28 August, 2015

DEVIL HUNTER-CANNIBAL TERROR HD package

OK, here's the story. A sleazy Hollywood producer hires a mercenary (Al Cliver) to find a missing blond starlet whom he has heavily invested in.... Stop right there! This could be the story of the latter part of Jess Franco's career, after he was a "promising" young talent with a hit under his belt, THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF (1961) and had parted ways with enterprising producer Harry Alan Towers after EL CONDE DRACULA (1969). Jess Franco was always seeking producers and producers were always seeking him to make cheap, sexy thrillers/comedies/adventures/horror films with alluring international sex starlets. He made them with dispatch and delivered them on demand. In this case the starlet was German and she was playing the victim of a kidnapping. By the time DEVIL HUNTER [onscreen title: EL CANIBAL] came to his table in 1980, a Eurocine-Lisa Films-JE Films coproduction with Italian genre icon Al Cliver in the lead, Franco was back in Spain and looking to keep steadily employed.

The first time I saw SEXO CANIBAL/JUNGFRAU UNTER KANNIBALEN it was the poorly dubbed English language version on the vintage Trans World Entertainment VHS, THE MAN HUNTER, a literal translation of its Italian release title, IL CACCIATORE DI UOMINI... It seemed like a completely impersonal, poorly/quickly made cannibal-sleaze-gore knock-off with a repellent racist subtext and a misogynist tone illustrated by the continuous torment, bondage and rape Ms. Buchfellner suffers. Cut to 90 minutes, in full screen and with a unstable image it wasn't a good introduction to the work of Jess Franco, who eventually vocalized his disdain for the cannibal genre (i.e. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST). Basically, he saw this paycheck as a way to make a "monster movie" and that's exactly what it is. Except that the "monster" is a towering black man who walks around the tropical locations nude, seemingly drugged out (the out-of-focus/smeared POV shots suggest a starved-for-tender-flesh delirium) and in search of fresh human meat. Then there's the budget VIDEO ASIA [Terror Tales Vol.4] DVD release, as THE DEVIL HUNTER, on a double bill with another Spanish horror co production, Manuel Cano's zombie-gore 1972 VOODOO BLACK EXORCIST, the English language version of a slightly different Spanish version. It seems to be a slam from VHS. The problem with this DEVIL HUNTER release is that it cuts the entire opening credits sequence and features a print from a digitally censored Japanese source. The bottom quarter of the frame is cut off to block out the Japanese subtitles. The audio track is English. Given the digital censoring, the cut-off framing and inferior dubbing it's barely watchable but acceptable as is the TWE tape. Severin's DVD also had its problems with a color drained image which at times improved and a some scenes had a fogged look. On the plus side it was the longest (102m) release about 12 minutes longer than the previous videos and DVDs. A German DVD from X RATED KULT also exists which I haven't been able to screen but it is also reportedly in the 90s minute range. The new Blu-ray is a 1080p Full HD Resolution upgrade of the Spanish print previously released by Severin, featuring the Spanish language track as an extra, replacing the additional French track on the DVD.

DEVIL HUNTER is not Jess Franco at his worst and it is far from his tier one efforts but it does have the "Jess Franco" feel, aesthetic and thematic unity. I find it a kind of fascinating self portrait if one can see the mercenary played by Cliver as Jess Franco in the new 1980 film market place, back in Spain, trying to make films, but having to depend on Eurocine, Spanish producer Julian Esteban and the German Lisa Films company for material, financing, actors and locations. Having to hunt for a job of directing, dealing the the Devil (producers) for the sake of the joy of making cinema and a bag full of loot. The deliberately out of focus shots from the "monster's" POV were a good idea, unfortunately many other shots are also similarly "out-of-focus"--as if the monster's consciousness had somehow taken control of the mise-en-scene. This is the kind of fascinating accident which can only happen on a Jess Franco shoot.  There are also striking shots of the flora around Puerto Santo and the film opens with a colorful plant bud, zooming back to an array of jungle greenery flecked with red growth. Then we cut to the native woman being pursued by the local cannibal tribe, which is intercut with American starlet Laura Crawford (Playboy Playmate Ursula Buchfellner) being pursued by the international press for a photo shoot.* As in Ruggero Deodato's CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1979), the press are also the cannibals.

Adding to the primitive atmosphere are the occasional guttings and the vocal delirium of Carloto Perla's voodoo style moaning of cues credited to Jess Franco and Daniel J. White. Al Cliver is a reliable actor when it comes to playing stoic adventure protagonists (Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE) and Franco associate Antonio De Cabo makes for a suitably loathsome lead villain, as the head kidnapper who spends his idle time raping his chained up victim. Unpleasant stuff, for sure, Franco made sure to hit all the exploitation angles. Everything appears to have been shot in one take by the usually more stylish DP Juan Soler Cozar (GEMIDOS DE PLACER). The KING KONG finale, with the nude devil fighting our white hero Cliver for the possession of the almost always nude Buchfeller, combines the most racist/misogynist tendencies of this sub genre and Franco serves it up without art or hesitation. It's almost cowboys and Indians, or white Vietnam vet tough guys vs people of color, or white extras in black face. The 7 foot tall cannibal has ping-pong balls welded over his eye sockets and drools blood to make him more disgusting. In the cannibal attacks he munches on what looks like lunch meat bits smeared with ketchup while the "cannibals" in CANNIBAL TERROR seem to be pigging out on a slaughtered hog smeared with hot sauce.

Both films on this set seem to have come directly from the pen of Eurocine, which in one case is confirmed by Alain Deruelle in his CANNIBAL TERROR interview. Eurocine founder Marius Lesoeur wrote the story, according to the director, and let him sink into the blood and mud of a cheap production on unsanitary locations. Both films open with kidnappings carried out by sleazy criminals who rush into the bush with their hostages until the victims are released as the criminals are either killed by the heroes or devoured by the cannibals. At least the villains in DEVIL HUNTER are played by interesting actors (Antonio De Cabo and Werner Pochath). The only interesting players in CANNIBAL TERROR are the legendary Pamela Stanford (LORNA, THE EXORCIST) and Olivier Mathot, another Jess Franco regular. The capable Antonio Mayans is wasted in both features. The screenplay for DEVIL HUNTER is credited to Franco and producer Julian Esteban, but it could well have been an outline set by Eurocine in advance which was shot on the fly.

Speaking of the totally unwatchable CANNIBAL TERROR, it manages to look more colorful and sharp in  a 1080p Full HD resolution transfer than DEVIL HUNTER and its previous Severin DVD, although one wonders if this scraping-bottom bottom-feeder deserves the Blu-ray treatment. The plot, acting, music, direction are all abysmal, the cannibals sport 1970s sideburns and were left overs, as are the locations, from Jess Franco's slightly better (anything would be) WHITE CANNIBAL QUEEN/CANNIBALS/MANGUERS DE HOMMES (1980), also featuring Cliver, who is sorely missed in CANNIBAL TERROR. A new bonus on the Blu-ray in a 20m interview with director Alain Deruelle who reveals why he changed his name to Allan W. Steeve, how badly he was treated by producer Marius Lesoeur during and after the production, and how he deliberately shot everything "flatly" (it looks like it).  Too bad the superior 2.0 French track for CANNIBAL TERROR and 2.0 Spanish track for DEVIL HUNTER weren't provided with English subtitles. But both films still should be watched with those tracks since there's not much dialogue anyway, they are easy to follow and they play much better that way.

It should be noted that the Spanish track for DEVIL HUNTER seems to have been the "mother track" according to my colleague, Spanish dubbing expert Nzoog, which was then replaced by the gratingly inferior English dubbing for export. The original Spanish dialogues are sometimes quite different. For instance, the scene set in the boat's hold Mayans and Cliver are discussing the producer, women and Hollywood in Spanish which is replaced with something totally inane in English. The Spanish dubbing voices are much more appropriately cast and deliver their lines with professional skill.

Also in the CANNIBAL TERROR extra menu is an Easter Egg interview with Jess Franco, mainly about how he didn't direct any of Eurocine's ZOMBIE LAKE or CT, the complete DEVIL HUNTER interview with him carried over from the DVD is featured on DEVIL HUNTER along with an interview with actor "Burt Altman" [Bertrand Altman] about his work for Eurocine. On the CANNIBAL TERROR special features menu there's also a "Spicy Deleted Scene" from CANNIBAL TERROR showing Pamela Stanford stripping and dancing provocatively for the edification of the kidnappers. Poor Pamela also has to act out getting tied and raped by kidnapper "Robert Foster" [Jess Franco regular Antonio Mayans] The original theatrical trailer for CANNIBAL TERROR is also included.

