13 December, 2012

Karzan contro le donne dal seno nudo (1973, Jesus Franco) www.youtube.com Film del 1973 con Robert Woods, Alice Arno, Wal Davis, Lina Romay, Kali Hansa, Montserrat Prous,

I hope that the two Jess Franco Maciste adventures are released on R1 Blu-ray asap.I find them delightfully unhinged entertainment with a minimalist, cubist aesthetic and a porno era deconstruction of the Peplum.

04 December, 2012


Interview: Jess Franco & Dracula 0.9 (A film by Emilio Schargrodsky) www.youtube.com Interview: Jess Franco & Drac

20 November, 2012

4 DVD Jess Franco Collection available in December from Artus

FB-collection-franco.jpg €46,00 Offre spéciale comprenant : - La comtesse perverse - Célestine, bonne à tout faire - Plaisir à trois - Venus in Furs 46 euros + 3 euros de frais de port Valable jusqu'au 31 décembre 2012. Idéal pour les fêtes de Noël !!!
Offre spéciale comprenant :
- La comtesse perverse
- Célestine, bonne à tout faire
- Plaisir à trois
- Venus in Furs
46 euros + 3 euros de frais de port
Valable jusqu'au 31 décembre 2012. Idéal pour les fêtes de Noël !!! 

02 November, 2012


EXORCISM:Blu-ray review Redemption/Kino-Lorber “The motives for these murders has something to do with our quest for excitement in the realm of black magic,” Raymond Franval (Pierre Taylou), publisher of the S&M magazine, speculates after being questioned about the brutal murders of several of his clients. The victims are actually paying customers, upscale Parisian socialites, at the Black Masses, which include human sacrifices, staged by Franval in the lower environs of the lavish castle of the Duke (Claude Sendron). After one such performance the Countess (France Nicolas, rn France Roche) is brutally murdered, stabbed to death and disembowled, in a hotel room with her lover. The killer is actually one of the stable of writers who contribute to Franval’s weekly sadomasochistic oriented publication, “The Dagger and Garter.” Paul [Mathis] Vogel, a deranged, ex-priest, wanted by Interpol for sexually related crimes, a murderous religious fanatic now targeting the members of Franval’s pseudo-satanic sect for bloody purification rituals, one of which he has secretly witnessed. What Vogel doesn’t realize is that the ritual sacrifices are simulated with spring bladed knives and fake blood. Vogel’s “exorcism” rites, as he calls them, will not be spurious, though, as he stalks, tortures and murders dancer-hooker Gina (Caroline Riviere, the daughter of Franco’s first wife, Nicole Guettard), dominatrix Maria (Monica Swinn) and sets his sights on Anne (Lina Romay, Franval’s beautiful secretary-lover. The only clue that Franval and the investigating Inspector Tanner (Olivier Mathot) have is Vogel’s manuscript, “The Torture Chambers of the Inquisition.” :”We must know evil to be able to fight it,” Vogel declares to Franval, who also wants to publish the writer’s biography, “Memoirs of an Unfrocked Priest.” This sort of repartee, halfway between theological satire and naked sexploitation, is what characterizes EXORCISME as Jess Franco’s jet black, Sadean (the name Franval is out of Sade’s 1788 “Moral Tale” EUGENIE DE FRANVAL, filmed in 1970 as EUGENIE DE SADE, with Soledad Miranda in the title role) crime film with splatter elements (in the softcore EXORCISM) version, hardcore scenes (in the 1975 alternate SEXORCISMES), a police procedural type investigation and perhaps a personal allegory on the nature of the director’s position within the industry at the time as a Spanish filmmaker working abroad grinding out nudie-roughies at lighting speed to make money and make cinema. This last aspect would be much more fully explored in the 1979 variant of this film, EL SADICO DE NOTRE DAME, which contains much footage from EXORCISM interacting with new scenes shot in Paris 5 years later, including a different opening and closing. Academically trained police inspector Malou (a name which often recurs in the Franco filmography) speculates the pattern of the murder wounds indicates they are modeled on the early exorcism rites of the Inquisition and the killer is a modern day Torquemada (cf MANSION DE LOS MUERTOS VIVIENTES). This, of course, is close to the truth in that Vogel is deluded into thinking he is “saving” the souls of his victims by murdering them for their sexual license. One thinks of the censorship of Francisco Franco’s Spain at the time, which the director was attempting to avoid by making films in France. Most importantly, EXORCISM, is yet another Jess Franco examination of the dynamics of performance, particularly sado-erotic performance, the matrix of many important films in the director’s career from GRITOS EN LA NOCHE to RIFIFI EN CUIDAD to MISS MUERTE to NECRONOMICON to VENUS IN FURS to LOS BLUES CALLE POP to the more recent FLORES DE PERVERSION. Vogel is “watcher” of the performances by the perverted sect which he takes as “reality” when they are actually come ons for what really matters to Franval, the “box office take.” Franco would make many films for producers only interested in that aspect, which is understandable since it is their money invested. It can also be seen as a study of a certain type of horror movie icon, the religious fanatic. Vogel exclaims, “I delivered them from evil…I am the sword of the Lord,” when confronted by Inspector Tanner at the end. Sick as it is, he really believes in what he’s doing Franco is extraordinarily credible as the character while the other actors play in a more realistic vein, especially Mathot’s tough cop and Pierre Taylou’s superficial hedonist. Considering