Jess Franco's Shock-o-rama Double Feature
Carlos Burning | North Syracuse, USA | 03/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In a sense Jess Franco's "Tender Flesh" and "Lust For Frankenstein" are throwbacks to the earliest age of cinema: as the soundtracks of both films are garbled, often unintelligible, they result in essentially silent movies. I suggest, however, that such silence does not constitute a handicap: in fact, it concentrates the viewer's attention on the films' purely visual aspects, which are quite wonderful. These are truly "motion pictures"--visionary works that few directors (besides Jess Franco himself) can ever hope to equal.
As their titles imply, the two films unleash an abundance of wild, almost indescribable eroticism. At all times the director's visual genius is pervasive, his feverish imagination unfaltering. Thus he lends even the most ferocious sexual encounters an artistic integrity that is light years beyond the commercial shoddiness called "porn." In effect, