Sunday, August 10, 2014

Exorcism (Jess Franco, 1975)

This has to be some sort of world record. Maybe someone who has seen more Jess Franco films than I have can enlighten me, but this particular movie has Lina Romay's outstretched vagina onscreen in glorious colour in record time. I mean, the film starts... and... Boom! We have Lina Romay's outstretched vagina onscreen. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the reason I attached the word "outstretched" to Lina Romay's vagina is because her vagina seems to be leaning forward. It's almost as if it craves attention. Keeping with the record theme, I think this film, which, by the way, is called Exorcism (a.k.a. L'éventreur de Notre-Dame), has the record for the fastest appearance of Jess Franco regular Monica Swinn, one of the most alluring actresses to grace the Jess Franco universe. Get this, we get Monica Swinn in just over a minute. I know, you're thinking to yourself: But Monica Swinn's bedroom sadist character doesn't appear until much later in the film. Yeah, but you're forgetting that I'm an expert when it comes to spotting Monica Swinn in Jess Franco movies. If you look closely, you'll spot Monica Swinn's luminous visage in the audience during the film's first black mass sequence.

Watching Lina Romay's bound organic structure getting whipped by Nadine Pascal (credited here as "Lynn Monteil"), Monica Swinn stares at the mock cruelty transpiring before her with a Euro-tinged sense of alabaster wonder.

You also see her sitting in the audience during the film's second black mass sequence (unfortunately, she doesn't get a close up this time around).

Her third appearance takes place at a post-black mass orgy, where all the attendees writhe around with one another on the floor. In typical Monica Swinn fashion, she manages to upstage everyone by choosing to wear white leather stockings with one of the most complicated garter systems I've ever encountered. Again, I'm sad to report, we don't get a close up of her during the orgy scene. Well, not a close up that didn't have some guy's hairy, lumpy butt in the frame as well. Come on, all you degenerate old farts at the post-black mass orgy, I'm trying bask in Monica Swinn's not-so delicate beauty over here. So, would you mind getting your tired-looking asses out of my face? Thanks.

What's that? You want me to tell you more about this so-called complicated garter system that Monica Swinn was operating? Oh, don't worry, I will in a minute, as she wears the same garter system in her forth and final scene, too. It's just that I don't want this review to turn into an episode of Where in the World Is Monica Swinn? In other words, I like would to explore every nook and cranny this motion picture has to offer. And believe me, this film has plenty of nooks and crannies.

Oh, and when I say, "nooks and crannies," I'm talking about vaginas.

Here's an amazing statistic for you: There are a total of six actresses in this movie with speaking parts, and all six expose their lady parts at some point over the course of this film. Meaning, Jess Franco's Exorcism is, no matter what I say, worth watching.

However, was there ever any doubt? I mean, Jess Franco plays a sadomasochistic defrocked priest who stabs women to death he thinks are possessed by The Devil. And if that wasn't enough, he writes erotic essays for a magazine called, Dagger and Garter Weekly. See what I mean? Ahhh! That's too good to be true. Dagger and Garter Weekly!!!

Okay, let's get things back on track by starting at the beginning. Opening on a shot of Anne (Lina Romay, credited here as "Rosa Almirall") strapped sort of naked (she's wearing skintight knee-high black boots) to an x-shaped crucifix. Suddenly, a tall woman with short blonde hair enters the room. Wearing boots, a belt, leather bracelets and a black collar, Rose (Nadine Pascal) begins to whip Anne. It's at this moment we realize that they're performing before a live audience.

When she's done whipping her, the tall blonde with the big bum (the belt around her waist clings to her buttocks for dear life) kills a dove and begins to smear its blood all over her body. When she decides that she's smeared enough, she then smears what's left all over the lash-marked brunette, who cries of agony periodically fill the air of the musty, dungeon-like performance space.

Whips, chains, vaginas, big booties and dove blood, as far as opening scenes go, you can't get any better than this. Imagine how much simpler life would be if every film opened like this. Anyway, the tall blonde stabs the regular-size brunette with a knife.

After taking a bow, and, no doubt, washing the dove blood that has started to congeal in her nooks and crannies (i.e. her vagina and vagina), we see Anne at the office of Venus Publications. (Don't tell me, they produce Dagger and Garter Weekly?) Yep, they sure do. (Awesome. Carry on.) Hanging out with Venus head honcho, Pierre de Franval (Pierre Taylou), Anne apparently works there as a... I'm not sure. It doesn't matter, as look who just walked in. Why, it's Jess Franco.

Playing Mathis Vogel, Jess Franco is a freelance writer who has just finished an essay for an upcoming issue called "Torture Chambers of the Inquisition."

Now, I don't know what motivated him to do this, but Vogel pretends to shut the door and begins to eavesdrop on Anne and Pierre's conversation. After making a couple of playful jabs at his expense, Anne and Pierre start talking about staging another black mass. While it's obvious to any normal human being that they're joking about it being a real black mass, Vogel is a being who is anything but normal.

As Anne, Rose and Pierre make plans for their next black mass show, plans that involve a bartender named Martine (Catherine Lafferière), Vogel rents an apartment across the street from where Anne and Rose live.

You could say, Vogel rented the apartment across from Anne and Rose to keep tabs on their black mass activities. You could also say, Vogel wants to see Rose prance about in black pantyhose. Either way, he's doing a bit of both, as he keeps tabs on Anne and Rose, and, watches Rose prance about in black pantyhose. Defrocked priests with severe mental problems are renowned for their ability to multitask in a pinch.

What's that? What was Lina Romay doing as Nadine Pascal gave us a bird's-eye view of her wonderfully thick lower half encased in black pantyhose? What do you think she was doing? She was waving her cunt around with reckless abandon. Duh.

If you look carefully, you'll notice that one of Nadine Pascal's earrings goes flying off when she removes her top. Like a true professional, Nadine plays it cool and continues on with the scene like nothing happened (even though it's clear that she knew one of her earrings went flying off while she disrobed).

Picking up a "whore" at a local bar, Vogel takes her home and prepares to exorcise her demons. After grilling the woman (played by Caroline Rivière, I think) about the black masses that take place in the neighbourhood at knife point, Vogel chains her against a mirror and then stabs her to death.

Taking what he learned from the dead whore with the great face, Vogel starts lurking around those in the fake black mass community. And, after getting a sense of this community via lurking, he begins picking them off one by one.  This alerts the attention of a police detective named Inspector Tanner (Olivier Mathot) and his fresh-faced partner Malou (Roger Germanes); the latter figures out the case almost instantly, but Tanner dismisses his theory as nonsense.

My favourite of Vogel's many confrontations with the members of the fake black mass community is when he visits Monica Swinn's Maria Theresa, a sexy sadist for hire.

However, it's the scene before Vogel confronts Monica Swinn that actually had me all in a tizzy.

Lying on her bed in a long black dress with black stockings, Monica Swinn is approached by an old man who is, according to Monica, a dirty pig, a vicious old sadist, a disgusting little lecher, a homosexual, a leper's sore, a swine, a shit-eater and a degenerate.

As she's telling the old man these things, he's busy kissing her black stocking covered knees. "You make me want to vomit... I hate you!" she shouts at him as she orders him to remove his clothes.

Even though he only managed to partially open her dress, we can clearly see that Monica Swinn is employing a complicated garter system to hold up her black stockings. Careening across her pale skin like spider-webs, this garter system, as I said earlier, is unlike anything I've ever seen before.

Straddling the naked old man with the full-force of her sinewy undercarriage, Monica Swinn rides his withered cock while hurling insults at him at a rapid rate of speed.

Dying like she lived, with her ass in the air, Monica Swinn gives her most satisfying performance in a Jess Franco film yet. Don't get me wrong, her turn as the cruel warden in Barbed Wire Dolls is classic Swinn. It's just that her work in Exorcism solidifies her status as the Euro sex goddess she really is.

Not to be out done in the solidifying department, but I think Exorcism features Jess Franco's finest performance as an actor. Whether lurking in the shadows or stabbing naked chicks in the stomach, Franco is brilliant as the defrocked priest/freelance writer for Dagger and Garter Weekly/serial killer. Seriously, I can't picture any other actor dragging an unconscious, scantily clad Lina Romay across the city without anyone noticing. At any rate, if you purchase/rent the newish DVD from Redemption, you'll get Demoniac, a short, more horror-centric version of Exorcism. Personally, I would avoid this version, as it omits the Monica Swinn scene with the "disgusting little lecher," and features zero vagina shots.


  1. Excellent review! I agree wholeheartedly, and you cracked me up at the same time. You're the kind of person I love to watch movies with.