Saturday, February 25, 2017



Label: Full Moon Entertainment
Region Code: Region-FREE NTSC
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 79 Minutes.
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0, French Dolby Digital 2.0
Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Martine Flety, Sarah Strasberg, Pamela Stanford, Olivier Mathot

Synopsis: A lonely aristocrat Miss Gray has a twin sister who's in an asylum. They share a strange bond. Miss Gray is rational but frigid while her sister is insane yet feels sexual pleasure for both of them. Soon, a female reporter arrives at the mansion - Miss Gray possesses vampire like qualities and lives alone when new reporter comes to do a story on her. It appears Doriana needs to suck the life out of various men and women - in a sexual way, in order to stay young. However, she gets no sexual feelings or pleasure out of it. Those ‘feelings’ go to her TWIN sister who is locked up in an asylum. There she goes through various sexual ‘violent and sexual fits’ whenever Doriana is pleasing and killing.
In this erotic death-obsessed slice of Euro cult we have Jess Franco muse Lina Romay (The Hot Nights of Linda) starring in a dual role, first as the somewhat frigid aristocrat Lady Doriana Gray who lives alone in her sprawling seaside mansion, keeping to herself and cursed with the inability to feel sexual pleasure, oh no. On the flipside we have her nymphomaniac twin sister (also played by Romay) who's been cloistered away in an asylum from a very early age, a woman consumed by passion and carnal delights, she's in a state of constant orgasmic arousal while locked away in her room where she cannot help but diddle herself, preferably while being watched by the asylum staff. It is explained through narration that the two women were born Siamese twins and were separated at a young age, during the surgical procedure a shared nerve was damaged, thus devoiding one of pleasure, while wholly consuming the other with lust, with a lasting psychic bond between them.

Lady Doriana keeps to herself at her mansion until one day a journalist (Monica Swinn, The Duke of Burgundy) arrives at her mansion hoping to secure an interview with the liberated woman for a tabloid magazine article, the recluse is reluctant at first but eventually opens up to the woman, revealing her preference for women and her inability to experience sexual pleasure, in addition to a strange side effect of her pleasureless love, it seems to kill her lovers, which while not really explained in full, the movie sort of hints at some weird vampyric angle, which enables Lady Gray to maintain her youthful visage by draining the sexual essence of her lovers. We also learn that her twin sister experiences all the pleasures of sex that she cannot, which seems to have contributed to her sister's madness.
At this time in the 70s Lina Romay was in her prime, a sexual nymph of the highest order, the epitome of cinematic lust, with those big sultry eyes, and there's something about her mouth, the way her lips frame her teeth, the way she licks her lips, she always manages to do a number on me, damn. She portrays Lady Doriana with some appropriate restraint, she has a aristocratic air about her, but she's still a knock-out, wandering her mansion in little more than a sheer pink gown that only thinly veils her voluptuous assets, the movie certainly plays to her physical strengths. Romay plays the nymphomaniac sister with an animalistic sexual abandon, a child-like wild woman who more often than not is rubbing one out in her room at the asylum,  while in the presence of a nurse (Andrea Rigano) and Dr. Orloff. Unable to control her sexual desires she is in a constant state of arousal, wild eyed and orgasmic, screaming with pleasure, maddened by her own uncontrollable, naughty impulses.

Lina Romay and pretty much everyone else struggles with the awkward dialogue, which is not helped by a poor English dub, particularly the over-tanned Peggy Markoff (Barbed Wire Dolls) who seduces Lady Gray early on in the movie. I sniggered a bit when her super-trashy character says things like "I'm going to make you cum", and "now I'm going to show you how horny I can make you", but the sex is pretty damn hot, even if the close-ups get in the way at times, there's only so much close-cropped glistening clit-licking I need to see, you know. At times I wasn't sure if there was a hair on the camera lens or if it was just more fuzzy 70s muff, but guess what, it was always just the fuzzy 70s muff, haha. Also getting in on the sex-action is Lady Doriana's man-servant Ziros (Raymond Hardy, Women Behind Bars) and his cute blond lady friend (Martine Stedil, Swedish Nympho Slaves), who was very easy on the eyes.

For his part director Jess Franco is both directing and doing the camerawork on this one himself, while I think it lacks when compared to the early 70s work we saw for Franco from cinematographer Manuel Merino (Vampyros LesbosShe Killed in Ecstasy) the movie is nicely framed and makes nice use of the value-added scenic mansion and the gorgeous women, particularly Romay who is pure eye-candy. Franco lays on a heavy veneer of voyeuristic shots of sapphic love and hardcore sex, this one goes beyond an r-rating with numerous scenes of straight up sex of both the woman-on-woman and man-on-woman variety, including scenes of full-on penetration and Romay with a mouthful of uncircumcised cock, so cum into this one knowing what you are getting yourself into. As stated before Franco goes in for maybe a few too many extreme zoom-ins for my tastes but I like the surreal atmosphere the Spanish auteur conjures this time around, and this is just so Lina Romay-centric that I cannot help but love it.

