Archive for She Killed in Ecstasy

Mishigothic

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2019 by dcairns

First up! Veteran Shadowplayer and Late Shower Brandon Bentley contributes a rip-roaring entry to Project Fear — the quasi-blogathon that’s now more of an empty grave — or death ditch, if you will — for Boris Johnson’s desired yet doomed hard and early Brexit. The subject is Juraj Herz’s blood-drinking car movie FERAT VAMPIRE. Here!

As if that weren’t enough, I have a cheesy Italian Gothic for you, “presented” by Richard Gordon, British producer (TOWER OF TERROR, HORROR HOSPITAL, FIEND WITHOUT A FACE and other alliterative masterworks) who also gave us Monday’s dubbed fangfest.

“I wonder if the key to the mystery of Countess Irene’s death is… oh never mind.”

Actual dialogue from TOMB OF TORTURE, a 1963 Italian horror directed by Antonio Boccaci, who didn’t want to sound foreign so he used the pseudonym Anthony Kristye. Nice work, there.

There’s a clue to the low budget in the title: why build a castle with both a crypt and a dungeon, when you can save money and space by combining the two in a TOMB OF TORTURE? Mwuahahaa?

Damnit, I would have loved this as a kid. The scary dream sequences are full of monsters, skeletons and deformed ghouls, some of which spill out into the “real” sequences. I would have been frustrated by it not seeming to make much sense, but now I love that, so I do.

A couple of sixties chicks go exploring in a castle where Countess Irene disappeared twenty years ago. They get attacked by a deformed ghoul, find themselves in the TOMB OF TERROR, and are then, in turn, found dead in the woods by some characters in a period movie. Did their corpses travel back in time? Or did the costume department just fail to set the historical setting properly? Fiona tells me the costumes are aiming to evoke the 1910s, but I just see Carnaby Street.

Oh good, a guy in a turban and incredibly poor brownface makeup that doesn’t reach the back of his neck. Turns out this is Mr. Boccaci/Kristye, under the additional stage name of William Gray. The other best Anglo pseudonyms in this one are Thony Maky (?) and Elizabeth Queen. A perfectly reasonable name, but somehow sounds funny.

And now the locals carry the bodies off slung in a blanket, perhaps looking for a burning building so the cadavers can be bounced through an upper story window. Marvelous stuff, and I note that it’s “presented” by the same chap who did CAVE OF THE LIVING DEAD, I reckon he dubbed it and foist it upon the English-speaking world. I reckon his business card didn’t say “distributor,” but “foister.”

Inappropriate music seems to be a big thing in Euro-horror. The opening of Jesus Franco’s SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY, in which shots of bottled foetuses are overlaid with upbeat, psychedelic party tunes, will never be bettered, but the same principle can be detected in the use of sexy/romantic music for gialli, and the children’s rhyme tune in KILL, BABY… KILL! — an ingenious idea that launched a major genre cliche. It’s clear what Bava and the great Carlo Rustichelli were up to there, less clear with Franco and Hubler & Schwab were about, other than throwing things together without too much consideration or scruple, but this one is something else again. There’s some effecting Twilight Zone-style loose twanging — a sort of depressed surf guitar thing — and electric organ. But other bits are just ludicrous, like the laughing trombone that obtrudes on moments of psychological disorientation. And then there’s a love theme played as the heroine strips for a swim… OK, I understand what you’re going for. But then the disfigured henchman looms from the undergrowth… and the music continues, without changing tone at all. Hilarious. Armando Sciascia is the man we have to thank. No wonder Franco sought him out for THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN. He’s just the right kind of idiot to do it and do it good.

before…
….after

The deformed manservant turns out to be a butler cudgeled with a sword by the villainess, who for some reason has taken to wandering about nights in a suit of armour. On the minus side, he looks like he’s had a bad accident with some papier mache, but on the plus side, it’s apparently served as a great hair restorer. I may try this myself, if Fiona will don the requisite plate mail.

They have quite a severe hamster problem in their TOMB OF TORTURE, I regret to say.

THIS GUY is never explained. I guess probably he’s just another member of the domestic staff who got hit with a sword VERY BADLY. In the TOMB OF TORTURE.

Oh never mind.

Flesh for Lulu

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , on April 3, 2013 by dcairns
JESUSFRANCO1
RIP Joan Almirall, Rosa M. Almirall, Clifford Brawn, Clifford Brown Jr., Juan G. Cabral, Betty Carter, Candy Coster, Terry De Corsia, Rick Deconinck, Raymond Dubois, Chuck Evans, Toni Falt, Dennis Farnon, Jess Franck, Jesse Franco, Jess Franco,  Adolf M. Frank, Anton Martin Frank, Jeff Frank, Wolfgang Frank, Manfred Gregor, Jack Griffin, Lennie Hayden, Frank Hollman, Frarik Hollmann, B.F. Johnson, J.P. Johnson, James Lee Johnson, David J. Khune, Lulu Laverne, A.L. Malraux, Jesus Franco Manera, Jeff Manner, Roland Marceignac,  A.L. Mariaux, Preston Quaid, P. Querut, Lowel Richmond, Dan L. Simon, Dave Tough, Pablo Villa, Joan Vincent, Robert Zinnermann, C. Plaut, James Gardner — known collectively as Jesus Franco.
They will all be missed.