Female Plasma Suckers (1973)

A witch queen lives in a California mansion, practicing black magic with global implications.

VHS release pictured: 1988 Nightmare Video.

Starring: Lila Zaborin, Victor Izay, Tom Pace | Director: Ted V. Mikels

Female Plasma Suckers: VHS Review

by Sam Rakestraw

Female Plasma Suckers, or if that title is too formal and scientific for you then it also goes by Blood Orgy of The She-Devils (that certainly sounds more gripping doesn't it?), is one of the late Ted V. Mikels' first original penned independent horror of his own in the early 70s. Both titles are pretty niche in their own rights, but actually, this flick is the story of a witch rather than a vampire or demon. It's a mystical thriller about corruption and past lives. But, erotic tapeheads hold off placing this in your collection because there is no orgy or much nudity for that matter.

Mara (Lila Zaborin) is a revered witch leader living on the West Coast. It's a sometimes demanding job that requires the occasional sacrifice to the dark lord and serving as the town's local medium. It's also an attractive profession considering all the interested women in joining her coven in the Californian area are beach babes. She also has a big Lurch-like servant, Toruqe (William Bagdad). There are a lot of twists and turns in the days in the life of a modern-day witch that we tune into. We see her hold a séance for neighbors which is more or less a one-woman show, accept a hit from a backstabbing gang and carry it out with magic, and more moments that really let her showcase her powers in low-budget goodness.

If there is a main plot then it would concern Lorraine (Leslie McRay) and Mark (Tom Pace) beginning as they continue to see Mara amidst all the chaos as she shows them just how deep their connection with witchcraft grows. Meanwhile, their friend Dr. Helsford (Victor Izay) from the local university has all his suspicions about that overdramatic woman living in the mansion confirmed and decides to rally his colleagues and fight back with old-fashioned holy magic. There is a lot going on in the movie and these descriptions may not be doing the sheer discord of the story justice.

At least Lila Zaborin as Mara can hold our attention throughout this. Everything about her makes you clap as she gives this movie everything it needs to survive. She's like an over-the-top Eva Gabor with the villainous deliveries of a Saturday morning cartoon villain. Every spell incantation is a treat that will, at the very least, force a tiny smile on your face. The séance scene is borderline comedy gold as well. Her arms flail everywhere, and she screams and moans her head off, all while singing the praises of the dark lord. She also gets to showcase her powers and spells throughout. With only flashing lights and camera techniques used back in the Golden Age of film when the camera wasn't capable as much, you have voodoo spells, shape-shifting, and even what looked like resurrection. Flashes of color and obvious film edits add to the charm.

We also get to see scenes set in the past during the time of the witch trials where the overzealous light of humanity is actually a force of darkness. No cap, so many women were killed in absurd ways. Again, it's almost like Female Plasma Suckers is trying to tell multiple stories at once. The premise of a witch in contemporary society being used by criminal and political gangs for nefarious purposes is appealing enough on its own but we're really directed to care about Lorraine's connection to witchcraft and Dr. Helsford's quest to stop Mara. Take your pick of which subplot you prefer. So, the plasma and blood like the titles say, how plentiful are they? Despite things like said titles and subject matter, Female Plasma Suckers or Blood Orgy of The She-Devils is actually tame. The featured kills and how Mara magically carries them out are quite clean and covert. Blood is also kept at a minimum overall. The real magic of the movie is well, the magic itself with the flashy edits rather than the blood squibs. However, the true nature of the flashback scenes is the scariest part. When it comes to the advertised She-Devils and Plasma Suckers, they keep the sensual ritualistic rated PG with their clothes on. It's one of those dance sequences where the longer you watch it, the more amusing it becomes. Nothing like big filler dance scenes!

Lila Zaborin's only role ever would be Mara while Leslie McRay got her first major film role here as Lorraine. She would go on to work with Ted V. Mikels and on similar movies. There's so much going on that all the characters come and go quickly so all they have is their performance to make them stand out. Zaborin kept us engaged as Mara since she is really the true main character while McRay as Lorraine relies on mystery to keep us engaged. When you think about it, can Mara be considered a true antagonist? After all, she's helping Lorraine on her quest for the truth, had no evil masterplan, and has been used as a tool. The only argument against her is the human sacrifices –that's a big no-no.

When cult film fans look back on Ted V. Mikel's career of limited-budgeted horror movies spanning from the 60s to the 2000s, they seldom think of Female Plasma Suckers. Several will just consider the title and then move on without a single thought. While it's really easy to get lost in it (not in a good way) with everything being hurled at you in a surreal psychotronic way, the themes of reliving one's past and being used for corruptive intentions because of your power fit witchcraft like a glove when you think about it. We just choose to focus on the more burlesque aspects of witches.

While released in 1973, Female Plasma Suckers didn't get a video release until 15 years later in 1988. By then, Mikel had directed and produced four more movies in the horror and action genre. Even after his passing in 2016, Mikel is still referenced in his past interviews as one of the foremost, lessor known independent filmmakers in the horror and exploitation genre. Much like Mara, he lived his later days in a castle mansion with a coven of his own in the form of live-in strippers.