Jess Franco’s second film in his long running Dr. Orloff series is finally debuting on Blu-ray. Redemption Films has announced they will be releasing this presentation in January 2017. It will include a commentary track by Tim Lucas.
GRITOS EN LA NOCHE (aka THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF, 1961), the first in the series, has already been released by Redemption in HD. It should also be noted that Dorado Films is releasing the third Jess Franco Dr. Orloff film, THE SINISTER EYES OF DR. ORLOFF (1973), in a number of different editions in the next few weeks. No plans yet have surfaced for a HD edition of the fourth in the series, THE SINSTER DR. ORLOFF (1982), which features Howard Vernon as an aged Dr. Orloff and Antonio Mayans as his son, an insane biologist who continues his father’s dubious experiments. The latter is a pretty delirious exercise in Spanish Horror y Sexo and one hopes it will get a much needed HD upgrade. I have seen an English subtitled copy and will discuss that in a future blog.
I have seen three versions of EL SECRETO DEL DR. ORLOFF, including the Spanish version which features footage not in any other version. The French version LES MAITRESSES DUDOCTEUR JEKYLL, has alternate footage Franco shot as the request of Eurocine, the French co-producer. DR. ORLOFF’S MONSTER is the US release version, which has an alternate opening credit sequence with Americanized names of the cast and crew.
Slaves of Crime 1986 European Trash Cinema print. Produced by Mundial Films; Directed by James Lee Johnson (Jess Franco); DP: Juan Soler Cozar. With: Lina Romay (Saï Sen, Fu Manchu’s daughter), Marco Moriarty (Marco Mandell), Mel Rodrigo (Jessie), Maite Saury, Erik Raymond, José Llamas, Maria Hill, Yolanda Mobita, Carmen Carrion (Magda). 87m, Agfacolor, widescreen.
(a.k.a. ESCLAVAS DEL CRIMEN)
This obscurity is a deliriously filmed erotic adventure that updates Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu tales (Rohmer receives screen credit, as “S. Rohmer”). Lina Romay appears as the daughter of Fu Manchu, made up with heavily applied exotic eye mascara and an outlandish hair style. She is the merciless Sai Sen, queen of crime.
A title card explains that the action will unfold “in an exotic corner of the distant east, [a] paradise of drugs and corruption”… Rock star Rocky Guardas is kidnapped by Sai Sen’s seductive female agents and transported to a high rise hotel in the jungle, which doubles as an armed camp. He is the most recent victim of a large scale kidnap operation where the abducted are drugged, tortured, and forced to sign over bank accounts and other financial holdings while being held for further ransom.
This all-female criminal enterprise is investigated by a karate fighting private investigator and an Interpol agent who wears a pink shirt. The movie climaxes with an air strike carried out by Jump-Jets delivering a napalm payload into the encampment. This amusing, if sometimes slow-paced trifle is most interesting for the extensive use of lens filters which flood many scenes with eye pleasing halation effects, bathing the action with bright, candy colored waves which sometimes obscure the action.
The female bunch are a sexy and imposing army of Amazons that recall Shirley Eaton and her followers in THE GIRL FROM RIO/FUTURE WOMEN (1968). There’s more erotica on display here than that Harry Alan Towers production, with extensive nudity and some flogging, bondage, etc. thrown into the hazy mise-en-scene.
An action film with too little action and too much talk, nevertheless the hallucinatory lens flares and atmosphere of humid exotica exert a certain pull. The use of extensive stock footage to establish the milieu and is obvious and distracting. Nonetheless Jess Franco’s ability to pack each frame with interesting, arcane visual detail, personal fetishes and obscure Pop-Art/cinema references always gives the interested viewer something to discover. The downmarket studio exotica of Von Sternberg’s THE SHANGHAI GESTURE and MACAO are perhaps related points of reference.
One wonders what the Clasificada S crowds in Spain thought of this entry. Even when the action, actors and dialogue falter Juan Soler Cozar’s compositions continue to engage interest.
(C) Robert Monell, 2013
Credited to “Lulu La Verne” UNA RAJITA PARA DOS (rough translation: A PUSSY FOR TWO) is Jess Franco’s most disgusting film. Nevertheless, it is not an uninteresting dip into the sordid waters of scatological hardcore.
Spy (Emilio Linder) in UNA RAJITA PARA DOS (Lulu La Verne, 1982)
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|