JESS FRANCO MONTH: Vampire Junction (2001)

This was shot in Málaga, Andalucía, Spain but it’s supposed to be an Old West tourist town in the American Southwest, a place where a journalist named Alice Brown (Lina Romay) has come to track down a man named Doctor Spencer (Steve Barrymore). It looks really arty getting there, Lina’s face lit by dashboard as rain slices against the night on an endless drive, but then you find out the town is called Shit City and this is another late Jess Franco movie shot in a hotel room.

The town has been taken over by vampires and yet again, you hope that this has some level of story and not just video effects and women writhing on beds and well, this also has brightly haired lesbian vampires writhing on beds, shaving each other and, yes, video effects.

There’s also the idea that the lead vampire is Father Flannigan — we never get to meet him — and sometimes he’s evil and others he’s divine and that’s an intriguing concept. I’m sure Jess was going to get around to it but first, could you ladies please groom one another’s pudendums, please?

The scene where the two female vampires spider walk Lina into bed is good. The idea of cowboy vampires is worth exploring. In fact, that’s all that’s here, a bunch of ideas that are set up and then it goes on and on and somehow, this is a movie that has transformed acts of Sappho into boredom and if you told 16-year-old me that this was possible, he’d be amazed.

Sometimes, I get the feeling on these late Jess movies similar to the feeling of when I hear a song like “Unforgiven” and remember that the very same Metallica did “Trapped Under Ice.” Except that I’m not irrationally enraged at Jess. It should have been Lars, both with Cliff and Soledad.

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