blu-ray June 17': This Redemption 1080P edition includes both a ''horror version'' (72 mins) as an extra and the ''erotic version'' (104 min) as the main feature. These are separate transfers but look the same - we've added one comparison capture below. The Blu-ray supports the color scheme of the Screenbound SD, with cooler skin tones, and there is a bump in quality - notably with texture but it looks like the same source. It's on a dual-layered disc with a supportive bitrate - and I imagine the original theatrical appearance was similar - very textured (which I tend to appreciate.)

Linear PCM 2.0 channel for both English DUB and French versions. This adds some crispness to the score by veteran Daniel White (Crimson, Zombie Lake, The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein, The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus, The Man with the Severed Head).  It's clear and there are optional English subtitles only offered on the longer ''erotic version'' version (both tracks), while the ''horror version'' has only an LPCM English track and no subtitle choice. It appears to be Region FREE.

There are two extras beyond the inclusion of the shorter version of the film. Destiny in Soft Focus is a 14-minute interview with Jess Franco as he recalls the production. Words for Lina has Jeanne-Pierre Bouyxou discussing working with Lina Romay for over a dozen minutes. There is also a trailer for the film and for 4 other films.

Wow, this is bad. Franco captures a spark of eroticism - more credit to Romay - but it's such a mish-mash of bad porn, gratuitous nudity and no effects. I was enjoying how poor it was. The 'horror version' is no more cohesive.  Nothing here we can endorse but the Redemption Blu-ray is, obviously, the way to go if you are keen...

 

ON THE DVDs: Screenbound's DVD reproduces in SD PAL the contents of Redemption/Redemption's American Blu-ray and DVD editions, bettering the other two DVD editions under review here with a newer HD master, English subtitles for the French track, and the alternate "horror" version of the film (although this version and the bonus version on the American Kino discs runs about a minute shorter than the version released to tape stateside under the EROTIKILL title from Force Video). The feature version is identical to the softcore version on the other DVDs - the previous Arrow DVD was subject to BBFC cuts - which deleted a couple brief hardcore shots from the unauthorized version released on tape in the US as THE LOVES OF IRINA which itself differs from the actual hardcore version which made use of inserts featuring Romay and her actor/editor boyfriend Ramon Ardid. Extras include an interview with director Franco about the film and Romay and another piece with Bouyxou who shares his memories of the late Romay. The trailer appears to be the same as the one on the Image disc although with English audio.

ED, NOTE: We will be comparing to the Redemption Blu-ray HERE soon...

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. RSR Multimedia - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Maison Rouge / Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

Redemption - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) RSR Multimedia - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Maison Rouge / Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Redemption - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) RSR Multimedia - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Maison Rouge / Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Redemption - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) RSR Multimedia - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Maison Rouge / Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Redemption (Erotic Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  FOURTH

5) Redemption ('Horror Version') - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) RSR Multimedia - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Maison Rouge / Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Redemption - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) RSR Multimedia - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Maison Rouge / Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Redemption - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) RSR Multimedia - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Maison Rouge / Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Redemption - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) RSR Multimedia - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Maison Rouge / Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Redemption - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

RSR Multimedia
Region 2 - PAL
Maison Rouge / Screenbound
Region 2 - PAL
Redemption
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

 



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