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I don't believe the other negative review. I am a Jess Franco fan. I bought the Broken Dolls/Helter Skelter DVD. I suffered through Broken Dolls. I found Dolls to be one of the worst Franco movies. On a level with Justine and Virgin of the Living Dead. But Helter Skelter is great. It just exudes coolness. It has great visuals. Analia Ivars is totally hot. I could look at her for hours. And that is what Helter Skelter does. It dwells on lusty vixens bodies. It's very sensual. It doesn't have much of a plot and that is what Jess can do best. Take his obsessions to a new level and just focus on what he loves: sex and violence. It reminds me of his classics "Macumba Sexualis" and "Eugenie: History of Perversion". Helter Skelter has a great mellow experimental Jazz soundtrack and weird voice overs from De Sade. Highly recommended!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This review will be easy because there is not one possibility of encountering a spoiler, because Jess Franco's "Helter Skelter" has no plot, and I have no doubt this was Franco's intention. The film is a series of S&M-oriented vignettes that play one after another, sometimes repeatedly so, and they are intended to convey the entire story to the viewer with absolutely minimal dialog. This is an art form that almost no one in film has experimented with for a long time (not that I have seen, anyway) and it is perfectly executed by Franco. Franco wisely uses Rachel Shepard as nothing more than eye candy here, as her performance in Franco's "Vampire Blues" was an absolute embarrassment. While Analia Ivars is also along for the ride, once again the star of the show is Lina Romay! Ms. Romay only gets better with time, and even though she doesn't utter ten words in this film it is not necessary, as her facial expressions are priceless and they alone convey to the viewer the necessary "dialog". Why does Lina take such heat for getting older and larger? We all eventually feel the effects of time. Lina Romay clearly demonstrates you can be middle-aged, attractive and credible in "Helter Skelter", and if you are a Lina fan, you cannot be disappointed because the camera is on her and her alone for much of the 80 minutes of running time. In conclusion, this is a film that was not meant to be pretty, and it is not possible to film a de Sade inspired story and present Julie Andrews singing and feeding deer from her hand -- "Helter Skelter" is a mean-spirited film filled with cruel, desperate, yet strangely sympathetic characters, and Franco weaves this tapestry of sadoerotic perversion together as no one else can (or will).
Helter Skelter (2000)
BOMB (out of 4)
If you're thinking this Jess Franco film has anything to do with the Manson murders then you're going to be disappointed. However, you'll probably be disappointed no matter what because this is another softcore film from Franco's One Shot Productions. There's no story here but instead various images "inspired" by de Sade. Lina Romay masturbates, has sex and various other things throughout the 80-minute running time while two other women also mess around. A complete and utter mess of a film that isn't worth anything. I've seen over a hundred Franco films but this one here is near the bottom.
I don't know the exact circumstances of how this ever got made, but I'm
sure (I hope at least) that even Franco didn't really like what he made
(or was forced to do?). Whatever the case, giving this a second point
is just because it's way out there. It doesn't start off bad ... for a
couple of seconds that is. Until you realize you are in an almost 10
minute credits/introduction circle - for a 60 minute movie! To call
that sane would not be a stretch, it would be a lie.
There is a lot of experimenting going on (as there is a lot of nudity and touching and other things that are either titillating or not for the viewer). None of those experiments really spark and the nudity does not close the gap the lack of story leaves behind. It almost feels like an exhibition that could be shown as a slide show at an erotic museum or something, but does not qualify to be called a "movie"
Using new footage and out-takes ripped from his other One Shot Productions
films, director Jess Franco attempts to make a Marquis De Sade anthology
somehow manages to cobble together incoherent bits of sexiness, crassness,
ugliness and tedium. Quite obviously the least effort amongst his One
Productions films, it's widely understood that this is the one film Franco
made for his American company that had no real involvement from his new
producers - and it shows. Without the steadying hand of producers Peter
Evanko or Kevin Collins, Franco is left to his old devices of zoom lenses
flabby butts and repetitive loops of images and sounds. There's no story,
just images set to music that apparently was supposed to suggest a mood.
Instead it merely suggests that now is a good time to take a nap.
Director, heal thyself. Viewers, stick to either the old Franco classics or to any of the other One Shot Productions films from his oeuvre.
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