Fem Goddesses of Horror – Countess Irina Karlstein (Lina Romay)

There are quite a few roles that Lina Romay portrayed that could have easily been celebrated as Fem Goddesses. I chose Countess Irina Karlstein from FEMALE VAMPIRE (1973) for a few reasons. First, it’s my personal favorite of all of her characters. Second, the film highlights elements of feminism not seen nearly enough today.

Romay owns the role and captivates every moment that she’s on. She portrays the Countess as a seductress who utilizes her sexual energy and female wiles to remain in-charge, alive and free. Still, there’s a sadness, a softness and a remorseful side to her as well. She has many facets and considering the character is mute, that says quite a bit for Romay’s range as an actress.

Irina is consumed with self-preservation and a need to satisfy her cravings, but she isn’t unashamed or unapologetic. In many ways, she detests what she is and would prefer it if the vampire bloodline ended with her. Still, the mix of sex and blood is too intoxicating for her to deny, and she finds herself forced to take the lives of those she encounters, albeit in the sexiest ways possible. Oh, how I love sexy female vampires!

Despite her angst, she still does what she must to stay alive. In the opening sequence, we see her fall to her knees and give a dude (Roger Germanes) a mighty good time. He’s one lucky s.o.b., at least for a few minutes. Sadly, he doesn’t get to enjoy the afterglow much as she drains him of his blood. What a way to go, though! I’d like to work the entrance door at the pearly gates to hear him tell that story. Dying from a blowjob would have to come with some serious bragging rights in heaven. I think that’s the way it works, at least. I could be wrong. I didn’t pay attention in church.

It isn’t only men that Irina uses her alluring and hypnotic nature on. Sexy lady journalist Anna (Anna Watican) asks a lot of questions. I guess no one ever told the wench that ‘snitches get stitches!’ Mute Irina can only nod the answers but does agree to do the interview. Though Anna is the one investigating Irina, she is far from in control. At first, the Countess begins seducing the reporter telepathically, even giving her oral pleasures from afar. Soon enough, the yummy vamp is there in her full Fem Goddess form and ready to rock & roll. The two make passionate, sexy, RAWR RAWR RAWR love.

Karlstein is beautifully and amazingly insatiable. In one scene as her manservant watches, she gets off with a body pillow and then later a bed post. Female masturbation is not in enough films. It’s an empowering act of self-reliance and self-ownership that needs to be normalized in ways that the mainstream is too afraid to do. Fem characters need to be seen who unapologetically and unabashedly have fun with their body. There is nothing wrong and everything right in knowing the way you enjoy being touched, and then touching yourself that way. Mind-blowing orgasms are fabulous and watching Irina’s enticing and sultry moves will most definitely put some peeps in the mood for that type of fabulousness. Enjoy it. I sure as hell do!

Irina has so much power within that she steals control from a bondage dom Princess (Monica Swinn). The Princess begins by ordering her submissive sex toy (Alice Arno) to spank the Countess. The tables turn early on and it only takes a few moments before the vamp reverses the roles. We see the dom taking some delightfully bad-girl style punishment, before the three engage in some absolute steam-filled hotness that culminates in writhing passion. It’s raw and wild and unhinged. I love every second of it.

Director Jesús Franco gets a lot of undeserved criticism from puritanical bitches who love to masquerade as woke. He’s called trashy and exploitative at best and sexist and misogynistic at worst. Franco created some of the strongest female roles in horror and put women in the leads, frequently. He didn’t put his female characters in a box and make them prim and proper. He didn’t make them afraid of their sexuality or prowess, and they weren’t confined by what men expected or demanded. He put forth tough and intelligent women who were proudly unmoved by convention and unshackled from all the restraints of the prude Victorian mindset. Filmmakers today could take some hints from his flicks as to how to portray badass chicks with depth, because Franco perfected it!

Hopefully one day, the pussies ruining Hollywood will understand that the female body is not dirty and shameful. It does not need to be covered or deemed demeaning merely for existing. Respecting a woman’s mind, body and spirit is far different than pretending women are sexless, joyless creatures who wear as many layers as possible while castrating every man in sight. I find it irritatingly baffling that so many have adopted this insulting viewpoint. Thankfully we have movies like FEMALE VAMPIRE and characters like Countess Irina Karlstein to remind us that depictions of independent, fierce and sensual Fem Goddesses do exist.

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