Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dr. Orloff's Monster (1964)

The awful Dr. Orloff has passed along the secret of life to his assistant, Dr. Conrad Fisherman, who uses it to resurrect a monster of his own making that will lash out against the lewd women around town. Fisherman's plans are nearly cut short when his curious niece arrives for holidays in hopes of finding her father's killer, but she is in for a shock when she uncovers her uncle's fiendish plan! A sequel in name only, DR. ORLOFF'S MONSTER does retain much of the moody atmosphere and Modern Gothic motifs that were found in THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF from 1962. Jess Franco owes much to the work of the German Expressionists and James Whale, with frequent images being quotes directly from films like THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI and FRANKENSTEIN. The seedy nightclubs and risque burlesque shows hint towards the exploitative Eurotrash that Franco would direct throughout the 1970's, however his sympathetic character in the automaton Andros lends a sad sense of humanity to the end of the picture.

Rating: 7/10.

If you liked DR. ORLOFF'S MONSTER, check out:
TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD, THE DIABOLICAL DR. Z, THE WEREWOLF AND THE YETI.

3 comments:

  1. I try to avoid anything bearing the words "Jess Franco" like the plague. I hear he does good movies, but haven't come across one yet. Maybe I'll pick up a few of them used or something?

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  2. I am not a fan of most of his sleaze, but THE AWFUL DR ORLOFF was a winner. Start there and see what you think before venturing any further. He worked closely with Rollin, so also tread carefully if you arent a fan their either.

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  3. Look, guys. There are "two" Jess Francos.

    The one whose films you do not want to miss is the genuine artist of his early films. I strongly recommend COUNT DRACULA (1970) and THE BLOODY JUDGE (both starring Christopher Lee), THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF, THE DIABOLICAL DR. Z, JUSTINE, SUCCUBUS and VENUS IN FURS. Also of interest are DR. ORLOFF'S MONSTER, THE SADISTIC BARON KLAUS and his problematic THE BLOOD OF FU MANCHU and THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU (again with Lee).

    To my mind, Franco's best film after COUNT DRACULA is the legendary VAMPYROS LESBOS with cult star Soledad Miranda (also in Franco's worthy EUGENIE DE SADE and SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY).

    Franco's descent into real trash only began after the tragic death of Soledad Miranda, his first muse and the Barbara Steele of Spain. At first he made a few very odd but worthwhile surrealist ventures into classic horror subjects with the truly bizarre DRACULA PRISONER OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE [EROTIC] RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN, the dull but visually beautiful DAUGHTER OF DRACULA, and a unusually well-produced JACK THE RIPPER with Klaus Kinski. Horror fans would do well to check out these curios.

    It was only then that Jess Franco plummeted into the unbridled, irredeemable sleaze sickness, sadomasochism and gross pornography that made up 95% of his prolific work for which he is best known. These films obviously have their audience, but their notoriety as the bottom of the Eurotrash crap-heap has unfortunately obscured the excellence and artistic merit of Franco's early films.

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