Friday, April 19, 2013

Succubus (1969)

After taking a little break I decided to sit down with some more Jess Franco. I figured since I had subjected my brain to the ta tas of the Amazons the last outing (see Golden Temple Amazons post) that I would indulge myself into what I felt like was more of an interesting sounding film. Succubus proved just that and proved to me that Jess Franco knows how to make a great film.

Lorna (Janine Reynaud) is a dancer/performer at an erotic night club managed by her lover William (Jack Taylor). Lorna’s on stage persona is sadomasochistic as she portrays a woman who gets sexual pleasure from torturing both male and female partners while they are bound. Her stage persona begins to melt into her off stage life and Lorna begins a slow decent into madness that results in murder and a transformation into the film’s title.
"Hmm....maybe some Tide will take that out?"

The storyline, for me, is disjointed and it’s really hard for me to deliver a detailed synopsis. Franco fills the screen with great visuals however which is what I believe sold me on this film. Janine Reynaud is the center piece of the story but also the center piece visually as Franco focuses on her sultriness. There is no doubt that Reynaud is beautiful and Franco captures her natural beauty and eroticism with ease.

Making out with mannequins just isn't as fun.
 There are some interesting dream like sequences that are delivered in a soft focus that really captures the atmosphere and poses the question is this real or imagined? Two scenes accomplish this very well. One involves a dinner party in which begins to turn into an orgy which Lorna willingly participates in before William pulls her away in anger. Another involves Lorna and a collection of seductive mannequins which really pushes that dream state. 

I also liked the inclusion of a character that takes on a very Devil like persona who seems to be in control of Lorna.  This added an interesting angle to the storyline and helped fuel the question of what was real and was dream. Ultimately the film is about Lorna, her spirit that can’t be captured but is brought out of her psychical body and takes over. 
Howard Vernon? Of course he makes an appearance!

See I told you it very difficult for me to really pin this movie down. I am going to have to view it again and really take it all in. However when I do I will not go back to the Anchor Bay VHS presentation that was released in the late 1990’s. Although the transfer was beautiful it was unfortunately presented full frame.  Blue Underground however has a DVD release of this title presented in 1.66:1 / 16X9 aspect ratio. I am going to have to upgrade for sure!

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