The Awful Doctor Orlof (1964)

ORLOF is best known for having kicked off the trend in surgical Horror that stained the B-Movies of the 60s and 70s, hitting bottom with flicks like DR BLOOD'S COFFIN. Jess Franco's earliest and arguably best film offers a dark Gothic shocker is constructed as an amalgamation of many pop culture influences, but it also adds its own unique charm while ramping up the sex and violence. The premise has been lifted from the French classic EYES WITHOUT A FACE, where we find a doctor and his malformed apprentice kidnap women to steal there skin in order to graph it on to his burnt sister. Unfortunately, many of the strong performances are lost in the poor English dubbing, but the visual expressionism more than makes up for it. Vernon's stern, dignified Orlof balances menace and charm as he seduces women in the nightclubs of Paris, only to dismember them moments later. Orlof is a shadowy character, which Franco expresses visually through stark contrasts and lighting that transposes his sinister personality on screen. The blind, hulking Morpho also adds an intimidating presence as he silently stalks the streets with his dull, lifeless gaze. Most impressive of all are the beautiful settings in both the empty Paris streets lit by lamplight and the looming Gothic castle Orlof calls home. This is a strong Spanish Horror classic that is worth seeking out!

Rating: 9/10.
Gore: 4/10.
Number of views: 2.

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  1. I steered clear of this one because of JF's name being attached to it. The DVD isn't too expensive, though.

  2. Im not a fan of Francos at all, but this is actually a very good Gothic entry, probably his best work