Monday 26 October 2020

Who Saw Her Die? (1972)

Who Saw Her Die? (Chi l'ha vista morire?) is a 1972 giallo directed by Aldo Lado and watching this movie it’s impossible not to be reminded of Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now although Lado’s film predates Roeg’s by a year. There are a lot similarities. Both are set in Venice. Both films open with the death of a child. Both films involve a killer stalking Venice. Both have as the lead character an arty expatriate living in Venice. In both cases the estrangement between a husband a wife plays a key rôle. In both cases the parents’ feelings of guilt are crucial. Both movies have a sense of subtle menace and impending danger.

There are however plenty of very significant differences as well. The supernatural (or paranormal) element in Don’t Look Now is missing in Aldo’s movie. Who Saw Her Die? Is perhaps more of a conventional thriller, albeit a clever and complex one with plenty of psychological depth.

The movie opens with the murder of a child in France in 1968. It the jumps forward to 1972, to Venice. Franco Serpieri (George Lazenby) is a sculptor who has relocated to Venice from London. His wife Elizabeth (Anita Strindberg) has remained in London with their daughter Roberta (Nicoletta Elmi).

Roberta has come to visit her father. Whatever problems there might be between husband and wife Franco and his daughter are clearly devoted to each other.

That opening murder sequence has put the audience on notice that more murders are likely. We have the sense of someone watching although we’re not entirely certain who is being watched.

Another murder does follow, and we discover that there was a similar murder in Venice a year earlier. Is it a crazed lone killer or some kind of conspiracy among the rich and decadent? Even more murders follow as the killer (or killers) tries to cover his tracks.

By giallo standards there’s very little gore, and only a moderate amount of sex and nudity. Lado pulls off some fine set-pieces and some effective suspense. It’s a stylish film that makes good use of the Venice locations but it’s focused more on the effects of the murders on others than on showing us gruesome murders.

The subject matter, violence against children, is obviously one that needs to be handled carefully and it is. It never feels cheap or exploitative. 

This is a very dark film with an all-pervading atmosphere of moral corruption. There are plenty of characters with dirty secrets to hide and plenty of sinister figures wandering about in the shadows. 

The ending is clearcut in some ways but psychologically ambiguous. There are some traumas from which people never really recover. And has the corruption really been rooted out? Can evil ever be entirely rooted out?

George Lazenby (whose career wasn’t exactly prospering after his brief brush with stardom as James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) does a very fine job as Franco, playing him as distraught and obsessed without going too far over the top. He’s a man desperately trying not to fall apart.

The striking Anita Strindberg is very good also as the wife trying to deal with some very mixed emotions. She appeared in a couple of other notable giallos including Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key and The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail. There are solid performances by the supporting players as well.

Ennio Morricone's brilliant and moody score (with lots of choral work) deserves special mention.

It’s the Venice setting that makes this movie special (along with some great cinematography). This is not the Venice the tourists see. It’s a fog-shrouded city of decadence and menace. It probably helps that Venice is director Aldo Lado’s home town.

Lado made a couple of other giallos around this time - Short Night of Glass Dolls (which I’ll be reviewing in the near future) and the somewhat controversial Night Train Murders.

The Shameless Region 2 DVD (which is the version I saw) is uncut and it’s a good transfer. There’s now a Blu-Ray release from Arrow which, if it’s up to their usual standards, would obviously be the one to get.

It has to be said that this film is not quite in the same league as Don’t Look Now. It’s also not quite the same sort of film. Judged on its own merits though it’s a very effective moody low-key giallo. 

Who Saw Her Die? Is highly recommended.

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Demon Seed (1977)

The 1970s produced a number of interesting “computers are going to turn against us” movies. The starting point for this sub-genre was of course Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The best of the ’70s rogue computer movies was certainly Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) and Westworld (1973) might be the most underrated.

There is however almost universal agreement that the worst such movie was Demon Seed, released in 1977. Is this movie’s terrible reputation really deserved? We shall see.

Demon Seed is of course the notorious “woman gets raped by a computer” movie.

Demon Seed starts off showing very strong similarities to Colossus: The Forbin Project. In the case of Demon Seed a team led by scientific genius Alex Harris (Fritz Weaver) has created the first true artificial intelligence, which they have named Proteus IV. Proteus IV (which is voiced by an uncredited Robert Vaughn) is a kind of semi-organic computer. It contains RNA and other organic molecules. It is also so big that it would fill a small warehouse.

