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When one of the first scene of a film contains the line, "Well, let me
you the story about what happened," you know that you're in for a classic.
This is that kind of classic. KISS ME MONSTER is a short, sometimes dull,
and always sleazy film that makes you wish there were still drive-ins. How
else could this have made it into theaters, except for maybe a few
KISS ME MONSTER is a hodge-podge of cliches, lots of red herrings, and a plot that is practically indescribable. In fact, I'm not sure if there really is a plot, just a series of scenes that are excuses to show the two female leads in different stages of undress. The dialogue is ridiculous (to be fair, this may be the fault of the below-par dubbing), and the characters are mostly unlikable.
But, in its own cynical yet silly way, the film has its charms. The blonde lead is very attractive, and she gives karate-chops, too. Plus, Jesus Franco, as cheap a director as he is, usually accomplishes come good photography. Plus, some of the jazz on the soundtrack is pretty good.
I liked KISS ME MONSTER, but for all the wrong reasons. I laughed out-loud so many times, I kept wondering if it was supposed to be funny. Alas, I don't think so. If anyone can explain how the plot leads to the island with the mad scientist, please let me know. Because I was scratching my head the whole time...
I am a big Fan of Jess Franco, who is, with over 180 films as a director, quite possibly the most prolific filmmaker alive. There is no doubt that the man's impressive repertoire includes some masterpieces ("Miss Muerte", "Venus In Furs"), many highly entertaining flicks and many stinkers ("Sadomania") alike. While "Küss Mich, Monster" of 1969 is certainly not one of the highlights in Franco's career, it is yet a camp and quite fun to watch little spy-spoof that fans of Franco and amusing kitsch in general should enjoy. Even though the film has a certain macabre humor, this is easily one of the tamest films from this highly prolific exploitation director. Of course, the year is 1969, and it is obvious that the film is not gonna be the sleaze-fest that Franco's 70s and 80s productions were. While I did expect 60s sexploitation, however, the film has some kinky parts, but is overall a pretty harmless little black comedy. Janine Reynaud's bared breasts are the most nudity the viewer will get to see in this film, and the violence is also very tame for Franco standards. Yet, this does in no way lessen the film's value as a likable and amusing (if terribly silly) little comedy that should not leave its viewers bored. This is a sequel to the (supposedly better) "Rote Lippen, Sadisterotica" from the same year. It follows two sexy female spies, Diana (Janine Reynaud) and Regina (Rosanna Yanni), on their investigations, which mainly include flirtations, skimpy outfits, eccentric villains and bizarre situations. This is certainly no highlight of any sort, but camp humor and the sexy female cast make it a worthwhile time-waster. Recommended to my fellow Jess Franco fans.
The follow-up to TWO UNDERCOVER ANGELS (1967) is even less successful
than its predecessor but, again, it's enjoyable enough along the way to
be generally palatable. The plot of this one is even more nonsensical
than that of the first film: as a matter of fact, in the featurette
accompanying TWO UNDERCOVER ANGELS on the Blue Underground DVD, Franco
himself calls it "surreal" and believes this to have been the reason
why KISS ME MONSTER wasn't as popular as the original!
Anyway, here we have sci-fi rather than horror elements - the creation of superhuman beings, which actually makes the film's very title a misnomer, but is also not all that different from the central idea of Franco's earlier Al Pereira adventure ATTACK OF THE ROBOTS (1966)! Besides, the leads themselves - Janine Reynaud and Rosanna Yanni - didn't seem quite as charming here: for one thing, they never get to wear the fetishistic "Red Lips" costume, despite going through an equal array of kitschy dresses throughout; neither are their occasional asides to the audience in the first film retained for the follow-up. Also, their essential roles have been exchanged this time around - in TWO UNDERCOVER ANGELS, Reynaud assumed the damsel-in-distress persona (being, basically, the brains of the outfit) whom blonde bimbo Yanni managed to rescue in the nick of time; the latter is now the one who suffers the indignity of being drugged and abducted, while the former does the bailing-out! The remaining cast members are virtually the same as in TWO UNDERCOVER ANGELS (including another cameo by Franco himself), but mostly playing new roles: Adrian Hoven turns heroic for this one, whereas Michel Lemoine has graduated from monster assistant to mad scientist. Once again, the English-language soundtrack provides some truly cringe-worthy moments - such as the awful dubbing of the songs warbled on guitar by a couple of old Spaniards.
Let us now take a look at the alternate Spanish version: as can be deduced from the previous comments, the film is much better served by the Spanish dialogue. With respect to the editing, it's generally better than in EL CASO DE LAS DOS BELLEZAS: the re-arranging of scenes here is never quite as jarring as in the previous film; there is, however, one notable mistake - with the apparent utilization of a different take in the Spanish variant during the scene in which Reynaud saves Yanni from the villains' clutches, wherein one of these is shot dead by her in the U.S. version but not the Spanish...only to show his lifeless body slumped on the sofa seconds later! Likewise, the alternate music score (again by Fernando Garcia Morcillo) suits the sequel better than the first film, given the lesser emphasis on pop-art references this time around in order to make way for an exploration into ancient Spanish culture - what with a subplot involving a secret society of Klansmen types and the "McGuffin" in the film, the all-important red case, concealed inside a windmill whose key resides in the notes on a sheet of music.
The silly opening sequence to the U.S. version has been dropped (but, then, the use of a different credit sequence for the Spanish print means that an effective transition from black-and-white into color had to be sacrificed as well - since a character in the film is named Vittorio Freda, which I assume to be a nod to Italian cult film-makers Vittorio Cottafavi and Riccardo Freda, it's possible that this gimmick was borrowed from the former's THE HUNDRED HORSEMEN ); gone, too, is an endless and irrelevant go-go number. The new footage includes some additional scenes in which the "Red Lips" duo are seen interacting with the police, as they recount to them the events of the film in flashback - but there's also one murder (with the body inexplicably dumped in the heroines' bedroom) missing from the U.S. version, while the developed relationship in the Spanish print between two secondary characters helps to better delineate their individual loyalties. Besides, in spite of my limited understanding of the Spanish language, I caught a number of witty lines which were changed for the U.S. variant (including an amusing reference to Franco's own recurring creation Dr. Orloff!). The English-language version, however, does feature a few seconds of unconvincing gore not found in the Spanish counterpart.
With regards to the Blue Underground DVD itself, here too the transfer does justice to the film's colorful visuals; the Spanish version, however, wasn't up to the level of EL CASO DE LAS DOS BELLEZAS - for one thing, it seemed to be culled from two different prints, as the Aspect Ratio kept alternating (sometimes in the same scene!) between 1.66:1 and Full-Frame. The Jess Franco interview on the Blue Underground disc wasn't focused on the film proper but rather a rambling piece (albeit fascinating as ever) about various topics - the relationship between psychedelia and drugs and that between censorship and pornography; he even talks at length about his decidedly singular association with Orson Welles.
This is an appalling movie by most people's standards, but I totally loved
it. A must for anyone with a weakness for camp 60s psychedelia (of the
Barbarella/Modesty Blaise/Diabolik variety) this Jess Franco film regales
with the further adventures of the 'Red Lips' gals - Diana (Janine
and Regina (Rossana Yanni) who last brightened our lives in the
Two sexy undercover agents on the trail of a mad doctor and his race of Frankenstein-style monster hunks, Reynaud and Yanni strut about in deliriously over-the-top high-fashion outfits. Bicker back and forth like Edina and Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous. Reduce any unfortunate male who crosses their path to a pool of helpless mush. Oh, and they even find time to perform a transvestite nightclub act on saxophones. Now that's what I call style!
As for the 'plot'(if there is any) I've seen this movie twice and still can't fathom it. Something about a tropical island, animatronic muscle men, whip-wielding lesbians, feathered cabaret outfits, effete and sinister scientists and a mystical secret sect who sit around in black Ku Klux Klan hoods and crimson robes and struggle (vainly, it turns out) to explain what is going on. The continuity is even more abysmal than in most of Franco's oeuvre - so much so that the girls seem to be driving a different car in every shot!