Pure European Trash Cinema at its most raw and unpalatable. All told it's a good package, two certified "Video Nasties" in HD, and a recommended upgrade for both films, if you can stomach them. CANNIBAL FEROX and CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST these are not! And if you want much more interesting, well made Jess Franco cannibal films then make sure to see his 1973 LA COMTESSE PERVERSE, aka COUNTESS PERVERSE (please release this on Blu-ray, Mondo Macabro) and his mid 1990s US co-production, TENDER FLESH.

*Most of this footage is blocked out with English language title cards on the TWE tape and is totally cut from the Video Asia DVD.

NOTE: Some reviews claim both films on this HD double feature are 1.66:1, others say 1.85:1. Go figure. 

Thanks to Nzoog.

(C) Robert Monell, 2015

16 August, 2015

First Look: DEVIL HUNTER in Full HD Resolution!


SEVERIN FILMS Bluray of Jess Franco’s relentlessly trashy 1980 cannibal epic, DEVIL HUNTER reveals a sharper, crisper video quality without the fogging of the previous SEVERIN DVD, along a bump up in terms of color. In Full 1080p HD resolution. Audio: English/Spanish 2.0.
Also included is the rarely heard Spanish language track, along with the English language option and an interview with Eurocine actor/stuntman “Burt Altman”…  I much prefer this Spanish alternate track to the French one on the previous SEVERIN DVD. To me, this particular film plays much better in Spanish, with more appropriate voice casting, while the English dub is somewhat problematic due to some voice casting of the supporting cast and poorly scripted English dialogue, although the English track is also included.
Given the presence of this superior Spanish track and the noticeably improved video quality over the DVD, this is a recommended upgrade. The Jess Franco interview SEXO CANIBAL is also included.

Eurocine’s CANNIBAL TERROR  is also included in HD with French and English tracks, along with a featurette on director “Allan W. Steeve”, more on that in the future when a more detailed, illustrated review will appear here asap..
(C) Robert Monell, 2015
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11 August, 2015

Coming Aug. 18, 2015

DEVIL HUNTER aka THE MAN HUNTER: this 1980 German-French-Italian-Spanish coproduction is a guilty pleasure. An unapologetically sleazy, ultra gory affair. An unintentionally hilarious cannibal adventure, set on a steamy island populated by a native tribe and a 7 foot tall black cannibal who stalks and eats beautiful women targeted as human sacrifices by the locals. The towering flesh eater has to be seen to be believed... as does this go-for-the-edible-parts-first epic, directed in dynamic "low-style" from the maestro of European Trash Cinema: Jess Franco!

And you get CANNIBAL TERROR (one of the worst-ever cannibal films!) as a bonus....


Devil Hunter / Cannibal Terror Blu-ray

United States
Severin Films | 1980 | 2 Movies | Not rated | Aug 18, 2015 (1 Week)

Devil Hunter / Cannibal Terror (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: See individual releases
Resolution: 1080p
Original aspect ratio: see individual releases

Audio

Subtitles
See individual releases

Discs
Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Playback
Region A (B, C untested)

(Blu-Ray All Region)


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Devil Hunter / Cannibal Terror Blu-Ray Double Feature (Blu-Ray All Region)
CANNIBAL TERROR-
“A Catalogue Of Perversions Such As
Voyeurism, Rape, Cannibalism AndA Euro Soundtrack That’s An Absolute Blast!” -SEX GORE MUTANTS
Even by the sleaziest standards of ’80s EuroTrash, it remains a film that must be seen to be believed: When a pair of criminal knuckleheads and their busty moll kidnap the young daughter of a wealthy tycoon, they foolishly choose to hide in a local jungle infested with ferocious cannibals. What follows is a mind-roasting exercise in atrocious acting, gratuitous nudity and gut-munching mayhem by a ravenous tribe of flesh eaters who inexplicably sport comb-overs and Elvis sideburns. Robert Foster (Inconfessable Orgies Of Emmanuelle), Pamela Stanford (White Cannibal Queen) and Burt Altman (Zombie Lake)
star in this infamous Spanish/French co-production that was banned in Britain as one of the original “Video Nasties” and is now presented uncut, uncensored and mastered in Hi-Def for the first time ever in America!


