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Manfred Hübler & Siegfried Schwab, "Vampyros Lesbos"

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When the previously obscure scores were widely released on CD by Motel Records and Crippled Dick Hot Wax in 1995 as the compilation Vampyros Lesbos: Sexadelic Dance Party, its newfound popularity was in large part responsible for the subsequent wealth of ‘60s and ‘70s European B-movie soundtracks to be reissued. 

Crippled Dick Hot Wax

The films for which Huebler and Schwab wrote and conducted the music in 1969 (performed by “The Vampire Sound Incorporation”) are a diverse trio of genre movies, all directed by Jesus Franco.  The most famous, Vampyros Lesbos, is a mind-bending, disjointed tale of blood-sucking countess in Turkey who moonlights as an avant-garde nightclub performer.  Lesser known are She Killed In Ecstasy, about a woman who takes sexy revenge on the people who drove her husband to suicide, and The Devil Came From Akasava, a rather dubious spy thriller based on a novel by Edgar Wallace.  Aside from having the soundtrack composers and the maverick Spanish director in common, the three films also share the legendary actress Soledad Miranda, who tragically passed away in an auto accident shortly after completing them.  

Crippled Dick Hot Wax does great justice to these soundtracks, not only by way of reissuing bonus tracks on the CD, but with an excellent remastering job which makes this once nearly lost work sound better than ever.  The liner notes from 1995 by cult film expert Tim Lucas are reproduced here, as well as a brief bio of star Soledad Miranda, whose lovely image graces the cover and numerous photos in the booklet.  The CD in its entirety is dedicated to her memory. Newly added is a short essay on Franco’s work.

Musically, there is something unifying in the three scores, despite the range of films for which they were created.  The overall sound is so well integrated that the compilation seems as if it could be a complete album unto itself. All 15 tracks (including three bonus cuts not found on the Motel Records edition) on this recent reissue from Crippled Dick Hot Wax could easily be lumped into a “lounge music” category for their combination of danceable funk, exotic instrumentation, and full-on acid-drenched weirdness.  Fuzzy guitars and a bright horn section commingle with growled, murmured and squeaked vocals.  Playful harpsichord and winsome xylophone are seamlessly matched with sultry sitar and tight percussion.  But rather than being just another example of this genre, this album sets the standard by which all other such music can be measured.  

Last Updated on Monday, 23 January 2006 04:44  


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