Friday, July 8, 2011

Franco Friday #24: Lorna the Exorcist

Franco Friday #24

Okay, what the shit, man? I really don’t want to do this anymore. I am at the stage where I just dread every Franco film I have lined up to watch. I am so sick of this fucking guy and his stupid bullshit. I’m not talking about the out of focus camera, the slack-jawed idiocy of the dubbing, or the constant recycling of plots. It’s the sex; the endless softcore (bordering on hardcore) sex. I hate it, I’m sick of it. I hate what it’s doing to my blog. I feel like a sleazy porno freak. This whole 52 Franco Fridays deal was a terrible idea. Remember when I used to talk about horror movies? Gialli? Yeah, me neither.

Lorna the Exorcist
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Pamela Stanford, Guy Delorme, Lina Romay, Jacqueline Laurent, Howard Vernon
100 minutes

19 years ago, Patrick Mariel sold his unborn daughter to Lorna (Pamela Stanford) for wealth and unimaginable sexual pleasure. It’s like that old saying: A man who sells his daughter to a witch is a son of a bitch. What? You don’t know that one? It’s pretty famous. Well, his daughter Linda (Lina Romay) is all grown up and Lorna is coming to collect. She gives Linda all of her mystical sex powers or something. Crabs crawling out of vaginas!

The score for Lina the Exorcist is incredible. The slinky, sexy, fuzzed out, and sad guitar makes me feel more than a little anxious. The dubbing is awful (so of course, I love it) and this movie is too long. There are some long-winded gambling scenes and dull disco dancing scenes but what I’m really tired of is all the endless softcore porn on display. Sorry folks, it’s just boring. The plot is darkly ironic and breathtakingly cruel and the damned characters are fascinating. But these things don’t stand a chance when the movie just keeps going back to the sex over and over and over again.

Pamela Stanford again! Yay! I just saw and loved her in Blue Rita but now I never want to see her again. In this film her eye shadow looks like it was applied with Homer Simpson’s makeup shotgun. She looks like a Ziggy Stardust disco demon. She looks like something Abba threw up. And her character’s full name is Lorna Green. Seriously? Is this a veiled reference to Lorne Greene of TV’s Bonanza? Man, I am freaking out! My favorite character other than Lorna is Marianne (played by Jacqueline Laurent), Patrick’s poor schmuck of a wife who gets a really bum deal in this deal with the devil.

Atmosphere? It’s got it. Weirdness? It’s got it. Slow motion bizarreness? Yeah, it’s got that too. But who cares? I don’t. I have to warn you: don’t listen to me and don’t trust this review. I am not myself right now but that’s my fault. This director and I are going through a rough patch. Lorna the Exorcist is nothing but endless shots of vaginas and bush. Oh and there’s a bloody dildo. This might be a good and challenging movie but I can’t help but wish this was the clothed version. So now I like censorship? That’s Jess Franco’s (and Lina Romay's vagina's) fault. This is one extreme and depressing piece of cinematic insanity. And although the ending is awesome, I can’t recommend this to anyone but the most dedicated Franco fans. I know because I’m not a Franco fan and watching this film made me want to kick someone’s face in.

Here's a much better review.

“Good evening, Patrick. I want your daughter.”


  1. I was similarly disappointed in this film but I bought the DVD anyway because I thought maybe it would grow on me, since so many Franco fans seem to like it. I have to say, I much preferred Sinner.

  2. @Ryan - I feel like Franco's sickness got in the way on this one. This could of been a perfect film. There is so much magic here but it's all for nothing. I may snap and do a fan edit of Lorna the Exorcist.

  3. Hey Richard--

    Thanks for the linkage!

    It sounds as if you and Franco need a break! Have a good weekend.

  4. @Hans - No problem at all. I was really frustrated while writing this thing and my friend Brad mentioned that you had reviewed Lorna too. After reading yours I was like 'well, here's someone who makes a good case for this film'. So I linked ya. The next few Franco films are going to be ones that I want to watch. Checking out the ones I know nothing about and the ones I'm dreading watching just aren't cutting it right now. Next week will be more of a sure shot. I will have a good weekend, damn it! You too, duder.

  5. "Lorna the Exorcist is nothing but endless shots of vaginas and bush."

    I'm glad someone said it. This (admittedly nice looking) edition of 'Lorna' appeared to be received in cult cinema circles as some kind of lost masterpiece,'s really not. As noted above, 'Sinner' the better film.

    I feel the worst thing about Jess Franco is Lina Romay (and that's probably not Ms. Romay's fault).

  6. @Davo - I really dig Lina. When she is clothed (yeah I know, right?), I find her mesmerizingly sexy. I also like her acting. Unfortunately, things, more often than not, go completely off the rails when Romay has a starring role. I think I reached my limit with her and Franco during Macumba Sexual and then it just went over that limit with Women Without Innocence. Now I'm in a blind red raving rage every time I see more of Lina than I care to. But then again, if it hadn't been her in all those Franco movies, it would have been someone else.

  7. But I do wonder, Richard: if Franco had cast a range of actresses in these roles, would the overall standard of the films have been improved somewhat? He might have provided more flavour by stumbling across another Christina von Blanc, Britt Nichols, Maria Rohm, Montserrat Prous, Marie Liljedahl or, dare I say it, Soledad Miranda.

    When one reflects upon the varied range of female leads that populate Franco's films prior to Romay, one can't help but sigh. I understand that budgetary constraints likely informed Franco's casting choices at a certain point in the 1970s, but 'Sexual Story of O' from 1984 provides one example of the somewhat different tone possible when Franco actively sought to move away from his usual stock players (even if, from interviews, he was largely unhappy with the result).

  8. @Davo - You make a great point. For someone who was as obsessively creative as Franco, you'd think he would crave the chance to work with more people, especially the lovely ladies.