08 July, 2014

BLOODY MOON Blu-ray is now available!

Today is the official street date for this new Blu-ray upgrade of this notorious Jess Franco gore epic and it's highly recommended. You can almost see the mountains on the moon which the director's compulsive zoom lens often closes in on.

Jess Franco's 1981 contribution to the slasher genre was a German financed production, lensed in Alicante, Spain. It looks better than ever on this new Blu-ray edition from Severin Films. A stunning BD presentation which reinvents Jess Franco's Spanish lensed slasher epic as a series of candy colored gore tableaux; the detail, definition, sharpness and color are just dazzling. The clarity of each and every image is razor sharp and the luminosity it a 100% improvement over the previous DVD presentation.

International Boarding School of Languages, Alicante: During a dance at the language school for young women the facially deformed Miguel (Alexander Waechter) steals a Mickey Mouse mask and stalks an attractive student, brutally stabbing her to death in bungalow #13 to stop her horrified screams when she discovers his grotesque features. Several years later Dr. Domingo Aunous (another cameo by Uncle Jess) releases Miguel from psychiatric confinement into the care of his sister Manuela (Nadja Gerganhoff), the lover of Alvaro, the language school's director who is trying to cover up his financial mismanagement. The couple are mistrusted by the elderly Countess, who controls the family fortune and intends to disinherit niece Manuela, leaving Miguel set to inherit the Countess' considerable estate.

But Miguel will become a key suspect when several of the new batch of female students are found murdered in cursed bungalow #13. Is this all a plot by Manuela and Alvaro to set up Miguel? You bet. In the meantime the frantic imagination of the recently arrived Angela (Olivia Pascal), looking more like a runway model than a student, becomes overstimulated as the killer begins to leave body parts in her room like ritual offerings.

The Jess Franco circular saw massacre....

The original German title card...

The 1080p full HD resolution presentation of this German LISA-RAPID-METRO Film Production emphasizes more than any previous release Jess Franco's ability to make a slick, seamless mainstream thriller very much in the style of  John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN and the thrillers of Brian De Palma, and both directors are directly quoted in Franco's crafty, often delirious mise-en-scene. The opening murder, presented through the eyes of the killer's "party" mask, in this case Mickey Mouse, is the most obvious example. The glossy, red, white and blue color design is more prominent than ever now, perhaps an indication that the director was going "the American way" while recalling the American flag color scheme of De Palma's 1981 BLOW OUT. Images from the notorious head severing by circular saw sequence can also be seen in Amoldovar's MATADOR.

Special features include the documentary interview Franco Moon (18m 51s), directed by David Gregory and the original theatrical trailer (1m 39s), the latter featuring some alternate English language dubbing. Franco obviously was displeased with many aspects of this project, on which he worked as a gun for hire on a script concocted by the producer, Erich Tomek.He also discusses his displeasure with the Gerhard Heinz disco-dancing score, remembering he wanted to use the music of Pink Floyd. It's a revealing interview in that it shows how he was able to operate both as a hack and a [frustrated] auteur. Notice the very last image, the clasped hands of the incestuous siblings, which the title Directed by Jess Franco is printed over. A final indication that the director's intended focus is on the twisted love story which lies underneath the generic slasher elements 

Miguel, on the other side of the mirror, a recurring image in the films of Jess Franco.

Overall this is an impressive upgrade for this uncharacteristic entry in the Jess Franco canon. This is a clean, luminous, crystal clear transfer from elements which do not evidence any noticeable wear and tear. A few seconds of blood spattered gore have been included from inferior elements, in snippets often missing from other video versions. This version is complete. BLOODY MOON was a video nasty and banned in the UK.

English MONO Audio [my only reservation is a wish that the German language track could have been included]

(C) Robert Monell 2104

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