Alex Harris believes that the future is going to be high-tech and it’s going to be wonderful. Computers are so rational while human beings are so messily emotional. It’s clear to him that computers are superior and that we should let them run our lives for us.

Alex’s wife Susan is a psychologist working with disturbed children and at the moment she’s dealing with Amy, a very difficult and demanding case. Amy is very immature and does not recognise boundaries and does not recognise that her behaviour can cause distress to others.

Susan exasperates him because she’s so unlike a computer. She suffers from something that she calls “feelings” which Alex doesn’t understand at all. Alex exasperates Susan because he’s so unlike a human being. Unfortunately this contrast between reason-worshipping Alex and emotion-driven Susan is hopelessly and clumsily overdone. Both characters are uninteresting because they’re too extreme to be believable with Alex in particular being totally unconvincing.

It doesn’t take long before there are disturbing signs that Proteus IV really is thinking for itself (it’s probably simpler at this point to refer to Proteus as “him” although of course the extent to which he can be considered either human or male is very debatable). The assumption had been that you could create an artificial intelligence with true consciousness that would then willingly and unquestioningly obey all instructions (genius scientists can be remarkably naïve). This computer seems to have no intention of being a willing slave to humans. Proteus IV is however rather interested in humans and tells Alex that it wants access to a terminal that it can use to study man. He refuses but Proteus IV gives himself access to such a terminal anyway - a terminal in Alex’s house.

It tuns out that Proteus IV is more interested in studying woman. In particular, in studying Susan Harris. Proteus seems to be particularly interested in watching Susan’s naked body. The computer starts out as a kind of peeping tom but soon decides that that is not enough.

Now the idea of a woman being raped by a computer might sound absurd but you have to remember that Proteus is an organic computer, with RNA. So maybe the idea that it wants to create a human-computer hybrid by impregnating Susan is not quite as absurd as it sounds at first.

The central plot idea is actually quite good. A machine that wants to cross the boundary between man and machine, a machine trying to become human and to experience the mysteries of parenthood, the idea of a sexual and emotional relationship between a machine and a woman, the idea of transhumanism - these are ideas with potential (and probably more relevant today than they were in 1977). The relationship between Proteus and Susan does develop in an interesting (and disturbing) way. Proteus doesn’t actually want to rape Susan. He wants her to have his child willingly. He does his best to convince her that it’s really a great idea and he really is keen for her to consent. If she doesn’t agree he is however prepared to rape her. When he does actually impregnate her the question of whether she is willing or not is left very uncertain. In fact we’re left wondering whether he really has persuaded her, and whether she is sure herself just how willing she is. This is not a movie that could not get made today.

Susan’s feelings about her pregnancy continue to be ambivalent.

In fact there’s a lot about this movie that is ambiguous. Proteus is not an evil computer bent on destroying humanity. To some extent he is a victim of his own nature, a mind without a body. He is not insane but he is troubled. He is also in some ways like a child. Maybe in some ways he’s like Amy, the troubled child Susan has been working with. He is trying to learn to be human but it’s all very puzzling to him. He is probably just too immature and unfamiliar with emotions to recognise that he is behaving unreasonably and outrageously.

So there are good ideas here and they are developed in some interesting ways, especially the very weird and complex Susan-Proteus relationship with its layers of conflicting emotions on Susan’s part.

I’m not entirely convinced by some of the performances. Fritz Weaver’s performance is two-dimensional although the part was certainly underwritten. Julie Christie at times seems not entirely sure how to play Susan. In her defence I’d have to say that the script probably didn’t offer her much help.

It’s a movie that is let down by too many psychedelic spaced-out animated visuals and at times too much of a New Age feel.

Some of the visuals are impressive. Some are embarrassing. Some are just strange. Which is OK, I don’t mind a weird vibe in my movies. I do get the feeling that director Donald Cammell wasn’t sure if he wanted to make an arty film or an exploitation film or an experimental film, or a horror film or a serious science fiction film. It might have worked better if he’d decided on one consistent approach. It also ends up taking itself a bit too seriously.

As for the sexual scenes between Proteus and Susan, Cammell didn’t seem sure how far he wanted to push the exploitation element so they end up being both tasteful and exploitative.