the director's presence as Vogel one is tempted to see the character's Sadean texts "scripts" which will be acted out or after-the-fact mini novelizations of his crimes. The obsessive nature of the character and his crimes could even be compared to the director's own obsession to commit film and film to celluloid as quickly as possible, as if time were running out. Except for a few odd, elaborate telezoom shots of Parisian architecture this is all filmed in a rather flat, obviously rushed manner with little attempt at any kind of arty blocking or compositions. The director was also the cinematographer, helped by Ramon Ardid and Rick De Connick (both whom have small roles) when he was on camera. This is not a visually stylish experience (cf VENUS IN FURS, NECRONOMICON, VAMPYROS LESBOS). It’s gritty, almost TV Cop Drama style often devolves into a kind of hypnotic minimalism during the staged rituals. The opening credit sequence plays out like a scene straight out of Sade as a nude (in the softcore/hardcore versions) Lina Romay is whipped and smeared with dove’s blood as she squirms tied to a wooden restraint. The funereal organ score of Andre Benichou reinforces the atmosphere of blasphemy and transgression. It’s S&M porn heavily tinged with Catholic iconography and guilt. Franco the actor puts much more effort into his work than Franco the director. There are some arresting images, such as the aforementioned sacrificial rituals watched by an audience peering out of dark corners in a dungeon like retreat. Speaking of darkness, this is a sometimes under-illumated film which probably needs a full restoration from the negative. VIDEO/AUDIO: Some scenes on the Redemption Blu-ray (98m 8s) of the softcore are too dark, some are color faded and there is noticeable print damage in the form of lines, marks and speckling throughout. The English dubbed track sounds rather hollow at times but is otherwise acceptable. The Blu-ray remastering does wonders for the color (note the electric blue carpets in Vogel’s bedroom and fluorescent green light over his bed), sharpens the images and reveals detail not available in previous video presentations. SPECIAL FEATURES: The most significant bonus is the shorter horror version (69m 41s) DEMONIAC, which attempts to lose all the nudity and tones down the more violent murders. There are still a few full frontal nude shots left of Lina Romay and Lynn Monteil and, most surprisingly, the decapitation of a dove in the opening scene is shown in all of its disturbing, bloody detail (repeated twice!). This animal gore detail is elided in the more explicit EXORCISM version. There are also covered takes which replace the nude takes in the softcore version The opening scene with Romay getting whipped is about half its original length with both participants covered on top and bottom, a reel length orgy scene is completely cut and one scene absurdly shows Taylou and Monteil making love in bed covered from head to foot with a white sheet. Both versions are presented with the English dub tracks only, but the superior French track can still be heard in the very first sacrifice scene which plays under the opening credits with Romay and Monteil audibly speaking in French. The remainder of the film defaults back to the English track. The French track is superior both in terms of sound quality and voice casting and it’s unfortunate that it could not be furnished for both versions here. Curiously, neither version retains a director’s credit (Franco is credited as J.P. Johnson on some prints, including the 80m French VHS of the hardcore version). Generally the DEMONIAC transfer looks better than the EXORCISM transfer in terms of sharpness, luminosity and consistency, although at times a bit too bright/overexposed Both versions are well worth seeing and clearly illustrate both the director’s strengths and weaknesses. A very rough looking 3m 22 s trailer for DEMONIAC, sporting water damage and a reddish tinge, is included. Once again, it’s a pity the French track or the Franco commentary available on the 2001 SYNAPSE DVD couldn’t have added as additional audio options. Redemption/Kino-Lorber has informed me of planning a possible June 2013 date for the hardcore version, SEXORCISME, which has some interesting non-hardcore footage not in any other version. *THE SADIST OF NOTRE DAME (1979) was a Eurocine-Triton Films French Spanish coproduction released in the US in the 1980s as DEMONIAC, a WIZARD VIDEO VHS running just over 79 minutes, it cuts much of the nudity/sadism of the softcore EXORCISM but is not as censored as the DEMONIAC horror version on the Blu-ray. But it should be noted that the WIZARD DEMONIAC and the one here are two completely different films as are EXORCISM and THE SADIST OF NOTRE DAME. Redemption/Kino-Lorber has informed me of planning a possible June 2013 date for the hardcore version, SEXORCISME, which has some interesting non-hardcore footage not in any other version. [One hopes that the 1979 variant EL SADICO DE NOTRE DAME can be released on Blu-ray in the future as it's one of the director's key works. It's not to be confused with the DEMONIAC variant on this disc, though, even though that title was used on the mid 1980s WIZARD VIDEO VHS, which was actually a censored 79m version of EL SADICO... .] - France/1974/75 1.66:1 1920X 1080p, Mono. (C) Robert Monell 2012

31 October, 2012


 We wish our blog readers a happy, fun, safe Halloween. A review of the new Redemption Blu-ray presentation of Jess Franco's EXORCISM is coming soon (with a few surprises)!

27 October, 2012


 FEMALE VAMPIRE: Redemption-Kino Lorber
 Blu-ray: 1920 X 1080p/2.35:1

Countess Irina Karlstein (Lina Romay) roams the misty mountains on the island of Madeira in search of victims to satisfy her thirst for body fluids (semen in the erotic versions; blood in the horror version) which sustain her unhappy, lonely existence. She seduces her victims through a kind of sexual hypnosis and takes their fluids at the point of climax, which she also makes into the point of their death. Le Petite Mort meets DRACULA'S DAUGHTER, the 1936 UNIVERSAL film which may be a predecessor of this, could be a quick way to describe this seminal Jess Franco film (originally shot as La Comtesse Noire and released in numerous versions with many different titles). Love and Death are intertwined for Irina and when she meets the Austrian writer Baron Von Rathony (Jack Taylor), who is also a lonely seeker of love and death, they instantly recognize a kindred spirit in each other and fall into a love which can only end in.....

FEMALE VAMPIRE is a rather banal title for this infamous blending of porno, vampire attacks, existential longing, melancholia, extended bi-sexual seductions leading to even more extended softcore/hardcore interludes, reeling telezooms of the magnificent vistas of Madeira, a police procedural subplot featuring the writer-director-DP as the investigating coroner and, most importantly, a transcendental love story between two lost souls. Those who first encounter it may see only an arty porno loop with a vampire conceit at its center or they may find it a boring attempt to meld porn, art, grade C vampire antics and pretentious dialogue and narration. I first encountered this film via the 1985 PRIVATE SCREENINGS VHS,  LOVES OF IRINA, which was a full-screen presentation, incomplete and containing a surprising glimpse of hardcore (which was eliminated from both the previous IMAGE DVD and this presentation along with about a minute of surrounding footage of Lina Romay and Ramon Ardid making love in a luxury hotel suite). I found it rather boring, incompetent and repetitive. "Why is this almost all out of focus?" I kept asking myself. It's a question that many viewers and critics have asked over the years and this release at least partially answers that query. .

One of the most interesting aspects of Franco's filmography is that each of his films offer an array of portals in which one can enter into their world. Just as Irina takes her victims to the land "behind the mist" (in the writer's phrase) this films takes us into a sort of deconstruction of the vampire genre. This isn't the stylish, psychedelic, jazzy version of Bram Stoker that VAMPYROS LESBOS is. Downbeat, mournful, featuring characters lost in emotional/sexual frustration, seemingly endorsing the possibility that the pleasure is worth giving ones life for, as the hippie-metaphysical investigator Dr. Orloff (French film critic-actor Jean-Pierre Bouyxou) suggests to Dr. Roberts during an autopsy. Rathony wants to be taken to the world "behind the mist:."  Ironically, the writer falls in love with Irina, who is the instrument of his demise and she will follow him behind the mist. What's more Romantic than that? Romantic with capital R. Some of the mirror imagery and the concept of a poet falling in love with a woman who is Death and who falls in love with him are evocative of Jean Cocteau's poetic fantasy ORPHEE (1950). That film, though, employed the more socially acceptable fantsy/film noir/melodrama/war movie matrix as a launching point rather than the sleazy, if highly marketable, 1970s European softcore romp genre.

 Jean Marais (Orpheus) and the Dark Princess, Maria Caseres (his Death) in Jean Cocteau's landmark film Orpheus (1950), a possible predecessor of LA COMTESSE NOIRE.

This is also, like all other Jess Franco titles, a film about watching and performing, how we as the audience watch a horror film and what our expectations are. Within the context of the film, Jess Franco is the watcher/voyeur (the director admits "I'm a watcher" on the documentary extra DESTINY IN SOFT FOCUS: JESS FRANCO REMEMBERS FEMALE VAMPIRE) as Dr. Roberts, obsessed with his target, Irina/Lina Romay, the actress whom the director had recently fallen in love with. The look on Roberts' face as he watches Irina drown in her bloodbath at the end speaks volumes without resorting to a word of dialogue, similar in effect to the finale of EUGENIE DE SADE (1970), in which the director also plays an investigator/voyeur who witnesses the last moment of performer/object of desire/dark haired transgressor Eugenie, played by the fated Soledad Miranda.