DEVIL HUNTER-
“OVER-THE-TOP PERVERSITY!
A Film Than Manages To Tap Into Race Exploitation,
Sex Exploitation, Cannibal Exploitation And Shock Exploitation!”
-BLACK HORROR MOVIES
King Of EuroSleaze Jess Franco (Bloody Moon, Macumba Sexual) takes on
the ’80s Cannibal genre and delivers a jungle sickie like no other!
When a safari of sexy babes and violent boneheads ventures into
native-crazed wilderness, Uncle Jess unleashes a deluge of relentless
nudity, dubious anthropology and his own brand of cut-rate carnage.
Ursula Fellner (Sadomania), Al Cliver (Zombie), Robert Foster
(Cannibal Terror) and Gisela Hahn (Contamination) co-star in this
original “Video Nasty” – also tastefully known as Sexo Cannibal and
Mandingo Manhunter – with something to offend everyone, now fully
restored from the original Spanish negative and presented uncut and
uncensored for the first time ever in America!

Blu-Ray All Region
CANNIBAL TERROR-
Spicy Deleted Scene
The Way of all Flesh: An Interview with Alain Deruelle aka Allan W Steeve
Theatrical Trailer
DEVIL HUNTER-
Sexo Canibal – Interview with Director Jess Franco
Spirit of the B Hive: An Interview with Bertrand Altman
- See more at: http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Preorders/Devil-Hunter-%5Bsl%5D-Cannibal-Terror-Blu~Ray-Double-Feature-(Blu~Ray-All-Region).html#sthash.saO5m7uU.dpufved, as does this appalling adventure, directed in low-style by the master of European Trash Cinema: Jess Franco!

(Blu-Ray All Region)


There are no items in the cart


    

Devil Hunter / Cannibal Terror Blu-Ray Double Feature (Blu-Ray All Region)
CANNIBAL TERROR-
“A Catalogue Of Perversions Such As
Voyeurism, Rape, Cannibalism AndA Euro Soundtrack That’s An Absolute Blast!” -SEX GORE MUTANTS
Even by the sleaziest standards of ’80s EuroTrash, it remains a film that must be seen to be believed: When a pair of criminal knuckleheads and their busty moll kidnap the young daughter of a wealthy tycoon, they foolishly choose to hide in a local jungle infested with ferocious cannibals. What follows is a mind-roasting exercise in atrocious acting, gratuitous nudity and gut-munching mayhem by a ravenous tribe of flesh eaters who inexplicably sport comb-overs and Elvis sideburns. Robert Foster (Inconfessable Orgies Of Emmanuelle), Pamela Stanford (White Cannibal Queen) and Burt Altman (Zombie Lake)
star in this infamous Spanish/French co-production that was banned in Britain as one of the original “Video Nasties” and is now presented uncut, uncensored and mastered in Hi-Def for the first time ever in America!


DEVIL HUNTER-
“OVER-THE-TOP PERVERSITY!
A Film Than Manages To Tap Into Race Exploitation,
Sex Exploitation, Cannibal Exploitation And Shock Exploitation!”
-BLACK HORROR MOVIES
King Of EuroSleaze Jess Franco (Bloody Moon, Macumba Sexual) takes on
the ’80s Cannibal genre and delivers a jungle sickie like no other!
When a safari of sexy babes and violent boneheads ventures into
native-crazed wilderness, Uncle Jess unleashes a deluge of relentless
nudity, dubious anthropology and his own brand of cut-rate carnage.
Ursula Fellner (Sadomania), Al Cliver (Zombie), Robert Foster
(Cannibal Terror) and Gisela Hahn (Contamination) co-star in this
original “Video Nasty” – also tastefully known as Sexo Cannibal and
Mandingo Manhunter – with something to offend everyone, now fully
restored from the original Spanish negative and presented uncut and
uncensored for the first time ever in America!

Blu-Ray All Region
CANNIBAL TERROR-
Spicy Deleted Scene
The Way of all Flesh: An Interview with Alain Deruelle aka Allan W Steeve
Theatrical Trailer
DEVIL HUNTER-
Sexo Canibal – Interview with Director Jess Franco
Spirit of the B Hive: An Interview with Bertrand Altman
- See more at: http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Preorders/Devil-Hunter-%5Bsl%5D-Cannibal-Terror-Blu~Ray-Double-Feature-(Blu~Ray-All-Region).html#sthash.saO5m7uU.dpuf

03 August, 2015

Jess Franco's Last Movie Coming in October on DVD!

Coming in October ....2 versions. 90 m Theatrical Cut and Director's Cut, edited by Jess Franco. 2 hours of Special Features. From Vial of Delicatesses. Spanish with English subtitles.

01 August, 2015

Coming from BLUE UNDERGROUND

Anyone know exactly what the 3 discs will include in the LE releases? I'm assuming BD, DVD & CD.
Waiting to hear about Special Bonus Features also. These should look tremendous in HD!




04 July, 2015

DEVIL HUNTER Blu-ray and...Tibi Costa?


Severin Films's photo.
The giant cannibal carrying Ursula Buchfellner (Below image) is not "Burt Altman" as my published review incorrectly stated in this 2002 book, EATEN ALIVE. The real Burt Altman has been discovered and will be interviewed on next month's DEVIL HUNTER Blu-ray from Severin (See image at top). Thanks to Nzoog for tentatively ID-ing the actor in the pic below as "Tibi Costa", the Portuguese gymnast Jess Franco discusses in the bonus interview on Severin's previous DEVIL HUNTER DVD. Previous publications have ID'd him as Burt Altman "a zombie" and he does look like the tall, thin living dead man in the 1943 Val Lewton classic I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, complete with bugged-out eyes.

The Severin Blu-ray will also feature Eurocine's cannibal epic, CANNIBAL TERROR (1981), featuring Pamela Stanford! I look forward to meeting the real "Burt Altman" in August...

16 June, 2015

LABIOS ROJOS (1960) is here...



A message from Labios Rojos, the Red Lips female detective team, in LABIOS ROJOS. I never thought I would see it, but now I finally have.  I'll be adding a review of the new Spanish DVD in the future. 

14 June, 2015

THE SECRET CODE OF JESS FRANCO--AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO (1972)

 THE SECRET CODE OF JESS FRANCO--
(C) Robert Monell--6/12/15

A familiar and repeated image throughout Jess Franco's long, twisting filmography is of a small boat or a large ship on the water/at sea. Many of his films open with shots of ships (BROKEN DOLLS, to name one prominent example). We also see zoom ins and out from various sized vessels in LA COMTESSE NOIRE (1973), BARBED WIRE DOLLS (1976) and others.

Below is an example of this in his 1973 masterpiece AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO. First we see Ana (Emma Cohen) from a child's Point of View, playing with a picture book image of a small boat being eaten by a whale.
CUT TO... a large, actual tanker ship in the bay outside of the family villa. What is the meaning in this montage? Is this one of the secret codes of Jess Franco? More on this in the future...

TOP: Interior. Ana's villa. Flashback--A day in her childhood during which she plays with a paper boat in a book.
BOTTOM: CUT TO-Exterior. Ana's villa. Present Day--A large tanker in the bay seen as she meets her fiance.










08 June, 2015

Ciudad Baja (Downtown Heat) ( Jess Franco,1994)

An upmarket Jess Franco film, complete with crane shots, direct sound (!), exploding cars and numerous extras, Downtown Heat reunites Jess Franco with his Jack the Ripper star Josephine Chaplin for one last stab at mainstream filmmaking.
Reasonable budget aside, Downtown Heat is very Franco, with odd, jagged editing rhythm (courtesy of Lina Romay), lingering shots of the sea and Daniel White's ever-present music. Craig Hill is excellent as the villain, showing class and intelligence in a part that would have befitted Howard Vernon. Busy behind the camera as production manager, Antonio Mayans appears in what amounts to a cameo. Lina Romay is memorable as the leader of a street gang while cult actor Victor Israel pops up early on as an alcoholic tramp.
Franco had a gift for shooting simple things in a confusing way - some of the dialogues are framed in disorienting, tight close-ups while potentially elaborate scenes, such as shoot-outs, are treated as throwaway or filmed in the most basic manner imaginable.
Following Downtown Heat, Jess would make the entertaining but poorly received Killer Barbys, before embracing the digital medium and unleashing a bevy of abstract art oddities often shot in his living room.

07 June, 2015

COMING SOON>

Like · Comment


An analysis of this delightful, multi-narrative epic which presents brief episodes in the lives of a number of very different tourists to the Costa Del Sol city of Benidorm. A place Jess Franco loves to ridicule! Performance is the focal point of Franco's filmography and it plays a unique role here. If you've seen Robert Altman's NASHVILLE you might appreciate this film... 

05 June, 2015

Forthcoming Review.

www.franconomicon.wordpress.comComing soon: Review of the Redemption Blu-ray presentation of THE SADISTIC BARON VON KLAUS. Recently published articles on the the wordpress.com sister blog include reviews of the Severin Blu-ray editions of VAMPYROS LESBOS and SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY. 

19 May, 2015

The Inner Sanctum Mysteries 3 Dead man's eye 1944 VOSTF



A key to understanding Jess Franco is that he doesn't want to be Orson Welles, he really wants to be Reginald Le Borg.

14 May, 2015

Lust for Frankenstein (1998)

*version under review is the 87-minute Spanish-language cut 

Solarised footage of incestuous sex scenes set to the dark Ubangis score, naked bisexual monsters prowling the bushes of Malaga, messages from the afterlife etched into the heavy metal vinyl records -
Lust for Frankenstein
is loaded with patented Franco strangeness. Aided by the joint talents of Lina Romay, Michelle Bauer and Analia Ivars, Jess crafts a highly peculiar mixture of DIY horror and kitsch melodrama.


Lina Romay stars as Moira Frankenstein, a recent divorcee whose dreams are haunted by visions of orgies and who inherits a sex-frenzied monster from her late father. Lust for Frankenstein isn't the first time Jess Franco concerned himself with a female Dr. Frankenstein. Already in Erotic Rites of Fr ankenstein, the good doctor (Dennis Price) was succeeded by his equally determined daughter. While a number of approximations and blatant inconsistencies stemming from obvious scarcity of recourses make this One Shot Production an easy target for criticism from 'quality cinema' point of view, it would be unfair to dismiss Lust for Frankenstein as an insignificant entry in Franco's filmography. A closer look reveals a consistently-directed and highly poetic work with Franco seemingly embracing and transcending his limited means.


Franco masterfully arranges and captures the space in a scene where a dreadlocked dr. Frankenstein appears behind a blood-streaked windowpane. During his digital period, Franco was more then ever interested in colours, Lust for Frankenstein being prime example  - glowing amber lights when Lina discovers the creature (Michelle Bauer) her father has created, cold blues during the transfusion scenes of Lina feeding the victims' life energy into her sex-starved monster. As Lust for Frankenstein was partially shot on actual film, we're treated to rich colour  hues, especially lovely in the cutaway exterior shots of the foliage Jess seemed so fond of interspersing his stories with.

The shorter Spanish-language cut appears less soporific with the slow-motion simulated copulation interludes mercifully truncated. This version also benefits from an additional voice-over (by Franco himself?) during the softcore flashbacks, narrated by the deceased dr. Frankenstein and giving some background to the sketchy characters. Lust for Frankenstein is one of the most accomplished works - both visually and aurally - from the filmmakers' least-appreciated creative period.

12 May, 2015

Cuadecuc, Vampir (1971)


Maria Rohm and Soledad Miranda appear ethereal and impossibly sophisticated in Pere Portabella's granulated black-and-white ciné-mirage. Portabella uses the occasion - filming of Jess Franco's Count Dracula - as a launch pad for his own journey towards the fantastic and the supernatural. Possessing at once some features of a documentary and a remarkably dreamlike quality, Cuadecuc is of much interest to Franco scholars and those with a taste for gothic imagery. While many sequences have amazing rhythm and impact, the film does drag as a whole at the relatively short 66 minute running time, partially due to very sparce score and almost total abscence of sound effects. Possible Godardian influence can be traced in the form of extraneous sounds (an aeroplane taking off, roadworks) layed over the images at deliberately inappropriate moments.

A Virgin Among the Living Dead


One of Franco's better-received efforts, A Virgin Among the Living Dead (Franco's intended title was Night of the Shooting Stars) can be described as an extremely low-budget cross between the Addams Family films and Alain Resnais' Last Year in Marienbad. Appropriately named Christina Von Blanc retains a rather blank expression during her many encounters with a family of mischievous spectres populating the baroque Monteserate castle. Franco's skilful use of wide angle lens and an occasional welcome dolly shot lends this somewhat plodding affair a unique visual identity. Nicolai's distinctive score helps liven up the bizarre proceedings another notch. Seeing Howard Vernon wearing a busy shirt while singing hymns (actually proverbs) in Latin during the strange liturgy episode is worth the price of admission alone. A Virgin Among the Living Dead is one of the few Franco projects not to be remade by the man himself in the following decades. Perhaps Jess was satisfied with the film? 

11 May, 2015

Happy Birthday Jess!



The legendary filmmaker (seen here in Pere Portabella's poetic Cuadecuc) would have been 85 years old today.We´ve decided to write a few words about his Midnight Party on this occasion:

Midnight Party aka Lady Porno

Sloppily shot in Cinemascope and semi-plotless, this Eurociné presentation opens with Lina Romay addressing the viewer (foreshadowing similar 'interactive' moments in Franco's final digital films Paula-Paula and Crypt of the Condemned) while writhing naked in a hotel bedroom bathed in crimson light.



Gorgeous Lina Romay is the film's main attraction, here allowed to shine in a comic part. Eurociné regulars Pierre Boisson, Olivier Mathot and Pierre Taylou are at hand, taking turns frolicking in bed with Lina Romay, all set to Daniel White's mild score. Midnight Party was later  chopped up (together with Shining Sex) and re-scored by Joe D'Amato to make the hard-to-see Justine de Sade film.

08 May, 2015

The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein (Theatrical Trailer)



One of Jess Franco's most outlandish cocktails of Gothic atmosphere, classic movie monsters, nudity, cannibalism, sadism, outre camerawork, psychotronic music and psychiatric ward dialogue comes to Bluray from REDEMPTION this Summer! A personal favorite Jess Franco Creature Feature. More to follow...

17 April, 2015

Jess Franco's XXX Files

El Franconomicon - WordPress.com

https://franconomicon.wordpress.com/

A new review of the 1987 hardcore DYNASTY parody, FALO CREST, has been added on the new blog.

11 April, 2015

Two Jess Franco experimental-erotica digital epics now available on DVD!





EUROPE: 19.99 €  
 

REST OF THE WORLD: 23.99 € 
 



CRYPT OF THE CONDEMNED I
(LA CRIPTA DE LAS CONDENADAS I, Spain, 2012).



A group of women, maybe ghosts, maybe demons, are locked in a cemetery crypt due to an old curse. This kind of succubi, perverse and lascivious, dedicate their time to all kind of sadistic and sexual games.
One of the most sought-after films of Jess Franco, until now only screened in festivals like Sitges, Pantalla Fantasma or BUTT Film Fest, "Crypt of the Condemned" was defined by a German critic as "the first film shot in cunt-o-rama!!". Lesbian sex, fantasy and avantgarde conform this experiment by exploitation master Jess Franco.

Audio: DD 2.0 Spanish. Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian.
BONUS FEATURES: Jess Franco Interview; Short film "Los condenados de la cripta" by JJS; Trailers.
--- ALL REGIONS --- LIMITED EDITION ---


CRYPT OF THE CONDEMNED II
(LA CRIPTA DE LAS CONDENADAS II, Spain, 2012).



One hundred years later, the condemned women are still locked inside the crypt, giving themselves away to all kind of pleasures. They ignore the presence of an exterminating angel that the Lord has sent to punish and kill them because of their shamelesness.
Second installment of Jess Franco's lesbian succubi epic, half sexploitation, half avantgarde film, which explores women's sexuality from the deep.

Audio: DD 2.0 Spanish. Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian.
BONUS FEATURES: Deleted scene; Lina Romay behind the camera; Short film "The Phallus Killer" by Naxo Fiol; Trailers.
--- ALL REGIONS. --- LIMITED EDITION ---

06 April, 2015

New Article-Coming Soon!

Jess Franco's children's adventure-fantasy/Poe adaptation/heist caper/family friendly martial arts mash up!

31 March, 2015

VAMPYROS LESBOS-SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY LE Blu-ray specs..

