Lesbian vampire  

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"Sometimes after an hour of apathy, my strange and beautiful companion would take my hand and hold it with a fond pressure, renewed again and again; blushing softly, gazing in my face with languid and burning eyes, and breathing so fast that her dress rose and fell with the tumultuous respiration. It was like the ardour of a lover; it embarrassed me; it was hateful and yet overpowering; and with gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips travelled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, 'You are mine, you shall be mine, and you and I are one for ever'." --Carmilla (1872) by Sheridan Le Fanu.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Lesbian vampirism is a trope in 20th century exploitation film that has its roots in Joseph Sheridan le Fanu's novella Carmilla (1872) about the predatory love of a vampire (the title character) for a young woman (the narrator), and also takes its inspiration from the legend of sixteenth-century Hungarian Countess Erzsébet Báthory.

In essence, lesbian vampirism in 20th century film was a way to hint at the taboo idea of lesbianism in a fantasy context outside the heavily censored realm of social realism (Andrea Weiss (1993) Vampires & Violets: Lesbians in Film). Also, the conventions of the vampire genre--specifically, the mind control exhibited in many such films--allow for a kind of forced seduction of presumably straight women or girls by lesbian vampires.

Notable film titles include Roger Vadim's Blood and Roses (1960),The Vampire Lovers (1970), Jess Franco's Vampyros Lesbos (1971), Vampyres (1974) and The Hunger (1983). The vampire films of Jean Rollin usually contain some kind of lesbian element or hint. Erzsébet Báthory appears in Daughters of Darkness and The Blood Countess.

In lesbian literature of the 1990s, Pam Keesey edited two anthologies of lesbian vampire stories, Daughters of Darkness (1993) and Dark Angels (1995).


Dracula's Daughter (1936) gave the first hints of lesbian attraction in a vampire film, in the scene in which the title character Gloria Holden preys upon an attractive girl she has invited to her house to pose for her.

More explicit lesbian content was provided in Hammer Studios production of a trilogy of films loosely adapted from Carmilla. The Vampire Lovers (1970) was the first, starring Ingrid Pitt and Madeleine Smith. It was a relatively straightforward re-telling of LeFanu's novella, but with more overt violence and sexuality. Lust for a Vampire (1971) followed, with Yutte Stensgaard as the same character played by Pitt, returning to prey upon students at an all-girl's school. This version had her falling in love with a male teacher at the school. Twins of Evil (1972) had the least "lesbian" content, with one female vampire biting a female victim on the breast. It starred real life twins and Playboy playmates Madeleine and Mary Collinson. Partially due to censorship restraints from the BBFC (Hearn and Barnes 1998), Hammer's trilogy actually had less lesbian elements as it proceeded.

The idea was also visited in other films from Hammer such as The Brides of Dracula (1960) in which a female vampire tries to lure another woman closer to be victimized, saying she wants to kiss her.

Notable film titles include Roger Vadim's Blood and Roses (1960) Jess Franco's Vampyros Lesbos (1971) Vampyres (1974) and The Hunger (1983). The vampire films of Jean Rollin usually contain some kind of lesbian element or hint. Recently Seduction Cinema Productions have produced a series of erotic lesbian films, starting with The Vampire's Seduction (1997) and following on with numerous titles including The Erotic Rites of Countess Dracula (2001). In 2006 they released an all-lesbian adaptation of Dracula entitled Lust For Dracula starring Darian Caine. The genre was also spoofed in the "Lesbian Vampire Lovers of Lust" episode of Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible, a comedy television series.

The sixteenth-century Hungarian Countess Erzsébet Báthory, known as "the Bloody Lady of Čachtice" and "the Blood Countess" — the female equivalent of Gilles de Rais — is reported to have slaughtered and bathed in the blood of up to 2000 maidens in the alleged belief that this would preserve her youth and beauty. The legend of the Countess Báthory remains the primary historical model for the lesbian vampire and perhaps the earliest known true-life precursor to the modern female psychopath in Gothic horror fiction.

She appears as a character in Daughters of Darkness (1971) by Belgian director Harry Kumel, Immoral Tales (1974) directed by Walerian Borowczyk , Eternal, and The Bloody Countess (Ceremonia sangrienta) (1973) directed by Jorge Grau, as well as Hammer's Countess Dracula (although not always with the lesbian element).

Slovak director, Juraj Jakubisko, is presently making a film based on the life of Countess Báthory with Anna Friel in the title role; it is scheduled for release in 2008. French actress Julie Delpy is also working on a film about Báthory, which she is directing herself.


from Fictional portrayals of psychopaths in film.

See also

female vampire

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lesbian vampire" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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