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Swiss director Jess Franco (credited "Jess Frank" here) is a real institution in the European b-movie scene for over fourty years now. Producing lots of cheap, stylish, weird and fastly-shot exploitation movies off all kinds of genres like sex films, thrillers, action, horror, science fiction, jailhouse dramas, war and adventure movies and detective fiction, he is some kind of European Hershell Gordon Lewis or Ed Wood, although still unknown in the mainstream media.
"Der Todesraecher von Soho" (The deadly avenger of Soho) from 1972 is such a fastly shot production. This German-Spanish co-production is a rip-off of the popular German Edgar Wallace movies, a series of 32 London-based detective fiction movies produced from 1959 to 1972 with elements of serial thrillers, 19th century gothic novels and horror/crime fiction elements, mostly about weird killers.
Based on a novel of Bryan Edgar Wallace, the son of the British detective fiction author who never had such a big reputation in England than in Germany, this movie is something about a killer in London slashing several innocent women. There's also some kidnapping of half-nude women involved as well as mad scientists, giallo rippers, handsome Scotland Yard detectives, gothic castles, leather dominas, etc., but the script isn't really based on a logical plot.
The pacing is sometimes really boring, but really funny because of the typical Jess Franco style of film making - restless steadycams, fast zooms, weird camera ankles, surreal atmospheres, many empty places like in an old "Avengers" (sic!) TV episode and a timeless mixture of 19th and 20th century literary and movie styles. In the end, the showdown becomes really weird just like a psychedelic acid trip without any colours as there is only black and white and grey everywhere. No way!
The groovy easy listening and crime jazz soundtrack was composed by German jazz musician Rolf Kuehn, who provided the scores for many more Franco productions, and the cast features German b-movie star Fred Williams, stunning Barbara Ruettig, Wolfgang Kieling, Siegfried Schuerenberg (who played Scotland Yard chief "Sir John" in many Edgar Wallace movies), and famous "Derrick" actor Horst Tappert, playing a maniac villain here. Sit back and enjoy this weird and entertaining German seventies' trip that must have been big fun to shoot...
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