Friday, July 5, 2013

Franco Friday #43 - Eugenie... The Story of Her Journey into Perversion

Franco Friday #43 - Eugenie... The Story of Her Journey into Perversion

In 1970, film fans all over the world cried out for a film and Jess Franco delivered it. Maybe that happened, I don’t know. After a very traumatic move into a new apartment, I can finally get back to old Jess. Finish unpacking? Nah. Watch trash? Yah! Dang it all, I waited way too long to get to this film! I am freakin’ psyched, yo!

Eugenie… The Story of Her Journey into Perversion
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Maria Rohm, Marie Liljedahl, Jack Taylor, Christopher Lee, Paul Muller
84 minutes

Very few of Jess Franco’s films open as ostentatiously as Eugenie: The Story. A young woman in a see-through nightie is reading a book and we see in her mind’s eye, a sexy and blasphemous ceremony based on the works of Marquis De Sade. She closes the book and goes back to the real world. Her name is Maria (played by Maria Rohm) and she’s a perv. Eugenie (Marie Liljedahl) is Maria’s young friend. She is an angry teenager living at home with her parents who… just don’t understand. What Eugenie doesn’t know is that her father (Paul Muller) is having an affair with Maria.

Maria demands payment for her sexual favors from Eugenie’s father. Her price: Eugenie. She wants Eugenie to come and spend the weekend at her island. Of course, he says yes! Next thing you know, Eugenie is on her way out to the island where God knows what awaits her. Maria’s partner in crime is another terrible perv and super creep named Mirvel (played by Jack Taylor). He is Maria's stepbrother and I don't trust this fucking guy at all.

Maria is going to teach Eugenie how to be a woman (with Mirvel watching with his filthy eyes) but really they are going to sacrifice her to some crazy cult. Oh boy, this is going to be sleazy. To get this party started, they drug her. The only people on the island with souls are the mute servant girl Therese (played by Uta Dahlberg) and Augustin (Anney Kablan) who used to be one of Maria’s playthings. He is now her gardener, boat driver, and guitar player. Mirvel can’t wait for the sacrifice, he just has to rape Eugenie now while she’s under the influence of the drugs they slipped her. Maria convinces Eugenie that her rape was just a dream. Thanks, bitch!

Some freaks, led by Christopher Lee, come to the island dressed like the Ren-Fest got out early. After a nice meal, Maria and Mirvel get Eugenie to smoke some funny cigarettes. She gets wasted and things start getting freaky. And I mean freaky like whips, chains, and tools a blacksmith would use! This time when Eugenie wakes up, she is haunted by the horrors of what happened to her. But where are the marks? Was it a dream? What sexy horrors are in store for Eugenie now that she is completely at the mercy of these nasty weirdos? Will someone please save this naive chick before she descends into a sadomasochistic hell?!?!

I have found yet another intoxicating and naughty gem in the Jess Franco canon. Eugenie… The Story of Her Journey into Perversion (not to be confused with Eugenie De Sade) was right in front of my face the whole time but I just kept putting it off, until now. This is some well-made, high class trash, my friends. Maria Rohn and Marie Liljedahl are so unbelievably hot that my glasses fogged up. As usual with Franco, the camera lingers on their bodies to the point of abstraction. This over-the-top film is painfully stylish and seems like it is filled with horny ghosts.

The musical score by Hans Gunther Leonhardt and the always reliable, Bruno Nicolai, is awesome! The pacing is great too and I was never bored. This film is also lushly and lasciviously lensed by Manuel Merino. But as beautiful as the scenery and the cinematography are, they can’t hide the undercurrent of dread running through the beginning of this film. They also set up the viewer for a fall when acts of sadism at Eugenie’s expense explode on the screen. This film is pure cruelty mixed with style and feverish desire. Highly recommended.

“No modern home is complete without the works of the Marquis.”


  1. Glad you finally saw this one, Richard. Definitely Top 5 Franco in my book!

    Although Maria Rohn(m) is completely fine, I can't help but imagine Rosalba Neri in the role - although to Franco's credit the casting here provides an enjoyable contrast to Rohn(m)'s rather grating ingenue in '99 Women'.

    Did any of this title's notorious lens/focus issues distract you at all?

  2. @Davo - You know? I watched this on Youtube so I thought that the out of focus bits were just compression issues. They might have bothered me if I had been watching the DVD. Were they mainly exterior shots that were out of focus?

  3. If I recall correctly, the focus 'issues' are most problematic during the earlier rape sequences (where the screen is bathed in murky red) - which has led some to suggest that it was entirely intentional on Franco's part (i.e. used to indicate psychic panic, erotic danger, etc.). Of course, Franco's formal eccentricities (to put it nicely) are a perpetual can of worms with his critics, but I give him the benefit of the doubt with 'Eugenie: The Story...' as it's a very accomplished film otherwise.

    Definitely worth picking up on DVD, Richard. The BU release upscales nicely, if I remember.

  4. @Davo - Thanks for the advice and knowledge droppin', duder. I will definitely pick this up on DVD.