Wednesday, 2 May 2007

She Killed in Ecstasy (1971)

By the standards of Jess Franco films She Killed in Ecstasy (Sie tötete in Ekstase) is remarkably straightforward. It’s a revenge movie, with a wife hunting down the people she believes destroyed her husband (who was either a mad scientist or a misunderstood genius or possibly both). There are flashbacks, but the plot is simple and easy to follow. Personally I prefer Franco when he’s being much more trippy and enigmatic and generally over-the-top, but what She Killed in Ecstasy lacks in obscurity it makes up for in style. The killings are intercut with scenes of the vengeful wife and her husband making love, a technique that works very well in the context of this movie. Soledad Miranda is riveting as a woman maddened by grief, maddened to the point of murderous obsessiveness. Her performance is both powerful and subtle. Tragically this was to be her last film. Franco films the murders with imagination and flair, especially the one with the pillow. It’s definitely not my favourite movie of his, not enough of the real Franco weirdness, but it does demonstrate his ability to make a fairly conventional but very effective horror thriller. I prefer the more esoteric pleasures of Franco movies such as Venus in Furs, or Female Vampire (a film I consider to be very underrated). She Killed in Ecstasy would probably be a good starting point though for anyone new to the fabulously strange world of Jess Franco.

8 out of 10

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