Saturday, 15 August 2009



Yet another Jess Franco movie - I now make that 25 seen out of a filmography the IMDb suggests runs to an astonishing 190 titles. Astonishing in terms of sheer bulk, and astonishing in that very few of the 25 I've seen so far have been particularly decent. Granted, there've been a couple of not-bad ones: I particularly enjoyed She Killed In Ecstasy, and the madness of Vampyros Lesbos is fairly amusing. But there's so much incompetent dross on the list: cheap and shoddy rubbish such as Dracula: Prisoner Of Frankenstein, ludicrous sleaze such as Bloody Moon, unwatchable dullness such as X312: Flight To Hell. Franco, not to put too fine a point on it, tends to be a hack.

The Devil Came From Akasava dates from 1970 and can only stand as one of Franco's better films in comparison to so many of his others. By anyone's standards it's an absolute mess. Somewhere in Africa a stone has been unearthed that has the power not just of alchemy but also of turning people into zombies. (The film itself is a little confused on this issue, so I yield to the wisdom of the reviewers on IMDb.) Following the disappearance of the scientist who found the stone, Scotland Yard and the Secret Service send in a couple of agents, including the late Soledad Miranda going undercover as an erotic dancer. There's plenty of nudity (mainly from Miranda) some feeble violence, Franco himself in an extended uncredited role as an Italian secret agent, his usual over-reliance on the zoom lens, and a score that is mainly trippy pop with an abundance of sitars and bears no relation to what's happening on screen. Action sequences are indifferently staged, and the whole thing makes no sense at all. And it's all in German as well.

It's obviously terrible. I'm minded to give it a second star for the charming Soledad Miranda, and for not actually being as cripplingly dull as Franco too frequently tends to be.


No comments: