EL FRANCONOMICON / I'M IN A JESS FRANCO STATE OF MIND

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ESCLAVAS DEL CRIMEN (1986)

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. ESCLAVAS DEL CRIMEN) Directed by James Lee Johnson (Jess Franco)

This obscurity is a deliriously filmed erotic adventure that updates Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu tales (Rohmer receives screen credit, as «S. Rohmer»), focusing on the master criminal’s daughter, here played by Lina Romay, made up with «Asian» eyes.

Lina Romay appears as the daughter of Fu Manchu, made up with exotic eye mascara (to appear Oriental) and an outlandish hair style. A title card explains it takes place «in an exotic corner of the distant east, [a] paradise of the drug and the corruption.»

Members of the ROCKY WALTERS rock and roll band are kidnapped by her seductive agents and transported to a hotel in the jungle, which doubles as an armed camp. There they are drugged, tortured, and forced to sign over bank accounts and other financial holdings.

This criminal enterprise is investigated by a karate fighting investigator and an Interpol agent who wears a pink shirt. The movie climaxes with an air strike carried out by a secret agent flying a Jump-Jet delivering a napalm payload into the encampment, represented by the Hotel Tropicana, filmed through a palm forest.

 This amusing, colorful, if sometimes slow-paced trifle is most interesting for the eye-popping filter effects, which fill many scenes with intense color illuminations and bright hues, sometimes overwhelming the action. But Franco, as always, is more interested in style, mise-en-scene, than any kind of realism. This is a live action cartoon or comic strip. The female bunch are a sexy and imposing army of Amazons who recall Shirley Eaton and her followers in FUTURE WOMEN/THE GIRL FROM RIO (1968).

Surviving the air assault Lina Romay gets to repeat the old Fu Manchu standard at the end: «The world will hear from me again!»

(C) Robert Monell; new version 2020

Written by Robert Monell

16 septiembre 2020 a 4:10 AM

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