Tuesday, July 15, 2014
BLOODY MOON (1981) Blu-ray Review
Bloody Moon (1981) d. Jess Franco (Germany)
Gorgeous Angela (Olivia Pascal) joins her comely group of lasses at a remote spa/language school (nice combo, that) in Spain, unaware that the exotic locale was the site of a brutal murder five years prior. Wouldn’t you know it, the offending party, Miguel (Alexander Waechter), has just been released from a mental institution into the care of his sister Manuela (Nadja Gerganoff), the smokin’ hot chiquita with whom he previously shared an incestuous relationship. But wait, there's more! Further complicating matters is the fact that Manuela runs the school with the handsome Alvaro (Christopher Brugger), but is openly hated by her crippled countess aunt (Maria Rubio) who holds the purse strings. Needless to say, when pretty girls start turning up dead, there are suspects aplenty, including students, teachers, studly tennis instructors (Peter Execoustos), and drooling mongoloid red herrings.
One of the 39 successfully prosecuted Video Nasties and now available on Blu-ray through Severin Films, there’s a goodly amount of gore in this early 80s slasher/giallo riff, but there’s so much more out-and-out insanity and illogic that it’s difficult to imagine someone being genuinely offended by the material. As the director explains on the “Bloody Franco” featurette (ported over from the DVD), the dictate from producers Wolf C. Hartwig and Otto Retzer was to have a movie with “50 moments of horror,” designed to make the audience jump, scream, or laugh.
A pretty tall order, but darned if Franco and special effects man Juan Roman Molina (Game of Werewolves, Witching and Bitching) don’t manage to deliver the goods...along with a bounty of WTF moments that will leave you gasping for breath and reaching for the rewind button.
Shot in Alicante, Spain (a no-brainer for a film about girls on Spanish holiday, right? In keeping with the behind-the-scenes madness, the original plan was to shoot in Germany), Franco keeps the scares and false scares coming in equal measure. However, unlike his more moody, dare I say, personal pieces, the freight train of plot and carnage flies by at rocket speed, so much so that the zanier moments nearly bypass our sensors.
Why, of course, “Disco-Clubs” have random roller skating patrons, right? Girls always put on elaborate sex radio shows for their own amusement, don’t they? Screenwriter Erich Tomek (as Rayo Casablanca) was also the film's production manager, and as such, kept Franco from making changes to what he thought was a very silly script. (Coming from Franco, that’s saying something.)
Shot as Die Säge des Todes (“The Saw of Death”) or Colegialas Violadas (aka “Raped College Girls,” as it was originally released in Spain, despite the fact that only one person comes anywhere near being sexually assaulted), Bloody Moon is probably one of the most entertaining films in the director’s catalog. It eschews the dreamlike quality of some of his better-known efforts, and Molina’s effects are surprisingly, well, good. Where a Franco murder would usually entail someone painting a bloody stripe across someone’s skin, here we have blades penetrating flesh, blood pouring from wounds, spikes going through necks, and the exceptional stone-cutter beheading that inspired the original German title.
The one element that remains true to Franco’s aesthetics, in addition to the bevy of beautiful and often topless ladies filling out the cast – Corinna Gillwald (Laura), Ann-Beake Engelke (Eva), and Jasmin Losensky (Inga) among them – is the repeating musical motif of Frank Duval’s “Love in the Shadows,” repeated ad nauseum to hilarious effect (see real-time-review below). Gerhard Heinz is credited with the remainder of the score, which often brings to mind a synthesizer with indigestion trapped underwater.
Bloody and bloody hysterical, there is much here to enjoy for fans of loopy Italian giallos and straight-up Turkey slashers. Don’t miss it.
Bloody Moon is now available from Severin Films and can be ordered HERE:
--Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound Magazine
REAL-TIME-REVIEW (RTR term copyright 2005, Insanislupis, and hopefully he won't sue me)
Here’s a time-coded play-by-play with spoilers aplenty. For those actually interested in preserving the, ahem, mystery, you might want to watch the movie first.
0:57 When “Miguel, I’m your sister. Don’t look at me that way,” is the first line of the movie, you know you’re off to a good start.
1:36 Remember, boys and girls: Arts and crafts can disfigure and turn you into an incestuous sex maniac. Put down the rubber cement and stick with the video games.
2:30 “You know I love you, Ralph.” “I love you, too.” “I love your tenderness. But please, be patient with me.” “Just let yourself melt in my arms.” “Caress me gently...everywhere...everywhere. Yes, like that, like that!” Best high-speed dry-hump talk EVER.
3:05 Mickey Mouse masks always get the ladies in red sparkly hot pants primed for action. Don’t ask me how I know this.
3:58 “You want me too, don’t you?” I’m pretty sure her lips didn’t move - is she a ventriloquist?
4:40 That chick’s abs are like rock, er, plaster.
5:00 Ladies and Gentlemen, the underwater synthesizer
5:35 Ladies and Gentlemen, Jess Franco cameo as the doctor
6:05 Exposition 101: As long as the actors lips are moving, you can jam in as many words as possible, regardless of whether it synchs or not.
6:38 Frank Duval’s sonic earworm, “Love in the Shadow,” makes its first appearance. Drinking game begins! DRINK!
7:31 Travel Tips: if you’re on the floor of a train car just below camera frame, you can’t be seen by people in the hallway.
7:35 “What am I, Frankenstein’s Daughter?” Nice reference! Now, what’s with the red vinyl apron?
7:40 Personally, I always scream and fall on the floor when my scarf gets tangled up in the window.
7:54 The International Youth-Club Boarding School of Language needs a better sign budget.
8:12 Paco (billed as “Bueno” on IMDb and played by producer Otto Retzer), our all-purpose red herring, is introduced. Paco loves to hammer.
8:44 Alvaro, what’s with the leather blue jacket thingie?
9:31 Is it on backwards, sideways, what? Is it a breakaway with the snaps?
11:07 NO, SERIOUSLY, WHAT IS UP WITH THAT JACKET.
12:09 Return of the Underwater Synth
13:14 Old lady gets torched, but not before she gets her best hysterical line readings in.
13:45 Who are the girls repeating the lessons aloud in unison while the others are on headsets? This is one wacky school.
17:32 Expeditious Exposition-o-Rama between the girls as Angela shows up. TALK FASTER LADIES.
17:57 Rita (Beatriz Sancho Nieto): “You’ve quite a repertoire of chilling tales.” Phrasemaker.
18:02 Just noticed Angela’s knock-off Grace Jones t-shirt
19:31 Crazy stained glass window (that will appear and disappear throughout the film).
19:45 Clotheshorse Angela changes into a wrap dress to unpack. You know, like you do.
20:45 DRINK! (“Love in the Shadow” is track number three on the album, apparently.)
21:28 Wait, she changed, and now she’s going to take a shower?
21:46 Paco, get away from the picture window.
21:59 Miguel, get out of the bathroom.
22:55 Oh, those crazy late night souvenir salesmen.
23:36 Paco loves to drive.
23:48 Angela’s fourth outfit of the film, third of the day
26:12 Manuela naked in the window...but wearing a white patterned see-through robe in the next cut.
27:09 Miguel: “You’re the only one I’ve ever loved. The only one who’s never laughed at me. Love me. Love me like you did before.” And I’ll, you know, try not to kill anyone this time.
28:55 Manuela: “We shouldn’t start again…don’t you see that people won’t let us love each other?” Sis, what if we bought some curtains...?
29:10 Manuela: “If we could just get rid of everyone around us, then things could be as they were before.” I think Miguel likes this plan.
29:20 Note: when you have a “Disco-Club” with a capacity crowd of twenty, don’t invite the chick with the roller skates.
29:40 “Shake Your Baby” song. Yes, this is the only lyric – want to make something of it?
31:00 Fact: Girls sometimes talk faster than their mouths can move.
31:25 “One great Latin lover thinks he can sit there looking like God’s gift to women. You lousy fraud!” Inga, no one has any idea what you’re saying.
33:02 Manuela topless at the window...again.
34:36 Little known fact: if you hit a yellow rose in just the right spot, it shatters.
36:25 Underwater synth wants its own drinking game.
36:30 Don’t you hate when you’re going to kill someone with a knife and they turn over in their sleep? Just throws my whole rhythm off. Guess I’ll disappear now.
37:33 Gee, who would have an endless supply of pullover sweaters? Oh, Angelaaaaaaa...
37:55 Eva: “I’ve never been so excited. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever been out on a boat at night. A moonlight voyage on the high seas...aaauuuggggkkkk!” Blade in the back and out through the boob!
38:18 Angela is so wardrobe savvy, she can switch from her nightshirt back to her party outfit (sweater, pants, boots) instantaneously while running out the door.
39:16 Antonio: “A Murder Story: The Killer Came at Midnight.” But, the cover clearly says Poe Must Die...
41:30 Producer: “Um, Olivia, here’s the deal. We’ve used up the entire wardrobe budget already, so you’ll have to wear this one outfit the rest of the movie.” Olivia: “Sheisse!
42:51 That is one SERIOUSLY nutty language school.
46:00 KEEP DRINKING...
46:22 DRINK MORE!
46:46 Beware of falling Styrofoam rocks.
47:08 What are you dirty cops going to do about these falling rocks? And what good is a sign if I can’t read it? (Wait, didn’t she say she was fluent in the language? But then why is she at a language school...oh, never mind.)
48:52 tiny drink
48:45 Manuela, why are you talking to a corpse about a missing snake? You need help.
50:15 tiny drink
50:36 Awwwww, poor snakey wakey meets scissors wissors
52:30 Miguel, that rockin’ jacket totally upstages your facial scar. Well done.
52:39 Why is Inga pretending to have sex in Angela’s cottage? And how do the other girls know about it? And why IS Inga pretending to have sex in Angela’s cottage? And why are the girls so intent on peeping in? What is happening?
53:46 Um, dead Eva’s tongue is moving.
53:46 WHY IS INGA PRETENDING TO HAVE SEX IN ANGELA’S COTTAGE?
53:49 Is it just me, or is Eva’s boob blade migrating toward center?
54:08 Inga: “How can you just look at me like that and laugh at me? You’re satisfied, I suppose, that Ralph couldn’t come!” UM, WHAT.
54:55 Inga suddenly passes Angela (riding on the passenger side in Manuela’s car) out in the countryside. Damn, these girls get around.
55:17 DRINK! (It’s so popular, it’s on the radio now.)
55:25 Inga, you slut, running off with strange mute men. And yes, we’ll make sure to get you back to the club on time.
55:55 Kid: “Why are they going in there?” I was just wondering the same thing, kiddo.
56:00 Everyone’s still DRINKing, right?
56:55 Inga: “As they say, suffering’s good for pleasure.” Wait, who says that?
57:35 Inga: “Why don’t you take off your mask?” Um, he’s not wearing a mask.
57:44 SHUT UP, INGA. STOP. TALKING.
58:55 Kid kills the power switch off the saw and then kicks the guy’s shin, whereupon the guy immediately puts the power back on. You slowed him down for about, oh, 2.4 seconds, youngster.
59:12 Off with her head! And that’s a really good fake head! (Or maybe Inga just looked fake in real life)
59:26 Pretty great blood squirting out of the neck and dousing the head on the floor with the spraying water/blood. Are we sure this is a Franco flick?
59:57 Killer runs the kid down in the road with his car. He’ll probably kick a dog next.
60:14 Manuela keeps pushing the dead Countess around. But, Jess, you showed her being killed. There’s not really any myster...oh, never mind.
61:00 Olivia: “Are you sure I shouldn’t change clothes at some point?”
63:18 Okay, get ready to kick this cat out of the slowly creaking closet door. 1...2...
64:55 Angela stabs the hell out of what she (and we) can clearly see is a hat-rack.
66:02 Angela: Ah, yes, I can now see it’s a dummy. But who put it IN MY COTTAGE??
68:51 Alcohol abuse! (Laura gets grabbed by the pronged grabber and drops the beer)
70:05 Why does the killer call her on the phone to terrorize her instead of just, you know, killing her?
71:11 Inga’s head in bed (accompanied by the sound of The Saw of Death, just in case we forgot what happened)
71:34 Just as she falls, Eva’s propped-up body looks down to see where she’s going. Worst. Corpse. Ever.
71:48 Laura’s body hanging from the ceiling in the…bedroom? This guy’s been busy. How’d he do that while Angela was in the house? And why?
72:15 Well, we know it’s not Miguel now.
72:37 And there you are, Paco! We wondered where you’d been for the last hour. And you have the grabbers, do you? Red herring alert! And there’s Alvaro! So, that kind of narrows our killer options down, doesn’t it? Or there’s teleporting going on, which is always a possibility.
74:28 Manuela slips Angela a mickey in her drink (which, as we’ll soon see, ends up having no effect).
77:45 Manuela, perhaps it’s best not to recount your entire scheme to frame Miguel while he’s standing there listening. Although I admire your moxie in thinking that Alvaro should be happy just sleeping with you as opposed to sharing in your soon-to-be-inherited millions.
80:05 So, Miguel attacks Angela thinking she’s Manuela, even though he just saw her downstairs?
80:22 Awesome spike through the neck for Miguel. You're sure this is a Franco film?
80:50 Wait, wasn’t the dead Countess just in the other room where Manuela and Alvaro were drinking/fighting?
81:37 Where the hell did Manuela get the hedge-trimmer from? The broom closet?
82:11 Manuela: “Miguel and Alvaro are both murderers, remember that! And just be damn sure to remember it!” Got it. Wait, what was the middle part again?
83:11 Credits! And DRINK!