Whirlpool (1970) Poster


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Jose Larraz's recently unearthed first film
lazarillo1 March 2005
This is the first film of the cult Spanish expatriate director Jose Larraz (which was lost until very recently). It is far more amateurish than his later (and better) films like "Symptoms", "Vampyres", and "The Coming of Sin", but it has the same basic themes--omnivorous sexual perversity played out against a background of haunting natural beauty. A Swinging London era fashion (played by Vivian Neves, who was a, um, Swinging London Era fashion model)is lured to an isolated country estate by a creepy older woman to meet her even creepier photography-obsessed nephew. She doesn't seem too perturbed to learn that a previous female model that went there has disappeared without a trace, nor does she find it strange that her first night there the aunt and nephew get her drunk and engage her in perverse game of strip poker. She almost has sex with the nephew (while his aunt secretly watches) but he isn't able to, uh, rise to the occasion. The next day he takes her into town and pays a friend to rip her clothes off and nearly rape her while he takes pictures. This doesn't seem to bother her either because soon she's involved in another bisexual three-way sex/photography session with the aunt and nephew. There is also an allusion to the old Bluebeard story--the model has been forbidden to enter the nephew's mysterious darkroom. Hmmmm. Guess what she does?

This movie was written off as a cheap sex movie when it was released, even though it doesn't really contain any more sex than any other Larraz movie. The problem is that just isn't very good. It kind of reminded of the sexy Italian giallo "Amuck!" released a few years later, but it lacks both the strong acting and the directorial flair of that movie. It's also hard to muster much sympathy for the protagonist as she is unbelievably stupid. And there's no doubt from the beginning that the villainous couple are the worst kind of creeps (and the actors that play them might as well be twirling their mustaches). You can see the ending coming from a mile away--the tagline and the alternative title pretty much give it away. There is also a really lame voice-over coda before the end credits, which was no doubt added to ameliorate the censors. Still this IS a J.R. Larraz movie, so it is not entirely uninteresting and worth seeing if you're a fan of the director like I am.
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Finally available!
dr_pretorius200123 January 2005
After many years this fine first film from Jose Ramon Larraz has finally surfaced from an online dealer.

The film itself is amazingly sleazy considering its both British (though registered in Denmark) and from the 60's, before films like EXPOSE and FRIGHTMARE became the norm. The film has many similarities to other Larraz films of the period, such as being set in rural England during the fall and featuring a severely warped family relationship.

Stars frequent Larraz favorites Karl Lanchbury (in yet another oddball role similar to those in DEVIATION, SCREAM AND DIE and VAMPYRES) and Andrew Grant (also in DEVIATION and EMMA PUERTAS OSCURAS).

Its score is by Stelvio Cipriani, who also did the score for Larraz's DEVIATION (which was VERY similar to his score for Mario Bava's TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE aka BAY OF BLOOD).
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Larraz is a maniac
BandSAboutMovies18 July 2022
Warning: Spoilers
She died with her boots on - and not much else.

Yes, José Ramón Larraz didn't do anything subtle, huh?

Sarah (Pia Andersson) is a woman of a certain age living in the countryside of London with another shutterbug named Theo (Karl Lanchbury) in a relationship that has them refer to one another as aunt and nephew. Sara invites a model named Tulia (Vivian Neves) to stay with them and be photographed; the very first session goes poorly as Tulia sees a hooded figure spying on her. She shares that this same thing happened when her friend Rhonda (Johanna Hegger) stayed at the house and that something was wrong with the lake.

That night, everyone gets drunk, the ladies get naked and Theo and Tulia make love whole Sarah looks at photos of Rhonda when what she really wanted was a threesome. Things get stranger when Mr. Field comes looking for evidence of Rhonda and Theo sets him up to nearly assault Tulia while he films it.

