Adult, Drama, Horror, Thriller

Jess Franco: The Perverse Collection (2013)

0 Comments 09 May 2014

Jess Franco Collection

Studio: Severin

Theatrical Releases: 1981, 1982, 1984

DVD Release: September 10,2013

Director: Jess Franco

Review by Travis North

Not Rated

Severin has collected four titles from the ultra-prolific Jess Franco filmography. Billed as “fever dreams of unbridled depravity”, viewers not familiar with Franco may have their expectations set a bit high. Franco haters may be wondering where on the spectrum of quality these fall. The reviews will follow in chronological order.

Macumba Sexual (1981)

The plots from most of these films are pretty flimsy and are held together with copious amounts of nudity and medium-core sex. This tale involves a real estate agent (frequent Franco collaborator Lina Romey) who gets a call from her boss about selling property to a reclusive buyer called Princess Obongo. This buyer just happens to have been part of her recent sex dreams. Loads of schtupping follows, and it ends up all being a dream……or was it???? Flimsy indeed. It certainly seems like this was shot over the course of 2 or 3 days, with minimal plot and lots and lots of extended shots to pad the running time that drag like a broken muffler.

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Franco virgins will wonder why anyone allowed him behind a camera. If you knew what you were getting into, you may be able to appreciate some non-naked aspects of this. It is very dreamlike, which includes some interesting shots and compositions. The surrealism may be accidental or planned, but the odd nature helps to provide something besides jiggly body parts. Anyone who hates women will enjoy the healthy doses of misogyny. And be careful if this film arouses you and you feel like letting off some Bennett boner steam, Princess Obongo is a tranny.

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The Inconfessable Orgies of Emmanuelle (1982)

With the sheer volume of films Franco directed, it should come as no surprise that he crossed paths with the Emmanuelle series. He can make a forgettable sex with the best of ‘em. Emmanuelle has finally gotten married, but she’s just too horny to settle down. Open mindedness is one thing, but I don’t know many grooms who would be cool with their new wife lezzing out in the middle of a full bar. Although she is sorry and tries to reconcile, her husband is not surprisingly wary. This may explain the following misogyny and rapes.
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Even with this strong content, it is kind of laughable. One rapist still has his pants on and obviously is still holstered when he starts to rape. The dialogue can’t help but be funny as well. The final orgy is anything but “inconfessable”, unless all 4 people involved are too embarrassed to admit how lame it is. One the plus side, there is still more than enough skin on display and the nice locations shots that Franco seems to employ often. He probably could have made a good photographer for vacation brochures in addition to being a pornographer.
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Mansion of the Living Dead (1982)

My hopes for this film were the highest for the boxset. First Lina Romay returns, which you hopes bring some more inspiration to Franco. Second this looked to be more of a horror film instead of a straight sex film. Finally it looked to be a homage/tip-off of the Blind Dead films done by another Spaniard, Amando de Ossorio. I probably should have kept my sights set low.

Four young girls are on vacation, hoping to find some hot guys to sit on, and barring that are not above pairing off and cleaning each other’s ham wallets. Of course they don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that the entire place is devoid of any other vacationers, and the only others around are some sketchy hotel employees. Unfortunately for them, the living dead are also there for the girls to stumble upon, which leads to their rape (of course) and not very bloody murder.

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In general this is more of the same. It does have an unnecessary but sleazy subplot about a women being kept against her will in the hotel. She is a sex slave chained to a bed and is slowly starved, with food placed just out of her reach. Anything kept within arms length is covered in rat poison. Somehow this comes off as more cruel than the requisite rapings. One final bonus is Romey sports an amazing camel toe.

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The Sexual Story of O (1984)

Heading into the homestretch, you can’t help but wish Franco slowed down a bit to put more of his thoughts together instead of repeating himself so often. Similar actors, similar long shots of nature, plenty of totally nude walking around in public, it’s as much of a giveaway as a Rolling Stones song in a Scorsese movie. This starts of as basic Franco, but eventually gets to something interesting.

A young girl is spending her day reading Normal Mailer nude because who doesn’t read Mailer that way? Across from her apartment is a couple who can’t help but peep and plan to seduce her into a threesome. Their intentions become more sinister when we find that they plan to take her to a remote island and sell her to some sexual sickos. The strong erotic power of O has them suffering from second thoughts though, making the viewer wonder if they intervene the S&M and possible murder in time. The dark twist could have come a bit earlier, and the violence ends up being pretty tame and ketchup quality.

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In summary, there are parts of each film that has you contemplating the fast forward button, but I certainly may have warmed up just a bit to Franco’s style. It is still hit or miss and I prefer when he tackles more pure horror. There is some upside to each movie though which brings the quality up a bit. In general, the picture for each disc is reasonable but not amazing. Nothing more should really be expected, but sex films in 2.35:1 is always nice. Each disc contains interviews with Franco where he comes off as a bit of a blowhard considering his marginal talents.

Movies Rating: ★★☆☆☆

DVD’s Rating: ★★★☆☆

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