A disfigured young man with an unhealthy interest in his sister attacks and kills a woman. Five years later, he is released (by psychiatrist Jess Franco) into his sister’s care, who is helping organize a language school on property owned by her disagreeable, but very rich, aunt. In short order, the female students at the school (and there are ONLY female students, for reasons not explained) start being killed off. But no one other than heroine Olivia Pascal actually believes that anything is going on.
This was Jess Franco’s contribution to the slasher craze, though it demonstrates just how much that subgenre owes to the giallo by incorporating many of the elements of the latter (whodunit, unseen killer instead of hulking masked figure, etc). The production values are perhaps a bit higher than usual for Franco, and the gore effects are, all proportions maintained, quite good (and certainly very gruesome). But it’s obvious that this is work for hire, as the work lacks many of the more endearing eccentricities and personal obsessions that mark the films he’s more interested in. There is also some unnecessary animal cruelty involving the decapitation of a snake. The sharp-eyed will catch Lina Romay in the credits (as assistant director, under her real name of Rosa Amiral).
The mono is very solid, factoring in, of course, that this is a dubbed, low-budget exercise. The dialogue is clear, and the music (which is dire, as Franco himself is the first to admit) sounds fine. There is some background hiss, but distortion is not a problem. All told, I think we can safely say that this is a very faithful transfer of the qualities (good or bad) of the original film.
A couple of the murder scenes look a bit rough, with the print becoming noticeably grainy. Otherwise, though, we have an impeccable print here, with no speckling, grain or damage. The colours and contrasts are strong, the blacks are deep, and the night scenes aren’t murky. The gore is a bright red as one could hope. The flesh tones, too, are excellent, and the image is very sharp, especially for a 1981 release. A fine, fine transfer.
There’s another of Severin’s trademark 20-minute interviews with Franco here (and a lightning cameo by Romay ducking out of the house at the start). His views on Bloody Moon are as brutally honest as they are funny, and his tales of what he had been promised about the film, such as a score by Pink Floyd, are startling. The only other extra is the theatrical trailer.
Clearly work-for-hire Franco fare, but the interview is great stuff. Here’s hoping that all of these pieces are going to be collected in one big marathon interview at some point. They would make an invaluable DVD in their own right.