Friday, February 11, 2011

Franco Friday #3: Venus in Furs

Franco Friday #3

Welcome to the third Friday of- VENUS IN FURS WILL BE SMILIN'- Whoa! What was that? Anyway, welcome to- VENUS IN FURS WILL BE SMILIN'- Damn it all, what the shit- VENUS IN FURS WILL BE SMILIN'- Okay, I get it, jeez! Are you done yet? VENUS IN FURS WILL BE SMILIN! Look people, it's the third Friday in the Franco Friday series and I'm here to examine a little film by our man Franco. It's a biography about trumpet maker Maxwell Venus who developed the silicone spit valve and- VENUS IN FURS WILL BE SMILIN'- That's it, I'm outta here. Laters.

Venus in Furs
Directed by Jess Franco
86 minutes
Starring James Darren, Barbara McNair, Maria Rohm, Klaus Kinski, Dennis Price

A man named Jimmy (played by James Darren) rushes out to the beach and digs up his trumpet. No really, that’s how the movies starts. Moments later, the body of a dead woman washes up on the beach. Jimmy knows her but he can’t quite remember how or from where. It all starts to come back to him. Her name was Wanda (Maria Rohm) and we see that she was this happening chick who was killed (maybe accidentally) by a gang of rich sexual deviants (played by Klaus Kinski, Dennis Price, and others) for their pleasure. Before you can say “Hey, nice wig!”, Wanda is back from the grave and is making Jimmy crazy. Jimmy’s girlfriend Rita (Barbara McNair), a nightclub singer, is not too pleased about all this but she’s pretty understanding. Wanda starts hunting down the jerks who brought about her demise and is killing them with her obtuse yet sexy methods.

The moment it begins, you know that Venus in Furs is going to be a lush and sensual feast for the senses. There is something so magical about this film. Its slow motion, dreamy, sexy, and hallucinatory vibe is instantly hypnotic. This film will not let you go until it is done with you. Even the soundtrack is magic. There are several jazz numbers, brassy lounge pieces, and even some slinky freakouts stashed all over the film.

Everyone in this movie is perfect in their role. I really like James Darren in this movie. He plays this totally hopeless schmuck who can’t catch a break. His character is just someone for Wanda to leech off of and yet he’s totally awesome. And speaking of Wanda, Maria Rohm (of The Bloody Judge) is simply amazing as the revenge-seeking undead sexy lady. Let’s not forget good old Klaus Kinski playing a sheik of some sort, what more could you really ever want from a film? From life?

Also on hand to really class things up is Barbara McNair as Rita, a nightclub singer so popular that she can just lie on the floor and sing. No seriously, Rita, you’re too good to stand. Did I say “class things up”? I did and of course, I was talking about veteran actor Dennis Price. His character’s name is Percival Kapp. So awesome. I really appreciated the presence of Adolfo Lastretti from Umberto Lenzi’s Spasmo as the detective hot on Wanda’s cold heels.

Movies as sexy and as fun as Venus in Furs should be illegal but since they’re not (well, they’re not in the good ole US of A anyway), you gotta check this out. It’s got some whipping, some sex, some stock footage, some none too subtle necrophilia, a cheesy theme song (VENUS IN FURS WILL BE SMILIN’), an untrustworthy narrator, and even a car chase. This is how I stopped worrying and learned to love the Franco. Hmm, that was pretty lame, wasn’t it? This film has nothing to with Dr. Strangelove. Why would I even go there? Damn it, I am such a goof. Just watch this frickin’ movie.


“We escaped from the real world into a dream world that I never wanted to end.”


  1. Awesome! Yet again, I don't know it, but must see it like NOW! Damn!

    "This is how I stopped worrying and learned to love the Franco."

    It's a great feeling, isn't it? I just saw the worst film I've yet seen by him (Cannibals), but still crave for's so damn addictive.

  2. Yes! I wasn't expected a lot when I sat down to watch this but it truly is one of the great Eurotrash films of the era, and watchable in a way many are not. Great review!

  3. Sleaze never looked so expensively good or classy!

    And thanks for putting that damn theme song into my head!


  4. @MLP - I was thinking how I should have been way more into Franco years ago but I honestly think this is the perfect time for me to get into him. I think I could handle some of his worst films right about now. Maybe even Cannibals, damn it.

    @Will - The stock footage of Carnivale threw me off. I was like um... What is this supposed to be? So glad I gave this film another chance.

    @Jenn - It's seriously one of the clunkiest dang theme songs ever but so intoxicating and lovable.

  5. Another spot-on review: that theme song - no, that single line - was also stuck in my head for WEEKS after the first viewing. Some enterprising toothpaste company should buy the rights and turn it into a jingle...