26 February, 2009


Here's a menu screen for a DVD presentation of a Jess Franco film. Name the film and the company which is responsible for this DVD.

23 February, 2009


Gianna Maria Canale contemplates the illusory youth and beauty of Giselle Du Grand in the landmark Italian horror classic, I VAMPIRI...

The spider and her prey...

According to the IMDB and some blogs Italian actress Gianna Maria Canale died in Florence, Italy on Feb. 13, 2009. There doesn't seem to be any official confirmation of this from Italy but it's a good excuse to remember and celebrate her career... and if she's still with us that would be wonderful. Just as long as she's not forgotten. There's no actress quite like her in contemporary cinema.

A stunning, imperious beauty, she appeared in about 50 films, from her first significant role in Riccardo Freda's AQUILA NERA/THE BLACK EAGLE (1946) to THE AVENGER OF VENICE (1964). She became the muse and lover of legendary Italian genre director Riccardo Freda, appearing in 13 of his films.

She had an onscreen erotic presence which seemed to overwhelm all the actors around her, tempered by a brittle romanticism along with a patrician grace. Perhaps not a great actress but a supremely compelling one.

Of her films with Freda my favorite GMC roles were in SPARTACO/SINS OF ROME (1953), as the woman who drove Spartacus (Massimo Girotti) to distraction, THEODORA, SLAVE EMPRESS (1954), in which the titular temptress drove Georges Marchal to more distraction, and as the self-obsessed Giselle/Duchess Du Grand in I VAMPIRI (1957), a financial flop at the time but the film which was handwriting on the wall that the Italian Golden Age of Horror was at hand.

Since reports of her death still seem to be unconfimed I'm leaving it as a bracketed question mark. In the meantime, discover or rediscover Gianna Maria Canale in any of these recommended films:

I VAMPIRI (1957)

Here's something interesting from the www.astrotheme.com astrology site:

Map of the Heavens, Planets, Astrological Chart, Horoscope
Gianna-Maria CANALE,
born September 12, 1927 at 12:00 PM (unknown) in Reggio di Calabria (Italie)
Sun in 18°41 Virgo, Moon in 1°43 Aries
Chinese Astrology: Fire Cat
Numerology: Birthpath 4

22 February, 2009


Personal Coat of Arms of Francisco Franco as Head of the Spanish State...

In Full Metal Jacket...

Spanish horror icons during the Francisco Franco years...

Francisco Franco (1892-1975), one of the Fascist dictators who rose to power in Europe before World War II, ruled Spain from 1939 until his death. He introduced technological and economic innovations to Spain, notably excluding some areas from social/political development. An ally of Hitler and Mussolini, who helped him win the Spanish Civil War from Republican forces. Later a key European ally of the US due to his strong anti-Communist stance and opening up Spain to US military bases. In a way his presence was the structuring absence behind the Spanish horror boom (1970-1975).

I sometimes wonder if he ever saw a Jess Franco film.

17 February, 2009


[Jean-Marie Pallardy's feature films include:
• Emmanuelle Goes To Cannes
• Naked And Lustful
• Emmanuele 3
• A Very Special Woman*
• Erotic Daughters Of Emmanuelle

ProductID HALP700059DVD
Number of Discs 5.00 Disc(s)
Format DVD
Release Date 11/18/2008
Actors Jean-Marie Pallardy
Video Widescreen; COLOR
Audio Dolby Digital Stereo
Language: English
Availability in stock


Video Quality: Poor (1.76:1/16X9)
Sound Quality: Fair to Poor (DOLBY DIGITAL; English language version)
Summary: This All Region Anamorphic widescreen presentation looks and sounds like it was transferred from a videocassette source.

This 1979 short feature (65m) has now appeared here in the US as part of the Erotic World of Jean-Marie Pallardy boxset with four other DVDs. I purchased this as a single to check it out before investing in the box. In English 16X9 Enhanced (doesn't look it, though); 1.66:1. The boxset retailed for under $60 and I found it in the Adult XXX room of a CD/Music store.

