8. SPECIAL COVER WITH LIMITED NUMBERS
Robert Monell & Alex Mendíbil Blog Alliance
From left: actor Dan Van Husen, Producer Carsten Frank confer with Jess Franco on the Torremolinos set of KILLER BARBYS VS DRACULA in 2001. Spaghetti Western regulars Aldo Sambrell and Peter Martell, as Dracula, are also featured in the Horror-Musical-Comedy, a delightful tribute to Walt Disney by way of Bram Stoker, Jess Franco style. We’ll be revisiting this film here in the future. One of my personal favorites of his Shot on Video productions of the 21st Century….
|Cinematographic Process||Betacam SP|
This Gothic-Sexploitation effort, from prolific Austrian actor-producer-director Adrian Hoven, is definitely Jess Franco related, even if one wonders to what extent JF contributed to the original story idea, as is reported by some sources (OBSESSION: THE FILMS OF JESS FRANCO, THE MANACOA FILES), but it does have some elements which will be very familiar to those up on his filmography.
Released in July 1968, this affair plays like a crude version of the kind of elegant hallucination which Jess Franco turned out with NECRONOMICON/Succubus (1967), another tale of wealthy hedonists going the way of all flesh.
Besides being written, produced and directed by Hoven, under the beard Percy G. Parker, CASTLE.. features Franco regular Howard Vernon as the mad, vengeance seeking Earl of Saxon and the evil eyed Michel Lemoine as the sauve rapist, Baron Brack. Most importantly it features Lemoine’s then-wife Janine Reynaud as a enthusiastic upscale party girl. Reynaud and Lemoine would play key roles in Franco’s own trilogy he earlier made for Hoven’s Aquila Films, NECRONOMICON, KISS ME MONSTER and SADISTEROTICA. Reynaud’s disturbing presence as the main character of NECRONOMICON in particular adds much to that film’s potent atmosphere.
By the time CASTLE was made Franco was on his way to work for producer Harry Alan Towers on the production of THE BLOOD OF FU MANCHU (1968). This German production, had developed, according to Alain Petit in THE MANACOA FILES* partially from a conversation between Jess Franco, who suggested that Howard Vernon play Cagliostro rather than Saxon, with Hoven, who went his own way with the project.
The themes of decadence, rape and revenge can be found in Franco’s own NECRNOMICON, which is shot in a similarly soft focus style by the same DP. Both OBSESSION: THE FILMS OF JESS FRANCO and Petit’s study credit Franco with the original idea. The credits below are based on both the credits in Petit’s book and OBSESSION.**
8. SPECIAL COVER WITH LIMITED NUMBERS
This is now available from REDEMPTION FILMS. It looks like there will be a delay in a planned review but I hope to have a guest review up asap.
Coming Oct 4, 2016 on Blu-ray from Redemption Films. Features: French language with English subtitles, audio commentary by Tim Lucas, alternate covered footage and original theatrical trailers. The commentary and alternate footage promise to be of special interest. I also hope the original credit sequence is restored.
The 1hr 22 m announced runtime is several minutes longer than any version I’ve seen. I also hope they do a future HD release of DRACULA CONTRA FRANKENSTEIN at some point. I’ve always considered DRACULA CONTRA FRANKENSTEIN, DAUGHTER OF DRACULA and EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN as a sort of unofficial monster rally trilogy, Jess Franco style. Howard Vernon as Dracula, in similar garb and coffin bound in DOD, in the first two and the lumbering silver skinned Frankenstein (Fernando Bilbao) in two separate films, are unique, outre creations, which carry a distinct Jess Franco imprint. These are not Universal’s or Hammer’s…
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Here’s the cover for the upcoming Jess Franco Blu-ray collection. This can be preordered at http://www.doradofilms.com
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