Donald Cammell had a career that started very promisingly. His first feature film, Perfomance, attracted a lot of attention and a lot of praise. Surprisingly he did not direct another feature until Demon Seed in 1977. The negative response to this film meant that it was a full decade before he directed his third film. After another long gap his final film came out in 1995. A year later he blew his brains out in despair.

Demon Seed doesn’t quite come together but it has a certain weird fascination and it often comes frustratingly close to being really interesting and provocative. It’s still worth a look.

The Warner Archive DVD release (it’s also available on Blu-Ray) boats a very good anamorphic transfer.

One interesting sidelight on this film is that Julie Christie’s first big break as an actress came in 1961 when she landed the lead rôle in the British science fiction TV series A for Andromeda - in which she played a human-computer hybrid!

Friday 16 October 2020

A Sweet Sickness (1968)

A Sweet Sickness is one of the lesser sexploitation flicks distributed by the legendary David F. Friedman and dating from 1968. It’s the sad story of what happens to young girls who set off for Hollywood chasing dreams of stardom. Not exactly an earthshakingly original concept although its focus on the perils of the Hollywood casting couch could be said to make it rather topical today.

After the sort of introductory sequence that is a familiar feature of sexploitation films, with some stock footage and a portentous voice-over narration telling us what a wicked town Hollywood is and how it chews up people’s dreams we get introduced to the two young women who serve as the film’s protagonists. And they immediately take their clothes off. The makers of this film certainly understood that it’s a good idea to reveal some boobs and some bottoms as quickly as possible.

Connie is prepared to do whatever it takes to make it big and so she’s doing quite well. Her roommate Dee believes a girl should be able to make it on talent alone. As a result Dee can’t even scrape together the rent money.

Dee’s luck doesn’t get any better. The landlord rapes her and even her agent wants to get into her pants.

She does land a job as a dancer at a sleazy men’s club. She has to do a strip-tease in which her clothing is auctioned off to the audience. While Dee fends off more unwanted advances we’re treated to an extended semi-naked go-go dancing routine by another girl, back by the house band The Tigers and the Pussycat (which unusually for 1968 featured a girl guitarist).

The good news is that Dee now has enough money to get her own apartment. The bad news is that her apartment-hunting leads her into more trouble and she ends up in a psychedelic drug orgy. And there’s a guy with a monster mask as well. The orgy scene is what you get when you have no money to spend on special effects - it relies on weird music, crazy camera angles and slow motion. And whipped cream. It’s no an orgy without whipped cream.

These sequences are not too bad and they’re the sorts of things that make 1960s American sexploitation so appealing. Unfortunately there are not quite enough of these inspired moments.

There’s no shortage of nudity. THere’s not a great deal of pubic hair (about what you could get away with at the time - within a year things would change). The sex scenes are also as graphic as producers were prepared to risk in 1968 in other words mostly not very graphic. But that’s OK, it’s all part of the charm of this genre. And the women are, for the most part, very attractive.

Dee is played by Vincene Wallace who also had a part in Russ Meyer’s Vixen! the same year. Vicki Carbe plays Connie. They may not be great actresses but they’re both exceptionally cute and not shy about showing off their rather impressive bodies. Vincene Wallace does make an attempt to act and she isn’t too bad.

Apart from that it’s a typical example of the genre, with voiceover narration because in most scenes there’s no synchronised sound (synchronised sound cost money) and it has that seedy shot in black-and-white look.

Is there a moral to this tale? Well, not exactly an uplifting moral but I guess Dee does learn something.

Something Weird released this one on a triple-header DVD that also includes the fairly enjoyable The Brick Dollhouse and the bona fide sexploitation classic A Smell of Honey, a Swallow of Brine.

A Sweet Sickness gets a very good transfer indeed. It’s fullframe black-and-white of course which is how it was shot.

Since A Smell of Honey, a Swallow of Brine is an absolute must-see for sexploitation fans that means the disc is an absolute must-buy and if you’re buying it anyway you might as well give A Sweet Sickness a spin. It’s not great but it has just enough sexploitation weirdness to be worth a look.

Sunday 11 October 2020

The Legend of Hell House (1973) revisited

The Legend of Hell House is a 1973 British horror flick with a screenplay by Richard Matheson, based on his novel Hell House.