Audio/Video:Marquise de sade (1976) arrives on DVD from Full Moon Entertainment as part seven of their ten-part Jess Franco Collection series, of which the spines form a portrait of Franco, which is cool, but look a bit awkward on the shelf as part of an incomplete collection with no large title on the spine. The movie is known by several other titles in various regions, these include Die Marquise von Sade (which is what the title card reads for this release) The 1,000 Shades of Doriana Grey, Doriana Gray and The Portrait of Doriana Gray.

The movie is framed in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and looks very nice, there are some slight DVD compression issues, the grain is not as finely resolved as I would like, but it is sourced from a very nice print with very minimal print damage,a few specks and slight scratches can be seen. Audio on the disc includes both English and French Dolby Digital 2.0, there are no subtitle options. The dubbed English track is a bit boxy at times with some occasional hiss, but for the most part this is a solid track, and has more depth that the French audio option. The movie also benefits from cool sitar-tinged score from composer Walter Baumgartner (Barbed Wire Dolls).

Extras on the disc are slim, but appreciated. These include about 12 minutes of interviews with producer Erwin C. Dietrich, director Jess Franco and star Lina Romay, plus a Jess Franco trailer reel with full frame trailers for Oasis of the Zombies, Demoniac, A Virgin Among the Living Dead, The Screaming Dead, Erotikill, and The Invisible Dead.

Special Feature:
- Interview with Producer Erwin C. Dietrich, Director Jess Franco and Star Lina Romay (12 Mins)
- Vintage Jess Franco VHS Trailers(7 mins)

Jess Franco's Marquise De Sade (1976) is a hot little number that straddles and crosses the line between hardcore sex-film and just another slice of Franco Eurocult from the 70s. While not the most opulent of Franco's 70s films, it is stylish and surreal, with a minimal story and loads of voyeuristic sex. If you're a hardcore Franco fanatic this will be fun watch with the usual amounts of surreal erotic artiness, but for everyone else this might be some rough stuff, a bt too light on the hardcore sex for the porno freaks and a bit too much sex for the Eurocult fans who have not been consumed by Franco's brand of sleaze, sex and death euro-cult cinema, definitely an acquired taste, but one that once you develop a taste for will require frequent revisits. Would love to see a Region A Blu-ray, I know there's a German Blu-ray out there, but this slice of naughtiness is in need of a serious HD upgrade here in the US, but for now this uncut release from Full Moon will do just fine. 


3-Disc Limited Edition BD/DBD/CD

Label: Blue Underground
Region Code: Region-FREE
Duration: 87 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD Mono, Dolby Digital Mono 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Marie Liljedahl, Maria Rohm, Jack Taylor, Christopher Lee, Paul Muller

Synopsis: Marie Liljedahl (the luscious star of Inga) is Eugenie, an innocent young woman taken to an island paradise where she is initiated into a world of pleasure and pain controlled by the sinister Dolmance (the legendary Christopher Lee). But when she surrenders to her own forbidden fantasies, Eugenie becomes trapped in a frenzy of drugs, sadomasochism and murder. Can a frightened girl in the grip of carnal perversion find sanctuary in the orgies of the depraved?

A young woman named Eugenie (Marie Liljedahl) becomes an unwilling pawn in a soul-maddening game of sexual corruption when the sultry Marianne Saint-Ange (Maria Rohm) seduces the young woman's father, somehow convincing him to let the young girl spend a weekend on her private island for some fun and games. Marianne also invites her creepy half-brother Mirvel (Jack Taylor) to the island for the arousing weekend, and together the pair of pleasure and pain crazed siblings set about drugging and corrupting the young girl.

Eugenie is essentially a movie about the diabolical corruption of a young woman by two demented and incestuous siblings. They set about drugging her with drug-laced wine and having their way with her in a myriad of way. Afterward they re dress her and when she awakens she's confused and unknowingly used. Eugenie is so out of her mind on drugs that she believes the half-remembered orgies may have just been a bad wine-induced dream, but little does she realize. By the end of the movie she becomes entangled in sadomasochistic orgies and murder, with a shocker multi-twist finale that might leave your head spinning in the aftermath of this erotic tale of corruption.

The early '70s were a great period of cinema for director Jess Franco, who at the time was just coming off the adaptation of the Marquis de Sade's Justine, the modern era sits well with the somewhat difficult sexual-deviancy of the material, though this adaptation also softens the blow of the source material, which is rather shocking even to this day. The production is lavish and the locations are pretty fantastic, the island location is something Franco would return to again and again in later movies, from She Killed In Ecstasy to Countess Perverse. As with may of his seventies movies the lensing is top-notch, gorgeous shots of the coastline and beaches surrounding Marianne's lavish island paradise are eye-catching with some great lensing and shot composition, with one awful exception. I couldn't ignore the numerous shots that were slightly out of focus, making me feel like my eyes were failing me. Some say that these focus-challenged shots are a device meant to convey the surreal, drugged-up state of mind of young Eugenie, but I that's a crock of shit, this is just not properly focused, and if you've watched any number of Franco movie yo know that this happens from time to time. It did begin to wear on me after awhile but I must say that in the long run the movie is so well shot that it's not ruinous to the movie overall, this is still a fantastic slice of '70s art house sleaze from Franco with a very cool exotic jazz score from Bruno Nicolai.
The cast is superb, we have the young and attractive Marie Liljedahl as the wide-eyed Eugenie, she's coming of age, sexually charged and a bit doe-eyed, but in a good way, not like Romina Power in Justine with her vacant expressions. Liljedahl has more range and nuance in her role, but she always comes through as a corrupted innocent, not a sex-kitten playing an innocent. Maria Rohm is fantastic as the gorgeously deviant Marianne Saint-Ange, she is detestable but she's so damn sexy, I wouldn't mind it if she corrupted me, as long as she kept her creepy brother out of it. Speaking of whom, we Eurocult star Jack Taylor as the half-brother of Marianne, a suitably creepy and deviant portrayal, Taylor always brings some heat to any of his roles. Horror icon Christopher Lee drops in for an extended cameo as the on-screen narrator Dolmance, of course adding a touch of class to the otherwise devious movie.

Audio/Video: Eugenie ...the Story of Her Journey into Perversion (1970) arrives on Blu-ray from Blue Underground with a brand-new 4K HD restoration, though watching it again I see now that it is marred by some aggressive DNR scrubbing. On the plus side the image has a nice clarity about it, and colors are robust. Skin tones appear natural with just the right amount of sensual warmth, the movie also uses colored-tinted scenes bathed in red and they look great. The English DTS-HD Mono 1.0 audio is crisp and clean, the English-dubbed dialog and Bruno Nicolai's haunting exotic score come through nicely, optional English SDH subtitles are provided.

Onto the extras we get 17-minute Perversion Stories extra carried over from the 2004 Blue Underground DVD featuring Interviews with Director Jess Franco, Producer Harry Alan Towers, and Stars Marie Liljedahl and Christopher Lee who speak about the making of the movie. Franco discusses the casting of the movie, and working with Christopher Lee, and a few of the locations used in the movie. Actress Marie Liljedahl also speaks about accepting the role, figuring that if Lee was on board it must be alright, while Lee for his part says he had no idea of the erotic nature of the movie, which I find a little hard to swallow.

There's also a 18-minute interview with Stephen Thrower, author of "Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco", who again speaks about the various differences between the source material and the adaptation that appears on screen, not the least of which would be the contemporary setting, pointing out that Eugenie is toned down quite a bit, coming off a bit more like Sade's Justine than Eugenie. As with the Justine release from Blue Underground there's also writing on the film from Thrower adapted from his book "Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco", featuring promotional images and poster art, a CD track listing, chapter selection, and production credits for the movie.  Additionally there's a DVD featuring the movie with the same set of extras and a bonus CD of Bruno Nicolai's exotic lounge score, and a sleeve of reversible artwork featuring the original 2004 Blue Underground DVD artwork and an alternate artwork option.

Special Features:
- Perversion Stories - Interviews with Director Jess Franco, Producer Harry Alan Towers, and Stars Marie Liljedahl and Christopher Lee (17 min)
- Stephen Thrower on EUGENIE - Interview with the author of "Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco" (18 min) HD
- Theatrical Trailer (3 min) HD
- Poster and Still Gallery (123 Images) HD
- 20-Page Collectible Booklet includes writing by author Stephen Thrower
- Eugenie Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD by Bruno Nicolai (19 Songs, 55 min)

This just might be a top five Franco movie for me, a nice blend of art house erotica and lurid exploitation, Franco was a master of both and rarely did they come together in such a delirious and woozy way on screen, this is primo Franco. If you're a Franco-phile this is a serious no brainer, you need to own this. 4/5

Thursday, February 23, 2017

FRANCO FEBRUARY! BLOODY MOON (1981) (Blu-ray Review)

Label: Severin Films
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 entry 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 Spanish 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 out and the encounter ends with her being bloodily 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, atypical for a Franc film, but a lot of fun for slasher fans. 