Then there's the stylistic aspect, or perhaps the lack of style which is characterized by the dependence on slow paced, dilatory scene structures, an obsessive use of the telezoom (particularly what has been termed the "vaginal zoom"), the inclusion of many soft focus and plainly out-of-focus images. The most outrageous example of this is Lina Romay walking forward from an out-of-focus shot and seeming to crash directly into the camera lens. Bumping into the camera happens to actors on film sets all the time, of course. Usually the result of rushed blocking/chaotic shooting conditions. It doesn't only happen on low budget films. But, invariably these shooting accidents are cut from the final release prints. The question always asked is why it was left in. I wonder if it was indeed accidental. Looked at another way it can be taken as a transgressive breaking of the "fourth wall" of cinema which the audience always takes for granted. It throws us out of the context of the film and allows us direct "contact" with the performer/character. It doesn't matter if it was an accident or an arty experiment or the result of sloppy editing of quickly shot footage. Perhaps they confused rushes meant for the bin with what were designated as printable takes. Who knows? In the contest of this particular film, though, it works as an [involuntary?] reality check. And in a film with little or no recognizable reality a bump in the aesthetic road can be seen as an interesting development. I always find it both amusing and a way to enter into this vague, poetic, dream world while holding on to the reality that it's only a film. It's a moment which would never have appeared in, say, a Hammer lesbian vampire movie. They would have immediately trashed it forever. I, for one, find it a refreshing slap in the face to the concept of the "well made" horror movie. At over 100 minutes, the film may seem slow and repetitive to many, becoming even more static during the regular lapses into softcore sex preceding the orgasm and death of the victim. But these lapses are also indicative of its special fantasy matrix of sex and death within a format of a 1970s Euro softcore epic.

FEMALE VAMPIRE succeeds for me as a tragic love story at the center of a no-budget Euro vampire project which dares to be experimental and different; Shot in a week of frantic filming on Madeira, with subsequent shooting in Brussels and France, this is not by any means a handsome looking, fast moving, breezily entertaining horror romp. It takes some getting used to, and repeat viewings, to fully appreciate its subtle and varies pleasures. This is also a near silent film in terms of dialogue. Irina is mute as is her towering he-man majordomo (Eurowestern regular Luis Barboo). Her silence seems to give her a kind of power over the humans she encounters. Lina Romay, only 19 and in her first starring role for the director, captures the melancholy, the terror, the allure and the mystery of the character in a completely natural (some would say unprofessional) manner. She doesn't "act." She simply is the character. Daniel White's eerie, lyrical score featuring a moody female vocal acts as a kind of musical representation of Irina's romantic longing and becomes her voice.

VIDEO: The Redemption presentation did not go through any sort of restoration and is taken from the same element as the previous IMAGE DVD. The many examples of print damage remain. Vertical scratches, horizontal marks, flecks, frame and sprocket damage abound from first to last image. Some sequences are color faded while others are too dark or grainy. The remastered Blu-ray, significantly sharpens most of the images and adds a world of detail, note the detail in those long lensed shots of the forests of Madeira and the surrounding sea or the fact that one can read the cards with which the Inspector plays solitaire while conferring with Dr. Roberts. The colors are significantly improved. What just seemed like an endless blur of faded greens and blues is now alive with bursts of bright natural hues. Note the electric green of the foliage in the outdoor lounge where Von Rathony and Irina have their first meeting. The aquamarines the hotel swimming pool and nearby ocean sparkle with sunlight, and now its possible to appreciate the flashes of  floral arrangements bursting with primary colors along the byways of the tropical island.

EROTIKILL, the 71m horror version, which has both covered inserts and alternate vampire attacks where Irina bites her victims on the neck and drains blood instead of sexual fluid, looks slightly better in terms of print quality, with less scratches and speckling and is certainly a brisker watch while eliminating much of the film's intended extra-narrative drift and blank verse aesthetic. It should be noted that about 30 minutes of mostly erotic footage is missing, including the famous opening vaginal zoom and aforementioned camera bump. It's good, though, to finally have both versions available on HQ DVD for comparison/contrast sake if nothing else. If FEMALE VAMPIRE is poetry, EROTIKILL is prose. Onscreen title: LA COMTESSE AUX SIENS NUS (The Bare Breasted Countess).

AUDIO: Both the English and the [superior] French soundtracks are included. The French dialogue is more literate, leaning toward the poetic, while the voice casting is much, much better than the risible dubbing heard on the English track. Both tracks sound fine to me in terms of technical quality, but the French track has a bit more atmosphere, clarity and detail. The better written and delivered French dialogue is rendered in easy to read English subtitles. .

