Monday, April 19, 2010

Bloody Moon (Jess Franco, 1981)

You may not know it yet, but European men named Antonio, Miguel, Paco and Alvaro are prowling the tropical undergrowth, and they're watching your every move. And it's doesn't matter that I've told you what their vowel-heavy names are, the fact that they're male and European should be enough to cause your female panties to become saturated with liquid fear. A veiled tribute to the fine art of clandestine stalking and depraved leering, Bloody Moon (a.k.a. Die Säge des Todes - The Saw of Death) is one of only a handful films that seem to understand how to successfully thrill and titillate an audience simultaneously. Nurtured under the watchful eye of sleaze expert Jess Franco (Venus in Furs), the film pits a pack of shady men against a school full of half-witted, disco-loving young women. In order to make things interesting, one from each group is in cahoots with one another. Set up as your basic killer on campus movie, we see an unbalanced man with a terrible laceration on the right side of his face clearly murder a co-ed in sequined short-shorts with a pair of scissors. Yet, this deranged fella is obviously not the film's real crazy person. For one thing, we've seen his face from multiple angles, and movies like this rarely unveil their killers in such an accelerated manner. No, there's something a little more sinister afoot–not to imply that murderous fiends aren't sinister. And it involves greed, incest, and, of course, taking advantage of certifiable siblings.

In grave demand of a competent security force, this is one campus that desperately needs to have its lurking strangers to upbeat pupils ratio cut in half. I mean, there had to be at least two creeps for every student in this sunny universe. Call me a shiftless water moccasin, but I think I saw three stealthy weirdos stalk a woman during the span of one ill-advised outing.

The scintillating music score by Gerhard Heinz employs synthesizer-enhanced instrumental pop music for the scenes that take place in-between all the stalking and killing. During the stalking and killing itself, an eerie whistling sound is accompanied by what can only be described as a bubble machine on the fritz. The music is repetitive yet effective.

The sheer number of mentally unwell individuals coalescing with sexy co-eds in the same location had the potential to cause mass confusion. Luckily, the characters had a habit of repeatedly yelling out each other's names every once and awhile. Of course, people wandering around shouting names at random isn't gonna help one keep track of who's who. This is averted by the fact that almost every person who was being looked for ended up responding to sound of their name being called.

Sure, some were unable to answer due to the fact that they were in a closet hanging naked in a plastic bag with a knife protruding through their left nipple. But for the most part, I was able to tell the difference between the multitude of appalling and alluring characters that populate this seedy tale.

Some I'm a tad iffy about, others I have no clue as to who they were. However, there was no denying who Angela was by the time this murderous undertaking had ended. Even though the sum of her pluck when added together was pretty pathetic– she knows how to avert a large boulder, is quite proficient when it comes to barricading doors, and can stab a dummy with the necessary amount of glee–I thought the gorgeous Olivia Pascal did an excellent job when it came to being paranoid and afraid.

Don't let the yellow tights, cowboy boots and Grace Jones sweatshirt fool you, Angela is quite perceptive in the "there are creeps are trying to kill me" department. Seriously, she saw right through the bullshit Antonio was shoveling almost immediately. (I've found that men named Antonio are the hardest to resist.) All her horny and dumb friends dismiss her as basically messed up in the head, but she knows there's some unpleasant juju floating through the deceptively serene atmosphere of this tropical resort masquerading as a first-rate educational facility–other than Spanish class, I saw more disco dancing and tennis playing than actual "learning."

Now, calling Angela's friends "horny" and "dumb" may sound a tad harsh, but it's frightfully accurate in some cases. Take Inga (Jasmin Losensky), for instance, she accepts a ride from a man wearing a mask and allows him to tie her to a table located inside an odd-looking building on the outskirts of nowhere. I was actually surprised by the amount of surprise she shows when the strange man fired up the large circular saw. It's true, her desire for a hard cock was undeniable, but there's absolutely no excuse for the predicament (sticky pickle) she gets herself into.

Anyway, what happens next, as you would expect, is rather grisly.

Her other friends, Laura (Corinna Drews) and Eva (Ann-Beate Engelke), while they don't buy it in such a grandiose manner, they did have their own distinct quirks about them: Laura wore leopard print trousers and was quite efficient when it came to getting beer, and Eva was very particular about the pullover she wore on a fishing trip. Yeah, it gets her stabbed, but you gotta admire her dedication to fashion.

"Too Far Gone / Ain't No Way Back"

Dim chicks and final girls on the cusp of being plucky are fine and dandy, but the gal that drove me wild in Bloody Moon–the one who scratched my external flourish in a deeply erotic manner the most–was Manuala (Nadja Gerganoff), a mildly disturbed woman whose twisted thirst for power was frightening as it was intoxicating. Whether gazing topless at the moon or admiring the tongues of snakes, Manuala is compact (she has an erection-friendly, Joyce DeWitt-esque centre of gravity) and unabashedly brunette (you'd be surprised by how many are abashed). Wanting to engage in a sexual relationship with her psychotic brother Miguel (Alexander Waechter), while at the same time longing to get her hands on her rich aunts money, Manuala has a number of unsavoury schemes going in this movie.

Played with the kind of menstruating lopsidedness I admire most, Nadja Gerganoff (in her lone big screen role to date) chews up scenery left and right. Utilizing her painted on eyebrows for expressive purposes that shall go unnamed, Nadja, and her clingy dresses (I could have sworn that I saw the triangular outline of her box shrubbery on a couple of occasions), skull fucked me to point of delicious madness. If you think I'm full of unwarranted ballyhoo, check out the expression she wears whilst wielding a pair of electric hedge clippers; it'll rip your face off.


  1. I am really learning to love Franco these days.

    I wonder if he makes an appearance in this one? They always dub him with some crazy voice that makes most of his films a hoot. He was a poorly done cockney in "Count Dracula" which was highly giggle-worthy.

  2. "she accepts a ride from a man wearing a mask and allows him to tie her to a table located inside an odd-looking building on the outskirts of nowhere. I was actually surprised by the amount of surprise she shows when the strange man fired up the large circular saw."- Those lines MADE this review. Great stuff.


  3. Darius Whiteplume: It's just a matter of time before Eugenie de Sade is mine.

    Franco plays a doctor in Bloody Moon.

    Tower Farm: Thanks, JM.

    Never accept rides from masked strangers.