Friday, January 28, 2011

Franco Friday #1: Kiss Me, Killer

Franco Friday #1

Hellos and salutations, good people. Welcome to the first "Franco Friday" (pretty original, right?). I am going to be posting a review of a Jess Franco film every Friday from now until... um... I feel like not doing this anymore. I have always had trouble cracking this guy's universe so I decided to just inundate my brain with his films. Of course, what better way to jump in then to pick what I thought would be the least interesting thing and just rock it. All right. Here we go.

Kiss Me, Killer
Directed by Jess Franco
104 minutes
Starring Francisco Acosta, Alberto Dalbes, Alice Arno, Lina Romay, Antonio Mayans

A bunch of gangsters plan a drug heist that, of course, all goes to shit and people start getting killed. Gangster Paul Radeck (played by Francisco Acosta) blames drug dealer Freddy Carter (Alberto Dalbes) for the screw-up and shoots him and his buddy. Believing that Freddy is dead, Paul then marries Linda (Alice Arno), his widow. Things are just hunky dory until one night, at a nightclub, Linda hears the band play a song that her dead husband wrote for her. Is Freddy alive? Let the intrigue begin! A stripper named Moira Ray (Lina Romay) comes along and seems to have some sort of agenda or something. Freddy, who is totally alive, hooks up with Moira and just keeps messing with Radeck’s head until they meet up for a violent showdown.

The opening titles on the copy of this movie on Netflix looks like it was filmed on a roll of toilet paper. Luckily, as the film keeps playing , the quality continually improves. The soundtrack is a drowsy and jazzy and the dubbing is totally outrageous. Is this just some slapped together moments of nonsense, pieces from other films or what? The opening drug heist is filmed and dubbed so poorly that it is almost impossible to know what’s going on. Who are these people? Why did that guy shoot that guy? Oh, there are drugs involved? Whaaaat? And that’s just the first 7 or 8 minutes.

Kiss Me, Killer (a remake of Franco's own 1964 film, La Muerte Silba un Blues) is frustrating and yet it is definitely some interesting stuff, my friends. There are lots of confusing moments and seemingly random tangents and parts that just kind of feel like Jess Franco’s home movies. The funniest scene is when Alberto Dalbes runs into some street punks who try to shake him down and he kicks their asses. An Asian woman, who was watching the whole incident, runs up and shouts, “Ha ha! They got what they deserved!” And that’s the last time she shows up in the movie. It’s quite awesome.

Lina Romay is so great! Whether she’s in the shower, doing a striptease, spray-painting a stripper’s butt with gold paint, licking a statue of David, getting whipped with a belt, whatever! And hats off to her voice actress too for a perfect performance. I have fallen in love with Alice Arno. The reaction she gives when Linda finds out that the love of her life is still alive is fucking brilliant. It’s like someone just told her that the air in her tire is low. The tire isn’t flat. She just needs to put air in it.

Kiss Me, Killer is part softcore sex romp, part listless crime caper, and part jazzy jazz jazz movie that has some cool moments, hidden away in its overly long running time. Much to my surprise, I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the characters. And speaking of softcore sex, I gotta warn you, this film has lots of it. I’m pretty meh about the whole constant zooming in on a lady’s gooch and what not. So yeah, there’s that. But it’s worth slogging through if you can. The finale where every one of the voice actors reads a paragraph of very helpful exposition is a riot and the director himself plays a guru who raises his hands up in the air and proclaims that the end is near. Perfect.


  1. Very, very cool, Richard. I know that I've got compulsory reading here at CS every Friday. Well, at least, until you stop feeling like it.:) Have a great weekend.

  2. @Hans - Thanks, duder! Have a great weekend too. I guarantee more content here on CinSom as long as I keep generating it.

  3. Very cool new feature!
    Due to the huge amount of Franco films it seems I hardly ever know the ones that people write about, and I don't know this one either, but - hey! - it's Franco! I only know about a dozen of his films, but what you said about the film does sound very familiar...

    Say, you know the VIDEO NASTIES documentary? Or rather, the DVD edition with all those trailers? There's some cool comments on Franco's style and appeal there.


  4. @Martin - Thanks! I've seen a short documentary on Video Nasties but I don't think it's the one you mentioned. I definitely want to check it out. And you're right, the Franco universe is vast and infinite. We've all got to start somewhere. Hope you enjoy my pending reviews of his stuff!

  5. I saw this movie not long ago, dubbed in French.
    Some good framing in this one, and generally it feels like Franco did care quite a bit when shooting it. Very much looking forward to the next Franco Friday!