A Very Special Woman [UNE FEMME SPECIAL] (1979)
Starring: Karin Schubert, Georges Gueret, Mike Monty, Gordon Mitchell.
Director: Jean-Marie Pallardy

What attracted me to this was the presence of the cult actress (some would say sleaze-queen) Karin Schubert, along with the presence of Gordon Mitchell, who appears as a gangster wearing a very bright orange windbreaker. I had a brief but memorable email friendship with the late, legendary bodybuilder-actor until the time of his death. And I had never seen a Pallardy film before, so I decided this was a good place to start.

The plot is a sleazy mixture of crime and sexual encounters (softcore in this version). Schubert plays the wife of a gangster (Georges Gueret) who is compelled by him to smuggle illegal all over the world. She herself is hooked on heroin, kept addicted by him and gets into all kinds of sordid situations until she catches him in bed with another woman. Deciding she has had enough she dumps a small fortune in narcotics into the ocean. The disappearance of the drugs triggers the associates of his husband to send thugs in pursuit (Gordon Mitchell and Mike Monty) to get the drugs back/carry out a gangland sanction. At the end Karin kicks Gordon's ass before blasting him with a shotgun (Gordon's reaction is priceless! and walks off into the sunset with her supportive lover (Pallardy)... The abridged runtime is just under 66m, but most of the runtime involves Pallardy and Schubert romping on beaches, etc. Look for Brigette Lahaie in a small role.

There's a lot of softcore action in seaside seetings but it's all pretty tame. It looks like a series of 1970s continental nudie calendar photos. The score is an amusing mixture of retro funk, disco, synthesizer and the bizarre inclusion of the spiritual AMAZING GRACE to indicate the heroine's redemption. The high pitched bleating of the song will make you want to wish it's over as soon as it begins!

This is the first JM Pallardy film I've seen since WHITE FIRE (1985), also with Gordon Mitchell, and it struck me as cheap looking, tacky, but very entertaining and briskly paced Eurosleaze, and I enjoyed the roughly staged crime elements. Co starring Pallardy himself, a former male model whose directorial style here doesn't contain the sometimes artful personal touches of Jess Franco or Joe D'Amato imparted to similar material/projects. The poor cinematography, or maybe it was the dupey looking materials or transfer, is by Maurice Fellous and the very ragged editing by either Bruno Zincone or whoever edited the English language version. Is there a longer version on DVD or VHS? The box incorrectly lists a 72 m runtime and the imbd lists a 90m runtime. Could this be the length of the hard version?

The 1.66:1 anamorphic transfer is very unsharp with distorted, sometimes bleeding color (check out Mitchell's orange windbreaker), it's sometimes washed out with a general Grindhouse look/ambiance, complete with dropouts and numerous video glitches, which is somewhat appropriate, but the film quality looks very worn, beaten up, like it was taken from a much used videocassette, as do the trailers for the other titles in the set, EMMANUELLE 3, EMMANUELLE GOES TO CANNES, etc. I remember the old video I had of WHITE FIRE which looked better than this. The opening credits are in French and windowboxed, except for an insert of the main English language title, A VERY SPECIAL WOMAN. It all looks very cut and paste...

But I still enjoyed it. It's always good to see my late friend Gordon Mitchell (named "Gordon" on the English soundtrack)as a leering heavy. And it can be purchased as a single for under $12.00 on Amazon.com.

(c) Robert Monell, 2009

14 February, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

This is a rather amusing example of misleading advertising. The above image is of Mirabel Martin and Alexandra Bastedo in a particularly gory moment from Vicente Aranda's 1972 lesbian vampire film LA NOVIA ENSANGRETADA [THE BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE].
But the advert is for the Finnish video of Jess Franco's LA COMTESSE NOIRE (1973)! Even in the blood sucking version of this there's nothing remotely like the ultra violence of this scene. I guess an image of Lina Romay walking half clothed through the mist wasn't exploitable enough... An amusing example of vintage exploitation tactics and alternate versions.

