Friday, April 8, 2011

Franco Friday: Macumba Sexual

I looked in the mirror this morning to see if I have turned into a pervert yet. Hm... No, not yet. Other than a goatee, I don't have enough of the telltale signs of perversion yet. You'd think that all this exposure to filthy Franco and his freaky films would be enough to turn me. I think being a pervert means that you're lactose intolerant, your hands itch constantly, and you're subject to fits of nervous giggling when you show up for work each morning at the morgue (but you don't work there, not anymore, not since "the incident"). I can still meet my wife's gaze each day. Ladies and gentleman, I have hit the Franco wall.

Franco Friday #11

Macumba Sexual
AKA Attack of the Chicken Head Zombie Vagina-Penis Sculpture
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Ajita Wilson, Lina Romay, Antonio Mayans, Lorna Green, Jose Ferro, Jess Franco
80 minutes

While taking a vacation in a resort on “Happy Bay”, Alice Brooks (played by Lina Romay) is tormented by nightmares of Princess Obongo (Ajita Wilson) wherein she is beset upon by the princess’s sexual slaves. At the end of the dream, Princess Obongo dies. Alice’s boyfriend (Antonio Mayans) tries to comfort her as best he can (awwww yeah) but it is of no use. Alice gets a call from her boss with instructions to sell a house to a very real Princess Obongo. She travels to meet the princess, meets a creepy hotel clerk named Meme (Jess Franco), and gets friggin’ seduced and stuff. It turns out that Princess Obongo wants Alice to take her place as the Goddess of Unspeakable Lust*.

If I had to review Macumba Sexual using only one word, I think that word would be… Demoralizing. This film takes the themes of sexual obsession, madness, sorcery, and more sexual obsession and makes them hard to look at and boring. Not to be completely dismissive, the film does sport some beautiful locations and plenty of foreboding. I was definitely into the characters and what was going to happen to them but after an hour of gratuitous gooch shots, I just wanted the film to fucking end. At this point, I feel like I’ve seen more of Lina Romay than any woman I’ve ever known in my life. I appreciate the scenes where Romay is roaming around the beach town in Daisy Dukes and a flimsy top more than her completely naked.

Sadly, the interview with Franco and Romay on Severin’s DVD is more interesting than this damn film. I am just not that interested in porno as entertainment and I don't really care how close to Franco's vision this boring crap is. The only reason this friggin’ film ended up in my mailbox (thanks, Netflix) is because Franco directed it. I had absolute zero interest in seeing this but I knew I had better get it out of the way quickly. You gotta hand it to the guy, this movie is an enthusiastic little production and his cameo is priceless. Macumba Sexual feels like it’s 10 feet tall, horny, and full of mescaline. Stay out of its way or get fucked.

Alice: What do you think?
Meme: What do I think? I think you’re a fucking fake.

*Note: “Unspeakable Lust” translates to sticking little statues in places that little statues do not belong.


  1. I don't wish to sound mean, and I guess one should admire the fact that Franco still wanted to shoot an older Romay throughout the 80s, but her wardrobe just became all the more embarrassing the heavier she got. I have no idea what the whole 'Candy Coster' thing was about, but I wish Franco would have approached Romay differently in those later years.

  2. I think I agree with you about this film except that it didn't demoralize me. It made me alternate between horny and sleepy- somewhat like a lot of my past girlfriends. I have a THING for Lina and she was enough to keep me interested - well- that and the fact that Ajita Wilson used to be a man. I am nothing if not a weirdo.

  3. Last screengrab is ace;)
    Man I so agree with you on MACUMBA.
    Damn boring.
    I got the DVD as part of a Jess boxset.
    Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered checking out this overlong dozy softcore effort.

  4. @Davo - It's a good thing I like my ladies thick! I wonder about the Candy Coster thing too. I'm assuming that she did it for legal reasons so she could get paid for all these movies she was doing. What frightens me is her porno starlet persona. Who stars in porno movies directed by their husband? Crazy people, that's who.

    @Rod - Macumba Sexual had me ranging between nauseous and annoyed.

    @Alex - I can't believe swarthy Will Ferrell was in Macumba Sexual, hiding behind that leaf.

  5. Hey, Richard.

    I enjoy this one. When I wrote about it, I saw it as Franco's corruption of Stoker's Dracula. I also like my films slow and dreamy and also provocative and interesting. Macumba fits this bill in my opinion.

    I understand people not liking the explicit sex. It has never bothered me. I've seen quite a bit of Franco and other European cult cinema, and it is fairly common. Franco's sex scenes almost always oscillate between intimate and erotic and explicit and exploitative. This contradiction has always fascinated me and attracted me to his work. Also, it must be something about my age, perhaps: graphic violence bothers me now more than explicit sex in cinema.

    The Severin disc of Macumba has a great supplemental interview with Franco and Romay, as you note Richard. These Friday Franco's are always enjoyable to read. Hope all is well, and be cool, Richard.

  6. @Hans - Thanks, duder. It's always great to hear from ya!

    I very much like when a film has a character that is doomed from the start; their destiny inescapable. And Macumba Sexual definitely has that. Unfortunately, I have always been annoyed with how sex and horror are always bedfellows in cinema and even more unfortunately for me, I am trying to tackle the films of Jess Franco, a guy who was obsessed with sex because he was hurting for cash or was just a horny old loon. Lina Romay has an inexplicable quality about her and I am always drawn in by her performances. But like I've said before, I wish she'd keep her darn clothes on.

    I've been very lucky so far and have been richly rewarded with Franco's decidedly bent vision of horror and other forays into genre cinema but man oh man, I am getting sick of looking at undulating genitals! I am glad that these films are available for all to see but personally, I'd rather watch people die than get lucky. I think it's a testament to the director that even I, probably the worst person to be watching and reviewing his films ever, have many more of his sexy titles lined up in my queue for the Franco Fridays. This is my quest and I have a feeling I'll be very sad when it's over. Unless there's a Macumba Sexual 2: Electric Boogaloo out there.

  7. I watched this today and must admit I really loved it! There's such a great erotic, nightmarish atmosphere to it and I don't think I've ever seen a Franco film that got so greatly enhanced by the experimental, echoey, eerie score. I could've done without Franco's own appearance in the film, but other than that I was totally hypnotized by Macumba Sexual from the first minute on. And I swear it's not just because I could watch Lina Romay naked in bed squirming with erotic nightmares all day long...