Friday, April 1, 2011
Franco Friday #10: Bloody Moon
Oh crap, look at this! I can't believe I've made it to the tenth Franco Friday. Hey look, it feels like an accomplishment to me, okay?!? So I am 1/5 of the way on my journey towards (possibly) understanding this often confounding and always weird director. All right. Here we gooooo! *burp*
Franco Friday #10
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Olivia Pascal, Christoph Moosbrugger, Nadja Gerganoff, Alexander Waechter, Jasmin Losensky
After donning a mask at a disco party and murdering a girl in her bed, the hideously scarred Miguel (played by Alexander Waechter), is put away in a mental institution. Years later, he gets out and is put in the care of his ever so slightly incestuous sister, Manuela (Nadja Gerganoff). Manuela runs a boarding school for language study students. She is constantly at odds with her mother, the Countess (Maria Rubio), who still has control of the finances and who constantly makes sure that Manuela knows her place (which is somewhere between shit and dirt).
But it’s a new semester at the boarding school and new student, Angela (played by Olivia Pascal), is ready to learn! Of course, she ends up in villa #13, where Miguel claimed the life of that girl, but who cares, right? She’s got her eyes on Antonio (Peter Exacoustos), the super stud and master of tennis. Before you can say “Hola, me gusto la sexy Antonio!”, a crazed killer is running around the school and murdering all the lovely ladies. Be careful, Angela, because everyone is a freakin’ suspect, especially Paco, the very special groundskeeper.
Bloody Moon completely caught me off guard. I had heard from a few people that it was good and I had heard from many, many people that it was terrible. What I found is a beautifully shot, bloody, and wildly eccentric Euro-slasher. It instantly won me over with the great locations and wide-eyed craziness (especially of Olivia Pascal). I guess people don’t like this flick because it doesn’t feel like Jess Franco. His erotic wistfulness and jazzy spaced out vibes are not here but there’s still lots of style, sleaze, and atmosphere. The fact that he could make a film that doesn’t feel like one of his films amazes me.
The cinematography of Bloody Moon is sharp, colorful, and just plain gorgeous. The man on the camera this time around is Juan Soler, who worked with Franco on roughly 45 films during this period (1980-1987) of the director's career. If you like fuzz guitar and synthesizers that can peel the skin off your ears, then you’ll dig the soundtrack from German composer Gerhard Heinz. He even incorporates freakin' flutes into the horror synth and strings and goes so far as to pair them with some disco fabulousness. It doesn't get much better than that.
As for the comedy, this flick has it all: redonkulous dubbing, irrational character stupidity, a pointless incestuous subplot, and terrible fashions. Did I mention the subnormal groundskeeper, Paco? The guy’s very presence in the film is just plain wrong. During one of the youthful gatherings in the movie, the teens are dancing to a bizarre 50s style rock song with a stern voice commanding you to “Shake your baby!” There is also a scene where Angela is nearly killed by a big fiberglass boulder.
This may be the first and last time that I approach a film by Jess Franco and instantly find my comfort zone. At risk of sounding close-minded and totally square, I really love just digging on this guy’s more direct (and less pornographic) films. I am constantly seeking out Euro-horror films to perpetuate “The Vibe” (as discussed here) and Bloody Moon provided me with that feeling big time. The death scenes are great, the final girl is a friggin’ trip (or seemingly on one in some scenes), there’s plenty of nudity, and Bloody Moon also features the best use of a granite saw I’ve ever seen in a horror flick. Oh and as an added bonus for you giallo fans out there, the killer does don a pair of black gloves in this one. How could anyone not love this film?
“Dream about me, Angela. You’ll sleep better.”
Please note: There is some snake abuse in this one. An underpaid snake actor gives his life for a shock sequence. It’s pointless, lame, but is over quickly. However, if any of you out there are sensitive to animal violence, you should steel yourselves to a certain scene. However, if you hate snakes then you’ll love the garden sheers on snake action!