Thursday, January 24, 2013

Schmidt Happens

Hey gang. I know I opened up a big can of woops ass by starting Franco Friday up again and then magically dropping off the map after only two weeks. Fear not! For I will be returning to a weekly Jess Franco delivery system soon. The thing is, my wife and I have been dealing with some heavy stuff (like a major family crisis). When things settle down, I promise to return with all kinds of things: Jess Franco-related and otherwise. Thanks for your patience.

But until then, I found something funny. Way back in 2006 or so, I reviewed a Jess Franco film over at Doomed Moviethon. I was sent a screener and shucks-howdy, I was not impressed. You can check out my review of Snakewoman right here. At one point, I talk about a bonus film on the disc featuring a "washed up" Lina Romay. Woops! That was harsh. Lina baby, you were never washed up. I'm fucking washed up. Take care, y'all.

If you're really bored, check out my new band: GYROJETS. We don't have any songs yet but I have a sampler of things to come.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hello! This is the Doomed Show #26

Good morning, my friends. After a bit of a hiatus due to illness and holiday malaise, Brad and I have returned to the airwaves with a new episode of Hello! This is the Doomed Show. To get back into the swing of things, we tackle a huge list of recently seen horror films and then go over our top 10 horror films we saw in 2012. Dats it. Dats all. Enjoy!

Check out the new episode here.

And don't forget about the archive of past episodes!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Franco Friday #35: Erotikill

Franco Friday #35: Erotikill

Two weeks in a row? I hope this means I’m back into the swing of things. I’ve had Female Vampire in my pile of Franco for a long, long time. After a few aborted attempts to review it, I gave up. Then some kind soul put the VHS version, called Erotikill up on Youtube (sorry, Redemption, your Blu-ray is not on my shortlist). When I realized that this version was over 30 minutes shorter than the Female Vampire cut, well, I just had to go for it. Haven’t I seen enough of these extended lesbian and simulated bonking scenes? Here’s a hint: YES! So, dear reader, here is me taking the sting out and just pretending that this is the only version available.

AKA Female Vampire
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Lina Romay, Jack Taylor, Alice Arno, Monica Swinn, Jess Franco, Anita Watican
72 minutes (VHS version)

The Countess Irina Karlstein (played by Lina Romay) walks out of the mist, eyes sunken, breasts not sunken, wearing only a belt and a cape. The camera zooms to her PUBIC REGION then back up to her face. Then the Countess proceeds to walk into the camera lens. Poetry? Comedy? All I know is that an actress couldn’t ask for a better entrance than that. She goes to a farm in this getup, seduces a simpleton, and bites his neck. His strangely guttural cry can be heard miles away by Baron von Rathony (played by the brooding mustache of Jack Taylor). Suddenly, the Countess flaps her cape and flies away. Scree! Scree! Woosh!

We are briefly introduced to Inspector Idiot and Dr. Robertson (played by Jess Franco). He tells the inspector that the murder victim was killed during orgasm and was drained of blood and semen. Gee, I thought the Countess only bit that dude’s neck. She’s amazing! It’s almost like this version of the film is missing something. Meanwhile, back at the hotel, we see that this lady vampire likes to sunbathe, in the nude? No, actually fully clothed. Haven’t you read your vampire lore?

So my favorite scene of this entire movie happens when Anna (played by Anna Watican), an intrepid reporter, approaches the Countess for an interview. Of course, she agrees and they go sit in a hotel room to talk (one-sided, of course). For what feels like hours (oh God, I wish!), Anna interviews the mute vampire. This is seriously the best interview of a mute character ever filmed. Next, the Countess writhes around on a bed while her mute servant (good old Luis Barboo) smiles, appreciating every moment. The Countess decides to kill the hotel masseuse and she hypnotizes him by flashing her vagina at him over and over and over and over and over.

Frustrated by trying to convince Inspector Idiot that vampires exist, Dr. Roberts meets up with Dr. Orloff. He’s the blind son of an old colleague, eh? Very interesting. The Countess shows up in Anna’s hotel room and licks her lips and touches herself (while fully clothed) for a while, driving Anna mad with desire. Then she leaves Anna horny, totally unfulfilled, and crying in torment. Ha ha! She comes back after a costume change and then kills Anna. That makes everything all better, doesn’t it?

The Baron finally meets the Countess. He asks her if she will one day take him with her behind the mist. I drop my pen (what did you think I was holding?) and just stare at the screen, entranced. This movie just got to me. Next, Alice Arno and Monica Swinn magically appear in the film, playing Yahtzee, and waiting for The Countess to appear. She does and the two of them show her just how they treat their guests. Nakedness, shackles, and a very thick, sharp switch are utilized in their games. After some bloody whipping, the Countess calls bullshit, hypnotizes Arno, and then drinks Swinn dry. All the while, the soundtrack drops out, making the whole scene very uncomfortable; like it was totally unplanned.

The Baron admits that he has a mega-crush on the Countess. They kiss and she’s like “No! Go away! You’re too vanilla. And I’ll drink your mustache!” Look, she’s mute, I have to ad lib. They kiss again, they screw, and she kills him. She gets a little bummed out and tells Dr. Orloff that she wants all vampires to go away forever or something. Then she takes a bath in some bloody bathwater, writhes around, and then arches her back in order to shove her PUBIC REGION into the air repeatedly. Dr. Robertson shows up, kills her manservant, and then watches her drown in the bloody bathwater. Maybe. They show her walking around in the mist some more so who the fuck knows?