EXTRAS include two short documentaries. In David Gregory's moving and fascinating "Destiny in Soft Focus: Jess Franco Remembers Female Vampire" Franco describes his desire to make a film "based on the strange love of a vampire lost in Madeira who falls in love... and the love happens,,, she needs to kill... and she does."  He stresses he wanted to make a film "with heart" about a "nice" vampire. Admitting that he may be an unconscious "watcher" with a preference for lesbian vampires, he confesses that he's not proud to have made a film about a vampire who suck sexual fluids of victims but wanted to do something different. He wanted to make a love story first and foremost. He also confirms that original shoot lasted for a week on Madeira with some pick up footage shot in France and Belgium. Franco points out that he deliberately kept dialogue to minimum to leave motivations in the "shadows" and in an attempt to create a special mood. This is a crucial point since much of the film's strength is due to its almost silent-film quality.  The interview concludes with a detailed description of his first meeting with Lina Romay, the experience of falling in love with and working with her over four decades and how her untimely death set his resolve to continue to make films no matter what. The 13m 35s segment is punctuated with well-chosen clips from the film to illustrate key points. Franco also notes a planned female vampire film with a cannibal twist! There's a lot of insight and information packed into this interview, and it's worth the price of admission.

 Daniel Gouyette's "Words for Lina" is a personal memoir of Lina Romay by critic-actor Jean Pierre Bouyxou, who acted opposite her as Dr. Orloff in FEMALE VAMPIRE. Bouyxou notes his shock at learning of her death and how she was the primary, lifelong personal and professional support for the prolific filmmaker.. He reminisces about the real character of the non-conformist actress and her witty upbeat nature. He speaks in French for the interview, English subtitles are provided as they are for Franco's interview, although he speaks, heavily accented, English. An 1m 15s original theatrical trailer, for LA COMTESSE AUX SIENS NUS (the onscreen title of the covered EROTIKILL) is also included as well as trailers for Franco's EXORCISM as well as Jean Rollin's THE RAPE OF THE VAMPIRE, THE NUDE VAMPIRE and REQUIEM FOR A VAMPIRE, all of which have been released on Blu-ray by Redemption.

This much anticipated Blu-ray version is a welcome HD upgrade and improves on every single previous video version and is several notches sharper, more colorful and detailed than the DVD version, supported by the welcome bonus package of EROTIKILL and two new documentaries.

[Other variants of LA COMTESSE NOIRE include the 59m THE BARE BREASTED COUNTESS (UK release); the Italian Un Caldo Corpo di Femmina-video title: EROTIKILLER; the French Les Avaleuses, an 82m hardcore version; the Force Video EROTIKILL (which is actually slightly longer than the horror version on this presentation);  the Finnish video Verentahrima Morsian; the German variants, Entfesselt Berlerde and the 2001 Code 2 release LADY DRACULA 2, the X-Rated Kult disc which is also hardcore with a run time of 105 +9 m. Other titles include Jacula, The Last Thrill.

(C) Robert Monell 2012

16 October, 2012


Today Jess Franco's signature film from 1973, originally titled LA COMTESSE NOIRE, streets in its first Blu-ray edition with English and French language tracks, English subtitles available along with two documentaries on the film, Jess Franco and the late Lina Romay among other bonus material. The rarely seen horror version, EROTIKILL, is also a welcome bonus feature. 
I remember when I first saw this film in the late 1980s via the vintage PRIVATE SCREENINGS VHS retitled THE LOVES OF IRINA. I thought there was something wrong with the VCR or the TV! "Shit! The whole damn movie is out of focus!" Little did I realize that I would end up collecting hundreds of videos, DVD, et al of Jess Franco films, eventually publishing numerous articles in various books and magazines in several different languages and create a blog about a director who by design or accident couldn't keep his camera in focus! There must be something wrong with my eyes... or with my head....

08 October, 2012

MISS MUERTE PAL DVD with Tim Lucas commentary!

