25 November, 2023


This 2004 R2 two-disc set was for its time, now 20 years ago, the best ever presentation of a Jess Franco project, the 1972 French Spanish co production, LES DEMONS
Three different international versions 114 m, longest vintage version.

101m, "Director's cut" this is the 2003 Jess Franco remix.

85m, the vintage German language version [looks about 2.50:1].

16:9 anamorphic 2.35:1; DD 2.0: Code 2.
An elderly woman tortured and burned as a witch hurls a curse at Lord Jeffreys (Cihangir Gaffari) promising that she will be avenged by her daughters. Kathleen (Anne Libert) and Margaret (Britt Nichols) are convent bound young women whom Lord Jeffreys is informed are the spawn of the exectuted witch. He sends out Lady de Winter (Karin Field) and Renfield (Alberto Dalbes), the girl's real father, to find them and bring them back to face the Inquistion. More nudity, lesbian interludes and torture than Franco's first film about Lord Jeffreys, THE BLOODY JUDGE, LES DEMONS is now available on an essential 2 disc box set from X RATED KULT DVD. Disc 1 contains the longest 114 minute version with German and French language options, original trailer, alternate scenes and other bonus materials. This version, presented in a colorful 2.35:1 transfer finally reveals the films as the Sadean epic that it is: post-modern erotic Fantastique which comments on the Inquisition and nunsploitation genres of that era (cf THE DEVILS). Franco's use of the widescreen ratio is simply stunning, with an impressive use of multiple fields of action and the colors are gorgeous. All the sex, nudity and violence is present in this uncut print.
In a way, THE DEMONS could be considered a remake of Jess Franco's 1970 THE BLOODY JUDGE, also featuring a witchburning judge played by a very different actor, Cihangir Gaffari, here credited as John Foster, whose interpretation of the role. In an inteviewed included on the 2023 Mondo Macabro disc of THE WITCHES MOUNTAIN, Gaffari complains that Franco, as Spanish co-producer of the film just disappeared at the end of shooting, forgetting to pay the actor for his performance. This was after Gaffari had already donated some of his own money to the film's production! Disc 2 contians a new "Director's Cut", reedited and rescored by Franco in 2003. He replaces the t Franco himself dubbing Howard Vernon's character! At 101 minutes it cuts Doris Thomas' masturbation scene in the long verions (over 3 mn!) to 1mn and also loses some expository scenes but still has an epic scope. The print looks slightly crisper and more colorful than the longer 114 mn version but the Spanish dubbing is technically limited and somewhat hollow with a "studio" ambiance. As with many Franco "alternates", it consistutes a separate new film in itself. Onscreen title: LAS POSEIDAS DEL DEMONIO. Finally, there is the Original German 85 minute version, which censors some of the sex, nudity and torture. English language option included. This is the only version with the original credit sequence intact, the other two have new video generated fonts. The video quality of this print can only be described as "Grindhouse" and the directed is credited to Franco's "Clifford Brown" beard. As noted above the aspect ratio appears to be closer to 2.50:1 on playback. The score by Jean Bernard Raiteux can only be described as early 1970s "prog rock" in style and is perfectly anachronistic and likely the idea of post production editor Gerard Kikoine. Franco would criticize this score in later interviews, missing the point. All three versions are letterboxed at 2.35:1 and have multiple language options. The oversized box is lavishly and lasciviously illustrated with four potential covers. "The X-Rated Nunsploitation Series 5" Available from Xploited Cinema. "Sex und Gewalt hinter Klostermauern" is emblazoned on the back cover over a close-up of a male nipple being clipped off and full frontal nude shots of female characters masturbating and stretched out on a torture rack. I guess one would term this 2004 release a collectors item. R2 (C) Robert Monell: New Version.

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