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LES DEMONS: X RATED KULT “Director’s Cut” re-evaluated.

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I’ve changed my mind about the 2003 “Director’s Cut” of LES DEMONS. For me, it just doesn’t work on reconsideration. The added cues from other Franco films (BARBED WIRE DOLLS, etc) go against the grain of the film and were a bad idea, gratuitous additions when the original scoring, selected by Gerard Kikione, wasimpressively appropriate for the early 1970s “Acid Rock” instrumentation illustrating the “nun’s-in-heat” scenario. They distract instead of enhancing or counterpointing the action.

The intermediate length is also unsatifactory, given how well the full 114m version plays. Jess Franco had previously said that was his preferred cut and he should have left it alone instead of rescoring and recutting it. It may have been done to recopyright the film, but it doesn’t work as either an epic or a reasonable abridgement.

Here is my vintage review in which I defended this cut, but I have now changed my mind.

An elderly woman tortured and burned as a witch hurls a curse at Lord Jeffreys (Cihangir Gaffari) promising that she will be avenged by her daughters. Kathleen (Anne Libert) and Margaret (Britt Nichols) are convent bound young women whom Lord Jeffreys is informed are the spawn of the exectuted witch. He sends out Lady de Winter (Karin Field) and Renfield (Alberto Dalbes), the girl’s real father, to find them and bring them back to face the Inquistion.

More nudity, lesbian interludes and torture than Franco’s first film about Lord Jeffreys, THE BLOODY JUDGE, LES DEMONS is now available on an essential 2 disc box set from X RATED KULT DVD. Disc 1 contains the longest 114 [118m on the 2014 REDEMPTION Blu-ray release] minute version with German and French language options, original trailer, alternate scenes and other bonus materials. This version, presented in a colorful 2.35:1 transfer finally reveals the films as the Sadean epic that it is: post-modern erotic Fantastique which comments on the Inquisition and nunsploitation genres of that era (cf THE DEVILS). Franco’s use of the widescreen ratio is simply stunning, with an impressive use of multiple fields of action and the colors are gorgeous. All the sex, nudity and violence is present in this uncut print.

Disc 2 contians a new “Director’s Cut”, reedited and rescored by Franco in 2003. He replaces the anachronistic electric rock score of Raiteux with synthesized cues from Daniel White-Jess Franco scores for GEMIDOS DE PLACER, BARBED WIRE DOLLS and other titles. This constitutes a fascinating, self-reflexive, musical commentary along with a new Spanish language track featuring Jess Franco himself dubbing Howard Vernon’s character! At 101 minutes it cuts Doris Thomas’ masturbation scene in the long verions (over 3 mn!) to 1mn and also loses some expository scenes but still has an epic scope. The print looks slightly crisper and more colorful than the longer 114 mn version but the Spanish dubbing is technically limited and somewhat hollow with a “studio” ambiance. As with many Franco “alternates”, it consistutes a separate new film in itself. Onscreen title: LAS POSEIDAS DEL DEMONIO.

Finally, there is the Original German 85 minute version, which censors some of the sex, nudity and torture. English language option included. This is the only version with the fonts and music of the original credit sequence intact, the other two have new video generated fonts.

All three versions are letterboxed at 2.35:1 and have multiple language options. The oversized box is lavishly and lasciviously illustrated with four potential covers.

“The X-Rated Nunsploitation Series 5” Available from Xploited Cinema.

“Sex und Gewalt hinter Klostermauern”

I would now not recommend any other version beside the 118 m as the “Director’s Cut.”

I must also say that I still much prefer this 1972 version of the Judge Jeffries story to THE BLOODY JUDGE (1970), with Christopher Lee.

(C) Robert Monell Updated 2017

Written by Robert Monell

24 abril 2017 a 11:25 PM

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