17 October, 2016


GUEST REVIEW by Scott Allen

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:22:07.500
Disc Size: 23,108,077,697 bytes
Feature Size: 20,974,374,912 bytes
Video Bitrate: 28.99 Mbps
Chapters: 9
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: October 4th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio French 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
English, None
• Audio commentary by film historian Tim Lucas
• Alternate safe footage (less sexually explicit) (3:19)
• Original theatrical trailer (4:38) 

Jess Franco's LA FILLE DE DRACULA was released on Blu-ray by Redemption earlier this month. It had been speculated for some time this release, especially after Redemption released a DVD version of it in PAL/Region 2 back in 2014. Redemption, a long champion of Jess' work has spent recent years reissuing old titles on Blu-ray and making announcements for films that never yet surfaced like on DVD or Blu-ray, "Les Chatouilleuses". Redemption's silence on the matter seemingly gave way to very impressive Blu-ray releases of "Erotic Rites of Frankenstein" and "The Demons". These releases  were staggeringly good especially after the misfire of the Blu-ray release of "A Virgin Among The Living Dead" that used a very bad print.
This particular film was one of the few from his early 70s films with a monster emphasis, including "Dracula Contra Frankenstein" (aka THE SCREAMING DEAD as it was known in U.S. on videotape)  and "The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein". Dracula Contra Frankenstein played it most safe in the trappings of horror only and didn't seem to push the limits of the erotic that Jess used so well in his films with Soledad Miranda. "The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein" Spanish variant played almost like a companion film with the Spanish version having a horror only focus. In 2015, Redemption unearthed the long delayed French variant and reportedly Jess's preferred film - complete with what seemed like longer takes than the Spanish version and more sexual content. Until seeing the French version, the Spanish one always felt disjointed and less coherent so it appeared like a revelation to be seeing this in a better form at last.LA FILLE DE DRACULA appears the slightest and fastest made of this bunch with beautiful Britt Nichols as the protagonist but like her role in THE DEMONS she doesn't get enough screen time.     
 The release of LA FILLE DE DRACULA seems to use a similar print that X-Rated Kult used for the German release in terms of visual quality. If you view the Redemption Blu-ray up close you do see more of the flaws of dirt and grain and at some points what looks like white dust. This mainly was noticeable when making screenshots with phone from the disc as I needed to be closer to the screen. Normally the print looks really good from a regular watching distance, perhaps not to the high levels of Erotic Rites of Frankenstein or The Demons; but still enjoyable enough. The film's draw is for Tio Jess' audience and to have more of Britt Nichols in HD. You can see Jess having a good time with a film that uses the Dracula backdrop in a very mild way to sell a film that could be more categorized as a thriller or lite-giallo.

There are a few instances where Jess visual poetry really shines through - particularly a scene where a stripper is killed by vampire bite and her body zoom leads to Nichols playing piano for a conversation scene with Anne Libert, it's these kind of scenes that have kept my interest in Jess cinema for years. The story itself seems a minor one, tossed off while Jess presumably worked on bigger projects and this was done in down time using the same Portugal castle as many films he made during that period. It falls firmly in not being his best nor his worst, but very much worthy of the personal upgrade in my collection. 

 The Blu-ray comes with a few extras include some alternate partially clothed seduction scene with Libert and Nichols and an informative commentary by Franco-authority Tim Lucas. Lucas shares some insight regarding locations and parallels of the characters in this and Jess earlier outing The Sadistic Baron von Klaus. His commentary, although consistently enjoyable, featured one small gaffe, he stated that Jess was engaged to actress Ana Castor, but he actually was engaged to Isana Medel. Both actresses appeared in his second feature film, LABIOS ROJOS (1960).

Overall, a very fine Blu-ray release from Redemption.... Bring on LES EBRANLEES already, dammit! :)     

(C) Scott Allen, 2016

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