Four young women (including Lina Romay in her Candy Coster persona) arrive at beach resort. They plan to pick up plenty of men for sex, but if none are available, as they’re in a Jess Franco film, they’ll make do with each other. They see no one else around, except for the odd manager (Robert Foster) and the even more bizarre gardener. At first they think nothing of the town’s deserted nature, but gradually they realize something is wrong, and it has to do with the nearby monastery, where undead Cathars vent their frustration with their cursed state by raping and killing our heroines.The plot is rather more confusing than I’ve laid out here. The inspiration for the film is pretty clearly Amando De Ossorio’s Blind Dead series, though these are pretty talkative bunch of living dead. Silly sexploitation (the first half of the movie is like a depopulated sex comedy) mixes with jerky camerawork, some very nicely spooky shots in the hotel and a completely bizarre amour fou subplot involving a woman chained up in another room. This is far from Franco’s best, but it is a film that still has ideas in its head, and the scene set in empty, windswept streets are quite eerie.
The film’s tiny budget is inevitably reflected in the sound. The Spanish mono is a bit harsh, especially when it comes to the dialogue. The music and FX mix, however, is pretty good, all proportions maintained. Nothing spectacular, then, but as good as one could really hope, being reasonable.
There are some shots of trees blowing in the wind that have a strange red discolouration in the middle of the frame. Other than that, though, the colours are very strong, as are the flesh tones and blacks. There is some grain, but it isn’t bad, and the print is in superb condition (other than the aforementioned issue). Edge enhancement is not a problem.
As with Macumba Sexual, the only extra is a twenty-minute interview with Franco (and occasional contributions from Romay). The discussion doesn’t stick exclusively to the film at hand, and it’s wonderful to hear Franco discuss in some depth what he’s all about. I’m not sure if his ideas for the film are realized, but then, disarmingly, neither is he, and the fact that there ARE ideas raises his film above the typical exploitation effort.
Macumba Sexual is the better of the two new Franco releases, but this is still worth checking out.