31 December, 2008

2008: Bests/Goodbyes


Although technically a 2007 release GEORGE A. ROMERO'S DIARY OF THE DEAD was the best film I saw theatrically this past year. Actually, one of the very few films I saw theatrically in 2008. But what's important is that it's probably the most underrated of Romero's forty-year-and-still-going zombie cycle and maybe the most chilling since the first, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968). The gore is there as always with Romero's zombie films but he has something significant to say about our current internet era where how many hits one gets on one's website can be as consuming an obsession as surviving a onslaught of the living dead. And Romero doesn't see humanity's chances for survival as a workable proposition unless we really make some drastic changes. This didn't get much play theatrically. If you don't have the DVD, get it. This really rewards repeat viewings.


A belated goodbye to Malvin Wald, screenwriter of the police procedural classic THE NAKED CITY (1948), a member of the Hollywood 10, writer of numerous TV scripts and credited co-screenwriter on Jess Franco's VENUS IN FURS (1969). Wald died earlier this year at the age of 90 after a busy writing career and later teaching screenwriting as USC.


A fond farewell to BCI Eclipse which is being closed down by its parent company. Over the last few years they released a number of excellent presentations of vintage Paul Naschy/Spanish horror including THE LORELEY'S GRASP, BLUE EYES OF BROKEN DOLLS and HUMAN BEASTS in their OAR, with Spanish language options available, Carlos Aured/Paul Naschy commentaries on HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB and BLUE EYES... and numerous extras. Cliff MacMillan is some kind of hero in my book.


Finally, a 2.35:1 transfer from excellent elements of this 1965 Amicus production which illustrates how skillful Robert Bloch was as a screenwriter and how underrated Freddie Francis was as a director.

See you next year.


30 December, 2008

LES EXPERIENCES EROTIQUES DE FRANKENSTEIN


Thanks to Eric Cotenas for alerting me that this French PAL tape recently sold on Ebay. With a listed 90m runtime this is actually the French titled LES EXPERIENCES EROTIQUES DE FRANKENSTEIN (1972). This would be longer than the Spanish version [85m], released by IMAGE DVD in 2005 as THE RITES OF FRANKSENSTEIN (onscreen title LA MALCICION DE FRANKENSTEIN), or the uncovered 72m THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN.

I wondered if this was actually the Spanish version dubbed into French or a version which has never surfaced before containing both the nude footage and the Lina Romay scenes.

Although the Spanish title LA MALDICION DE FRANKENSTEIN appears on the above box the actual videocassette has the French title stamped on it. Both the tape and an alternate French version would be rarities.

I'm still hoping for an eventual US R1 presentation of the uncovered version which Jess Franco told me several years ago was his preferred cut. The Spanish version was prepared specifically for the Spanish censors of the time.

http://cgi.ebay.fr/RARE-La-malediction-de-Frankenstein-VideoBOX-Franco_W0QQitemZ230315371531QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFR_JG_DVD_K7?hash=item230315371531&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1526|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A1318





29 December, 2008

More Best DVD's of 2008


Enzo G. Castellari's 1978 war movie explodes across 3 discs from SEVERIN


Alice Arno becomes a victim of Soledad Miranda in EUGENIE DE SADE...

In my opinion, the best Jess Franco DVD of 2008 was Blue Underground's EUGENIE DE SADE, the essential 1970 Sade adaptation featuring the late Soledad Miranda's most memorable performance. Beside the much-appreciated French language option, it was also the longest version yet released on R1 DVD and was a superior transfer with excellent video/audio quality.

The best all around presentation of an obscure European genre film was Severin's 3 disc SE, THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS. Not that the 1978 Enzo G. Castellari war movie was a lost masterwork but it's good fun and the fully loaded discs tell everything you ever wanted to know about low budget European genre filmmaking as it was experienced by the participants during that era.




25 December, 2008

22 December, 2008

BEST OF 2008


Best 怪獣映画 double bill of 2008


Rodan does the Tokyo Stomp...

I'll be counting down my favorite DVD presentations of 2008 over the next few weeks including what I considered the best Jess Franco disc and the overall best DVD of the year. A lot of titles you may have seen on other Best lists, like the CRITERION presentation of VAMPYR or the HAMMER box set, won't be here simply because I haven't yet caught up with them. This has been a rather downmarket year for me personally, in terms of DVD purchases. I haven't yet made the leap into Blu-ray and won't anytime soon. I also find the news that the BCI Eclipse label is being shut down by Navarre due to both the current recession and lack of sales performance has left a somewhat bitter taste at the end of the year. I was particularly pleased with some of their Paul Naschy/Spanish horror presentations, more about them in the future. Some of the my favorite DVD companies, including NOSHAME, CASA NEGRA among others already wound down before that for various reasons. I don't know where this is all headed and I'll have much more to say about this state of affairs in future blogs. Look for mention of at least one BCI presentation as one my 2008 favorites.

In terms of anticipation and personal pleasure one of the best DVDs of 2008 was the rousing Media Classics 2-disc set of RODAN (Sora no daikaiju Radon, 1956) and WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS (Furankenshutain no Kaiju: Sanda tai Gaira, 1966), two favorite non-Godzilla Daikaiju Eiga. I have been a TOHO science fiction fan since seeing my first one theatrically in 1960. A long, long time ago...

RODAN and WAR... are presented in both their original Japanese versions with English subtitles available and their English dubbed cuts. RODAN looks and plays best in its Japanese version, sans the rather patronizing and nonstop narration and with a reel of footage not seen in the US version. Seen it its original version is has a severity of tone and tragic resonance not unlike the original GOJIRA (1954), the Ishiro Honda classic which kicked Japanese giant monster craze off. RODAN is presented in 1.33:1 format.

Furankenshutain no Kaiju: Sanda tai Gaira is just dumb fun, but delirious and memorable fun with a bewildered Russ Tamblyn and the mesmerizing Kumi Mizuno trying to explain the unjolly green and brown giants to a world which just doesn't get it. And you won't forget Kipp Hamiton singing (if you can call it that) "The Words Get Stuck In My Throat"! This was planned as a sequel to Honda's FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD (1965), but, shall we say, took on a life of its own. WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS is presented in its 2.35:1 Tohoscope OAR. Both the US and Japanese versions are transferred from the most colorful and clean available Toho original elements. especially considering that they were made in the middle of the last century. Some reviews have noted that the US print is brighter than the Japanese. That may be but they both look fine to me (especially considering that they were made in the middle of the last century) and I'm glad to have them both for comparative Kaiju Eiga contemplation. A must have for Japanese science fiction collectors, especially since it costs under $15.00!

An original documentary BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE is also included in this package. Recommended to even non Kaiju Eiga fans. You just may find yourself addicted. Even in the midst of a recession you can't go wrong with this one.





20 December, 2008

MONDO MACABRO DVD BLOG


WIP transgression from FEMALE PRISONER: CAGED, coming in January 2009 from MONDO MACABRO


We'll be adding a permanent link on the sidebar to the new MONDO MACABRO DVD blog, which includes videos, images and updated information on current and upcoming MM DVD releases.

MONDO MACABRO has been one of our favorite DVD companies since its launch, releasing deluxe, loaded-with-extras DVD editions of rarely seen, sometimes outrageous cinema from all over world. Some personal favorite MM releases include THE DIABOLICAL DR. Z, SEVEN WOMEN FOR SATAN and THE FRENCH SEX MURDERS. They have also specialized in locating, restoring and presenting hard to find and sought after Asian cult/exploitation/sexploitation/genre films such as Masaru Konuma's 1983 WIP FEMALE CONVICT AKA: Josho Ori/ Female Prisoner: Caged/ The Prison Heat, which will be released in Jan. 2009.

Considering the topic of this blog, here's hoping that MONDO MACABRO can work their magic on some more Jess Franco titles in the future.

www.mondomacabrodvd.blogspot.com/




15 December, 2008

Horst Tappert (1923-2008)


Oberinspektor Derrick methodically works a case



Horst Tappert in 1998



Horst Tappert gets the drop on Dan Van Husen in DER TODESRACHER VON SOHO



Horst Tappert died in a Munich clinic at the age of 85 on December 13. Tappert was best known for his performances as Inspector Stephan Derrick in 281 episodes of the popular German crime series DERRICK which ran from 1974 to 1998. Tappert also directed some episodes.

Fans of Jess Franco will remember him in three of the director's early 1970's titles, THE DEVIL CAME FROM AKASAVA, SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY (both 1970) and DIE TODESRACHER VON SOHO (1972). He played a police inspector in SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY... but was a villain in AKASAVA and DIE TODESRACHER... .

Thanks to blog reader Asle H. Kiran for informing me of his passing.



11 December, 2008

Best Jess Franco DVD of 2008? Wanted for 2009?










I would like to hear from DVD collectors/fans/blog readers which 2008 DVD release they consider to be the best presentation of a Jess Franco film and what JF films would top want-lists for HD DVD release in 2009.

Disc releases in all regions can be considered for the 2008 choices.

Thanks for your interest and participation during 2008.

Robert Monell





08 December, 2008

BEVERLY GARLAND (1926-2008)


Beverly Garland holds off Zontar the Venusian, a memorable Paul Blaisdell creation, in Roger Corman's 1956 Sci-Fi quickie IT CONQUERED THE WORLD.

One of my favorite cult movie actresses, Beverly Garland, died on December 5th at the age of 82. On Saturday morning I had heard about the December 4th death of legendary writer/actor/collector/FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND founder-editor Forrest J. Ackerman but I wasn't aware of her passing until reading about it in the local paper this morning on the way to work. In an interesting coincidence I just happened to get a compulsion to watch Roger Corman's 1957 NOT OF THIS EARTH after my usual weekend mountain biking excursion. A delightful B- science fiction concotion, I was really struck while watching it just how much Garland's self assured, humorous, sexy, intelligent, down-to-earth presence adds to the film. Her spunk, warmth and wit are what ground the outlandish affair. As the imposing alien of the title (Paul Birch) walks around LA in a business suit and shades, toting a portable bloodsucking machine in a metal briefcase, Beverly cracks jokes and effortlessly gives the scenario credibility as Nurse Nadine. Verbally sparring with hood Jonathan Haze (the future protagonist of Corman's original THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS), keeping on sharp eye on Birch's more than questionable activities, risking her neck to save the planet, she keeps her cool as an actress and pretty much holds it all together.

As I mulled over her obit I also recalled with some nostalgia her role (as mad scientist Lee Van Cleef's wife) in my first Roger Corman film, IT CONQUERED THE WORLD (1956), which I have distant memories of watching on television around 1960. She's also terrific in Corman's 1955 SWAMP WOMEN, where she plays a female convict who holds her own against film noir vamp Marie Windsor (THE KILLING).

Beside appearing in five Roger Corman B movies Beverly Garland was a versatile actress who had roles in some 180 films and television shows according to the IMDB. She also owned and operated the BEVERLY GARLAND HOLIDAY INN in North Hollywood. She wasn't your typical 1950's blonde bimbo scream queen.

And how about proper DVD presentations of NOT OF THIS EARTH and IT CONQUERED THE WORLD?!

(c) Robert Monell, 2008




05 December, 2008

WHO IS THIS ACTRESS?



Another tricky two part Quiz:

Name the actress in the image above and identify the Jess Franco related project in which she appeared.

Note that the screengrab is not from the film in question. But extra points to whomever can ID the film it's from. Hint: It's definitely European Trash Cinema and also featured a well known US television star.



01 December, 2008

Alain Robbe-Grillet's GLISSEMENTS PROGESSIFS DU PLAISIR (1974)


Alain Robbe-Grillet directs Anicee Alvina on the set of GLISSEMENTS PROGESSIFS DU PLAISIR


Anicee Alvina (1953-2006) as "Subject A" in GLISSEMENTS PROGESSIFS DU PLAISIR


Mannequin in bondage...

Given that I first saw this film in 1975 at a famous New York City Arthouse cinema with Alain Robbe Grillet in attendance [he was a visiting professor at NYU at the time] to answer questions after the showing, seeing it again reminds me just how much of a cultural object of that era it remains. The film was new but obscure in the US and would have legal problems in Europe as well as being condemned by the Vatican [I guess Robbe-Grillet would join Jess Franco and Bunuel on the Vatican's list as one of the filmmakers most dangerous to Catholics] and ended up in the Italian courts. According to the Robbe-Grillet chapter in IMMORAL TALES: European Sex and Horror Movies 1956-1984, it would, like its transgressive heroine, be subject to burning. I don't know if it was actually burned but there are repeated images of the figure of Subject A [the late Anicee Alvina] burning. SLOW SLIDINGS INTO PLEASURE, an English language translation of the title, certainly suggests a mid 1970's porno item.

Robbe Grillet was inspired by Jules Michelet's LA SORCIERE, as he emphasizes in a filmed interview with Francois Jost which follows the feature on my video copy.* As he discusses the Michelet book and his film we see images from GLISSEMENTS... of the nude protagonist on a beach with flames superimposed over her. If one looks closely it's not meant to be a real burning, but a figurative one. But nothing is meant to be "real" in Robbe-Grillet's serial construct, everything is false, every element is isolated at an absolute zero. It's a feminist film which is also politically incorrect. And the fact that the focus in on a young woman who is accused of transgression by religious and secular authorities, and that most of the dialogue drifts into the realm of interrogation, strongly evokes Sade as a structuring absence. The film continuously uses women's bodies as signs and erotic objects while coolly examining just how popular culture defines women's sexuality by conventional norms and demands.

