Thursday, June 12, 2014

BLOODY MOON (1981)

BLOODY MOON (1981) 
Label: Severin Films
Release Date: July 8th 2014
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 81 Minutes
Audio: English LPCM Mono 2.0
Video: 1080p Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Olivia Pascal, Christoph Moosbrugger, Nadja Gerganoff, Alexander Waechter, María Rubio

Euro-trash pioneer Jess Franco's Video Nasty enrtry BLOODY MOON (1981) is stuffed with all the depravity you've come to expect with from the director and a bunch of gore you might not associate with the trashy auteur. We start off at a disco-pool party where the facially scarred Miguel (Alexander Waechter) puts on a Mickey Mouse mask and pursues a young woman who quickly invites him back to her place for some fun and fornication. Things heat-up but when it's revealed that Miguel is not who she thought he was she freaks put and the encounter ends with her being scissored repeatedly in the stomach. 

Five year later Miguel has served his time at the asylum for the criminally insane following the murder of the young woman and is released into the custody of his sister Manuela (Nadja Gerganoff). The siblings return to the language school run by their Aunt Countess Maria where almost immediately a string of grisly murders start-up. The first victim is the aunt who is burned to death with a torch - it's not the greatest kill in cinema history but it does spark quite a run of murders for the remainder of the film, each a bit more grisly than the last. 

Franco does manage to stir-up some decent suspense in what amounts to an absurd slasher whodunit. Could it be the creepy Miguel up to his old ways or perhaps one of the numerous red-herrings dangled before us, you just can't be sure until the dizzying wrap-up.

BLOODY MOON is stocked with a decent amount of (annoying) fun characters, beginning with siblings Miguel and Manuela who have a bit of an incestuous dynamic about them... it is after all a Jess Franco film. Our main protagonist is Angela (Olivia Pascal, Vanessa) as one of the students and her small group of often topless friends. Angela's friends are dying off one by one but when the corpses conveniently disappear no one believes her. The English-dubbing of the students is an unintentionally hilarious succession of priceless dialogue about sex and phony Spanish lovers, that alongside the oftentimes dubious special effects definitely give this slasher a corny charm not unlike the classic blood-fest PIECES(1982) -- which I just love it to death. 

Franco manages to fill the screen with a few memorable deaths with a few perverse twists. One of Angela's friends is stabbed from behind with the blade exiting her nipple but the Euro-cult slasher is most infamous for a delightful stone mill power saw decapitation observed by a young boy who attempts to come to the rescue of the victim only to be rundown in a car for his troubles - the death of young children is always startling - even if the effect itself is sub par. One quibble with the film is the all-too-real death of a snake with hedge-clippers. The scene serves absolutely no purpose and could have been achieved without the unnecessary death of a creature - even if it is just a snake. It's one of several jump-scares throughout the film along with a flung-cat and a paper-mache boulder - none of which serve a purpose other than some cheap scares. The plot is certainly paper-thin but as a body count whodunit with a decent shocker ending this is a pretty damn fine film. 

The HD transfer is sourced from a German print under the title DIE SAGE DES TODES. There's a minor bit of print damage and the gore shots sourced from inferior elements are obvious but overall this is a solid presentation with strong colors and black levels with a fine layer of film grain and some modest depth. The priceless English-dubbed dialogue, effects and score are handled nicely by the LPCM 2.0 Mono audio. 

Extras on the disc include a theatrical trailer and a fun interview with the aged chain-smoking director who speaks about the empty promises of producers who spoke of a Pink Floyd score, a notable special effects guy and cinematographer all of which were lies. He bashes the score but I sort of liked it - there's a recurring guitar part that does sort of sound like a lifted Pink Floyd lick but it's on repeat for the duration of the film and is hammered into the ground. 


A fun slasher entry from Eurosleaze provocateur Jess Franco who did not often stray into gore effects driven slashers. What we end up with is a trashy piece of slasher cinema stuffed with nudity, skewered women and corny dubbed dialogue which adds up to pure slasher perfection - this is a wildly entertaining watch. BLOODY MOON (1981) is a definite recommend for lovers of slasher cinema and Jess Franco completists.  4 Outta 5 

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