Monday, February 12, 2024

FRANCO FEBRUARY - DAY 12! BLOODY MOON (1981) (Severin Films Blu-ray Review)

For Day 12 of Franco February we are taking a look back at 
the Severin Films Blu-ray release of Blood Moon (1981), a fun z-grade slasher entry from Euro-sleaze provocateur Jess Franco who did not often stray into gore effects driven slashers, so this is pretty exciting stuff. 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, this is a definite recommend for lovers of lower-tier 80s slashers and the Jess Franco completists out there.

Label: Severin Films
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 81 Minutes
Audio: English LPCM Mono 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Olivia Pascal, Christoph Moosbrugger, Nadja Gerganoff, Alexander Waechter, MarĂ­a 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 some 80's style gore you might not. The trashy film starts 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 rather 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 in the stomach repeatedly. 

Five year later e catch up with Miguel, who  has served his time at the asylum for the criminally insane following the murder of the young woman, being 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, Behind Convent Walls) 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 to, well, pieces, 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 late chain-smoking Jess Franco 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 completists.