I don’t know what cracks me up more, the barely competent as well as successfully hilarious dubbing or the Peanuts-like jazz that plays through some of these scenes. The rest of the score is snippets of haunting melodies and classical yearnings. As for the dubbing, everyone involved is reading off the most banal claptrap ever written without missing a beat. The dude who dubbed Jack Taylor is the worst though. His accent is almost impenetrable. Lina Romay is lucky that her character is mute but not even she can escape the cheesed out voice-acting. Her internal monologues are delivered by a melodramatic robot.

I’m not going to lie to you, I love Erotikill. It has a few slow spots but I fell deeply for this very flawed gem. All of the shit that is wrong with this version just works perfectly for me. Lina Romay was very amateurish as an actress at this point in her career but she was also a mesmerizing weirdo (as always) so this film is perfect for her with the muteness and the nudeness. Her breasts almost steal the movie. I can wholeheartedly recommend Erotikill to anyone who likes watching Jess Franco movies with all of the boning cut out and presented in a pitifully cropped full frame transfer. One day, if I ever give a double damn, I might sit down and give the Female Vampire cut another go.

“You can well listen: I am quite sane. And I state that this murder is surrounded by a mystery that is not easy to elucidate.”

“But what you say is more than terrifying. The demons must be killed. And it must be forever.”

Friday, January 4, 2013

Franco Friday #34: The Obscene Mirror

Franco Friday #34: The Obscene Mirror

In 2011, for 33 weeks in a row, I reviewed a film directed by Jess Franco every Friday (minus one guest review). I decided to stop, mainly because I was burnt out and also, I felt like I had run out of Franco films that I wanted to see. Well, two things have happened: 1) I found some more of the duder’s films that I actually want to watch and 2) I had a dream about Jess Franco. In the dream, I went to Mr. Franco’s house and I was showing him a VHS of one of his most obscure films. Instead of autographing the tape, he invited me to go monster hunting with him. And there you go. So how many more Franco Fridays can you expect to see? I really don’t know. Let’s see how many more of these I can stand- oops, I meant to say enjoy.

Please note: While trying to find a copy of The Other Side of the Mirror, I found this version of the same film called The Obscene Mirror. The films are quite different in plot and one contains porno inserts and totally unrelated characters. The film reviewed here is the dang porno version. So whenever The Other Side of the Mirror surfaces, I will review it as well.

The Obscene Mirror
Directed by Jess Franco
1973 (released in 1975)
Starring Emma Cohen, Howard Vernon, Robert Woods, Simon Andreau, Alice Arno, Lina Romay
87 minutes (porn version)

Annette (played by Emma Cohen) is about to marry her fiancée, Arthur, when her sister Marie (Lina Romay) kills herself with a sword. Annette calls off the wedding, abandons her needy father (Howard Vernon), and runs off to make a life for herself in the world. Unfortunately, Annette and her sister had some kind of an incestuous thing going on, so she is now plagued by visions of her dead sister HAVING GRAPHIC SEXUAL RELATIONS. To support herself, Annette plays piano and smokes dope in a jazz bar. She is being romanced by a creepo trumpeter named Bill (Robert Woods).

Marie (from the grave and/or evil mirror) commands Annette to kill or play with vaginas. I’m confused on that point. During a performance at the bar, Annette has a vision where she kills Bill (funny, right?). In an indescribably hilarious moment, Annette comes to and the band asks her to play something upbeat. She flops and flails around at the piano, laughing while everyone smiles and snaps their fingers. Brilliant.

Next, Annette starts dating Michel (played by Simon Andreau) AKA Mr. Corny Car Horn, a director who finds her inspiring or something. She has another vision of her sister’s body double fucking someone and then she stabs Michel to death in the theater –which is actually a surprisingly creepy scene (the stabbing not the fucking). After losing (and possibly murdering) two lovers, Annette decides to kill herself. Right after she slits her wrists, her good friend Clara (Alice Arno) shows up and calls 911 (according to the dodgy subtitles).

After she recovers from the suicide attempt, Annette and Clara go off to the seaside. It is there that she meets Pipo (played by Phillippe Lemaire), a Class 5 Midlife Crisis. Despite the fact that his wife(?) Tina (Francoise Brion) is like right there, Pipo starts putting the moves on Annette. Even though Pipo is disgusting, Annette is totally into him. WTF? They get it on and, of course, Marie is screwing someone in a vision and telling her to kill. And she totally stabs the shit out of Pipo. When she comes out of her murderous reverie, Annette flips out and takes off in a little yellow car. So here it is, the climax of the movie, and it is genitals. Big genitals on the screen.

Jess Franco, you fucking sellout. No wonder I quit reviewing this shit. I almost feel bad for Franco but the presence of Lina Romay makes me think that the alternate cut is at least partially his fault. As for the XXX inserts, they are just from some random porno flick. There is a good movie buried in all this mess but any chance of atmosphere, subtlety, and beauty is squashed out by droopy vagina lips and a big old dick. Not even the lovely and excellent Emma Cohen can save this one. Hopefully, this film will one day appear in its original form: The Other Side of the Mirror. As for The Obscene Mirror, avoid at all costs.

“Life is strange. One tries to fly but ends up falling back in the same shit.”