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One of those obscure hypnotic efforts our beloved sleaze director Jesus
Franco filmed after he returned to his natal Spain in the 80s. Full of
surreal situations, very explicit sex and a naked Lina Romay wandering
around. This one is actually one of his all-time bests. Beautifully
filmed and very surreal, using to a great effect the Spanish locations,
and the sight of the beautiful nude body of Lina Romay is enough to
make this one a essential movie for fans of the sleaze master. The
music score mix some of the cues from Female Vampire, along with a new
one, also by Franco regular Daniel White. The plot is very similar to
that of Franco's Nightmares Come at Night and Voodoo Passion, but in my
opinion, this version surpasses those movies as it's a much more mature
effort. Franco finally created a movie where reality melts into an
Similar to Macumba Sexual in style, this is a great surreal softcore-almost-bordering-on-hardcore erotic horror flick from Franco. A 8 out of 10.
"Mil Sexos Tiene La Noche" is yet another first-rate Jess Franco film, again shot on a very low budget with the director getting the maximum from the location, his photography, and his stable of actors. Much of the film appears to have been filmed in or near a hotel, a common staple of many Franco films, and to keep the viewer's eyes from being bored by all of the darkness Franco treats us to beautifully-filmed bodies of water, bodies of lovemakers, flower gardens, indoor scenery, and human silhouettes. Other than Franco, the other strong element of the film is Lina Romay, who, as usual, gives a performance so convincing and thoughtful you'd think her life was at stake if she failed to deliver. She goes from being dowdy and frumpy in some scenes to being a sometimes frightened, sometimes stunningly beautiful protagonist. As this film is a remake of Franco's "Voodoo Passion" (1977) the plot is not difficult to comprehend, and non-Spanish-speaking viewers should not be offput because 64 of the film's 92 minutes have no dialog whatsoever. This was probably filmed simultaneously with Franco's "Historia Sexual de O" as, in the opening scene of "Mil Sexos . . ." three of the actors are wearing the same clothes they wear in the menacing dinner-table scene of "Historia Sexual. . ." Carmen Carrion and Daniel Katz, who appear in both films, are perfectly cast as totally evil users of the weaker-minded in both films, and both deliver suitably frightening performances.
Of the six Spanish Franco films I've watched from the late 70s and
early 80s, this is easily the most satisfying; ironically, I had this
DVD-R for a year and a half before deciding to check it out (and, in
fact, hadn't watched any new title by the director since that time)!
The plot may be trite (made even less intelligible by the lack of English subtitles) but it's basically a pot-pourri of Franco's favorite themes set within familiar surroundings and, therefore, wholly fascinating (resembling most closely NIGHTMARES COME AT NIGHT  but is actually superior to it) the night-club act, the shady deal, the mystical influence, the duplicitous partner, the murders committed in a trance, the unlikely psychiatrist hero (played by the director himself). The film's trump card, then, resides in the typically dreamy visuals (which come across even in the print of variable quality that I watched for instance, a most effective subliminal image of star Lina Romay about to carry out her first 'assignment') accentuated by the languid pace, the exotic Canary Island location and the score (a lovely romantic theme offset from time to time by weird ambient sounds).
Maybe I've been away too long but the copious sex scenes didn't feel overlong this time around, and weren't even as explicit as I had come to expect in a Franco film from this liberated era: two in particular were actually quite well done the 15-minute drug-fuelled orgy which is the centre-piece of the film (culminating in multiple murder), and the scene towards the end between the heroine and one of her victims making love against a hotel window (highlighted by the intruding rays of the sun and the beach scenery being reflected on it). As in most of these cheaply-made but surprisingly accomplished films (save for the occasional jerky camera move or unwarranted zoom on female pubic hair!), the cast list assembled is very sparse led, of course by Romay (plump but gorgeous in one of her best roles); the remaining actors, however, fare less well (with the villain coming off no pun intended as particularly ineffectual).
Until now, I hadn't been as impressed as I know others were with Franco's efforts from this particular phase in his career; however, Severin Films' decision to release a few of them on R1 DVD (which is in itself a brave move, given their high sexual content but, then, there's always Franco's passionate and consistently enjoyable interviews to look forward to for the more casual fan!) may help to redress the balance and put a different perspective on this hitherto untapped and largely neglected period: two are already available MACUMBA SEXUAL (1981; I actually watched this one via an unsubtitled DVD-R and liked it quite a bit) and MANSION OF THE LIVING DEAD (1982; which, in view of its affinity with Amando De Ossorio's cult "Blind Dead" series of films, I'm interested in regardless) and with a couple more on the horizon THE SEXUAL STORY OF O (1981; which, again, sounds intriguing) and THE INCONFESSABLE ORGIES OF EMMANUELLE (1982; decidedly unappetizing, unless anyone cares to chime in with a statement to the contrary!), one hopes that MIL SEXOS TIENE LA NOCHE (which roughly translates to NIGHT OF A THOUSAND SEXES, but its meaning is anybody's guess!) itself won't be too far behind
This obscure Golden Films production got to pop the Franco-cherry on my new movie projector. It was just the right choice! Lina Romay, chubby like she just walked out of an Anders Zorn-painting, plays Irena (Female Vampire flashbacks, anybody?) who's part of a kind of hypnosis nightclub act with the magician Fábian. He's not a very nice guy and uses his hypnotic powers to use poor Irena as an instrument of vengeance, sleeping with and killing off his enemies. Or is the whole set up just part of her nightmares? An unusually good, hypnotic (in both meanings of the word) sleaze flick that really shows what Franco can achieve with extremely limited resources - some hotel rooms, a handful of actors (the same old faces that's in all films from this period), a film camera and some re-used Daniel White music. Man, I really love this stripped down Golden Films stuff when it's done right and this films is much closer in spirit to, say, Macumba Sexual than Mansion of the Living Dead. Parts of the film are almost delirious. There's a thick, intimate atmosphere and interesting experimental photography. Some scenes are almost bordering on the poetic, for example we have a beautifully shot long kiss filmed through a glass door, bathing in sunlight. Say what you want about Lina's acting capacity but here she gives all she's got, somewhat reprising her roles in Female Vampire and Doriana Gray. Even though the story itself is more similar to Nightmares Come at Night. Highly recommended!
Night of 1,000 Sexes (1984)
** (out of 4)
Jess Franco has nearly two-hundred movie credits to his name and much more if you consider the various alternate versions he has made of his films. Franco was never shy about remaking his own movies and this here is pretty much a reworking of his NIGHTMARES COME AT NIGH and VOODOO PASSION. In the film Lina Romay plays a nightclub act who begins to have dreams of her carrying out sexual relations with men before killing them. Is this all a dream or is her friend hypnotizing her into seeking revenge for him? I didn't care for either of the earlier versions of this and I can't say I cared too much for this one either. There are certainly some very interesting aspects here but there just wasn't enough to make it worth viewing. It should be noted that I had to watch the film in Spanish without any subtitles but outside the opening sequence there's very little dialogue here. What does work is a nice music score by Franco himself (under the Pablo Villa name), which is a strange mixture of jazz and blues but this score really puts you in the hypnotic state that the film wants from the viewer. The cinematography was also quite nice and mixed with the score you get the biggest benefit as this really makes you feel the twisted "visions" that Romay's character is having. As for Romay, she's not too bad here as she pretty much just has to lay around in various sexual acts and moan. Franco always liked to film her doing this so she was certainly a pro by this date. I was a little surprised to see the sexuality and nudity wasn't as high as one might think and the subject matter is pretty watered down compared to VOODOO PASSION, which is certainly the dirtiest of the three versions.
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