VAMPYROS LESBOS and SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY 2-Disc Limited Edition Blu-Ray Details
Early orders through www.Severin-films.com will ship late-April and purchase of both will come with posters of newly commissioned Wes Benscoter artworks. Pre-order here. May 12th General Release.
What are often cited as the finest works of Euro-cult master Jess Franco’s labyrinthine career are his 1971 erotic horrors VAMPYROS LESBOS and SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY. Now, for the first time ever in America, the fully restored, uncensored versions will be available in 2 Disc Limited Special Editions. Both films star the bewitching beauty Soledad Miranda, who was tragically killed before either film was released. Full specs on these Special Editions, including a pair of Franco’s final inimitably colorful interviews as well as a new featurette on Soledad containing rare clips, stills and music, and the super rare 24 track soundtrack with music by Sigi Schwab and Manfred Hubler, are as follows:
VAMPYROS LESBOS Limited Edition Of 7500
Disc 1 (Blu-Ray):
Newly remastered HD presentation of the feature in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio
“Vampyros Jesus”: Interview featurette with Director Jess Franco
“Sublime Soledad”: Interview with Soledad Miranda Historian Amy Brown
“Stephen Thrower on Vampyros Lesbos”: Interview with Author of ‘Murderous Passions – The Delirious Cinema Of Jess Franco’
“Jess Is Yoda” Clip
Alternate German Opening Title Sequence – ‘Dracula’s Heiress’
German Trailer
Disc 2 (DVD):
Las Vampiras – Alternate Spanish Language VHS Version With Optional English Subtitles
Specially packaged in dye cut slip case. Newly created cover art by Wes Benscoter.
SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY Limited Edition Of 4000
Disc 1 (Blu-Ray):
Newly remastered HD presentation of the feature in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio
“Jess Killed In Ecstasy”: Interview with Director Jess Franco
“Sublime Soledad”: Interview with Soledad Miranda Historian Amy Brown
“Stephen Thrower on She Killed in Ecstasy”: Interview with Author of ‘Murderous Passions – The Delirious Cinema Of Jess Franco’
“Paul Muller On Jess Franco”: Interview with the frequent Franco Star
German Trailer
Disc 2 (CD):
Original Motion Picture Soundtracks
3 Films By Jess Franco: Vampyros Lesbos/She Killed In Ecstasy/The Devil Came From Akasava
Repressing of the ultra rare 24 track CD
Specially packaged in dye cut slip case. Newly created cover art by Wes Benscoter.

28 March, 2015

New Blu-ray releases!

The official specs of the SEVERIN Blu-rays of SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY and VAMPYROS LESBOS are coming out next week. They will be published here asap. I did some consulting on these projects and guarantee they will be definitive!
Also here's a link to the sister website over on wordpress where my new review of Peter Stricklans's acclaimed Franco influenced erotica THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY has been posted. Also check out the image for a proposed cover for Redemption's upcoming Blu-ray of THE SADISTIC BARON VON KLAUS and voice your support for it on their FACEBOOK page. Thanks. More reviews, images and information coming soon on both blogs! http://franconomicon.wordpress.com

(C) Robert Monell, 2015

20 March, 2015

COMING ON BLU-RAY!


One of Jess Franco's most stylish early thrillers, this 1962 French-Spanish production is teeming with Gothic atmosphere and features one of his most shocking scenes of Sadisterotica, long before Horror Y Sexo became a Eurohorror staple. An evil swamp demon, the shadow of the dreaded Baron Von Klaus, emerges from his lair to stalk and murder beautiful women in a remote Austrian town. But everything is not as it seems as the terror and questions increase.

I'm very pleased that REDEMPTION is presenting this beautifully crafted horror epic in HD. June 2015 is the projected release date...

17 March, 2015

ADDITIONAL NEW BLOG LOCATION

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I have added an additional blog site in association with Alex Mendibil's Spanish EL FRANCONOMICON.
This blog will continue to be updated with images, videos, reviews, links. The new blog will feature
different material, including articles and new features.

Thanks to our readers for your continued support and interest here and at the new blog.

Remember, this blog isn't going anywhere and please check here regularly for features.
Hope you all enjoy the additional new blog, which will be in English.

Recent blog posts on the new blog include: JESS FRANCO'S XXX FILES-PHOLLASTIA


El Franconomicon - WordPress.com

https://franconomicon.wordpress.com/


12 March, 2015

Support Amy Brown's Soledad Miranda project!

Amy Brown is probably the world's leading expert on all things regarding the late, great Spanish actress and Jess Franco muse, Soledad Miranda. Amy is planning to visit Spain as part of her research on a welcome biography of the iconic actress. Please support her journey if you can. I'll let Amy explain in her own words,

"I wanted to let you know about my fundraiser for my Soledad Miranda book. It's my dream project, and the most important thing I will ever do in my life. It's truly my life calling to be her biographer and bring her amazing life and career recognition in print (and on the web, as I have been doing for nearly 15 years). The fundraiser is to help fund a research trip to Spain, where I will interview her family and people who knew and worked with her. Details can be found at the link below. Every dollar helps, and I can't emphasize how important this is to me and her fans all over the world. Thank you for your support. Please share if you can.
Best wishes,
Amy

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/soledad-miranda-book/x/10101870