Has anyone seen this version? If so, please report on the exact content and run time in the comment area. Thanks.

12 February, 2009



Les possédées du Diable (1974)
Jesús Franco

Pamela Stanford - Guy Delorme - Lina Romay - Howard Vernon - Jesús Franco - etc.

Edition : MPM
Codage : PAL

Poids (sans l'emballage) : 350 gr
Liquidation de près de 4000 VHS originales
N'hésitez pas à poser vos questions ou faire des suggestions de mise en vente Frais de port (selon les tarifs de la Poste belge):
Vers la France :
1 VHS (de moins de 350 gr - kilopost normal) : 6,40 euro
1 à 2 VHS (de plus de 350 gr - kilopost normal) : 9,60 euro
3 à 5 VHS (kilopost normal) : 19,20 euro
6 à 10 VHS (kilopost international) : 26 euro
11 à 22 VHS (kilopost international) : 39 euro
Vers la Belgique :
1 à 5 VHS (Taxipost LLS) : 5,50 euro
6 à 22 VHS (Taxipost LLS) : 9,50 euro
plus de 22 VHS (Taxipost LLS) : 11,50 euro
Modes de paiement acceptés : PayPal, Virement international


Thanks to Eric Cotenas for the heads up on this....

09 February, 2009


Take a journey...

The Art of bondage... and vice-versa.

Dangerous reading....

Alain Robbe-Grillet: creator of literary/cinematic ambiguity...

Elias (Jean-Louis Trintignant) examines a pistol which has been hidden in a book. Such are the linguistic challenges of the films directed by the late Alain Robbe-Grillet (1922-2008). Exactly one of his directed films, LA BELLE CAPTIVE (1984) has had a R1 DVD presentation. But given their mixture of transgressive eroticism, literary/mythological subtexts and cinematic experimentation, that's simply not acceptable. There's a certain market for these films out there. Most important of all, his films, especially TEE, are teasing, highly intelligent, artistically adventurous entertainment.

I actually took the TEE from Paris to Antwerp, when I visited a friend in Belgium in 1973, with Robbe Grillet's elusive film [I hadn't yet seen it] very much on my mind. In fact I might have lounged in that very train car seen in the above shot. Who knows? Ambiguity is at the center of ARG's work, emotional/stylistic/ontological ambiguity. It's between the lines of his prose and behind the imagery in his films. TEE is a crime thriller wrapped in an enigma. An S&M journey into a put-on, deconstructionist adventure, like THE FRENCH CONNECTION as if directed by Jean Cocteau! The opening and closing shots bracket it as another ARG game within a film, leaving us delightfully mystified as the auteur flashes his somewhat chilling smile. Take a ride on the Trans Europ Express, but don't let down your guard...

You really can't describe this film, you have to see it. Is Severin listening?

(c) Robert Monell, 2009

01 February, 2009

Jess Franco Gets His Goya

Congratulations to Jess Franco!

Feb. 1, 2009: The XXIII Goya Awards Ceremony , Madrid.

Many thanks to Nzoog.


Coming in 2009 from MVD with 100 photos from the director's collection and a 60m Jean-Marie Pallardy featurette. In English/4X3/unrated version. These DVD presentations were supervised by the director.


This 2008 Halopark Pictures 5 DVD All Region JM Pallardy box set can be found for as little as $60. All are the cut, English language versions of the original French productions. This sets/discs are unrelated to the MVD releases.

Watch out for those horny Lumberjacks! Another 2009 JM Pallardy DVD from MVD.

Fun, vintage Eurosleaze on ALL REGION DVD from www.haloparkpictures.com/ Anamorphic widescreen 1.76:1/16X9 Enhanced/English language version. My review of this Halopark Pictures DVD will follow...

NB: This is cut from the original version down to 65m, although it's listed on the box as 72m.

Thanks to Tubbytoast for the heads up and above links on the 2009 JM Pallardy DVD rleases.