I thought this might be of some interest to readers. Tim posted this on Alex Mendibil's FACEBOOK PAGE: EL FRANCONOMICON. Tim's English language commentary should make this a must have. Also 30 Franco trailers! Tim Lucas This two-disc set from Subkultur Entertainment (Germany) is available now. It's PAL Region 0 and looks great. I recorded an audio commentary for this -- I believe it's the first critical/historical Franco commentary, at least in English, and I'm thinking it may be my best to date, thanks in no small part to the editing team at SE. The film is offered only in French and German, for licensing reasons, but as added incentive, there is a special introduction with Franco and Antonio Mayans on Disc 2, as well as a Filmography including more than 30 hidden Franco trailers! I'm told this is a good source for it: http://shop.dtm.at/product_info.php?products_id=48891&language=uk
GEHEIMNIS DES DOKTOR Z, DAS (s/w) Enlarge... GEHEIMNIS DES DOKTOR Z, DAS (s/w) Enlarge... FSK VÖ-Datum Ungeprüft 28.9.2012 Regie Darsteller Extras Jesus "Jess" Franco Antonio Jimenez Escribano Guy Mairesse Howard Vernon Mabel Karr Jesus "Jess" Franco Cris Huerta Alberto Dalbés * Booklet DVD 1: Französische Kinofassung * Audiokommentar von Tim Lucas (engl. mit optionalen deutschen Untertiteln) * Originaltrailer * Bildergalerie DVD 2: Deutsche Kinofassung * Deutscher Kinotrailer * Bildergalerie * Filmographie von Jess Franco * ...und mehr Ländercode Produktion Laufzeit 2 PAL 1966 Frankreich/Spanien 83min & 84min - Uncut Untertitel Bildformat Audio Deutsch 1,66 (16:9 Anamorph) Deutsch Dolby Digital 1.0 Französisch Dolby Digital 1.0

02 October, 2012

Sitges Film Festival » Al Pereira vs. the Alligator Ladies

Sitges Film Festival » Al Pereira vs. the Alligator Ladies

AL PEREIRA VS. THE ALLIGATOR LADIES estreno en Sitges Film Festival!
Sitges Film Festival » Al Pereira vs. the Alligator Ladies
Al Pereira, era un detectiu seductor i amoral, ha anat fent-se cada vegada més de dretes amb el pas dels anys,

Sinopsi: Al Pereira, era un detectiu seductor i amoral, ha anat fent-se cada vegada més de dretes amb el pas dels anys, fins a convertir-se en un banderer de la moral i la cautela. En el seu camí es creuen les Alligator Ladies, unes germanes lliurades al pecat i el desvergonyiment, enviades pel seu pare, el doctor Fu-Manchú, per portar de tornada a Pereira al costat fosc. «Al Pereira was a detective and amoral seducer, which over the years has increasingly turned into a champion of morality and caution. On his way he encounters the Alligator Ladies, sisters devoted to sin and lack of scruples, sent by the father – Dr. Fu-Manchu-to resurrect the murky side of Al Pereira.» (Translated by Bing) Fitxa tècnica / Fitxa artística: Director Jess Franco Producció Jess Franco, Ferran Herranz, Antonio Mayans Guió Jess Franco, Antonio Mayans Fotografia Fernando Barranquero Muntatge Dani Salama Música Pablo Villa So Luisje Moyano Intèrprets Antonio Mayans, Debbie Logan, Carmen Montes, Paula Davis, Luisje Moyano, Naxo Fiol, Mariví Carrillo, Jess Franco Any 2012 Durada 81 minuts
Thanks to Alex Mendibil

18 September, 2012

Poison Ivy (La Môme vert-de-gris, 1953)

Jess Franco's first film work was as the Spanish dubbing director for this Eddie Constantine film, the first in which the actor appeared as Lemmy Caution. The success of this film in France would translate into a series of Constantine-Caution films which includes Jean-Luc Godard's science fiction-noir ALPHAVILLE (1965).

 Of course, Constantine would also appear in Franco's spy thrillers CARTES SUR TABLE and RESEDENCIA PARA ESPIAS (both 1966). The Peter Cheyney novel on which this was based was the first publication of the famous Serie Noire. Future Franco icon Howard Vernon also appears in this film which I would very much like to see. A final thought: the most recently completed Jess Franco film is also a kind of film noir featuring another hard boiled investigator, Al Pereira, a character also played by Constantine, Howard Vernon, Jess Franco and Antonio Mayans.  If anyone has a copy of :LA MOME VERT DE GRIS please contact me. Thanks.

Poison Ivy (La Môme vert-de-gris, 1953)

07 September, 2012

01 September, 2012


Thanks to Francesco Cesari EUROCINE. Copy and Image by EUROCINE.  I have to print it 2X! [Visit]http://www.eurocine.net ]
SAVAGE GIRLS Starring Lina Romay, Pierre Taylou, Monica Swinn, Tanya Lambert Directed by Jess Franco Screenplay by Jean Querut Director of photography Ray Hale Music by Ian Wira and Charles Gordanne Production Belfilm / Eurociné. Alone on a cliff stands the forbidding house of the Vanbeck family --Vanbeck, Eugenia, his daughter, Lucia, his niece and Igor, a young peasant servant. Feeling the need to improve two girl's education Vanbeck hires a governess, a young French woman, Emmanuelle. Emmanuelle senses the strange atmosphere of the house and its troubled master. She spends many sleepless nights hearing strange footsteps and erotic, passionate sighs. She the uncovers the love affair between Igor and Lucia, which is upsets Eugenia and Vanbeck. SAVAGE GIRLS Starring Lina Romay, Pierre Taylou, Monica Swinn, Tanya Lambert Directed by Jess Franco Screenplay by Jean Querut Director of photography Ray Hale Music by Ian Wira and Charles Gordanne Production Belfilm / Eurociné. Alone on a cliff stands the forbidding house of the Vanbeck family --Vanbeck, Eugenia, his daughter, Lucia, his niece and Igor, a young peasant servant. Feeling the need to improve two girl's education Vanbeck hires a governess, a young French woman, Emmanuelle. Emmanuelle senses the strange atmosphere of the house and its troubled master. She spends many sleepless nights hearing strange footsteps and erotic, passionate sighs. She the uncovers the love affair between Igor and Lucia, which is upsets Eugenia and Vanbeck.

