Sunday, 7 October 2012



Every so often you reach a tipping point and draw a line in the dirt: No More. Over the years I've done it with Troma, I've done it with Peter Greenaway, I've done it with Found Footage and now I'm doing it with Jess Franco. I've had enough of it and him; I don't care any more. I've deleted the remaining handful of Franco titles from my rental queue and they're not going back on without a phenomenally good reason, and the 100-1 odds that that next title is going to be another Vampyros Lesbos or another She Killed In Ecstacy are not reason enough. Jess Franco has always been wildly variable: when he's good he's more or less tolerable but when he's bad he's tangibly evil.

The Sexual Story Of O (nothing to do with The Story Of O, which was pretty sexual to start with) is a hypnotically boring porn movie in which poor innocent Odile is procured by a couple of racist scumbags as a sexual plaything/victim for a pair of decadent aristocratic perverts. We first encounter Odile jigging around in her apartment: listening to funky music and reading Norman Mailer's The Naked And The Dead, with a voiceover and subtitles that may or may not be Mailer but are certainly utter gibberish. Mario and Mara watch from their neighbouring balcony and seduce her into a threesome (during which Mario keeps his underpants on). Then a sustained burst of lesbianism before they all head to the beach and they meet up with the royals - he's impotent, and she's an ugly old boot. Odile gets drunk on two mouthfuls of wine and vomits herself unconscious; the Prince can't get it up until partaking of a threesome while fantasising about Odile being beaten and whipped. But Mario has fallen in love with her - will he save her from the abusive and violent depravity into which he's sold her?

No. While the naked Odile is being chained up, sexually abused, whipped and murdered at a length and with a relish that mysteriously failed to give the BBFC a moment's pause, Mario's mooching around aimlessly on the beach and it's only literally in the last minute of the film that he finally shows up far too late to save the day. The music score (credited to one Pablo Villa which is actually Franco under a pseudonym) alternates between chirpy sub-Mancini lift music and a miserable version of the theme to Franco's own The Bare Breasted Countess from ten years previous. Yes, it's sunny and colourful, unlike some of Franco's other movies which look drab and miserable, and Odile and Mara are quite good looking, but the protracted sex scenes get incredibly boring very quickly (incidentally, this was made long before the fashion for anal bleaching, and there are some grim looking bumcracks on display) and the climactic torture and abuse sequence is simply repugnant both in terms of punishing overlength and lascivious lip-smacking.

Enough with it. Enough with Franco's obsession with corrupting the innocent: Eugenie (which, to be fair to the lecherous old perv, I didn't mind), Justine, and now this. There's another Eugenie movie of Franco's which I've already dropped from the queue in despair at the thought of having to plod through the same old routine again and again. Obnoxious, offensive garbage.


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