Wednesday, July 8, 2015

She Killed in Ecstasy (1971, Jesús Franco)

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Jesús Franco. Where do I start? How can a director turn films about zombies, vampires, diabolical doctors, and lots of lesbians into poetic, eerie, ambiguous, beautifully shot masterpieces? Some mysteries will never be solved and it really doesn't matter. The devoted are just glad that this mad genius made over 200 magical films to slobber over. And luckily we have Severin Films to bring us some of his classics, like She Kills in Ecstasy!

This film stars the beautiful Soledad Miranda (under the pseudonym Susann Korda) as the wife of Dr. Johnson (Fred Williams). The good doctor believes that his research testing experimental drugs on human embryos to basically try to help the human race become healthier and more resilient to environmental changes/dangers will change the world for the better. Unfortunately, the medical board (which consists of Ewa Strömberg, Paul Muller, Howard Vernon and Franco himself) thinks that Johnson's experiments are immoral and they take away his license to practice medicine. Johnson ends up going insane and his wife decides to get revenge on the board members by seducing and then killing them one by one.

She Killed in Ecstasy is a wild, erotic, gory and mesmerizing film. Soledad Miranda, who died tragically in a car accident shortly after filming this, is simply one of the most beautiful actresses ever captured on celluloid and her big brown eyes display so much emotion in this film that it is a shame she passed away so young. The rest of the cast (which are all regulars in Franco's films) play their parts well and the simple story leaves a lot of open space for atmosphere, which the director (billed this time as Frank Hollman) takes advantage of to no end. Close ups, purposely out of focus shots coming into focus, that huge house on the hill and many other Franco staples are all here and used to full effect. The new Severin Films blu ray release is quite a sight to behold. The picture is clear, subtitles easy to read and the funky music by Manfred Hübler and Siegfried Schwab sounds great. And as much as I loved the funky soundtrack, the "classical music" provided by one of my favorite Italian composers Bruno Nicolai beautifully adds to the moodiness and to Miranda's haunting performance. For fans of Jess Franco or cult, horror and exploitation films, She Killed in Ecstasy is a must own, especially this limited edition Blu Ray which comes with a bonus CD soundtrack disc of Manfred Hübler and Siegfried Schwab music from this film, Vampyros Lesbos and The Devil Came from Akasava! Full list of bonus features are:

Disc 1 (Blu-Ray):

Newly remastered HD presentation of the feature in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio
“Jess Killed In Ecstasy”: Interview with Director Jess Franco
“Sublime Soledad”: Interview with Soledad Miranda Historian Amy Brown
“Stephen Thrower on She Killed in Ecstasy”: Interview with Author of ‘Murderous Passions – The Delirious Cinema Of Jess Franco’
“Paul Muller On Jess Franco”: Interview with frequent Franco Star
German Trailer

Disc 2 (CD):

Original Motion Picture Soundtracks
3 Films By Jess Franco: Vampyros Lesbos/She Killed In Ecstasy/The Devil Came From Akasava
Repressing of the ultra rare 24 track CD

RATING: 9/10

Purchase this Limited Edition Blu Ray/CD combo directly from Severin Films HERE

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