Resting her head in the vicinity of her intended victim's voracious vagina, a naive young brunette takes one last deep breath before beginning to explore the crevice-laden riches that lay beyond the generous mounds of curly blonde pubic hair with the rose-tinted contours of her immaculate face. Using the tongue that's been growing steadily in her oral cavity ever since she was born, a tongue that she has mostly used, up until this point, to taste sugary sweets, the naive young brunette, whose conduct is becoming more devilish the closer she comes to hitting minge-based pay dirt, gingerly pokes around the outer layer of the festering sheath-like structure in search of hypothetical sustenance. Hi. In case you haven't figured it out yet, I am, in my own convoluted way, attempting to describe a scene that occurs in Lorna The Exorcist (a.k.a. Les Possédées du Diable), yet another deliriously awesome film by Jess Franco (credited here as Clifford Brown) that had me repeatedly, much like the impish brunette with the inquisitive tongue was doing during her cunnilingual refresher course, gasping for clean air. Lack of oxygen, notwithstanding, whenever I find myself in the presence of a Jess Franco film, a sense of ease seems to wash over my normally prickly aura. There's something about his films that cause me to become entirely transfixed by whatever is occurring onscreen. Whether it's the sight of a crazed brunette woman writhing on her bed as a result of her wonderfully unshaven crotch being inundated by an army of tiny cunt-conjured crabs or a sequence that features a crazed brunette woman in black hold-up stockings writhing on her bed for different, non-cunt crab-related reasons all-together, I feel as if Jess Franco knows exactly what my mind wants to see. With other directors, I always seem to find myself cursing the choices they make. But with Jess Franco, there's none of that. His camera never fails to focus on what matters, and in this film, his camera always right on cuntget, I mean, target.
As usual, the film opens with a number of close-up shots of nature (leaves and lemons mostly this time around). Set to the hypnotic music of classical guitarist André Bénichou, we're quickly ushered inside where we find a curly-haired slinky blonde woman not wearing pants. She is, however, wearing a lacy top (the kind that causes one to reveal the contents of their crotches whenever they shrug their shoulders or reach erotically for a jar of molasses that is just out of reach). Oh, and she's wearing a lot of eye makeup, too.
Lying on the bed, the slinky blonde begins to perform self-massage on herself. When the music starts to get even more hypnotic, that's Lina Romay's cue to enter the fornicating fray. Of course, she doesn't enter via the bedroom door. Don't be silly. She sort of just appears out from behind some curtains. Slowly approaching the slinky blonde, who is still groping her thighs with a shitload of gusto, Lina, her long mane of jet black hair no doubt causing the slinky blonde's vagina to become engorged with an ill-defined amount of wetness, offers her thumb as a corporeal gift. After the slinky blonde has sucked her thumb to the point where its taste has become commonplace (even though it's been four days, I can still taste your thumb in my mouth), Lina rests her head right near the area where her pussy doesn't have anatomical jurisdiction. Her face might be out of pussy bounds, but that doesn't mean her tongue can't cross over to the pussy side of the tracks. And that's exactly what she does.
The music, the eye makeup, the curly hair-straight hair dichotomy, the taut flesh, the uncompromising camera angles, and the pussies all conspire to elevate this particular opening sequence into a mind-blowing work of erotic art.
It would seem that what we just watched was a sappho-drenched dream transmitted directly from the mind of Linda Mariel (Lina Romay), the daughter of a rich business man. Snapping out her trance-like state, Linda, who is wearing a modest light blue turtleneck, declares that she is bored. No matter. Excited about the prospect of celebrating her eighteenth birthday in Saint-Tropez, Linda is practically giddy. Suddenly, the telephone rings. Her mother Marianne (Jacqueline Laurent) answers it and tells her father Patrick (Guy Delorme) that it's for him. Who is it, he asks. Why, it's a "sexy female." That's weird, he probably thought to himself. I wasn't expecting a call from a "sexy female." His playful demenour quickly turns serious as the voice on the other end of the line identifies herself as "Lorna." Holy crap.
Meanwhile, at a clinic in another part of the country, black hold-up stockings and madness have a date with titillation, and prospects look very sexy. Sitting on her bed in a seductive manner, an unnamed brunette (Catherine Lafferière) is ripping pages out of a fashion magazine (judging by the size and the quality of the photos it looked like an issue of Vogue). Anyway, summoned by the clinic's chief doctoring guy (Jess Franco), the unnamed brunette is brought into his office sans panties; and like the slinky blonde in the opening scene, every time she raises her arms, we catch a brief glimpse of her vagina. Determined to find out who she is, the doctor demands that she tell him who commands her (he seems to think she is under the influence of an unseen entity).
While I loved the way her creamy, European thighs seem to glow effervescently between the blackness of her hold-up stockings and the harshness of her gunmetal dress shirt, someone get this woman some panties.
Brought back to her room in a pantie-less heap, the unnamed brunette starts to, you guessed it, writhe around on her bed. Suddenly, she senses someone else in the room with her. I wonder if it's the same woman from Linda's dream. Yes, it is. It's Lorna! Oh, we don't see her, but I could totally feel her presence.
Angry when she finds out her father isn't taking her Saint-Tropez, Linda throws a hissy fit. Informing her daughter that eighteen year-olds don't throw hissy fits, Patrick convinces Linda that they must go to Camargue, specifically the commune of La Grande-Motte. Why must they go there? Well, that's where Lorna wants them to go. You see, as we will soon find out, there's a bit of a history between Patrick and the mysterious Lorna. And judging by the quickness in which Patrick changes his plans, Lorna, much like the unnamed brunette in the black hold-up stockings, has a profound hold on him.
Replete with provocative writhing, black hold-up stockings, and crazy eye makeup, you wouldn't think Lorna the Exorcist would need anything else to help bolster its status an alluring work of transgressive art. But that's where you would be wrong. A character onto itself, La Grande-Motte is a truly bizarre place. Giving the film an added sense of uneasiness, the pyramid-shaped hotels (designed by Jean Balladur) that dot the landscape of the seaside resort seem to play tricks on not only the viewer, but the characters as well, especially Patrick, who seems overwhelmed by the imposing nature of the resort's so-called "utopian architecture."
If you thought the hotels looked kooky from the outside, you should see what they look like on the inside; it's almost as if the rooms of the hotel were designed for a science fiction film. Either way, Patrick, Marianne, and Linda seem happy with their new digs. No doubt feeling a tad icky after travelling all this way (her legs and feet must be drenched in sweat after being cooped up in those knee-high leather boots for such a long period of time), Linda decides to take a bath. As she's soaping herself up, this eerie music starts to throb on the soundtrack. Which can only mean one thing, it's time yet again for Lorna make her presence felt. And she does so by getting in the tub with her. Licking Linda's birthday pussy with the care and dedication of a pussy connoisseur, Lorna straddles Linda in a manner that allows both their pussies to be licked simultaneously.
Unlike when we first met her during the film's opening scene, Lorna now has straight blonde hair and has applied a thick coat of green eye makeup to her ocular infrastructure. Fashion changes aside, Lorna has not asked Patrick to come here to show him her new look, she's here to collect Linda. What do you mean "collect Linda"? Well, apparently a deal was made, a Faustian deal, eighteen years ago, and Lorna is ready to collect her reward. After hounding him via the telephone, Lorna finally meets Patrick face-to-face. Having not seen each other in eighteen years, Patrick is not surprised at all to find that Lorna hasn't changed one bit since their last meeting.
Even though he agreed under duress (he was about to insert his penis into her vagina and obviously wasn't thinking straight), Lorna still expects Patrick to keep his end of the bargain; which is to give her his first born daughter when she turns eighteen. Despite owing his lavish lifestyle to Lorna (she made him incredibly wealthy after the deal was made), Patrick has no intention of giving his daughter to her (he's so determined that he asks the hotel manager to get him a gun). In order to prove that she's serious about wanting to possess Linda on her eighteenth birthday, Lorna instructs her man servant (Howard Vernon) to beat Patrick with a seashell.
Just in case we were starting to forget about the unnamed brunette in black hold-up stockings, Jess Franco periodically provides us with updates on how she's doing. As expected, her writhing has gotten more wiggly than ever, and she's starting to hallucinate. But on the positive side of things, her black hold-up stockings are holding up quite nicely.
Waking up in the harbour, Patrick, who is helped by a leggy onlooker smoking a cigarette, staggers back to hotel room. Battered and bruised, Patrick is relieved to find his wife (looking magnifique in an orange dress that sort of matches the walls of their room) and daughter safe and sound. Telling a concerned Marianne that there's a strange woman from his past bent on their destruction, Patrick doubles down (his gun has finally arrived). Which is ironic, since doubling down is what got him in all this trouble to begin with (Lorna helped Patrick, a degenerate gambler at the time, win big at the roulette table).
It's a good thing the gun he ordered has arrived, because all hell is about to break loose. Now, in the majority movies, the expression "all hell is about to break loose" has come to mean an upswing in plot-based action. However, in the Lorna the Exorcist universe, it means vaginal crabs and odd-looking dildos smeared with hymen blood.
Lavishing praise Lina Romay has become second nature to me; so much so, that her fearless, unselfconscious style of acting is the gold standard in which to judge gauge a performer's moxie. The slinky blonde, whose common sounding name does not do her unique aura justice, is the real power behind Lorna the Exorcist throne. Exuding a palpable stench that bled uncut eroticism, Pamela Stanford is a camp-adjacent delight as the titular troublemaker. Unflinching in the face of the exquisite largeness of Lina's bulbous behind, Pamela manages to create an air mystery around her character. Sure, the liberally applied green eye makeup helped a great deal in making us believe that a slinky blonde could cause brunettes the world over to writhe in erotic agony, but if you look past the makeup, you'll notice that Pamela's gaze is mesmerizing.
Oozing atmosphere like it were a second-rate bodily function, Lorna The Exorcist isn't a film you merely watch with your eyes, it's an all-consuming experience that repeatedly plunges your face, whether you want it to or not, into the dark recesses of your petrified subconscious. The fact that all the scenes take place during the day seemed to add to the weirdness, not diminish it, as you might expect. It also helped that the buildings all looked like the were spawned out of some kind of geometric nightmare. Starting with a muff diving bang and ending with an extended shot of what has to be the gape-iest maw in film history, Jess Franco has inadvertently fashioned an erotic horror masterpiece for the ages.
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