30 August, 2012


I once asked EUROCINE Producer Daniel Lesoeur who actually directed this film and he promptly answered "Frank Drew White." This wasn't directed by Jess Franco, who planned an earlier version [El Hombre que Mato' a Mengele] in 1985, but the story is credited to "David Khunne" and it's a fun, sick ride under the brisk, if impersonal, direction of "A. Frank Drew White" [Andrea Bianchi, of course]... Makes an interesting double bill with THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL!
For Part 1 go to:

23 August, 2012

Blu-ray covers and info...

has released the covers of their upcoming Jess Franco Blu-rays. According to the REDEMPTION FACEBOOK page the hardcore versions of EXORCISM and FEMALE VAMPIRE are possibly going to be released on DVD only, because of certain restrictions. But EROTIKILL and DEMONIAC, the alternate versions of FV and EXORCISM, will be on the Blu-rays. DEMONIAC was the title of the English language version of THE SADIST OF NOTRE DAME, a different film made 5 years after EXORCISM with some of the same footage and released in a toned down WIZARD VIDEO VHS in the late 80s. It will be interesting to see exactly what version of DEMONIAC will be on the EXORCISM Blu-ray. More information will be posted as it comes in.

18 August, 2012

Rare MANACOA FILES ed on Ebay!

Envío GRATIS MANACOA FILES VOL 6 - JESS FRANCO - RARE UNEDITED EXTENDED INTERVIEWS Ampliar Vender uno como este MANACOA FILES VOL 6 - JESS FRANCO - RARE UNEDITED EXTENDED INTERVIEWS Estado del artículo: En muy buen estado Tiempo restante: 4d 03h (22 ago 201219:34:36 H.Esp) Puja actual: 600,90 EUR [ 1 puja ] PujarPujar Introduce 605,90 EUR o más

MIL SEXOS TIENE LA NOCHE on www.veehd.com in HQ OAR w Eng subtitles

Night of 1000 Sexes (1984) Mil sexos tiene la noche

divx nsfw
Jess Franco extreme mystery of a nightclub act mind reader and her suspicion about 


09 August, 2012


Thanks to Dan Van Husen for this recent picture of  Jess and Antonio Mayans on the set of a new collaboration in Spain!

Photo: a photo taken by a friend a few days ago

08 August, 2012


The "Devil" or Cannibal or Zombie hunts for the hearts of women. Listed as "Burt Altman" (a zombie) in OBSESSION: THE FILMS OF JESS FRANCO, Jess Franco revealed on the Severin DVD interview that he was actually a Portuguese athlete. An official "Video Nasty" once upon a time in the UK, traditionally dumped into the bottom tier of the director's massive filmography, even the most rabid, least selective Francophiles tend to deem it one of his worst efforts. I initially ranked it even lower than WHITE CANNIBAL QUEEN/CANNIBALS/MONDO CANIBALE (also 1980).
 Above: German Lobby Card.

After several decades of  Jess Franco Watching I've discovered that vertical rankings when dealing with a filmography as complex and multi-tiered as this can be deceptive and counterproductive. DEVIL HUNTER was a Spanish, French (EUROCINE), German (LISA FILMS), Italian co production. The Italian lead actor in MONDO CANIBALE, Al Cliver (Pier Luigi Conti)was retained as another adventurer in search of a missing woman, this time an internationally known actress (Ursula Buchfellner) who has been kidnapped by a ruthless gang of criminals and taken to the tropical island of Puerto Santo

 Lurid poster art for an admittedly lurid film.

Style usually trumps story in Franco's filmography but on first viewing there are few stylish or signature "Jess Franco" set-ups/images apparent here. The first time I saw this, on late 1980s era US VHS as MANDINGO MANHUNTER, the entire opening credits scene was covered over by anonymous credit cards (Directed by Clifford Brown; Music by Jesus Franco Manera [!]). The sound, of a woman crying out as she is tracked by cannibals through a swamp, remained. The restored Severin DVD did more than reveal the images in that sequence it allowed me to consider the film in a different context. I'll continue examining alternative ways to view this film in a series of blogs on Franco's cannibal output.