Franco does manage to stir-up some decent suspense in what amounts to an absurd slasher whodunit wrapped in a nice sleazy gauze of eurocult goodness. We wonder, could it be the creepy Miguel up to his old ways, or perhaps could it be one of the numerous red-herrings dangled before us, you just can't be sure until the dizzying wrap-up, which is warped.

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, that one only gets better with age.

Franco manages to fill the screen with mostly memorable death set pieces 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, it is still loads of fun, die kid! 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, it doesn't feel like a Franco film, at least not one from the 70s, bt I love the slasher-y goodness of it, this is good stuff.

Bloody Moon (19981) arrives on Bu-ray from Severin Films with a new HD transfer 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 a wildly entertaining watch. Bloody (1981) is a definite recommend for lovers of 80s slasher cinema and Jess Franco completest.  4/5

Tuesday, February 21, 2017



Label: Severin Films
Region Code: Region-FREE
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS- HD MA Mono 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Full Screen (1.33:1)
Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Christopher Lee, Klaus Kinski, Herbert Lom, Soledad Miranda, Maria Rohm, Paul Muller, Fred Williams

The late horror legend Christopher Lee (Dracula: Prince of Darkness) had taken a years long break from portraying the bloodthirsty vampire he made famous with Hammer Films, but when he was approached by Spanish director Jess Franco to make a vampire movie that more closely followed the original Bram Stoker novel, he came back to the role. Franco, along with infamous producer Harry Alan Towers, assembled quite a cast and brought us a memorable adaptation indeed, though largely devoid of Franco's signature eroticism and surreal visuals. We find Jonathan Harker (Fred Williams, She Killed In Ecstasy) travelling to the castle of Count Dracula in Transylvania to oversee the purchase of a new property in London for the Count. Along the way he is warned by his stage coach driver of the strange goings on at the castle, but he attributes the warning to the usual local superstitions. Once he meets Count Dracula he finds his aged host to be a welcoming sort, that is until after dinner when he finds himself imprisoned within his room, soon to discover that the Count is a bloodsucking vampire with a trio of vampire brides who also want to feast on his blood.

Harker manages to escape through a window and returns to London, recovering from his ordeal at a sanitarium run by Dr. Seward (Franco regular Paul Muller, Vampyros Lesbos), where he also encounters Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Herbert Lom, Mark of the Devil). Harker's lovely fiancee Mina (Maria Rohm, 99 women) visits him at the sanitarium, along with and her sublime friend Lucy (Soledad Miranda, She Killed in Ecstasy), unfortunately both women become entranced by Count Dracula who has since moved to London and into his newly acquired property. Madman Klaus Kinski (Aguirre, the Wrath of God) appears as Renfield, a disturbed patient at the sanitarium, he plays it appropriately unhinged, eating bugs and generally being weird, giving Dwight Fry a run for his money. Kinski makes a damn fine Renfield but I feel he gets a bit short-shrifted and is not onscreen nearly enough for my own tastes, I wanted more of the Kinski!

Harker's wild stories about his trip to Transylvania go largely unheeded by Dr. Seward, a man of science who attributes the weird tales to a disturbed mind. However, his peer Van Helsing is well aware of the legend of Dracula and soon joins forces with Harker and Lucy's boyfriend Quincey (Jack Taylor, Pieces) to face-off against the threat of Dracula, the trio form a vampire hunting alliance against the centuries old bloodsucker. Lee is fantastic as the titular blood-drinker, to the surprise of no one I would expect. A moustached version of the legendary Count appropriately fanged with bloodshot eyes, the aging make-up looks great, the blood drinker becoming more vital and younger as he drains each victim of the red stuff, Lee is a class act through and through.

Herbert Lom as the legendary vampire hunter is wonderful, the man brings a certain amount of gravitas to the every role, even a few of the trashier ones. Fred Williams is quite good in the role of Harker but he does fade a bit into the background when standing in the shadow of Lee and Lom, not to mention a roomful of Franco regulars like Jack Taylor and Paul Muller. Add to that the beauty of Maria Rohm and Soledad Miranda and the poor guy was bound to get lost a bit, which he does, to no fault of his own. Kinski as the wild-eyed Renfield is wonderful as I have said, a fantastic performance from the madman as a bug-eating madman, but I wanted more of him and I found it a bit odd that his own connection to Dracula is a bit obscured in this version of the story.

