It's sometimes hard to keep your faith in Jess Franco when you've seen so much of his by-the-numbers horror and sleaze crap like I have... This notorious Spanish director made over 180 films in approximately 40 years. That's an average of more than four films each year, so it shouldn't be a surprise that really a lot of his movies are carelessly filmed and poorly edited routine jobs. However, his older films (let's say, everything released before 1972) are definite cinema classics and particularly the black & white Gothic horror try-outs of the early 60's are highly listed among my personal favorites. "Dr. Jekyll's Mistresses" is some sort of sequel to Franco's biggest success "The Awful Dr. Orloff", even though it mainly introduces new characters and an entirely different storyline. The uncanny castle setting was maintained, however, and so were the sinister atmosphere and inventive camera angles. Beautiful young orphan Melissa spends Christmas with her drunk aunt and scientist uncle up in their old, ramshackle castle. The uncle, Dr. Conrad Jekyll, can't dedicate much time to her as he inherited the secret formula of his tutor Dr. Orloff, which causes the dead to walk again and their actions can by controlled by ultrasonic noises. Jekyll resurrects his own dead brother (whom he killed for having an affair with his wife) and uses him to strangle random strip-bar dancers and prostitutes. Deceased Andros slowly begins to develop his own will again when he finds out that his poor and defenseless daughter stays at the castle. The script leaves too many questions unanswered (does Jekyll has anything against strippers or are they just test cases for his experiments?) but it's more coherent than most of Franco's other movies and there's a constant tension surrounding the film. Many sequences are stunningly beautiful and almost poetic, like when the "zombie" visits his own final resting place at the graveyard or when he pays nightly visits to his daughter's bedroom to look at her. The sound effects during the murder sequences are quite disturbing and the acting performances are overall very adequate. Even the dialogues are professionally written and that truly proves that "Dr. Jekyll's Mistresses" is one of Jess Franco's absolute finest achievements. Recommended!
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