I haven't read the Michelet book but the film is in the experimental-erotic modality of a number of Jess Franco films, especially NECORNOMICON, VENUS IN FURS, VAMPYROS LESBOS, in its iconography and presentation of the fantasy-woman as a generator of transgression. The character has no name so I call her subject A. In the film's opening shot the camera approaches her indirectly, cautiously, inexorably, as if she were a subject for objective examination. But she also has something of the stillness and plasticity of a mannequin. Mannequins play a key role in this film, often interchanging roles with actual characters, as they do in Franco's NECRONOMICON and VAMPYROS LESBOS.

Subject A is interrogated in a seaside dungeon run by nuns after her roommate Nora (Olga Georges Picot) is found stabbed to death with scissors after A has played erotic body painting games with her. The "murder" may or may not be "real" but is obsessively investigated by a police detective who arrives on the scene almost immediately, a magistrate, a priest and a lawyer, respectively played by Jean Louis Trintignant, Michel Lonsdale, Jean Martin and Olga Georges Picot (in a double [?] role). A's burning image, a metal bed-frame with a mannequin tied to it on the seashore, a woman's blue shoe, a bottle shattering, eggs mixing with red fluids, A standing nude under severed bars [an image which evokes a Surrealist canvas], faces peering through bars, prison body painting with bright red pigment, a red kneeler flanked by candles, are the key images. Dogs barking, moans, whips striking, breaking glass, sirens, an atonal use of music and sound. Sound often in opposition to the images. The montages of images and sound by Bob Wade and Michel Fano are as complex and abstract as anything in the 70's films of Godard, who was dealing with the political rather than erotic transgression.

Unlike Jess Franco who always begins with wanting to make a work of popular entertainment, Robbe Grillet operates more like a novelist or painter in his filmmaking process, wanting to make certain aesthetic and conceptual explorations which are rigorously controlled and executed. The irony was that glissements... became a financial success as much as it was critically misunderstood or condemned. In a way, it can be read as a Women In Prison film or a nunsploitation item as well. A cine-roman exists, which I have not read.

Seduction, transgression, surrealism, repetition. Is it Art, Pornography, or both?

*I feel grateful to have had the chance to see it in a pristine 35mm print with the auteur present. Now, if only there could be a HD R1 DVD presentation with English subtitles.

These are some thoughts which came to mind after a recent viewing of GLISSEMENTS PROGESSIFS DU PLAISIR.

(C) Robert Monell, 2008


27 November, 2008

CAHIERS DU CINEMA 100 BEST FILMS LIST


The greatest film ever made? Maybe...

The legendary French Film Magazine CAHIERS DU CINEMA has released an updated 100 BEST FILMS list compiled from the choices of French directors, critics and film industry leaders.

It seems like CITIZEN KANE is always going to top most of these lists, with THE GODFATHER perhaps sometimes getting #1. The most interesting choice for me is Luis Bunuel's rather obscure 1952 Mexican melodrama EL [over LOS OLVIDADOS or VIRIDIANA]. I find it interesting that a favorite like CASABLANCA didn't make it and no films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder are cited. I can think of at least three Fassbinder films which I would list along with Werner Herzog's AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD. All such lists are ultimately subjective, culturally skewed and questionable but it can be a fun game to play.

I recently revisited EL, a jet black comedy of manners with tragic undertones as well as a typically Bunuelian study of clinical paranoia. I'll be reviewing it here soon.

For the record, my favorite Orson Welles film is FALSTAFF/CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (1965) the project on which Welles hired Jess Franco to help film the much praised battle scene. A must for Welles and Franco enthusiasts but unfortunately, due to labyrinthe legal complications, not available on the kind of high quality R1 DVD presentation this masterwork demands.

Here's the list:

