20 November, 2012

4 DVD Jess Franco Collection available in December from Artus

FB-collection-franco.jpg €46,00 Offre spéciale comprenant : - La comtesse perverse - Célestine, bonne à tout faire - Plaisir à trois - Venus in Furs 46 euros + 3 euros de frais de port Valable jusqu'au 31 décembre 2012. Idéal pour les fêtes de Noël !!!
Offre spéciale comprenant :
- La comtesse perverse
- Célestine, bonne à tout faire
- Plaisir à trois
- Venus in Furs
46 euros + 3 euros de frais de port
Valable jusqu'au 31 décembre 2012. Idéal pour les fêtes de Noël !!! 

02 November, 2012


EXORCISM:Blu-ray review Redemption/Kino-Lorber “The motives for these murders has something to do with our quest for excitement in the realm of black magic,” Raymond Franval (Pierre Taylou), publisher of the S&M magazine, speculates after being questioned about the brutal murders of several of his clients. The victims are actually paying customers, upscale Parisian socialites, at the Black Masses, which include human sacrifices, staged by Franval in the lower environs of the lavish castle of the Duke (Claude Sendron). After one such performance the Countess (France Nicolas, rn France Roche) is brutally murdered, stabbed to death and disembowled, in a hotel room with her lover. The killer is actually one of the stable of writers who contribute to Franval’s weekly sadomasochistic oriented publication, “The Dagger and Garter.” Paul [Mathis] Vogel, a deranged, ex-priest, wanted by Interpol for sexually related crimes, a murderous religious fanatic now targeting the members of Franval’s pseudo-satanic sect for bloody purification rituals, one of which he has secretly witnessed. What Vogel doesn’t realize is that the ritual sacrifices are simulated with spring bladed knives and fake blood. Vogel’s “exorcism” rites, as he calls them, will not be spurious, though, as he stalks, tortures and murders dancer-hooker Gina (Caroline Riviere, the daughter of Franco’s first wife, Nicole Guettard), dominatrix Maria (Monica Swinn) and sets his sights on Anne (Lina Romay, Franval’s beautiful secretary-lover. The only clue that Franval and the investigating Inspector Tanner (Olivier Mathot) have is Vogel’s manuscript, “The Torture Chambers of the Inquisition.” :”We must know evil to be able to fight it,” Vogel declares to Franval, who also wants to publish the writer’s biography, “Memoirs of an Unfrocked Priest.” This sort of repartee, halfway between theological satire and naked sexploitation, is what characterizes EXORCISME as Jess Franco’s jet black, Sadean (the name Franval is out of Sade’s 1788 “Moral Tale” EUGENIE DE FRANVAL, filmed in 1970 as EUGENIE DE SADE, with Soledad Miranda in the title role) crime film with splatter elements (in the softcore EXORCISM) version, hardcore scenes (in the 1975 alternate SEXORCISMES), a police procedural type investigation and perhaps a personal allegory on the nature of the director’s position within the industry at the time as a Spanish filmmaker working abroad grinding out nudie-roughies at lighting speed to make money and make cinema. This last aspect would be much more fully explored in the 1979 variant of this film, EL SADICO DE NOTRE DAME, which contains much footage from EXORCISM interacting with new scenes shot in Paris 5 years later, including a different opening and closing. Academically trained police inspector Malou (a name which often recurs in the Franco filmography) speculates the pattern of the murder wounds indicates they are modeled on the early exorcism rites of the Inquisition and the killer is a modern day Torquemada (cf MANSION DE LOS MUERTOS VIVIENTES). This, of course, is close to the truth in that Vogel is deluded into thinking he is “saving” the souls of his victims by murdering them for their sexual license. One thinks of the censorship of Francisco Franco’s Spain at the time, which the director was attempting to avoid by making films in France. Most importantly, EXORCISM, is yet another Jess Franco examination of the dynamics of performance, particularly sado-erotic performance, the matrix of many important films in the director’s career from GRITOS EN LA NOCHE to RIFIFI EN CUIDAD to MISS MUERTE to NECRONOMICON to VENUS IN FURS to LOS BLUES CALLE POP to the more recent FLORES DE PERVERSION. Vogel is “watcher” of the performances by the perverted sect which he takes as “reality” when they are actually come ons for what really matters to Franval, the “box office take.” Franco would make many films for producers only interested in that aspect, which is understandable since it is their money invested. It can also be seen as a study of a certain type of horror movie icon, the religious fanatic. Vogel exclaims, “I delivered them from evil…I am the sword of the Lord,” when confronted by Inspector Tanner at the end. Sick as it is, he really believes in what he’s doing Franco is extraordinarily credible as the character while the other actors play in a more realistic vein, especially Mathot’s tough cop and Pierre Taylou’s superficial hedonist. Considering the director's presence as Vogel one is tempted to see the character's Sadean texts "scripts" which will be acted out or after-the-fact mini novelizations of his