Shot largely in Spain the exterior shots and scenic wooded locations looks fantastic, Franco makes great use of the Castle location. His work with producer Harry Alan Towels produced some of his best work with his biggest budgets, and this one has a great aesthetic, you can see the production value up on the screen. The story itself does tend to have a certain amount of paciness about it, dragging in certain parts, which is not unusual for a Franco movie by any means, but certainly not enough to derail the production, there's a lot to love about this movie.

As much as I enjoy it there are some things that don't quite work in it's favor, notably a trashy rubber bat on a string that lingers for far too long, it is laughable. Franco-philes who know his body of work will not be surprised by the copious amount of zoom-lensing present in the movie, a choice that doesn't work for the period piece, but the lensing for the most pasrt looks great with nicely framed composition. Perhaps the biggest cinema-beef I have with the film is that we never get any scenes of Lee with either Lom or Kinski together in one shot, their scenes were filmed separately and assembled, what a missed opportunity!

Audio/Video: Severin Films have a reverence for Franco's movies and have gone above and beyond yet again. Count Dracula arrives on Blu-ray framed at the original and correct 1.33.1 fullframe aspect ratio. The print used for the new HD transfer would seem to be French as evidenced by the French title card. There's a modest amount of improved depth and clarity over the previous standard definition release from Dark Sky Films, but only slightly to be honest. They have restored a missing scene of a mother pleading at the castle gates for the return of her doomed baby, it's sourced from a 16mm print and the drop in quality is noticeable but it is nice to have it back in place. The English language LPCM 2.0 Mono sounds fine, the dialogue is crisp and the Bruno Nicolai (The Case of the Bloody Iris) comes through clean and strong, there are no subtitle options on this release.

Onto the extras Severin have been kind enough to carry over all of the extras from the Dark Sky Films release beginning with the twenty-six minute interview with Director Jess Franco, with a cigarette in hand discussing the film in heavily accented English. Also carried over is the eighty-four minute recording of Christopher Lee reading sections of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula over a music score, the hypnotic reading of the source material is fantastic and quite a treat for Lee and Stoker fans.

Onto the brand-new extras from Severin Films we have a commentary track featuring actress Maria Rohm and moderator David Del Valle. Rohm was married to producer Harry Alan Towers and has unique insight into the making of the movie, sharing some great stories about her experiences on set and behind the scenes making the movie. For his part film historian David Dev Valle does a great job, informative and animated, he keeps the commentary focused and insightful. I just heard his commentary from another 1970 bloodsucker film, Count Yorga, Vampire, he knows his stuff and it makes for a great commentary.

A nice added extra is the inclusion of the Pere Portabella experimental making of doc Cuadecuc, Vampir, shot in black and white and without sync sound, which makes for a somewhat arty behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie with shots of the effects being composed with many of the main cast, with the exception of Klaus Kinski.

There's also a new ten-minute interview with Eurocult legend Jack Taylor (The Ninth Gate), plus a twenty-six minute interview with actor Fred Williams, both discuss their careers with Franco, commenting on Maria Rohm, Harry Alan Towers, Soledad Miranda, and Christopher Lee. Finishing up the extras there's an eight-minute appreciation of the movie by Filmmaker Christophe Gans (The Brotherhood of the Wolf), discussing the movie and offering theories on how Franco and Towers convinced Kinski appear in the movie, there's also a German trailer for the movie plus the German, French, Italian and Spanish Alternate Title Sequences, all in all a well-fanged special edition of the movie.

Special Features:

- Uncut Feature in HD (Includes Controversial Previously Deleted Baby Scene) at Franco’s Approved Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
- Cuadecuc, Vampir (1970): Experimental ‘Making Of’ Feature By Pere Portabella (75 min)
- Audio Commentary with horror historian David Del Valle and Actress Maria Rohm
- Beloved Count Interview with Director Jess Franco (26 
- An Interview With Actor Jack Taylor (10 
- ‘Handsome Harker’ Interview With Actor Fred Williams (26 Mins) HD
- ’Stake Holders’ An Appreciation By Filmmaker Christophe Gans (8 
min) HD
- Christopher Lee Reads Bram Stoker's Dracula (84 
- German, French, Italian and Spanish Alternate Title Sequence (8 
- German Trailer (3 

Jess Franco's Count Dracula (1970) is not a perfect movie, very few of his movies were to be honest, but it does have an atmospheric charm and an outstanding cast, starring none other than the legendary Christopher Lee as the titular blood-drinker, and strong supporting roles from Herbert Lom and Klaus Kinski, plus the sultry curves of lovely ladies Maria Rohm and Soledad Miranda. On top of that we have Franco regulars Paul Muller and Jack Taylor, if you've seen any of Franco's movies from the 70's you will know their faces, if not their names. The movie is dripping with atmosphere, and while it's true that it does get a bit pacey at times and a few of the special effects are awful, for Franco fans and lovers of Eurocult this is a fine time all the way around. 3.5/5 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Official Trailer for IFC Midnight's THE DEVIL'S CANDY

Synopsis: A not-so-average family wrestles with Satan in a house from hell in this heavy metal-charged shocker from the director of The Loved Ones. Diehard metalhead and struggling artist Jesse (Ethan Embry) moves with his wife (Shiri Appleby) and daughter (Kiara Glasco) to a middle-of-nowhere Texas town, unaware that the new house they got for an unbelievable deal comes with a grisly history. Disturbing demonic goings-on culminate with the appearance of Ray (The Walking Dead’s Pruitt Taylor Vince). He’s the home’s former resident, and he’s here to do the Devil’s bidding. The cranked-to-eleven soundtrack blasts Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, and a thunderous original score by doom rock legends Sunn O))).

Two Of The Most Insane ‘90s SOV Shockers Come To DVD For The First Time Ever!


Intervision Picture Corporation has returned to the mom ‘n’ pop video shop to retrieve two underseen shriek fests from the bottom row of the “Horror” section. DREAM STALKER and DEATH BY LOVE are both brain-busting, reality -decimating slices of artsploitation from the outer edges of the shot-on-video universe. On April 11th, scorch your mind with a double feature disc of these lost gems, newly transferred from the original video masters.


“It fits right in with THINGS and SLEDGEHAMMER,” raves “DREAM STALKER is something special!” When a Sacramento supermodel is haunted by the super-mulleted corpse of her dead motocross-racer boyfriend, it will unleash an erratically ambitious nightmare of cheap lighting, bad sound, bizarre plotting, gratuitous nudity and grisly effects that Bleeding Skull says is “guaranteed to make you feel like you’re trapped in a lo-fi psychedelic abyss of fun!” 


In this inexplicably obscure psycho-thriller, a studly sculptor (producer/director/writer/star and Texas building contractor Alan Grant) fears that a devil-worshipping childhood pal is murdering his every new girlfriend. Filmed in the suburbs of Dallas and packed with soft-core sex, scattershot performances, thick regional accents and a WTF? plot twist, it may be the most astounding SOV horror vanity project you’ve never seen.


- Remembering Ricky: With Actor
- Dirtbike Dreams: Executive Producer Tom Naygrow
- Alan Grant Remembers Death By Love Via Video Skype
- Yvonne Aric and Brad Bishop Remember Death By Love Via Video Skype

The Notorious CATHY'S CURSE (1977) makes Blu-ray debut from Severin Films!


The Infamous ‘Canuxploitation’ Classic

Now Fully Restored For The First Time Ever! 

On April 11th, Severin Films will possess the souls of genre fans with the first ever fully restored presentation of Canadian nightmare generator CATHY’S CURSE. Fans can now experience one of the strangest EXORCIST/OMEN/CARRIE-inspired grindhouse hits like never before, transferred in 2k from recently-found film elements and featuring revealing new Extras with long-lost star Randi Allen and producer/director/co-writer Eddy Matalon.

Forget what you’ve seen in blurry bootlegs and crappy budget packs. This first- ever restoration of the depraved Canadian shocker is being hailed as the genre rediscovery of the year: In 1947, a young girl is roasted alive in a car accident. Thirty years later, her grown brother returns to their childhood home with his mentally unstable wife and sweet daughter Cathy. But when the dead aunt’s vengeful spirit possesses the child, it will unleash an unnerving nightmare of creepy mediums, demonic dolls, and plenty of sick ‘70s foul-mouthed moppet mayhem.

- Director’s Cut
- Alternate U.S. Release Cut
- Tricks And Treats: An Interview with Director Eddy Matalon
- Cathy And Mum: Interview with Actress Randi Allen and Costume Designer Joyce Allen
- Audio Commentary on U.S. Cut by BirthMoviesDeath critic Brian Collins and Filmmaker Simon Barrett
- Introduction to Cinematic Void Screening At American Cinematheque by BirthMoviesDeath Critic Brian Collins
- Theatrical Trailer

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


3-Disc Limited Edition BD/DVD/CD

Label: Blue Underground 
Region Code: Region-FREE
Duration: 124 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD Mono 2.0, Dolby Digital Mono 2.0 with optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.66:1)
Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Romina Power, Maria Rohm, Klaus Kinski, Akim Tamiroff, Howard Vernon, Rosalba Neri, Jack Palance

Synopsis: Romina Power (18-year-old daughter of Tyrone Power) stars as Justine, a nubile young virgin cast out of a French orphanage and thrust into a depraved world of prostitution, predatory lesbians, a fugitive murderess (Mercedes McCambridge), bondage, branding, and one supremely sadistic monk (an outrageous performance by Jack Palance). It's a twisted tale of strange desires, perverse pleasures and the ultimate corruption of innocence as told by the Marquis de Sade. JUSTINE is one of the most lavish and bizarre erotic shockers ever made by the notorious Jess Franco (SUCCUBUS), bursting with wanton nudity, sexual perversion, and an all-star cast that also includes Akim Tamiroff (TOUCH OF EVIL), Maria Rohm (EUGENIE) and Klaus Kinski (NOSFERATU) as the Marquis de Sade. Also known as JUSTINE AND JULIET and the heavily-cut DEADLY SANCTUARY, this infamous film is presented completely restored and uncensored in a gorgeous new 4K transfer from the original camera negative!

More Jess Franco in HD will always be a good thing for us lovers of Eurocult and '70s cinema sleaze, praise be to cult movie distributor Blue Underground for bringing one of Franco's most lavish '70s productions to Blu-ray for the first time in North America! The first of Franco's partnership with producer Harry Alan Towers spawned an adaptation of the Marquis de Sade's story of Justine, wherein sisters Justine (Romina Power) and Juliette (Maria Rohm, Venus in Furs) are orphaned after the death of their father. With no money to pay for their education the young women are booted from the convent and sent out into the streets with only a small amount of gold to see them through. The more lascivious sister Juliette takes refuge as a whore at Madame de Buission's brothel where she becomes the lesbian lover of whore Claudine (Rosemary Dexter, Eye in the Labyrinth). The younger and more virginal sister Justine chooses not to live the life of a whore and puts her faith in a priest she meets n the streets, only to be cheated of her gold by the frocked bastard, and so begins her descent into a series of unfortunate depravity and corruption. 

Justine finds shelter as a maid working for an innkeeper named Monsieur du Harpin, but when she refuses his direct orders she is framed for the theft of an amulet and sent to prison as a thief. In prison she encounters an aged murderess named Monsieur Derroches (Mercedes McCambridge, 99 Women) who enlists the young woman's aid to free themselves from the prison prison, which she does, the daring escape involves a fire which burns to the prison ground, killing both guards and prisoners. Once freed Justine is betrayed by Derroches who offers the nubile woman to her lecherous henchman as a reward for their service, she only narrowly escapes the rape when the men begin to fight among themselves, quarrelling over whom should have the honor of deflowering the young woman first.As viewers we are privy to the parallel adventures of her sister Juliette (Rohm), who along with her lover Claudine have murdered Madame de Buission and made off with her gold, but Juliette turns on her lover in a moment of greed, drowning her for her share of the gold. Meanwhile Justine finds herself a servant to the Marquis de Bressac who asks for her help in poisoning his wife, when she refuses the Marquis proceeds to frame her for murder of hs wife, branding Justine with the mark of a murderess on her breast. Afterward the suffering Justine end up at a monastery where she feels she may have finally found salvation, only to realize she's ended up amidst a cult of sex-crazed Monks lead by deviant Father Antonin, actor Jack Palance (The Shape of things to Come)in one of his most crazed performances, and that's no small feat my friends, drunk and slurring his words, chewing-up the scenery like you won't believe. Spotted amongst the cult members are Franco regular Howard Vernon (She Killed In Ecstacy), whom torture the poor young woman, before she escapes their clutches and into the awful hands of fate who continue to deliver blow after blow to the virtuous young woman.In true Sade form those with vice profit from their deviancy while the virginal Justine only finds cruelty and betrayal at every turn, each vignette of her story further worsening her situation as she slips from one corruption to the next. Unfortunately actress Romina Power is a bit too doe-eyed and non-expressive in the role of the tortured Justine, she's truly not as awful as Franco recounts in the Blu-ray supplements, but she is not on par with Rohm, or the revered Soledad Miranda (Vampyros Lesbos) either, though she does exude a certain naive innocence. At times she looks like she might me a be strung-out or otherwise emotionally disengaged. Madman Klaus Kinski (Jack the Ripper) appears in a weird and unnecessary framing device as the imprisoned Marquis de Sade, the white-wigged author who seems to be penning the story of Justine as he paces around his cell looking bored and more than a bit little frustrated. At over 120-minutes long I think the movie is a bit of padded with fluff that could have been excised, but it's always nice to see Kinski in a Eurocult-classic, the guy's face is worth a thousand lunatic word and he exudes madness, even in a wordless role. 

As mentioned previously we have Jack Palance as Father Antonin, on the extras Franco says the actor would start drinking red wine at 7 a.m. and not let up from there, and it shows in his performance, he is unhinged and completely unrestrained. Maria Rohm (Franco's Venus in Furs) doesn't get a lot of screen time but she's solid, I can see why Franco used her more prominently in Eugenie just a few months later, she has a classic old Hollywood beauty about her, but is also sexy and charming.This is a lavish production from Franco and producer Harry Alan Towers with wonderful period costuming and some great locations, with some great lensing from cinematographer Manuel Merino who lensed a few of Franco's finest, notably Vampyros Lesbos. There's also a great symphonic score from Ennio Morricone acolyte Bruno Nicolai (All the Colors of the Darkthat complements the movie with a wonderfully dramatic score with sweeping orchestral compositions. This might mark the beginning of a familiar Sade theme among the movies of Jess Franco, tales of the elite and powerful of society corrupting the innocent and the naive, themes we've seen in How To Seduce a Virgin (1973) and the even more erotic (and x-rated) The Hot Night of Linda (1975), but it was the movies with producer Harry Alan Towers that were the most lavish and beautifully shot. If you're only familiar with Franco's more cash-strapped productions this might be an eye-opener for you, he was a a capable craftsman when give the proper resources and this is proof of that. 

Audio/Video:Marquis de Sade's Justine (1969) arrives on Blu-ray with from Blue Underground a brand new 4K transfer from the original camera negative and the results are outstanding. Grain is nicely managed, colors are vibrant, and there's some wonderful clarity and openness to the image with loads of fine detail accenting the period costuming and the tender flesh, this is a fest for prying eyes. Onto the audio we have a solid English DTS-HD Mono 1.0 track that has a nice fidelity about it, balancing the dubbed-dialogue and the symphonic Bruno Nicolai score very nicely, optional English SDH subtitles are provided.

Blue Underground offer a few informative bonus features, beginning with carrying over the The Perils And Pleasures Of Justine featurette, with interviews with Co-Writer/Director Jess Franco and Producer Harry Alan Towers, Franco goes into the tone of the screenplay, the shooting locations, how this was an expensive production for him at the time and touching on the various cast, including the notoriously drunk Jack Palance, his unhappiness with the casting of Romina Power and her performance, and how he found it rather easy to work with Klaus Kinski, who is famously portrayed as one of the most tyrannical actors of cinema by directors such as Werner Herzog (Aguirre, the Wrath of God) and David Schmoeller (Crawlspace). Franco also speaks about the censorship the movie faced and the various cuts of the film.

There's a new 18-minute interview with author Stephen Thrower on Justine who speaks about the movie and the differences in the source materials and what ended up onscreen, and for someone like myself who is not well-versed in the literary works of Sade I found it very interesting. He also puts the movie into context among Franco's other movies, this being one of his largest budgeted productions at the times, also speaking about the cast of the movie, though he doesn't savage Power's performance quite a much as Franco himself.
Additionally on the disc we have a gallery of 70-images featuring various production stills, international poster artwork, and the video releases. There's also a French language trailer for the movie. separate from the disc we have a 20-page booklet with writing on the film from Thrower adapted from his book "Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco", featuring promotional images and poster art, a CD track listing, and production credits for the movie.  Additionally there's a DVD featuring the movie with the same extras, plus a CD of the Bruno Nicolai score, and a sleeve of reversible artwork featuring the original 2004 Blue Underground DVD artwork and an alternate option.

Special Features: 
- The Perils And Pleasures Of Justine - Interviews with Co-Writer/Director Jess Franco and Producer Harry Alan Towers (20 Mins)
- Stephen Thrower on JUSTINE - Interview with the author of "Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco" (18 Mins) HD
- French Trailer (4 Mins) HD
- Poster and Still Gallery (70 Images) HD
- 20-Page Collectible Booklet includes writing by author Stephen Thrower
- Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD by Bruno Nicolai (27 Tracks, 58 Mins) licensed from Beat Records

Marquis de Sade's Justine (1969) gets a top-notch release from Blue Underground with a fantastic 4K transfer from the original camera negatives, the A/V presentation is one of the best I've seen this year, with some great extras and the added bonus of a Bruno Nicolai score on CD. Franco-philes and Eurocult lovers are in for a real treat, this may not be my favorite Jess Franco movie but this is one of the best Franco releases on Blu-ray to date, on par with Severin's superb Blu-rays of She Killed in Ecstasy and Vampyros Lesbos, it's has been a banner year for Jess Franco in HD.3/5