director Jesús Franco
It was actually the addition of Jesús Franco’s The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein to Fandor that primed me for a little Jesús Franco double feature. I’ve been sporadically watching his films but have kind of keened into him more recently. This home-made double feature, which began with The Awful Dr. Orloff (1962) turned out to be some prime viewing and a pretty decent pairing.
Both films feature actor Howard Vernon (who was The Awful Dr. Orloff himself), who plays here a strange mystical character Cagliostro who travels around with a nude, caped, blind bird woman (one of the film’s weirdest of the weird elements). He’s up against Dr. Frankenstein’s daughter, who seeks to reanimate both her father and his silver-skinned monster for….orgies? Torture orgies?
Apparently shot in Portugal, Franco gets a lot out of his locations and pumps lots of feverish nonsense into an acid-trippy conflagration of ideas and characters. This film leans more toward the less-polished and outlandish of Franco’s work, but in many ways actually it’s the camp badness that makes the film really interesting. There are some funny moments, like when splashing acid on someone causes them to lose their limbs. Or actually almost any scene with the blind bird lady.
I may be still getting my head around Franco and developing my overall opinion, but these two films, quite significantly different in their charms, actually have both added to my interest in the schlockmeister.