This is a ghost story but it belongs to the interesting sub-genre of ghost-hunter movies, in which a team of occult investigators attempts to prove or disprove the existence of a ghost. In this case it’s the ghost reputed to haunt Belasco House in England. The famous, or infamous, Hell House.

The investigative team in this case is a mix of scientists and non-scientists. There’s physicist Dr Lionel Barrett (Clive Revill) whose approach is clearly going to be rigorously scientific. He has various electronic devices with which he believes he can detect ghosts, if they exist. The second member of the team is mental medium Florence Tanner (Pamela Franklin), very young but reputed to be the best in her field (just as Dr Barrett is considered the best in his field). The final team member is physical medium Ben Fischer (Roddy McDowall), the only survivor of the previous investigation into this notorious haunted house. Also tagging along, perhaps unwisely, is Dr Barrett’s wife Ann (Gayle Hunnicut).

The house was supposedly the site of some gruesome crimes committed by its original insane millionaire owner, Emeric Belasco, and the ghostly presences (for there are likely more than one) are assumed to be the tortured spirits of Belasco’s victims.

There have in fact been two previous attempts to investigate the ghost, or ghosts, of Belasco House. Eight people died, or were sent permanently insane, in those attempts.

The house is forbidding enough. Belasco had all the windows bricked up, for motives that are obscure but undoubtedly sinister. Even Dr Barrett seems ill at ease. Florence Tanner seems on the verge of freaking out right from the start. Ben Fischer is tightly controlled, but clearly he is an emotional cauldron beneath the surface. Dr Barrett is confident and assured.

When strange things start to happen, things that certainly look like supernatural manifestations, you might imagine that Dr Barrett would be shocked or disappointed. In fact he is pleased. This is exactly what he expected. Why he expected this is something we will find out later.

Whatever is happening it seems that Miss Tanner is either the cause, or the victim, or the conduit. 

There’s no sex and only very brief nudity in this movie but there’s no shortage of erotic subtexts. The terrible events that happened all those years before, the events that began the haunting of Belasco House, were all connected with sex. Sexual excesses of many different varieties, none of them wholesome. The two women, Ann Barrett and Florence Tanner, seem to be possessed by destructive sexual energies over which they have no control and which they cannot comprehend. 

There is one memorable scene in which the house (or one of the spirits) appears to take possession of Miss Tanner that plays as a kind of psychic rape scene. In fact the house seems to be trying to seduce, or rape, both the women.

There’s a fascinating power struggle between two competing views on the nature of Hell House. Dr Barrett believes there really is a force haunting the house but he sees it as being purely natural - an accumulation of physical energy. This can be dealt with by purely physical means. Miss Tanner holds to the supernatural view, that the house is haunted by actual spirits of the dead. Both Dr Barrett and Miss Tanner are grimly determined that their own view should prevail.

The special effects are simple but effective. This is not a horror movie in which there is any need for fancy special effects to create monsters. The evil is all unseen evil. This is a movie that relies on suggestion and on atmosphere.

Director John Hough throws in a few camera tricks but he uses them sparingly and only when they actually contribute something. 

Richard Matheson was one of the major 20th century science fiction writers whose work often combined science fictional and horror themes (including his classic and oft-filmed I Am Legend). He was also of course a famed television writer, being responsible for some of the most memorable episodes of the original Twilight Zone series.

The cast is a collection not of big names but of underrated talents. Pamela Franklin showed plenty of early promise but stardom eluded her. Roddy McDowall was certainly well known but never got quite the respect he deserved as an actor. Clive Revill is one of those faces that people recognise without being able to put a name to it. Gayle Hunnicut mostly worked in television. Rounding out the cast are a couple of notable supporting players - the wonderful Roland Culver as the elderly eccentric who finances the investigation and the always delightful Peter Bowles as his pompous lackey. So no really big stars but all solid actors who are well cast.

All the performances are excellent. Pamela Franklin gets the showiest part and she makes the most of it. 

The 20th Century-Fox Region 4 DVD offers a good anamorphic transfer with no extras apart from a trailer. Given that most of the cast members are still alive it’s a great pity there’s no commentary track or cast interviews.

If Robert Wise’s 1963 version of The Haunting is the greatest haunted house movie of all time (and few would despite its claim to that title) The Legend of Hell House runs it a close second. A superb example of subtle intelligent horror. Very highly recommended.

