Friday, May 6, 2011
Franco Friday #15: X312 - Flight to Hell
The wife and I took a little vacation and I thought that I might put this one off a week. But no, I got home and Franco was waiting for me. Who am I to resist? No seriously, who am I? I feel like Jackie Chan all of a sudden. I needed something very silly and tinged with sadness. Franco? Franco, can you hear me? Franco, can you help me not be frightened?
Franco Friday #15
X312 – Flight To Hell
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Thomas Hunter, Gila von Weitershausen, Hans Hass Jr., Fernando Sancho, Esperanza Roy, Ewa Stromberg, Siegfried Schuenberg, Howard Vernon
A reporter named Tom Nilson (Thomas Hunter) sits down at his desk, presses record on his tape player, and begins to tell the story of how he survived a plane crash in the Amazonian jungle. The film flashes back to the fateful flight and its passengers. Aboard the plane is a bank tycoon (Siegfried Schuenberg) smuggling jewels out of the country. At the plane’s last stop before leaving for Brazil, a man boards with the intention of hijacking the plane and forcing it to land where Pedro (Howard Vernon), an outlaw living in an old fort with his gang, can intercept and steal the jewels.
The plan goes afoul when the idiot pilot decides to fight with the hijacker in the cockpit. The survivors of the crash, led by Tom, start making their way through the jungle in the hopes of finding a village or some other form of life. Bill the steward (played by Fernando Sancho) decides to take the jewels for himself so he starts killing off anyone who gets in his way. And just when things can’t get any worse, they do. Restless bow and arrow-wielding natives as well as Pedro and his gang start attacking the survivors.
The moment I saw the cover for X312 – Flight to Hell, I knew I was in for a treat. While nowhere near one of Franco’s best, this film definitely has its charms. The stench of exploitation is very ripe but things never get out of hand. The ubiquitous rape scene takes place off camera and the sex scenes are brief. The action scenes, double crosses, triple crosses, and the sociological aspects (human beings are greedy!) of the story are played up much more than the sex. The soundtrack is kind of mediocre with occasional bursts of faux-pop pleasantness from the radio that somehow survived the plane crash. Camerawork by Manuel Merino is pretty good though there are focusing issues and the whole film looks really drab (could be the DVD I watched).
The sexy Euro-babes in the cast include the wildly voluptuous Espernaza Roy (A Candle for the Devil) as the snotty rich lady, Gila von Weitershausen as the childish teddy bear-toting goof, and the always lovely Ewa Stromberg (Vampyros Lesbos) as the slutty American. Howard Vernon is fifteen kinds of badass as Pedro. The duder is done up with some tan makeup and a bad mustache with glue so thick you can see it glistening. American-born Thomas Hunter (The Hills Run Red) is excellent in the lead. Tom is a no nonsense kind of guy with a conscience that he should definitely stop listening to.
X312 – Flight to Hell almost feels like a throwaway flick for Franco but once again, I found myself engaged and I just had to know how it was all going to end. There were a few meandering bits, some laughably stupid moments (not surprising), and a terribly sped-up fight scene but overall, this is an enjoyably trashy though cheap adventure film. If you’re looking for something sweaty, horny, blurry, just a little drowsy, and will leave you saying “Hey, this is kind of all right,” then check this film out.