A blog dedicated to the archaeology of Jess Franco's films and discussion of cult, arthouse, classic, genre and sometimes mainstream films from around the world. Send your reviews to the new email posted below and I will post them or comment below each blog. BLOG CREATED, MODERATED AND EDITED BY ROBERT MONELL: Est. July 2006. The written content of all posts (excepting quotes from reviews, books, other publications) COPYRIGHT ROBERT MONELL and the authors. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org Art Direction/Blog Design: Kimberly Lindbergs
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CINEMADROME is an offshoot of this blog: hosted by yuku for further public discussions of Jess Franco films, European Trash Cinema, Giallo films, Fantastique, Horror cinema from around the world, B movies, International Arthouse cinema, Expanded cinema, Hollywood classics, new and vintage DVD reviews, my online cinema diary, place for rants and general reflections on movies, culture, Chat Topics and much more...
Special illustrated essays, videos, images & new DVD/ VIDEO reviews will be added regularly regarding films from all genres.
A Tribute to Jess Franco
by Alexander Bakshaev
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BEST OF 2012: LISA AND THE DEVIL/HOUSE OF EXORCISM Blu-ray
This DVD was constructed from 3 vintage positive prints, including a hardcore version. But even the most washed out, damaged of the footage is far superior to the dark, fuzzy, unsightly dupes of the past. Curiously, on the back cover of the disc, it states "Brand new anamorphic transfer from negative..." but that's understandable given that they used the best possible positive elements. A prologue states the original negative is lost. If so, this presentation stands as the best possible alternative.
Revisiting this presentation I was struck again by the opening credits followed by the erotic encounter between Lorna (Monique Delaunay) and Linda (Lina Romay). Given that the actresses ages were close it still carries a transgressive charge. Silent except for Andre Benichou's maddening guitar notes (and was producer Robert De Nesle really co-composer as credited?!) it is at first baffling since we haven't been introduced to these characters and seems like a flash forward. It was certainly placed at the opening to give the paying customers their money's worth. This reel-length fantasia then fades to Linda standing in her parent's bourgeois apartment lamenting, "I'm so bored!" What we have just witnessed is anything but boring. Given the fact that Lorna finally introduces herself to Linda in a later scene claiming she has already entered the girl's subconscious mind this then can be viewed as a representation of Lorna's psycho sexual invasion of her prey. The psychic invasion continues in a later bathroom scene and becomes a physical invasion in the highly grotesque "initiation" of Linda by Lorna which occurs in Chapter 10. I'm not sure if this was the director's intent but given that editor Gerard Kikoine structured the final cut without Franco's input these "invasion" scenes work in the overall context. The opening credits are printed over shots of architecture and fruit on a tree in a garden (forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden?) before introducing Lorna as she admires herself in a mirror. The mirror is, of course, a structuring element in many of Franco's key titles and throughout his oeuvre.
Lorna's outlandish eye makeup also is a inspired touch. It establishes her uncanny quality without special effects. Just a bit too much green eye pencil. It gives her a grotesque quality, like a Halloween face worn on just another day. She could be a mental patient on leave from Jess Franco's private hospital which is visited in other scenes.
It's also interesting that Vernon's majordomo character attacks Patrick with a conch shell. A shell fish like the crabs which infest his wife. Creatures from the deep, the unconscious.