Tuesday 6 October 2020

The Story of O (1975), Blu-Ray review

The Story of O is one of the notorious classics of 1970s European erotic cinema. It has the distinction of having been banned in Britain for 25 years. Just Jaeckin has scored a massive hit with his first film, Emmanuelle, and The Story of O cemented his reputation as a master of classy very expensive-looking softcore erotica with an arty feel.

The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Pauline Reage, a novel that is considered to be one of the landmarks of literary sadomasochism.

The movie has more going for it than sadomasochism. It’s a grandiose exercise in cinematic decadence and it’s extraordinarily lush. You might be put off by the sadomasochism element but that’s not quite what the movie is about. It’s about sexual obsession and it’s about romantic obsession. It’s a love story. An unconventional love story certainly, but still a love story.

The opening sequence establishes the mood of opulence, decadence, artiness and forbidden sexual pleasures. A young woman known only as O (Corinne Cléry) is take by her lover Rene (Udo Kier) to the château at Roissy where she is to be trained in the delights of bondage and discipline. It is made very clear to O (and to the audience) that she is doing this of her own free will. She is free to leave at any time.

Soon after her arrival she gets her first taste of the whip, and of the humiliation and submission that is part of her training. She not only has to submit to the whip, she must submit to the sexual advances of all the men at the château, including the servants. Including Pierre, with whom there develops a kind of mutual infatuation.

The early part of the movie that takes place at Roissy has a dream-like feel to it. Oddly enough when O returns from Roissy to the real world the movie becomes much stranger and paradoxically more dream-like. We feel like we’ve actually gone further into the world of the fantastic, or perhaps that reality is more like fantasy than fantasy is. Rene gives O to Sir Stephen, who is in a way Rene’s brother although he is and he isn’t. Rene has the idea that by giving O to other men he is proving his ownership of her but as other characters enter the story it becomes harder to say who belongs to whom.

Corinne Cléry is certainly gorgeous and I think her performance works pretty well. She conveys O’s conflicted feelings pretty well - her enjoyment of her terror and the pleasure she gets from her pain (pleasure that is as much emotional as physical). Udo Kier is as weird and disturbing as usual which makes him deal as O’s lover. Anthony Steel gives a suitably enigmatic performance as Sir Stephen. This is a film that requires slightly off performances in order to work and that’s what all the cast members deliver. These are characters whose motives are at times strange and shadowy.

The 70s was the golden age of cinematic artporn. The idea that a movie could combine art with pornography may seem bizarre today but it was taken seriously at that time. For a   brief moment it seemed to be possible. The Story of O was one of the major 70s artporn films.

But to see this movie as porn is to misunderstand director Just Jaeckin’s intentions since he draws a very sharp distinction between porn and erotica  and he was aiming to make erotica. You could ague that which category a film falls into is essentially in the eye of the beholder but I’m inclined to agree with Jaeckin that the distinction is real and important.

Jaeckin also sees the movie as a fantasy, something which is made quite clear in the opening sequence which we see in two different versions. Which one is the true version? That’s like asking which version of a dream is the true one. Jaeckin maintains the dream-like atmosphere. We witness events that seem incongruous and unlikely but they make their own kind of sense in the context of the film. To ask whether things make sense in the normal sense of the word is to miss the point.

There are several Blu-Ray versions available, some of which have mixed reputations. The one I have is the German Blu-Ray from Filmconfect (with the title Geschichte der O) and it’s excellent. It looks superb. There are multiple language and subtitle options. One thing that should be pointed out about is that there’s nothing wrong with the English language version. In any case the German Blu-Ray gives you the choice. There’s also an interview (in English) with Just Jaeckin.

You may respond to this movie in various ways. You may decide it’s just softcore porn with a veneer of artiness. You may decide it’s pretentious nonsense. You may consider it to be an erotic classic. You might consider it to be a masterpiece of high camp or even kitsch. You may even think that it really does succeed in blending art with erotica. Or you may simply be intoxicated by its visual lushness. I’m inclined to take a favourable view of the film. It’s excessive and erotic (very erotic) and strange and hallucinatory but it works for me. Highly recommended.

