Despite our better judgment, Nafa and I discuss the remake of that classic horror film, The Wicker Man. Nicolas Cage is a mad genius or perhaps he's just Edward MALE-US. I don't know. Enjoy the damn show! I guarantee you that we had a lot of fun discussing this friggin' movie.
Monday, March 30, 2015
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Friday, March 6, 2015
My fabled website, Doomed Moviethon, has turned 10 years old and I’m celebrating right here, right now on Cinema Somnambulist by... REVIEWING ANOTHER JESS FRANCO FILM! It’s been over 5 months since the last one so yeah, I guess I’m long overdue. I still can’t believe I used to do the Franco Friday thing every week. Dang, I miss being that inspired and prolific. It’s not easy being sleepy (or sleazy).
The Hot Nights of Linda
AKA Les nuits brûlantes de Linda
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Alice Arno, Paul Muller, Lina Romay, Verónica Llimera, Monica Swinn, Pierre Taylou
Alice Arno plays Marie-France Bertrand, a nurse looking for work. The scumbag dude at the employment agency (Raymond Hardy) gets her a job working for the Raddick family as a teacher or something. After walking back to her apartment, she reads a book that sounds just like the plot of this movie and then she falls asleep. The next day, Marie-France goes to the family's villa and meets Abdul (Pierre Taylou), a mute servant, who takes her to meet Mr. Paul Raddick (played by Paul Muller). Paul tells her about his two daughters, Lina (Verónica Llimera) and Olivia (Lina Romay). According to him, Linda is paralyzed and needs special care and Olivia is obsessed with sex.
Meanwhile, the employment agent that got Marie-Franco the job in the first place and his photojournalist pal (played by Catherine Lafferière) are holed up in a nearby house, both having been paid by the police to spy on the Raddick family. Why would the police be involved? It turns out that Paul is obsessed with his dead wife Lorna (Monica Swinn) and has a locked room that he goes to in order to talk to the bed where he murdered her and her lover on years ago. Obsessed with not only sex but also with murder, Olivia goes on a violent rampage to get revenge for what happened to Lorna and no one is safe. Oh shizzle! It turns out everything was just a dream. Taking this as an omen, Marie-France decides to not accept her job, working for the Raddick family.
Much like Jess Franco's Sinner: Diary of a Nymphomaniac, this movie is just insanely sad, especially for Linda who is just so friggin' pathetic. When Lina Romay's character takes advantage of her, I actually winced with disgust at the cruelty onscreen. Romay appears playfully mean at first but then she just devolves into an evil jerk. I loved it! Don't let the banana eating and the champagne glass licking fool you, this bitch means business. Even Paul Muller's character, who is very cruel, is someone you can actually sympathize with on some level.
With atmospheric weirdness as the focus, the perfectly sleepy plot just drops out of the race almost immediately. I only threw up the spoiler tags because this movie lulled me into a state of ethereal ennui and then I was honestly thrown for a loop in the last twenty minutes or so. That probably won't happen to you. Once the opening credits -with gorgeous music by composer Daniel White- played over a gloomy day in Paris as Alice Arno walked to her apartment, I just drifted.
Jess Franco drops you into this film right in the middle of a scene and thanks to the English dubbing, it is both mystifying and funny. There is also a great amount of post-synced dubbing. So many lines of dialog are playing while no one's lips are moving that I was just hypnotized. Alice Arno has a lot of dialog in the English version that she says telepathically. She's a talented mutant.
The plot is very dreamlike, slow, and convoluted but this is nothing new for Franco. If you're a fan of his work from this period then you'll be all over this one. The characters are, for the most part, well thought out, and the actors are all capable enough to make this erotically drowsy and perilously ridiculous crap interesting. A tragedy in the past plays itself out over and over again for Paul and Olivia. There's even some comic relief characters!
Okay, I admit it. I was avoiding this film because of its title. It sounds like a porno and that cover art with Lina Romay lasciviously eating a banana (a cover art promise is actually fulfilled!) just made me assume that I wouldn't enjoy this film. Lucky for me, The Hot Nights of Linda was made during an amazing period of Franco's work. Who would have ever guessed that even in 1975, he was still interested in making movies that were perverse without relying on endless shots of genitals? Is anyone surprised that there’s a hardcore version of this film out there? No? I should hope not! Yeah, I didn't watch that cut. So I guess I learned a lesson here: Always judge a book by its cover!
“I can’t stand people that snore and you look the snoring type.”
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
The X from Outer Space
AKA Uchû daikaijû Girara
Directed by Kazui Nihonmatsu
Starring Eiji Okada, Shun'ya Wazaki, Itoko Harada, Peggy Neal, Franz Gruber
Country of origin: Japan
Between the wildly wretched English dubbing in this film and it's kooky theme song, I'm a very happy monster movie fan. Oh there's a ridiculous monster too? Oh shit! So the plot goes like this: six crews of space explorers have traveled to a distant planet and all six have disappeared. Well, it turns out that the old saying, "the seventh time's the charm", is actually true as Captain Sano (played by Shun'ya Wazaki) and the crew of the Aabygamma(?) head out to make history (and hopefully not fucking die like all the rest).
The funniest thing during this journey is that Lisa (played by Peggy Neal of The Terror Beneath the Sea), the only female member of the crew, isn't allowed to touch any of the ship's controls. That's probably the most insanely sexist thing I've ever seen in a film and I have no idea if it is supposed to be intended as a joke or not. You see, Lisa needs all of her free time for a love triangle between herself, Sano, and his girlfriend Michiko (Itoko Harada), who is back at the space station, fuming with jealousy.
While they are out in space, a UFO that looks like a fried egg shows up and jams the crew's radio. Next the ship gets covered in weird glowing meteorites. They bring a sample inside and head back home to Earth. While they are busy celebrating at a very odd party, the meteor hatches like an egg. Then the giant monster known as Guilala comes out of fucking nowhere! What the heck? The editing on this film is wild.
Obviously, the monster -some reviewers call it a giant chicken but I call it "surprise LOL space-bird"- is headed toward Tokyo to do some damage. The goofy and clunky confusion continues as yet another mission to outer space is undertaken by our crew. What are they doing again? How will this last minute mission save the day? Guilala then turns into a ball and flies around, causing even more destruction. Somehow they stop it and- shit, I have no idea what to make of this baffling ending.
You need to see this.