Franco Friday #39 - Un Silencio de Tumba
Hey kids. I had a tough time locating this one but that poster art had me hooked. So I ordered this one from jolly old England. Can you believe that? They finally have DVDs in the place where all Americans, no matter what nationality their forefathers or foremothers came from, are from. We were all born British. Deal with it. Foremothers isn't really a word. That's pretty sexist.
Un Silencio de Tumba
Directed by Jess Franco
Alberto Dalbes, Glenda Allen, Mario Alex, Montserrat Prous, Kali Hansa
ZDD Visual Media
A bunch of socialite and movie industry jerks just wrapped up production on a shitty spaghetti western and are on a boat headed for a remote island to have a little vacay. Valerie (played by Montserrat Prous) hates them all. You see, Valerie is the sister of Annette (Glenda Allen) and she can't stand the vacuous bitch. She has watched her sister throw herself at various men and destroy their lives. Not even the birth of her son, that Valerie raises like it was her own, has slowed Annette down. While everyone is partying like idiots, the child is kidnapped. When the threatening notes and ransom demands turn into acts of murder and every possible route of escape from the island is cut off, Valerie turns to Juan (Alberto Dalbes) the only man she believes she can trust.
Well, color me surprised. This is a side of Franco I didn't expect to see. This is Franco working as close to the giallo genre as I've ever seen. I don't think Franco ever did anything as obvious as having a killer don a pair of black gloves and go a slashing with a straight razor but this does the trick, for sure. The opening song is haunting, beautiful, and downright depressing. The rest of the score is discordant and brooding and serves the material well. Even though my copy is a tad muddy, I can see the cinematography of Javier Perez Zofio shining through.
I love this cast save for one: The little kid actor isn't really what you might call... an actor. He looked like an unnaturally happy and blond kid-sized mannequin. Luckily, his screen time is very brief. I really dig Montserrat Prous. She is able to play these haunted characters very well. Her big eyes look so sad. Aww, poor baby! Alberto Dalbes is great as always. He is our go-to European stud with way more charisma than good looks.
Kali Hansa is very intriguing as Laura, the- um, housekeeper, I guess. She looks less mannish and more exotic than she did in The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff. Her suspicious glances are the stuff that dreams are made. Suspicious dreams. One actress that can't help but stick out is Yelena Samarina. She plays Vera, the photographer chick, and I wish she had a bigger part. You can see her suicide jaw in other Franco flicks like Daughter of Dracula and Night of the Skull but I know her best from Murder Mansion.
If you ever doubted Franco's abilities as a filmmaker, look at the nail-biting climax of this film and you'll see a capable and confident duder at work. The guy could make a solid thriller and he really makes the most of a measly budget, a beautiful location, and a handful of capable actors in Un Silencio de Tumba. There is lots of dread in the air and a quiet menace throughout this flick. I can't help but recommend that you go for it, you crazy Francophiles.
"Poor, innocent Valerie, the only decent person in this shit-hole. I have to kill you as well."