crimes. The obsessive nature of the character and his crimes could even be compared to the director's own obsession to commit film and film to celluloid as quickly as possible, as if time were running out. Except for a few odd, elaborate telezoom shots of Parisian architecture this is all filmed in a rather flat, obviously rushed manner with little attempt at any kind of arty blocking or compositions. The director was also the cinematographer, helped by Ramon Ardid and Rick De Connick (both whom have small roles) when he was on camera. This is not a visually stylish experience (cf VENUS IN FURS, NECRONOMICON, VAMPYROS LESBOS). It’s gritty, almost TV Cop Drama style often devolves into a kind of hypnotic minimalism during the staged rituals. The opening credit sequence plays out like a scene straight out of Sade as a nude (in the softcore/hardcore versions) Lina Romay is whipped and smeared with dove’s blood as she squirms tied to a wooden restraint. The funereal organ score of Andre Benichou reinforces the atmosphere of blasphemy and transgression. It’s S&M porn heavily tinged with Catholic iconography and guilt. Franco the actor puts much more effort into his work than Franco the director. There are some arresting images, such as the aforementioned sacrificial rituals watched by an audience peering out of dark corners in a dungeon like retreat. Speaking of darkness, this is a sometimes under-illumated film which probably needs a full restoration from the negative. VIDEO/AUDIO: Some scenes on the Redemption Blu-ray (98m 8s) of the softcore are too dark, some are color faded and there is noticeable print damage in the form of lines, marks and speckling throughout. The English dubbed track sounds rather hollow at times but is otherwise acceptable. The Blu-ray remastering does wonders for the color (note the electric blue carpets in Vogel’s bedroom and fluorescent green light over his bed), sharpens the images and reveals detail not available in previous video presentations. SPECIAL FEATURES: The most significant bonus is the shorter horror version (69m 41s) DEMONIAC, which attempts to lose all the nudity and tones down the more violent murders. There are still a few full frontal nude shots left of Lina Romay and Lynn Monteil and, most surprisingly, the decapitation of a dove in the opening scene is shown in all of its disturbing, bloody detail (repeated twice!). This animal gore detail is elided in the more explicit EXORCISM version. There are also covered takes which replace the nude takes in the softcore version The opening scene with Romay getting whipped is about half its original length with both participants covered on top and bottom, a reel length orgy scene is completely cut and one scene absurdly shows Taylou and Monteil making love in bed covered from head to foot with a white sheet. Both versions are presented with the English dub tracks only, but the superior French track can still be heard in the very first sacrifice scene which plays under the opening credits with Romay and Monteil audibly speaking in French. The remainder of the film defaults back to the English track. The French track is superior both in terms of sound quality and voice casting and it’s unfortunate that it could not be furnished for both versions here. Curiously, neither version retains a director’s credit (Franco is credited as J.P. Johnson on some prints, including the 80m French VHS of the hardcore version). Generally the DEMONIAC transfer looks better than the EXORCISM transfer in terms of sharpness, luminosity and consistency, although at times a bit too bright/overexposed Both versions are well worth seeing and clearly illustrate both the director’s strengths and weaknesses. A very rough looking 3m 22 s trailer for DEMONIAC, sporting water damage and a reddish tinge, is included. Once again, it’s a pity the French track or the Franco commentary available on the 2001 SYNAPSE DVD couldn’t have added as additional audio options. Redemption/Kino-Lorber has informed me of planning a possible June 2013 date for the hardcore version, SEXORCISME, which has some interesting non-hardcore footage not in any other version. *THE SADIST OF NOTRE DAME (1979) was a Eurocine-Triton Films French Spanish coproduction released in the US in the 1980s as DEMONIAC, a WIZARD VIDEO VHS running just over 79 minutes, it cuts much of the nudity/sadism of the softcore EXORCISM but is not as censored as the DEMONIAC horror version on the Blu-ray. But it should be noted that the WIZARD DEMONIAC and the one here are two completely different films as are EXORCISM and THE SADIST OF NOTRE DAME. Redemption/Kino-Lorber has informed me of planning a possible June 2013 date for the hardcore version, SEXORCISME, which has some interesting non-hardcore footage not in any other version. [One hopes that the 1979 variant EL SADICO DE NOTRE DAME can be released on Blu-ray in the future as it's one of the director's key works. It's not to be confused with the DEMONIAC variant on this disc, though, even though that title was used on the mid 1980s WIZARD VIDEO VHS, which was actually a censored 79m version of EL SADICO... .] - France/1974/75 1.66:1 1920X 1080p, Mono. (C) Robert Monell 2012