Franco Friday #36: The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff
Hello again, my friends. I finally got unstuck from reality for a few moments and watched some Franco. I read a really bad review for The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff so I immediately bought the Intervision DVD. How does that work? If you've been reading these Franco Fridays then you know I operate under a system of reverse logic with the way I choose these films. I like being sub-ironic. Anyway, I am so glad that I laid my money down for this flick. Let's friggin' do this!
The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring William Berger, Montserrat Prous, Edmund Perdom, Loreta Tovar, Kali Hansa
Intervision Picture Corp.
Man, where do I start? Wheelchair-bound Melissa Comfort (played by Montserrat Prous) has a recurring dream of her father (Jess Franco) standing (rather lasciviously) over her younger self. The dream becomes even more disturbing when blood pours out of his mouth and onto her. He dies right in front of her and she is awakened by her super sexy half-sister, Martha Comfort (Loreta Tovar). Martha informs Melissa that their uncle Henry has called in a specialist to examine her. His name is Dr. Orloff (William Berger). Dun dun duhhhhhhhhh!
Of course, no one in the Comfort family wants Melissa to get better because they are money-grubbing pigs. Her aunt Flora (played by Kali Hansa) is the worst of the bunch and would rather see Melissa committed to an asylum than show any improvement. After her first treatment with Dr. Orloff, Melissa has a nightmare in which she kills her uncle. A nightmare? Yeah right! Of course, there is no body and uncle's hunting gear and car are gone so everyone just keeps thinking Melissa is a crazy.
But not all hope is lost. The Comfort family's manservant, Matthews (played by Jose Manuel Martin) is on Melissa's side. In fact, I think he's in love with her which makes it even more sad when she has a "dream" of beating him to death with a tire iron. Okay, send in the hippie! Living next door to the Comforts is a dang hippie named (and I'm not making this up) Davey Procop Robert Eugene Hutchinson AKA Davey Sweet Brown (played by Robert Woods). This fucking guy has a crush on Melissa and believes that her family and Dr. Orloff are up to no good. He tries to convince the police inspector (Edmund Purdom) to investigate. Maybe there is no hope after all.
To no surprise to anyone -except the characters in this movie- Dr. Orloff and his sexy assistant (uncredited) are up to no good. Orloff was in love with Melissa's mother back in the day but her dad wooed her away from him. Now he is using all of his Orloffian powers to use Melissa as his tool of revenge. Between Melissa's hypno-murder spree and Aunt Flora's scheming, there's not going to be anyone left to collect on the Comfort estate.
First things first, the score for this film really knocked me out. It seems like someone is just absentmindedly sitting on an old Hammond but then the insanity comes pouring out and I'm loving every second of it. The less said about Davey Sweet Brown's folk shenanigans the better. I love the camerawork on this film. There's lots of closeups, fish eye lens weirdness, and a penchant for perfectly capturing the garishness of the early 1970s. Intervision's DVD may be full frame and sourced from an old VHS but I ain't complainin'. There's probably a nicer looking porn version of this movie that I never want to watch.
There are more than a few familiar faces in this film. William Berger's wild eyes have so much Euro-cult goodness that I don't even know where to begin. Montserrat Prous was in Franco's Diary of a Nymphomaniac which I haven't mustered up the courage to watch. Edmund Perdom... 'Nuff said. Both Loreta Tovar and Kali Hansa can be found in Amando de Ossario's Night of the Sorcerers and other Spanish horror treasures. Jose Manuel Martin was in tons of stuff like Curse of the Devil and Death Walks on High Heels. There's an actress in this that keeps her clothes on so I didn't recognize her. It's Lina Romay!
I am completely sober and in my right mind when I say this: The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff delivers. I judged a book by its cover and came out a winner. This particular Orloff film has one of the most talky, convoluted, and generic thriller plots ever but processed through the Jess Franco machine. The result is ineptly vivacious and one of my new favorite Franco titles. There is just something about how droll and off kilter about Sinister Eyes and it plays out like it was made by a crazy person (or Al Adamson).
"When something so powerful releases the crazy monster, it's almost impossible to hold it back."
"I plan to have thousands of adventures with the hottest men of the Earth."