Alice (Lina Romay under her blonde pseudonym “Candy Coster”) is haunted by erotic nightmares involving the Princess Obongo (the Amazonian Ajita Wilson). She therefore has her misgivings when she is ordered by her boss to travel to a remote island and sell some real estate to that very person. Doubts notwithstanding, off she goes (got up in an outfit I’ve never seen a real estate agent wear before) to play Jonathan Harker to Obongo’s Dracula. On the island, she falls under the Obongo’s spell, and becomes emmeshed in a web of sex, rituals and magic.Director Jess Franco here is reworking the plot from his Vampyros Lesbos, and even reuses some of that film’s sun-bleached supernatural-by-daylight tricks. The zoom lens isn’t quite as badly overused as in some of his other work, though it definitely makes its presence known. Some of the camera placements are decidedly odd (did he really want us to see Wilson’s fillings as she writhes in orgasmic frenzy?), but there are plenty of very lovely shots, too, that manage to conjure a real sense of surreal beauty and mystery on a ridiculously small budget. The studied pace might well put off fans of either sex or horror, but then, that’s typical Franco for you, but the film does have an oddly mesmeric effect.
The audio is the original Spanish mono. The dialogue is obviously post-synched (most especially in the case of the mentally handicapped hotel owner played by Franco himself), and naturally feels somewhat detached from the rest of the score. There’s a bit of buzz, but it isn’t severe. The score (a crucial element in any Franco film) is appropriately haunting and mysterious, and sounds pretty good, all things considered.
Though there is some grain (sometimes apparent, but usually not much of a problem) and a couple of shots with some faint guitar strings, the picture is otherwise quite nice. The colours are strong, the flesh tones terrific (and there are plenty of those on display), and the image is sharp. Given the budget of these films and the nature of their distribution, it’s a pleasure to see a Franco film looking as good as humanly possible.
The only extra is a twenty-minute interview with Franco (in English, though you’ll want the subtitles on) and Romay (in Spanish). This is a fascinating stuff, and when Franco calls Wilson a female Christopher Lee, one is suddenly struck by how apt the statement is, however counterintuitive. Interesting, too, are the comments regarding Wilson’s rumoured transsexual status. Franco says he couldn’t tell, and really doesn’t care. Romay (who was certainly up close and personal with her co-star) maintains that Wilson definitely was. This is also an all-too-rare look into the collaborative nature of Franco and Romay’s working/romantic relationship, one that has been a part of Eurohorror for well over thirty years now.
Though not a masterpiece, this is still a worthwhile effort, especially for followers of Franco’s work.