Tuesday, 24 April 2012



Having watched and loathed both Evidence and Battleship in recent weeks, I'm starting to wonder once more: exactly what constitutes a bad movie? There's absolutely no question that those two movies are absolutely terrible, but when placed alongside something like this typically stupid and tiresome Jess Franco exercise in hooters and gibberish, do they look any better? Surprisingly enough, the answer is no, they don't. As worthless and as dull as it is, it's still preferable to both of them: Evidence is still a massively irritating and artless bore and Battleship is still a hollow and imbecilic waste of two hundred million dollars. Whatever else this seventies Franco item might be, it's an expression of a personal artistic vision, albeit a spectacularly wonky one.

There's little point in analysing the plot of Mansion Of The Living Dead: four German strippers arrive for a Mediterranean holiday only to find the hotel both completely deserted and fully booked. They have to share rooms, which is less a plot point and more an excuse to stop everything and have vast slabs of uninteresting lesbian softcore sex scenes. But then they start wandering off by themselves around the local monastery and end up being gang raped and murdered by zombie Satanist monks led by the hotel receptionist who has a naked woman chained up in his bedroom. The monks' order was cursed by a medieval witch, and the curse will only be lifted when the reincarnation of Princess Irina forgives them in the shadow of the cursed crucifix....

Or something. This isn't a plot-driven film or a logic-driven film, it's a sex-driven film. None of the girls ever wonder where all the other guests might be, nor are they that concerned when one of them goes missing and then supposedly turns up dead in the swimming pool. They're more interested in secret assignations with the receptionist - the only man in the entire resort save for an idiot gardener - or wandering about the hotel in the nude (principally the late Lina Romay, credited here as Candy Coster). It's as typically useless as pretty much any other Jess Franco movie. Yet, along with Inconfessable Orgies Of EmmanuelleEugenie: The Story Of Her Journey Into Perversion and a dozen or more other Jess Franco movies, it is at least a film and it's not been made solely to pander to a target demographic as specified on a marketing executive's pie chart.

For all the bright sunlight and widescreen photography (a world away from something like Dracula: Prisoner Of Frankenstein), Mansion Of The Living Dead is still incoherent rubbish, obsessed with naked women and rape to the exclusion of everything else, with another sex scene presumably showcasing Spanish virility by being over in less than twenty seconds. Even given that it's technically better than a film like Evidence and more personal (and cheaper) than a film like Battleship, it's still not remotely worth watching unless you just want to look at naked women, with some semblance of a plot there to prove it isn't really porn, and yes, mum, there is a perfectly valid narrative justification for her taking her clothes off yet again.


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