Citizen Kane - Orson Welles
The Night of the Hunter - Charles Laughton
The Rules of the Game (La Règle du jeu) - Jean Renoir
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (L'Aurore) - Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
L'Atalante - Jean Vigo
M - Fritz Lang
Singin' in the Rain - Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
Vertigo - Alfred Hitchcock
Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis) - Marcel Carné
The Searchers - John Ford
Greed - Erich von Stroheim
Rio Bravo - Howard Hawkes
To Be or Not to Be - Ernst Lubitsch
Tokyo Story - Yasujiro Ozu
Contempt (Le Mépris) - Jean-Luc Godard
Tales of Ugetsu (Ugetsu monogatari) - Kenji Mizoguchi
City Lights - Charlie Chaplin
The General - Buster Keaton
Nosferatu the Vampire - Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
The Music Room - Satyajit Ray
Freaks - Tod Browning
Johnny Guitar - Nicholas Ray
The Mother and the Whore (La Maman et la Putain) - Jean Eustache
The Great Dictator - Charlie Chaplin
The Leopard (Le Guépard) - Luchino Visconti
Hiroshima, My Love - Alain Resnais
The Box of Pandora (Loulou) - Georg Wilhelm Pabst
North by Northwest - Alfred Hitchcock
Pickpocket - Robert Bresson
Golden Helmet (Casque d'or) - Jacques Becker
The Barefoot Contessa - Joseph Mankiewitz
Moonfleet - Fritz Lang
Diamond Earrings (Madame de…) - Max Ophüls
Pleasure - Max Ophüls
The Deer Hunter - Michael Cimino
The Adventure - Michelangelo Antonioni
Battleship Potemkin - Sergei M. Eisenstein
Notorious - Alfred Hitchcock
Ivan the Terrible - Sergei M. Eisenstein
The Godfather - Francis Ford Coppola
Touch of Evil - Orson Welles
The Wind - Victor Sjöström
2001: A Space Odyssey - Stanley Kubrick
Fanny and Alexander - Ingmar Bergman
The Crowd - King Vidor
8 1/2 - Federico Fellini
La Jetée - Chris Marker
Pierrot le Fou - Jean-Luc Godard
Confessions of a Cheat (Le Roman d'un tricheur) - Sacha Guitry
Amarcord - Federico Fellini
Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) - Jean Cocteau
Some Like It Hot - Billy Wilder
Some Came Running - Vincente Minnelli
Gertrud - Carl Theodor Dreyer
King Kong - Ernst Shoedsack & Merian J. Cooper
Laura - Otto Preminger
The Seven Samurai - Akira Kurosawa
The 400 Blows - François Truffaut
La Dolce Vita - Federico Fellini
The Dead - John Huston
Trouble in Paradise - Ernst Lubitsch
It's a Wonderful Life - Frank Capra
Monsieur Verdoux - Charlie Chaplin
The Passion of Joan of Arc - Carl Theodor Dreyer
À bout de souffle - Jean-Luc Godard
Apocalypse Now - Francis Ford Coppola
Barry Lyndon - Stanley Kubrick
La Grande Illusion - Jean Renoir
Intolerance - David Wark Griffith
A Day in the Country (Partie de campagne) - Jean Renoir
Playtime - Jacques Tati
Rome, Open City - Roberto Rossellini
Livia (Senso) - Luchino Visconti
Modern Times - Charlie Chaplin
Van Gogh - Maurice Pialat
An Affair to Remember - Leo McCarey
Andrei Rublev - Andrei Tarkovsky
The Scarlet Empress - Joseph von Sternberg
Sansho the Bailiff - Kenji Mizoguchi
Talk to Her - Pedro Almodóvar
The Party - Blake Edwards
Tabu - Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
The Bandwagon - Vincente Minnelli
A Star Is Born - George Cukor
Mr. Hulot's Holiday - Jacques Tati
America, America - Elia Kazan
El - Luis Buñuel
Kiss Me Deadly - Robert Aldrich
Once Upon a Time in America - Sergio Leone
Daybreak (Le Jour se lève) - Marcel Carné
Letter from an Unknown Woman - Max Ophüls
Lola - Jacques Demy
Manhattan - Woody Allen
Mulholland Dr. - David Lynch
My Night at Maud's (Ma nuit chez Maud) - Eric Rohmer
Night and Fog (Nuit et Brouillard) - Alain Resnais
The Gold Rush - Charlie Chaplin
Scarface - Howard Hawks
Bicycle Thieves - Vittorio de Sica
Napoléon - Abel Gance






25 November, 2008

Terrific Jose Benazeraf site!


www.josebenazeraf.fr


Thanks to Klaus...

I'll be adding a hot link to the sidebar. Check it out for numerous high quality videos, posters, photo galleries, information on DVDs, an upcoming retrospective and much more!



23 November, 2008

SIDA: LA PESTE DEL SIGLO XX: AIDS, THE 20 THE CENTURY PLAGUE (1986)


Francoise Blanchard as LA MORTE VIVANTE...



Ms Blanchard went on to appear in the Jess Franco related Oasis des filles perdues, NEVROSE, GOLDEN TEMPLE AMAZONS and SIDA: LA PESTE DEL SIGLO XX...


SIDA: LA PESTE DEL SIGLO XX: AIDS, THE 20 THE CENTURY PLAGUE (1986)


Yönetmen: Jesus Franco

Yapım Yılı: 1986
Firma: Golden Films Internacional S.A.
Dil: İspanyolca
Ülke: İspanya
Görüntü: Renkli
Ses Düzeni: Mono
Oyuncular:
(Roller) Françoise Blanchard
Bill Hoversten
Ricardo Palacios
Michel Rollin
Lina Romay
Ikki Vargas

Müzik: Daniel White

Senaryo: Brian Epstein (yazar)
Jesus Franco (yazar)
Marius Lesoeur (yazar) (A.L. Mariaux)

Yapımcılar: Emilio Larraga


Who are the heroes and who are the villains in Jess Franco's outrageously conceived and titled AIDS exploitation project? Or is everyone a victim? Probably, but it's equally probable we won't ever get to see it on a future DVD considering it's reportedly locked up by Eurocine. Nzoog has just reminded me over at the discussion of this on CINEMADROME that Cronenberg was already there in terms of AIDS allegories and I wonder if THEY CAME FROM WITHIN (1975) and RABID (1976) would make a good triple bill with SHINING SEX... (1975), and I wonder if either Franco or Cronenberg were aware of each other's work at the time.

Ricardo Palacios is also in SIDA..., a villain in many Jess Franco and Hollywood films including ATTACK OF THE ROBOTS, THE BLOOD OF FU MANCHU, THE WIND AND THE LION, TAKE A HARD RIDE and THE SPIKES GANG, among others. His face, if not his name, is a familiar one from international coproductions [especially numerous Spaghetti Westerns] with Spain since the 1960s. Hear his voice as the narrator of Jess Franco's 1983 LOS BLUES CALLE POP... . He still looms large in SIDA: LA PESTE DEL SIGLO XX... I can picture him in the Dr. Seward/alien hunter role, which Jess Franco played in SHINING SEX. And who is Bill Hoversten? Michael Rollin is the son of the superior French character actor, Georges Rollin [of Franco's LA MUERTE SILBA UN BLUES and EL LLANERO).

Shot under the title MISSION SIDA for Emilio Larraga's GOLDEN FILMS INTERNACIONAL SA company it is a re staging of SHINING SEX-la fille au sexe brillant (1975) and was shot very much in the style of BANGKOK, CITA CON LA MUERTE and LA ESCLAVA BLANCA, both 1985 micro-budgeted action genre productions lensed by Juan Soler with his typically luminous compositions. At that timeFranco and Soler were using Agfacolor stock to shoot a flurry of cheaper porno titles [EL MIRON Y LA EXHIBICIONISTA] with excellent results at the time.

Francoise Blanchard, the pathetic title character in Jean Rollin's LA MORTE VIVANTE is the female lead. While Lina Romay, who played the stricken protagonist in SHINING SEX is also in this remake. A disease which has been fatal to so many for decades and a worldwide scourge, is hardly a first-thought exploitation subject. But fatal diseases are often the subtext of horror films, if SIDA... can be considered horror at all.

Yet another notorious title in a career of notorious titles.

I'll be reviewing the rarely seen 100m version of SHINING SEX: LA FILLE AU SEXE BRILLANT at some point in the future. However, don't hold your breath for SIDA: LA PESTE DEL SIGLO XX.

(c) Robert Monell, 2008





20 November, 2008

QUIZ



Who is this actress and in which Jess Franco film does she appear?

NOTE: The image above is not from the Franco film in question, but you get extra points for identifying the title from which the screenshot is taken. Remember, all these extra points add up toward a chance to be on board the 2009 European Trash Cinema cruise to....



18 November, 2008

JESS FRANCO TO RECEIVE 2008 GOYA AWARD


Thanks to Alex Mendibil for informing me that the Spanish Academy of Art and Cinematographic Sciences has honored Jess Franco with the 2008 Goya Award for his career in cinema. Spain's main national film award and the equivalent of Hollywood's Academy Award, it was established in 1987. Previous winners include Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz.

I copied over this quote and information from Alex's post on my CINEMADROME site:

"It's such a pleasure and a great honor. I never expected any recognition for my career. I'm delighted and, as I never felt to deserve anything, it's a beautiful present." said Franco after knowing the news. The XXIII Goya Awards Ceremony is being held on 1st February, 2009.

With this prestigious award and the comprehensive Cinematheque Francaise retrospective earlier this year 2008 can now be termed The Year Of Jess Franco!


Congratulations Jess!





13 November, 2008

Favorite Jess Franco Performances?


As the writer in EXORCISM (1974)...


Walking the lonely path a few years late in THE SADIST OF NOTRE DAME (1980)



As agent Tino Celli in THE DEVIL CAME FROM AKASAVA (1970)


As the torturer in DIE SKLAVINNEN

Jess Franco has appeared as an actor in many of his own films [frequently in Hitchcockian cameos] as well as in other directors, notably as Venancio in the late Fernando Fernan Gomez's EL EXTRANO VIAJE (1964). I have not seen this rather obscure but highly regarded black comedy but I hope it sooner or later gets a proper R1 DVD presentation.

I wanted to conduct an up-to-date poll on favorite Jess Franco's performances in his or other director's films. Of course he has the lead in both EXORCISME (1974) and its 1980 remix EL SADICO DEL NOTRE DAME but one of my favorites is the babbling idiot/voyeur in MACUMBA SEXUAL. Jess manages to be simultaneously amusing and unsettling among his petrified deep sea dwellers.

I would like to add that his performances are always more effective when his own voice is used. It has a distinctive tone which he can alter and control quite skillfully as when he voices Juan Cozar's character in GEMIDOS DE PLACER.

In his own work his acting career ranges from a glimpsed piano player in GRITOS EN LA NOCHE to the sinister sage in DR WONG'S VIRTUAL HELL.

What are some of your favorite Jess Franco performances?



06 November, 2008

JOSE BENAZERAF VIDEO!


How about HD quality R1 DVD presentations of Jose Benazeraf's classic erotica?


R1 DVD of US redo of Benazeraf's 1962 sexy Eurocrime item LE CONCERTO DE LA PEUR, imported and fucked over by Bob Creese and R. Lee Frost...

Thanks to paroxismus for posting a link on my cinemadrome site to an excellent 8m video interview with the legendary director of dozens of erotic films from the 1960s onward, Jose Benazeraf. It's in French but this is a must-see even if you don't understand the language due to numerous clips from many of his key works including the notorious and rarely seen JOE CALIGULA which was banned in France in 1966 and in dire need of being fully restored on a HD R1 DVD presentation along with the director's other erotic classics such as L'ETERNITE POUR NOUS (1961), LE DESIRABLE ET LE SUBLIME (1969), both of which are represented on the video as well as a glimpses of his work with Brigitte Lahaie. And you'll also hear some Jess Franco related music.

The interview was conducted in 2007. Benazeraf discusses his films, eroticism and French politics among other topics. The clips from JOE CALIGULA, which was shot in b&w in 1965, reveal a nihilistic crime-noir aesthetic which seems very similar to Godard's A BOUT DE SOUFFLE (1959), BAND OF OUTSIDERS (1964) and certain Nouvelle Vague films by Rivette, Chabrol and Truffaut from that heady period.

Just click the link on the left sidebar to watch the video.


Thanks to Alex

(C) Robert Monell, 2008




02 November, 2008

RETURN OF THE VIDEO NASTIES...

The Most Dangerous Movie!


BANNED OUTRIGHT: "Depraved"? You bet, and so was THE WEREWOLF AND THE YETI... If that wasn't banned imagine the threat of rampaging Yeti to the population of the UK!


The original SAW?



The list is from WIKIPEDIA just to illustrate how things have changed since this was published by the UK DPP in 1983. I understand that at least one person went to jail in the UK for selling a film on the list. Note that three JF films are on here, including DEVIL HUNTER and BLOODY MOON, both now released on DVD by Severin Films. I guess the more recent SAW and HOSTEL movies passed the BBFC uncut. They're just no-problem family entertainment. Right? Was the stone mill saw sequence in BLOODY MOON a possible inspiration? I'm just asking? I guess that all these films can now be sold and owned in the UK with no problems. Don't worry... Be happy... It can't happen again... Can it?

Absurd (original/alternate titles: Rosso Sangue, Anthropophagus 2 — released with 2m 32s cut in 1983)
The Anthropophagous Beast (original title: Antropophagus — released with approximately 3m of pre-cuts in 2002)
Axe! (original title: Lisa, Lisa — re-released uncut in 2005)
The Beast in Heat (original title: La bestia in Calore) (Banned outright)
The Beyond (original title: E tu vivrai nel terrore - L'Aldilà — re-released uncut in 2001)
Blood Feast (re-released uncut in 2005)
Blood rites (original title: The Ghastly Ones) (Banned outright)
Bloody Moon (original title: Die Säge des Todes — released with 1m 20s cut in 1993)
The Boogeyman (original title: The Boogeyman — re-released uncut in 2000)
The Burning (re-released uncut in 2001)
Cannibal Apocalypse (original title: Apocalypse Domani — released with 2s cut in 2005)
Cannibal Ferox (alternat title: Make them Die Slowly. released with approximately 5m of pre-cuts plus 6s of additional cuts in 2000)
Cannibal Holocaust (released in 2001 with 5m 44s cut to remove all scenes of animal cruelty)
Cannibal Man (original title: La Semana del Asesino — released with 3s cut in 1993)
Cannibal Terror (original title: Terror Caníbal — released uncut in 2003)
Contamination (released uncut in 2004 with a 15 rating)
Dead & Buried (re-released uncut in 2004)
Death Trap (original title: Eaten Alive — re-released uncut in 2000)
Deep River Savages (original/alternate title: Il paese del sesso selvaggio, Man from Deep River. — released with 3m 45s cut in 2003)
Delirium (released with 16s cut in 1987)( was also called psycho puppet)
Devil Hunter (original title: Il cacciatore di uomini) (Banned outright)
Don't Go In The House (released with 3m 7s cut in 1987)
Don't Go in the Woods (released uncut in 2007)
Don't Go Near the Park (released uncut in 2006)
Don't Look in the Basement (original title: The Forgotten — released uncut in 2005 with a 15 rating)
The Dorm That Dripped Blood — re-released with 10s cut in 2001) (Alternate title: Pranks)
The Driller Killer (released with cuts in 1999 - re-released uncut in 2002)
The Evil Dead (re-released uncut in 2001)
Evilspeak (re-released uncut in 1999)
Exposé (re-released with approximately 30s cut in 2006)
Faces of Death (released with 2m 19s cut in 2003)
Fight For Your Life (Banned outright)
Flesh for Frankenstein (re-released uncut in 2006) (Alternate title: Andy Warhol's Frankenstein)
Forest of Fear (original title: Bloodeaters) (Banned outright)
Frozen Scream (Banned outright)
The Funhouse (released uncut in 1987)
Gestapo's Last Orgy (original title: L'ultima orgia del III Reich) (Banned outright)
The House by the Cemetery (original title: Quella villa accanto al cimitero — re-released with 33s cut in 2001)
House on the Edge of the Park (original title: La casa sperduta nel parco — released with 11m 43s cut in 2002)
Human Experiments (released with 26s cut in 1994)
I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses (released with 1m 6s cut in 1986)
I Spit On Your Grave (original title: Day of the Woman — released with 7m 2s cut in 2001)
Inferno (re-released with 20s cut in 1993)
Island of Death (original title: Ta Pedhia tou dhiavolou — released with 4m 9s cut in 2002)
Killer Nun (original title: Suor Omicidi — re-released uncut in 2006)
The Last House on the Left (passed uncut on the 17th March, 2008)
Late Night Trains (original title: L'ultimo treno della notte — released uncut in 2008)
Living Dead At Manchester Morgue (original title: Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti — re-released uncut in 2002)
Love Camp 7 (refused a certificate in 2002) (Banned outright)
Madhouse (original title: There Was a Little Girl — released uncut in 2004)
Mardi Gras Massacre (Banned outright)
Night of the Bloody Apes (original title: La Horripilante bestia humana — released with approximately 1m of pre-cuts in 1999)
Night of the Demon (released with 1m 41s cut in 1994)
Nightmare Maker (Banned outright)
Nightmare in a Damaged Brain (re-released with pre-cuts in 2005)(Alternate title: Nightmare)
Possession (released uncut in 1999)
Prisoner of the Cannibal God (original title: La montagna del dio cannibale — released with 2m 6s cut in 2001)
Revenge of the Bogey Man (original title: Boogeyman II — released with additional footage in 2003)
Shogun Assassin (re-released uncut in 1999)
The Slayer (re-released uncut in 2001)
Snuff (released uncut in 2003)
SS Experiment Camp (original title: Lager SSadis Kastrat Kommandantur — released uncut in 2005)
Tenebrae (original title: Tenebre — re-released uncut in 2003)
Terror Eyes (original title: Night School — released with 1m 16s cut in 1987)
The Toolbox Murders (released with 1m 46s cut in 2000)
Twitch of the Death Nerve (original title: Reazione a catena — released with 43s cut in 1994) (2 alternate titles: Bay Of Blood, Carnage)
Unhinged (released uncut in 2004)
Visiting Hours (released with approximately 2m cut in 1986)
The Werewolf and the Yeti (original title: La Maldición de la bestia) (Banned outright)
The Witch Who Came From the Sea (released uncut in 2006)
Women Behind Bars (original French title: Des diamants pour l'enfer) (Banned outright)
Xtro (released uncut in 1987)
Zombie Creeping Flesh (original title: Virus — released uncut in 2002)
Zombie Flesh Eaters (original title: Zombi 2 — re-released uncut in 2005) (alternate title: Zombie)



30 October, 2008

JESS FRANCO HALLOWEEN COSTUMES!


The Dolmance Red Smoking Jacket [modelled by Christopher Lee]



Female Cat Burglar Mask [modelled by Janine Reynaud]


The BLUE RITA Gas Mask [modelled by Pamela Stanford]


The Skull [modelled by Guess Who?]


The Killer Couple Ensemble [modelled by Paul Muller and Soledad Miranda]



The Frankenstein Monster [modelled by Fernando Bilbao]