Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein (1973)


And I return with...well, Jess Franco. Now I know in the past I haven't exactly gotten along with the late purveyor of trashy exploitation but when I read about what was in this one (Zombies! A Frankenstein's monster covered in silver! A vampire/bird/naked woman hybrid!) I thought to myself "Hey, this one might be not too bad!" I was mostly proven wrong.

The film opens with Dr. Frankenstein (Dennis Price) re-awakening his creation, who is immediately in pain. Then out of nowhere, Melisa (Anne Libert) a vampire like bird woman attack and kills the doctor and his assistant Morpho (Franco himself, in what amounts to a director's cameo). This leads to Cagliostro (Howard Vernon), a nefarious practitioner of black magic who now controls the monster and wants to use it to create a new master race.


To be fair, there are a few somewhat neat things in this movie. Vernon and Libert are actually not bad (in fact, Libert ended up being the best thing about the movie), the score is kinda fun, and scenes like the zombies walking in a fog drenched landscape actually have a creepy, Gothic atmosphere. That's where the compliments end. There's gore and nudity yeah, but the gore effects themselves are both poor looking and seem to lack any real effort, while the nudity ends up feeling redundant. There's a psychedelic edge to the visuals, but most of the movie is really poorly directed and edited. Like many of Franco's movies, there are totally unnecessary zoom shots and camera pans that left me thinking "this guy directed countless movies in his career, and he never learned how to properly compose a shot."

Then there's the movies biggest problem: it's fucking boring. You watch the thing, and you realize that there is so much potential for this to be a fun Euro-Horror movie, but so little of what happens is interesting and is poorly done. People go on and on about things (Melisa does the same speech about Cagliostro's plan more than once in the movie) the thing moves at a snails pace and most it is filmed and written as if the people behind it really didn't give a shit about the end product. A movie with zombies, Frankenstein and his creation, black magic, rampant nudity and a blood sucking bird woman should not be as dull as this is.


Look, I know Jess Franco has an audience. If you already are a fan of his, then go ahead and watch this. You'll probably eat it up. Me? I couldn't help but think that I could have watched "Horror Rises From the Tomb" instead of this.

Ratimg: 3.5/10

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