14 May, 2015

Lust for Frankenstein (1998)

*version under review is the 87-minute Spanish-language cut 

Solarised footage of incestuous sex scenes set to the dark Ubangis score, naked bisexual monsters prowling the bushes of Malaga, messages from the afterlife etched into the heavy metal vinyl records -
Lust for Frankenstein
is loaded with patented Franco strangeness. Aided by the joint talents of Lina Romay, Michelle Bauer and Analia Ivars, Jess crafts a highly peculiar mixture of DIY horror and kitsch melodrama.

Lina Romay stars as Moira Frankenstein, a recent divorcee whose dreams are haunted by visions of orgies and who inherits a sex-frenzied monster from her late father. Lust for Frankenstein isn't the first time Jess Franco concerned himself with a female Dr. Frankenstein. Already in Erotic Rites of Fr ankenstein, the good doctor (Dennis Price) was succeeded by his equally determined daughter. While a number of approximations and blatant inconsistencies stemming from obvious scarcity of recourses make this One Shot Production an easy target for criticism from 'quality cinema' point of view, it would be unfair to dismiss Lust for Frankenstein as an insignificant entry in Franco's filmography. A closer look reveals a consistently-directed and highly poetic work with Franco seemingly embracing and transcending his limited means.

Franco masterfully arranges and captures the space in a scene where a dreadlocked dr. Frankenstein appears behind a blood-streaked windowpane. During his digital period, Franco was more then ever interested in colours, Lust for Frankenstein being prime example  - glowing amber lights when Lina discovers the creature (Michelle Bauer) her father has created, cold blues during the transfusion scenes of Lina feeding the victims' life energy into her sex-starved monster. As Lust for Frankenstein was partially shot on actual film, we're treated to rich colour  hues, especially lovely in the cutaway exterior shots of the foliage Jess seemed so fond of interspersing his stories with.

The shorter Spanish-language cut appears less soporific with the slow-motion simulated copulation interludes mercifully truncated. This version also benefits from an additional voice-over (by Franco himself?) during the softcore flashbacks, narrated by the deceased dr. Frankenstein and giving some background to the sketchy characters. Lust for Frankenstein is one of the most accomplished works - both visually and aurally - from the filmmakers' least-appreciated creative period.

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