Of course, all is soon forgiven and that menage a trois ends up happening. Moments later, Mr. Field is stabbed to death by Theo, who follows that up by confessing to Tulia that he's a sadist as she stares at photos of Rhonda being abused by multiple men. She tries to run through the woods but he catches up to her and snuffs her out.

In case you wonder why Roger Ebert said that this movie had "particularly grisly sort of violence, photographed for its own sake and deliberately relishing in its ugliness. It made me awfully uneasy," it would be because this movie is, well, shocking and brutal at almost every opportunity.

As you can imagine, this movie was cut to pieces when it first played in England. Also released as Perversion Flash, Flash Light and She Died with Her Boots On, this feels like the first version of Larraz's superior Symptoms. That said - it's still pretty effective.
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morrison-dylan-fan30 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Talking to a fellow IMDb'er recently about Euro 'genre' movies,I was asked if I had seen any titles by writing/directing auteur Jose Ramon Larraz.With having heard of,but never seeing any of Larraz work,I decided to take advantage of my discussion with the fellow IMDb'er,by finally taking Larraz debut, (which was believed lost for decades) off my shelf,and excitingly getting ready to enter the whirlpool.

The plot:

With the mysterious disappearance of Rhonda having put a stop to her fun'n'games and her nephew Theo's amateur photography,kind aunt Sara decides to pay a visit to the London,in the hope of catching the eye of an up and coming fashion model.Sneaking into a fashion shoot,Sara is taken aback by the glamorous appearance of a new model called Tulia.Introducing herself,Sara tells Tulia that she would really like to take her back to the country house that she resides in,so that her nephew Theo can do an outstanding photo shoot which Tulia can place in her portfolio.

Delighted at receiving such attention,Tulia jumps in sweet aunt Sara's car,and begins to look forward to her special photo-shoot.Arriving at the country house,Tulia discovers that instead of taking part in a photo-shoot,that aunt Sara and Theo are going to make Tulia take part in seduction,and murder.

View on the film:

Despite the only known edition to exist being a timecoded Video version,co-writer/ (along with Sam Lomberg) director Jose Ramon Larraz is able to break out of the viewing constriction's by displaying an expert eye in creating an incredibly murky atmosphere,with Larraz using the country house setting to to build a real mood of isolation,thanks to Larraz making the endless row of tresses by a sign to Tulia, (played by the stunning Vivian Neves) that there is nowhere for her to run away from Sara, (played with a wonderful battle axe bite by Pia Andersson) and Theo's, (played with a chilling smirk by future Larraz collaborator Karl Lanchbury) games.

Along with the creeping atmosphere in his directing,Larraz and Lomberg give their screenplay a strong swipe of crawling sleaze,with Larraz and Lomberg gradually taking their time to fully place Tulia in Sara and Theo's games, which leads to the writers delivering an excellently ruthless ending,as Tulia starts to fear that she will never be able to get out of this deadly whirlpool.
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a_baron9 October 2017
A diplomatic person might call this an erotic thriller. Diplomacy is for diplomats, and no amount of tact can gloss over it. This low budget film is not total rubbish, but only if you like lesbian sex, simulated rape and the odd murder, and these are odd murders.

A woman lives in the country with her ersatz nephew who is also her bedmate, well, they do it on the floor. Sonny boy is a photographer, naturally he likes photographing attractive young ladies, and, you guessed it, frightened young ladies. Before the film starts, a girl has already been murdered - we see a flashback of that later. The lady of the house is apparently ignorant of his murderous proclivities, but someone is suspicious, namely the sugar daddy of the first girl, who gets a bit too nosey for his own good.

The man with the camera also has an ad hoc accomplice who provides the sexual assaults while he takes the pictures. What more do you need to know? The film is atmospheric, but it is very slow in places. Thankfully, justice is done at the end, although we don't actually see it, and of course it comes too late for his next victim.
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Kim Newman refers to his films as 'glum'
christopher-underwood1 August 2020
I have always enjoyed the idiosyncratic films of Jose Ramon Larraz but have never before seen this, his first of a run of films made in England, although this one seems to have had Danish connections. In common with the director's others this is well shot with attractive settings, well lit and with very effective editing and musical score. The thing is, with everything indicating a well put together and artistic enterprise, there is much sex and a certain awkwardness, a certain embarrassment. Usually, as here that slightly off putting element gradually works for the film, balancing the artiness with an almost blunt form of realism. In Whirlpool a strange young man (Karl Lanchbury) and his aunt (Pia Andersson) have a passion for leading young ladies astray and in particularly into a bout of three in a bed. There are complications that include a flute player of pension age, a drug dealer with a yen for rape and the aforementioned aunt who has a an for young girls. Throughout all this a young beauty played by the young beauty Viven Neves shines brightly and seems up for anything. She gets a little more than she bargained for but then doesn't this always seem to happen in a Larraz film? Kim Newman refers to his films as 'glum', a very English expression for the work of a fine Spanish director who just didn't seem to want to make films the way others did.
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Psychosexual tension.
HumanoidOfFlesh27 April 2010
Jose Ramon Larraz sleazy horror debut tells the story of a perverse relationship between an aspiring model named Julia,a strange young photographer Theo and his middle-aged aunt.Theo initiates a relationship with Julia and even gets her to have sex with his aunt so he can photograph them in the act.Julia is also raped in the woods by his sleazy friend whilst Theo is photographing them."Whirlpool" was made in Denmark,then dubbed in English and released in US cinemas under the title "She Died with Her Boots On".I have seen a poor quality timecoded copy of "Whirlpool",which was found in 2005 on bootleg.The pace is slow and the narrative is thin,but there is enough sleaze and graphic violence to satisfy fans of Euroexploitation.8 whirlpools out of 10.
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I miss this from days gone by
dunsuls19 June 2002
I saw this in the theater way back when.My memory fails over the years but I wish I could see it again.I remember it as a slezzy sort of teasing film except for the ending.Thats what made the film and why so many try to find it today.Alas with no luck.If you can find it,tell the WORLD!!
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Gripping thriller: creepy, lurid but engrossing
fishermensmell16 August 2021
Not as vile as other reviews have suggested, although certainly sordid and lurid, but it also does a great job of building tension and an uncomfortable mood and is a worthwhile thriller.

Young aspiring fashion model Tulia visits the country house of Sarah and her "nephew" Theo, under a pretence that Theo is something of a young prodigy who will take brilliant photos of Tulia to kick-start her career. However, the ulterior motive is to be a toy in Sarah's regular threesomes. An air of danger and mystery is established early on due to the unsatisfying explanations given regarding the disappearance of Sarah's previous lover, Rhonda, who stayed at the house under similar circumstances. The film presents several possible culprits, including Theo, Sarah, a strange flute-playing figure in the woods and a possible supernatural element.

The performances are good, with. Karl Lanchbury as Theo being particularly memorable. He is creepy, manipulative and yet charismatic enough to keep Tulia and the audience guessing as to his motivations.

The ending is a little disappointing and abrupt; it really just goes through some predictable motions and ends on a sordid and unpleasant note. All in all, though, this is an effective and gripping thriller.
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One amazing performance in a well-shot, but really nasty grindhouse classic
Alwood18 January 2020
I had read about this notorious, X-rated grindhouse classic for years, and finally watched it over the holidays. It's shockingly brutal, nihilistic and sexual, even by today's standards. The debut feature of Jose Larraz, a Spanish director known for high-end sleaze, a la Jess Franco, it's quite well-shot, but has a script that's nearly non-existent and shamelessly rips-off better, iconic films such as PSYCHO, PEEPING TOM and REBECCA. Lead actress Vivien Neves was a stunning supermodel in her day, but couldn't act wet in a rainstorm. The actress who really made an impression is a Danish woman (it was a co-production between Denmark and Spain, but shot in the UK) named Pia Andersson, as the evil "Aunt Sarah." She has several exquisite moments, mostly without dialogue, where her remarkable face displays a host of emotions, mostly pain and loneliness. And the odd thing is, she seems to have vanished after this film. I can find nothing about her on the 'net. Very strange. The ending, which I'm sure influenced Wes Craven's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT several years later (even more so than Bergman's VIRGIN SPRING, which it shamelessly ripped off) is truly sickening and disturbing, and has stayed with me for the past week, not in a good way. Ultimately, this is one of those films made right after the rating system was established where the sole purpose was "Anything goes!" and boy, does it. Interesting as a time capsule artifact, but ultimately, it's pretty pointless, not to mention very, very nasty.
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Mean-spirited template of Larraz's early stylistic and thematic touchstones
drownsoda9029 January 2021
"Whirlpool" follows a British model who is lured to an older woman's picturesque country estate where a young male photographer, whom she refers to as her nephew (and she, his aunt), reside. Things seem odd at first, but they only get worse and worse.

The first feature from José Ramón Larraz, "Whirlpool" contains many of the director's early stylistic hallmarks: dreary woods, picturesque country homes, sexual repression galore, clueless fashion models, and a mean-spirited edge as blunt as a dull knife. His more well-known early feature, "Symptoms", would further expound on ideas and themes present in "Whirlpool", and perhaps more elegantly; and his third feature, "The House That Vanished", boasts a similar setting and premise. That being said, there is no less a grisly allure to this film that is unmistakable.

Narratively speaking, one has to suspend disbelief on occasion for this film to really work (for example, the protagonist, Tulia, accepts the invitation to the country house despite the fact that one of her model cohorts disappeared after visiting some weeks before). That being said, one could view the film as something of a cautionary tale warning against the dangers of naiveté, where the Tulia character becomes something of a Hansel & Gretel figure, drawn into this web by her own imperviousness. The film is slow-going early on and tends to drag in the middle, as the perverse relationship between the "nephew" and "aunt" characters comes into clearer view. In the end, though, it all hurtles toward a nasty conclusion that feels inspired by Ingmar Bergman's "The Virgin Spring", and strangely predicts the type of violence in Wes Craven's reimagining of that film, "The Last House on the Left", which was released two years after "Whirlpool".

All in all, this is a moody and bitter film that, despite its fairly single-note story, manages to pack a few knives to the gut. If nothing else, "Whirlpool" serves as the stylistic template for which Larraz would base his subsequent features. 7/10.
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Model gets forced into a love triangle.
djangozelf13 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This long lost gem from 1970 is especially interesting because of the contrast it delivers between English stiff upper lip and a depravity all wrapped up in the characters of this movie.

It also has been an inspiration i think for later films like "Last house on the left" and in lesser extend even "Evil Dead" with the isolation of a cabin in the woods.

Performance of the actors is often "of"and seems to be building up to some more psychological play and the dialog feels some what strange cause it switches to much between intelligent and plain stupid ,also is the intent of the aunt and nephew to obvious and with some thought and nuances it could have had some good plot development and it would have been a better movie.

The "victim" in this movie is a model that gets doped up and sort of forced, all though it is sometimes hard to tell if she is being raped or actually excepts her position and does this all out of free will and at some points that's a little bit hard to swallow.

The ending was a bit of a drag when she realized that the nephew photographed the rape and she seemed really upset about this like she did not even notice it.

Stil,it was a movie ahead of his time and overall there is right in this"wrong"so you will still think about it later on and decide it's really a shame that this was lost for such a long time.

This is a great example of a 70's cult classic and not to be missed by anyone who likes cult flicks.

A whirlpool of fun.
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Sensationally sexy
olivertom116 August 2000
Warning: Spoilers
The sexy nature of this picture made it an erotic winner, and the ending death scene where the girl is stabbed with her boots on led to its release with that title. Excellent. Sorry it isn't available on video!
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