24 July, 2012

los violadores del amanecer cine kinki Ignacio F. Iquino 1978

A Cathoic Noir by Ignacio Iquino which incorpoates rape, murder and street crime into a CLOCKWORK ORANGE scenario. Very disturbing...

22 July, 2012


THE FREEDOM GAME (1973): Directed by Jess Franco. Screenplay by Robert Woods. Producer: Harry Alan Towers. Cast: Robert Woods. Filming location: Canary Islands.
Here's another never-filmed Jess Franco project brought to my attention by Robert Woods, who wrote this Western for producer Towers. Jess was going to direct in the Canary Islands with Robert (a veteran of numerous Spaghetti Westerns) in the lead.. Robert and Jess went to the Canaries from Madiera, after shooting the two MACISTE films together there, to scout locations. But the money never came through from Towers and this Jess Franco Eurowestern never happened.
Franco came close to the western genre with EL LLANERO (1963) and Les Chatouilleuses (1974) but never quite got around to making one. Thanks to Robert Woods.
Image: Roquenublo Gran Canarias

20 July, 2012


NOTE: The above clip is not from the actual coming Blu-ray which will have HD image quality. 2 bonus versions, EROTIKILL (the shorter horror alternate and a 104 "Erotic" version), of  LA COMTESSE NOIRE are reportedly going to be available along with the uncut version with English and French tracks w/ English subtitles. Other bonus materials will be included. EXORCISM reportedly will also have the French track, which features Jess Franco's actual voice. Thanks to Bruce Holecheck for publishing these links on The Latarnia Forums' THE FRANCO LOUNGE.

16 July, 2012

Jess Franco at rest after completing two new films!

Thanks to Alex Mendibil for this image of Jess Franco taken yesterday just after our favorite auteur completed two new feature film adventures of his favorite PI, Al Pereira. Antonio Mayans once again plays the beleaguered investigator. According to Alex one of the films is in the Erotic genre, while the other is more or less straight up... Also coming is a new Jess Franco documentary which Alex and Ferran Herranz are presently involved in producing!

04 July, 2012

La Chica de las bragas transparentes / PICK-UP GIRLS (1980)

A Luz Internacional Films S.A. Production 
Filmed in the Canary Islands

Al Crosby (Antonio Mayans, here credited as "Robert Foster") is a sleazy private eye (cf Franco's Al Pereira) who is hired by a hood to meet up with another hood but ends up getting involved with two stripper-hookers (Lina Romay and Doris Regina) who take compromising photos of him. Rosa Valenty, playing the sex change Robert Bressac, who keeps his/her member in a jar for nostalgia sake, enters the muddy picture, getting Al further involved with blackmail, murder, political corruption and more. It's a lot of fun for the audience, but not for the PI.

A loose remake of the director's 1972 LES EBRANLEES, a  Robert De Nesle produced sexy mystery in which Howard Vernon played the sleazy PI Al Pereia, this one of the director's 1980s Classificada S films which features a familiar Pablo Villa (Franco and Daniel J. White) hot jazz score. It's a toss up if this is more explicit than the 72 film but times have changed as it relates a twisting tale of white slavery, personal corruption and sexual identity. It's really about audience expectations and how Franco approaches the Spanish Adult film market which was a good decade behind the French market. Just look at the very first image: a small panel opens within a door to a secret casino/bar/strip club. We see the framed face (and he will indeed be framed) of Al reciting the pass code. He's facing the camera, the viewer, the focal plane, looking into what should be the "fourth wall." In effect he's asking our permission to enter our space, our consciousness. Entering the club, which features tropical plants and tree branches amid lounge furniture against a black background, it appears we are in an interior which wants to be an exterior , much like the plot which is reluctant to clarify,  proceed or reveal character's intentions.  This offers a more shifting, interactive matrix than the 1972 film. The opening set-up already places us in the casino interior, we become implicated in the "plot," part of the lie, part of the deception. The dancing girls are placed so it's not clear if they are really there or mirror reflections. Spatial integrity is immediately subverted. Somehow we feel involved in something more than just another sexy thriller. It's not just about the fate of Al Crosby. It's also about our position as the prejudiced, awaiting audience, after all. 

The English dub PICK-UP GIRLS deploys "Americanisms" and a New Jersey Gangster delivery while attempting to mask the Canary Island settings with references to the US. But it's obviously not the States. It's an 1980s approximation of Film Noir with lurid colors and full nudity in a tropical surreality. Mayans looks the part with his off-the-rack wardrobe, burnt-out demeanor and regulation mustache while Rosa Valenty conveys a magnificently bitchy mystique as the sex change, the girl with the not-so-transparent sexual identity.

The English language version is missing about 5 minutes of (sexual?) footage according to the review in OBSESSION. THE FILMS OF JESS FRANCO.

(C) Robert Monell - 2012