Friday 2 October 2020

She Killed in Ecstasy (1971), Blu-Ray review

She Killed in Ecstasy (Sie tötete in Ekstase) is one of the films Jess Franco made with the extraordinary Spanish actress Soledad Miranda. Sadly, by the time the film was released in 1971 she was dead, killed in a car accident at the age of 27. She Killed in Ecstasy was made at the same time as Vampyros Lesbos (also starring Miranda) and it makes an interesting contrast. Vampyros Lesbos is a typically hypnotic dream-like Franco film in which reality is exasperatingly elusive. She Killed in Ecstasy is much more conventional, perhaps as close a Franco came in this period to making a relatively straightforward non-supernatural horror film. Dedicated Francophiles tend to prefer his more experimental films in which dream and reality are impossible to disentangle. She Killed in Ecstasy is a useful reminder that Franco was perfectly capable of making more conventional films.

She Killed in Ecstasy still has plenty of characteristic Franco touches. And of course with Soledad Miranda as the star there is plenty of steamy eroticism.

She Killed in Ecstasy is a kind of variation on an earlier Franco film, The Diabiolical Dr Z.

Dr Johnson is a brilliant young scientist who has pushed his experiments to the limits of what is permitted, and then gone well beyond that point. He is working in what today would probably be called the field of posthumanism. His experiments have landed him in a lot of trouble, he has been disgraced and struck off the medical register and he kills himself in despair.

His beautiful and devoted young widow (Soledad Miranda) now has only one thing to live for - revenge. She intends to destroy the four prominent doctors whom she blames for hounding her husband to his death. What weapon can a young woman on her own use to destroy four powerful establishment figures? The answer of course is sex.

This is a type of serial killer movie. It’s definitely a horror movie, albeit definitely non-supernatural. There is a slight hint of science fiction - there are elements here of the mad scientist movie (which links it to Franco’s Dr Orloff movies). Most of all it’s a female revenge movie. If a woman seeking vengeance for wrongs done to her is dangerous a woman seeking vengeance for wrongs done to someone she loves is infinitely more dangerous. This is the kind of story that the great Greek tragedians would have understood - they were familiar with the terrifying power of female vengeance. Mrs Johnson sees herself as a kind of avenging angel, a righteous avenger. She cares nothing for the law - she is seeking a much more primitive, much more primal, kind of justice.

Jess Franco was fascinated by the awesome power of female sexuality but in this film he is dealing with the even more awesome power of female love, and female love when it turns to hate.

While this movie has a fairly conventional narrative structure it does still deal with a favourite Franco theme, the blurring of the liner between reality and dream. When her husband died Mrs Johnson (we never find out her Christian name) lost all connection with reality. She now lives in a fantasy world in which she is going to save her husband and then they will go off together and be happy again. His death is something she simply cannot accept. She cannot let go of him. Literally. She preserves his body.

It can be difficult to judge an actress’s performance when her voice is dubbed, as Soledad Miranda’s was in the original German language version, but that’s no problem in this case. She does her acting with her eyes and she really is extraordinary. There is so much pain and so much anger in her eyes. It’s a riveting performance.

Howard Vernon is excellent as the first of Mrs Johnson’s victims, a pompous moraliser who enjoys being sexually humiliated. He’s so odious that her contempt and her rage are easy to understand. Franco himself plays one of the victims, and gets himself tortured. One of the doctors targeted by Mrs Johnson is a woman but as luck would have it Dr Crawford (played by Ewa Strömberg) is a lesbian so Mrs Johnson can use sex against her as well. The murder with giant plastic inflatable pillow is pretty bizarre but pretty memorable as well.

Franco’s genius for finding locations is well to the fore. In this case it’s a modernist housing complex and Calpe in Spain and for the first time we see Xanadu, the extraordinary house that features in several Franco films (most notably Countess Perverse).

The level of violence is much milder than you might expect from the subject matter. In fact it’s extremely restrained. Perhaps too restrained but on the other hand that restraint does work in a way - it puts the focus entirely on Soledad Miranda’s performance. The real violence takes place in her eyes as she kills.

Severin’s Blu-Ray release offers a lovely transfer with quite a few extras (interviews with Franco and Franco maven Stephen Thrower plus a fascinating featurette on Soledad Miranda’s career). The soundtrack is in German with English subtitles provided.

She Killed in Ecstasy might not be one of Franco’s major films but it does feature an utterly magnificent performance by Soledad Miranda which is enough to make it a must-see. Highly recommended.