For all of Bela Lugosi's supposed magnetism in Dracula, all I see is a bug-eyed wraith with caterpillar eyebrows and a Pope John Paul II accent. Horny horror fans with a yen for bloodsuckers prefer the ladies -- and the rich vein of European lesbian vampire movies from the '60s and '70s gives them plenty to chew on. Influenced by Le Fanu's classic 1872 novella Carmilla, filmmakers Roger Vadim and Jean Rollin (along with the Hammer Films studio) pumped out flick after flick featuring switch-hitting vamps and their girlish victims.
Of the dozen or so pictures in the genre, Hammer's 1970 The Vampire Lovers is generally acknowledged as the best, due to exactly one attribute: the peerless Ingrid Pitt (whom cinéastesmay recognize from her bit part in The Wicker Man). With canyon-deep cleavage and a bloodstained pout, Pitt plays with her female food before supping, creating some of the most erotic Sapphic scenes ever committed to film. Go Fish and Personal Best be damned -- this is what's really better than chocolate.
When art meets furniture
The success of art publisher Taschen's "furniture porn" picture book 1000 Chairsproves that design aficionados like to contemplate furnishings almost as much as they like to lounge on them. Varnish Fine Art and Den speak to these appurtenance aesthetes with "A Medium for Living,"an exhibit that limns the boundaries between a wall-worthy artwork and your comfy old BarcaLounger. Some of the pieces are tweaked versions of traditional items -- Grant Irish's upholstered-fenders sofa, Angela and Seth Isaacs' blender lamps, Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough's wrought copper and steel chairs -- while others are quirkier, such as the paintings of Jonah Burlingame, which transform materials like rivets, roofing cement, and varnish into abstract works.
Sit at your own risk as the dual-locale show opens Thursday at Varnish Fine Art, 77 Natoma (at Second Street), and Friday at Den, 849 Valencia (at 19th Street), S.F. Both displays continue through March 20. Admission is free; call 222-6131 or visit www.varnishfineart.com.
-- Joyce Slaton
Cannibal Corpse's mad metal fury
Remember those back-of-the-class high school kids in camouflage pants and black hoodies who scrawled metal-band logos across their notebooks? They blasted thrash from beat-up Ford Escorts and boycotted the prom. In retrospect, they were beautiful. If you long for a reunion, check out the crowd at a Cannibal Corpseshow. The quartet endures as death metal's grandfatherly growlers, backing up mind-blowing messages of misogyny and violence with blistering musicianship. True to the spirit of early favorites like "Entrails Ripped From a Virgin's Cunt," the act remains a beacon of darkness for the disenchanted. Vile, Exhumed, and Hypocrisy open at 8 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $18-20; call 255-0333 or visit www.slims-sf.com.
-- Nate Cavalieri
Rococo Risqué IV just wants you to be happy -- and maybe breathing a little harder than usual. To this end, the cabaret/comedy/musical combo presents singers Ariela Morgenstern and Ben Flax, sketch comedians galore, a live band, and more ladies in fancy lingerie than you can shake a tail feather at. RRIV opens tonight at 9 (and continues weekends through March 6) at Danzhaus, 1275 Connecticut (at Cesar Chavez), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 970-0222 or visit http://danzhaus.tripod.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser