Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Countess Perverse (1974, Jess Franco)

Just released last month from Mondo Macabro comes Jess Franco's lost classic Countess Perverse (aka La comtesse perverse). Inspired by The Most Dangerous Game, this was one of a handful of films Franco made in 1974, during one of his most prolific periods. Billed here under one of his many aliases (Clifford Brown), Franco's Countess Perverse finally gets a well deserved Director's Cut DVD release.

Countess Perverse stars Jess Franco regular Howard Vernon as Count Zaroff and the lovely Alice Arno as Countess Zaroff, two wealthy aristocrats who happen to be cannibals. They employ a young couple to lure victims to their secluded estate to be eaten. Silvia (Franco's muse Lina Romay) is the next target for the Countess, who enjoys using a Bow and Arrow to hunt down her victims.

Countess Perverse proves to be a winner in Franco's eclectic filmography. Though every Franco film I've seen has had something worthwhile, Countess Perverse has many great aspects. A super cast, some nice gory elements and a classic story all help this film rise above mediocrity. The one aspect of the film that really won me over was Franco's brilliant cinematography. No matter how low budget or poorly conceived some of Franco's films are, they always have beautiful cinematography and use of exotic locations. Countess Perverse is no exception with breath-taking locales (especially the Zaroff's villa) and camerawork. Overall, Countess Perverse is a fantastic example of Jess Franco's brilliance. Mondo Macabro, who should be applauded for finally bringing this film to DVD, also packs on the extras. Included is an on camera interview with one of the stars (Robert Woods), a lengthy intro by Film Historian Stephen Thrower, cast & crew profiles and a nice French language track with optional English subtitles.

RATING: 9/10

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