Friday, April 1, 2011

Franco Friday #10: Bloody Moon

Oh crap, look at this! I can't believe I've made it to the tenth Franco Friday. Hey look, it feels like an accomplishment to me, okay?!? So I am 1/5 of the way on my journey towards (possibly) understanding this often confounding and always weird director. All right. Here we gooooo! *burp*

Franco Friday #10

Bloody Moon
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Olivia Pascal, Christoph Moosbrugger, Nadja Gerganoff, Alexander Waechter, Jasmin Losensky
90 minutes

After donning a mask at a disco party and murdering a girl in her bed, the hideously scarred Miguel (played by Alexander Waechter), is put away in a mental institution. Years later, he gets out and is put in the care of his ever so slightly incestuous sister, Manuela (Nadja Gerganoff). Manuela runs a boarding school for language study students. She is constantly at odds with her mother, the Countess (Maria Rubio), who still has control of the finances and who constantly makes sure that Manuela knows her place (which is somewhere between shit and dirt).

But it’s a new semester at the boarding school and new student, Angela (played by Olivia Pascal), is ready to learn! Of course, she ends up in villa #13, where Miguel claimed the life of that girl, but who cares, right? She’s got her eyes on Antonio (Peter Exacoustos), the super stud and master of tennis. Before you can say “Hola, me gusto la sexy Antonio!”, a crazed killer is running around the school and murdering all the lovely ladies. Be careful, Angela, because everyone is a freakin’ suspect, especially Paco, the very special groundskeeper.

Bloody Moon completely caught me off guard. I had heard from a few people that it was good and I had heard from many, many people that it was terrible. What I found is a beautifully shot, bloody, and wildly eccentric Euro-slasher. It instantly won me over with the great locations and wide-eyed craziness (especially of Olivia Pascal). I guess people don’t like this flick because it doesn’t feel like Jess Franco. His erotic wistfulness and jazzy spaced out vibes are not here but there’s still lots of style, sleaze, and atmosphere. The fact that he could make a film that doesn’t feel like one of his films amazes me.

The cinematography of Bloody Moon is sharp, colorful, and just plain gorgeous. The man on the camera this time around is Juan Soler, who worked with Franco on roughly 45 films during this period (1980-1987) of the director's career. If you like fuzz guitar and synthesizers that can peel the skin off your ears, then you’ll dig the soundtrack from German composer Gerhard Heinz. He even incorporates freakin' flutes into the horror synth and strings and goes so far as to pair them with some disco fabulousness. It doesn't get much better than that.

As for the comedy, this flick has it all: redonkulous dubbing, irrational character stupidity, a pointless incestuous subplot, and terrible fashions. Did I mention the subnormal groundskeeper, Paco? The guy’s very presence in the film is just plain wrong. During one of the youthful gatherings in the movie, the teens are dancing to a bizarre 50s style rock song with a stern voice commanding you to “Shake your baby!” There is also a scene where Angela is nearly killed by a big fiberglass boulder.

This may be the first and last time that I approach a film by Jess Franco and instantly find my comfort zone. At risk of sounding close-minded and totally square, I really love just digging on this guy’s more direct (and less pornographic) films. I am constantly seeking out Euro-horror films to perpetuate “The Vibe” (as discussed here) and Bloody Moon provided me with that feeling big time. The death scenes are great, the final girl is a friggin’ trip (or seemingly on one in some scenes), there’s plenty of nudity, and Bloody Moon also features the best use of a granite saw I’ve ever seen in a horror flick. Oh and as an added bonus for you giallo fans out there, the killer does don a pair of black gloves in this one. How could anyone not love this film?

“Dream about me, Angela. You’ll sleep better.”

Please note: There is some snake abuse in this one. An underpaid snake actor gives his life for a shock sequence. It’s pointless, lame, but is over quickly. However, if any of you out there are sensitive to animal violence, you should steel yourselves to a certain scene. However, if you hate snakes then you’ll love the garden sheers on snake action!


  1. I still have to read a few of the recent Franco Friday features, I am incredibly busy lately and simply behind my usual blog reading, but will read them and I'm glad you're still doing them!

    So, your 10th film. I know about 25 or so. So, together we've watched 35 films by the same director and there isn't a single one yet that we've BOTH watched. Pretty amazing. Would this be possible with any other director?

    I started re-watching some of my first Franco films and without exception liked them FAR better now that I know a bit more about Franco the man and the director. It's still quite a ride.


  2. @MLP - Eventually, I will catch up and hopefully surpass your 25. There isn't another director I can think of who has this many films (that I actually want to watch). My goal for the Franco Friday series remains 52. Going to watch more this weekend. Thanks for encouragement!

  3. I only saw it the once but I liked it quite a bit too. It's the one Franco film I can see myself going back to, not just because I love '80s slasher movies, but because it's his most coherent film that I've seen so far. I also dig the score a lot because it's not the type of music you'd normally hear in a slasher movie. Ironically, Franco hates this film... and the score. Go figure.

  4. I enjoy Bloody Moon very much. Very nice, colourful cinematography. And that brat run over by a car had me cheering. It's nice when Jess makes an effort to produce a normal, accessible film.

  5. @Aaron and Alex - I was definitely in my comfort zone here.

  6. Overall BLOODY MOON is a silly but fun slasher that pulls elements from Halloween (killer POV camera), Friday the 13th (offing promiscuous girls) and a few others but injects a weird Euro-vibe that makes it pretty entertaining. But, to give the devil his due, the film does actually have a pretty interesting mystery driving the story. Adding to the good time is a truly pathetic 'cat scare' and the handmade English signs around the school are ineptly funny.

  7. Funny how the producers hired Franco for a Halloween rip-off and forgot that Franco just can't help being Franco.

    I didn't expect much (Thrower dismissed it in the Video Nasties DVD), but quite liked it! For a group of schoolgirls on quasi-vacation there was not enough gratuitous nudity for this here Franco-head, but that was more than made up for with all those weird twists. Good one!


  8. I think I need to get my head examined:

    I just watched the bit about Bloody Moon again and Stephen Thrower LOVES the film. On behalf of my fucked up memory: sorry for the wrong info. D'oh!