Yet as an introduction to this mad genius and his deranged and surreal style of movie-making, you could do a lot worse than Kiss Me Monster. At least in the version I saw, there's almost none of the lurid blood and sex that was standard in Franco's later work. The one truly nasty moment here is a brief-but-gruesome surgery scene. Otherwise, it's all good, clean, campy, psychedelic fun. Everyone on and offscreen seems be in a drug-induced haze. Well, it WAS the 60s after all!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With Christmas coming up I started searching round for films from
auteur director "Uncle" Jess Franco that I could give to a friend as a
gift.Taking a look at the titles that Anchor Bay had put out,I spotted
a weird looking Spy flick,which led to me getting ready to go spying
with Uncle Jess.
Returning from their latest spy mission, Diana and Regina are told that they must go and track a missing Doctor Beltran who has created a formula for super- humans (as you do!) Attempting to gather info on the Beltran's location,Diana find themselves hitting dead ends,when their informants begin to get mysteriously killed.Going undercover as a nightclub act on an island,the duo soon begin using their charms on island leader Eric Vicas,who they each suspect has something to do with the killings and Beltran's disappearance.
View on the film:
Trimmed down from its Spanish version,co-writer/(along with Luis Revenga & Karl Heinz Mannchen) director Jess Franco offers a deliciously scrambled mix of dazzling psychedelic glamour and slick spy murky dealings.Whilst the movie has weirdly been rated 18/R in the UK, (despite there being no swearing,and only a few topless glimpses from the very sexy leading ladies)Franco gives Diana & Regina a jet set lifestyle,as Uncle Jess trademark zoom button is drizzled with vivid reds and yellows which keep up with Diana and Regina's breezy friendship,whilst the smooth Jazz from Jerry van Rooyen keeps the dirty spy dealings bubbling away.
Whilst covering the duo in a glamorous appearance,the writers cross light Comedy one liners with surprisingly ruthless double dealings,as Diana and Regina's high-kicking adventures are met by back stabbing killings of anyone who tries to help the girls out! Despite their voices being dubbed,the stunning Janine Reynaud & Rosanna Yanni both give terrific performances as Diana and Regina,thanks to Reynaud and Yanni giving them a sweet natured warmth,with sly hints of the cunning espionage skills being hidden from view,as Uncle Jess joins in on the spying game.
This amusing but failed flick results to be a campy , sexy private eye
fun from Jesús Franco . This film is starred by two lovely ladies of
the 'Red Lips' detective agency , both of whom are on the track of
missing objects . "Red Lips" are two female agents (Janine Reynaud as
Diana and Rosanna Yanni as Regina) attempting to find a red box from
Doctor Beltran . Two tough as well as scantily dressed detectives ,
both of whom are real knockouts . They are the most dazzlingly female
spies , including their lipstick kiss as their trademark . At the end
takes place a twisted surprise about the mysterious box .
Colorful but below average rendition about European spy sub-genre , an usual genre during the sixties , not taking any situation seriously ; being realized in similar style to famous strip-cartoon thrillers as ¨Modesty Blaise¨ , ¨Diabolik¨ and ¨Barbarella¨ . A loopy and illogical screenplay that is not much easy to follow , some crazy villains, secret societies , pointless but light nudism , and gorgeous girls . There's nonetheless a good-natured quality evident throughout which makes the whole thing an entertainingly goofy diversion . This very campy picture contains thrills , action , phantasmagoria , tongue-in-cheek , absurd situations , but being lousily developed and including some enjoyable though brief moments . A real campy hoot , slight but little watchable comic book style spy picture that was made by the time in which Franco directed nice movies such as ¨The sadistic Baron Klaus¨ , ¨Rififi En La Ciudad¨ , ¨Miss Muerte¨ or ¨Diabolic Doctor Z¨ , ¨Necronomicon¨ and ¨Gritos en la Noche¨ , developing a consolidated professionalism , as his career got more and more impoverished in the following years , but his endless creativity enabled him to tackle films in all genres, from "B" horror to erotic films . The main and support cast -with everyone having fun- is passable , but they are really wasted . The best of the interpretation results to be Adrian Hoven -also producer- as suspect Interpol agent . And a sympathetic Manolo Otero , he was a Latin lover as well singer , early deceased , who married Eurotrash goddess Maria Jose Cantudo . And other actors in brief appearances are Chris Howland , Marta Reves ,Barta Barri , many of them ordinary in Franco films . And , of course , brief acting by Jess Frank as a spy rapidly eliminated . Atmospheric original music by Jerry van Rooyen hits the groovy spot , including jam session , disco music and a catching leitmotif . Evocative cinematography by Jorge Herrero being filmed on location in Manga Del Mar Menor , Murcia , Cabo Roig , Alicante , Marbella and Munchen .
The motion picture was middlingly directed by Stajanovist Jesus Franco , best known for his nearly two hundred underground, "exploitation" films and it was filmed along with ¨El Caso De Las Dos Bellezas¨ shot back to back with similar casting and technical team . These films are admittedly pretty mild and innocuous stuff compared to Franco more racy and explicit movies . However , here he doesn't use his trademarks , as he pulls off a traditional narration , without zooms , neither sickening pace . As the picture belongs to Franco's first period in which he made passable flicks . Jesus signs under pseudonyms , he used to utilize usual marks such as zooms , nudism , foreground on objects , filmmaking in ¨do-it-yourself effort¨ style or DIY and managing to work extraordinarily quickly , realizing some fun diversions, and a lot of absolute crap . His oeuvre included about 200 films, among them The White Slave, The Sexual History of O, Macumba Sexual, , Emmanuelle Exposed, Vampyros Lesbos, The Mistresses of Dr. Jekyll, and White Cannibal Queen. Many pictures had nice photography , full of lights and shades in Orson Welles style , in fact , Franco was direction-assistant in ¨Chimes at midnight¨ and edited ¨El Quijote¨ by Welles . He often used to introduce second , third or fourth versions , including Hardcore or Softcore inserts or sexual stocks many of them played by his muse Lina Romay . In many of the more than 200 films he's directed he has also worked as composer, writer, cinematographer and editor. His first was "We Are 18 Years Old" and the second picture was "The Awful Dr. Orlof" (1962) , the best of all them , it's followed by various sequels such as El Secreto del Dr. Orloff (1964) aka "The Mistresses of Dr. Jekyll" , " Orloff y el hombre invisible (1970) aka "Dr. Orloff's Invisible Monster" and finally "Faceless" (1987) . He also directed to the great Christopher Lee in 4 films : "The Bloody Judge" , ¨Count Dracula¨, ¨The Blood of Fu Manchu¨ and ¨The castle of Fu Manchu¨ . Jesús's influence has been notable all over Europe . From his huge body of work we can deduce that Jesús Franco is one of the most restless directors of Spanish cinema and often releasing several titles at the same time. Many of his films have had problems in getting released, and others have been made directly for video. More than once his staunchest supporters have found his "new" films to contain much footage from one or more of his older films . Jesús Franco is a survivor in a time when most of his colleagues tried to please the government administration. He broke up with all that and got the independence he was seeking. He always went upstream in an ephemeral industry that fed opportunists and curbed the activity of many professionals . This Underground Sex and Euro-Horror Director reviled by Catholic Church, even was Goya Winner . But time doesn't pass in vain, and Jesus' production has diminished since the 90s ; however he went on shooting until his recent death .
Several years ago I watched the film in which this is a sequel to,
namely Sadisterotica (1969). I remember distinctly finding it to be
fairly atrocious on the whole. To my pleasant surprise, a fellow, very
kind IMDb user sent me a copy of its sequel; so what of Kiss Me,
Monster? Well, it has to be said upfront that both movies do sport
somewhat cool titles and the basic idea behind them is a pretty
encouragingly good one. But from what I can fathom, this sequel is
pretty much of a similar standard to its earlier equivalent. And this
is not especially a good thing on balance.
Once again, it focuses on two slinky female detectives, played once more by Janine Reynaud and Rosanna Yanni. They set out to investigate a new case in which song lyrics from the hand of a dead man leads to an island where a scientist has been creating muscle-bound mutants in red posing pouches. In order to get close to their adversaries, the two women go undercover as an erotic nightclub act. Various people are killed along the way and, well, we get to the finale somehow.
In this film, stuff happens. That's as good a way of describing events as any, as the style that has been used to tell the story makes it a little hard to follow at times. Like most films from director Jess Franco, this one has pacing problems. Except in this case the problem is the exact opposite of what it usually is, in that unlike the slow pace of most of his other features this one is paced far too fast for its own good. When the main story thread got underway, it took me some time to realise that it wasn't a flashback I was watching such was the rapidity of events depicted a bloke pitches up, is killed and the ladies are off and quickly encounter many characters in quick succession. In order to tell this particular plot-driven story Franco would have been better putting the brakes on here and there. Consequently, we hurtle through the narrative in a fast and haphazard fashion, meaning it's not easy to keep fully engaged with events. Similar to Sadisterotica this one also sports dubbing of the bottom of the barrel variety. I don't mind dubbing generally but this stuff just sounds like voice-overs too upfront in the mix that only vaguely connects to the characters on-screen.
I couldn't pretend to say I found this to be a good film but it does have definite Euro cult value and its general bizarreness does count for something at least. I reckon though if you need to see a Franco effort in the spy genre then The Girl from Rio (1969) is for me the best he has executed of this type. The very fact that Jess knocked out all three of these spy movies I have mentioned in this review in one year (plus a whole bunch of other flicks also) probably gives you a good idea why the likes of this one seems a little rushed.
Unfortunately the version of 'Kiss Me Monster' I watched was the 75 minute,
badly dubbed version. I'm blaming most of the movie's inadequacies on that.
I enjoyed 'Sadisterotica' as a change of pace for Jess Franco - a campy spy
thriller rather than his more typical erotic nightmares on film - but this
is nowhere near as good.
The 'Red Lips' detective team (Janine Reynaud and Rosanna Yanni) return, as do a few Franco regulars. The plot this time around is paper thin. Some sheet music leads the girls to an island where a missing scientist has been experimenting on people. They pose as saxophonists (!) while they investigate the mysterious goings on there, which somehow involve a secret cult. There's all the usual double crosses, plot twists, skimpy outfits, and a totally gratuitous go-go dancing sequence, but the emphasis this time around is more on humour ("humour" - it isn't the least bit amusing) rather than action. Not Franco's best effort, and certainly not a good introduction to his oeuvre. 'Vampiros Lesbos' and 'Succubus' are still the best way for newcomers to begin.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
- I'm not sure how to describe a non-existent plot, but I'll give it a
try. Two women, posing as a nightclub act, go to an island to
investigate something. Everywhere they go, people (I have no idea who
these people are) end up dying - sometimes stabbed in the back while in
mid-sentence. Of course there's no sign of the killer. Eventually, I
think they find whatever it is they're looking for because there is
- This movie is BAD. And, I don't mean bad in a way that can be enjoyable to make fun of. This is the kind of put-you-to-sleep-because-it-makes-no-sense bad. I got the impression that the story was being written at night on cocktail napkins for the next day's shoot. It's the only way I can explain it because I can't imagine anyone sitting down and writing something this bad unless they were drunk (either that or it was written by monkeys). I defy anyone to watch this movie and tell me exactly what's going on.
- I'm not giving it a 1/10 because it does have a couple of redeeming qualities. What they are escapes me at the moment, but I distinctly remember enjoying at least one scene - it may have been a shot of palm trees. Plus, believe it or not, I've seen much worse.
I'm gonna keep this review short and sweet (like the movie).
KISS ME MONSTER is nothing but fun. It's campy, it's surely a product of it's time (the late 1960's Europe), and if you like Eurospy spoofs and Jess Franco, you won't really be disappointed here.
The plot is whacky, (like it's predecessor, "Two Under Cover Angels", aka "Sadist Erotica"), but this movie really isn't about the plot. What makes it fun is the sharp fast paced witty dialog between the two leads. It comes off almost like a sitcom, paced with a jab or joke almost every other line.
So, that's about all there is to it, if you like these kinds of movies, and just want something very light and campy, check it out.
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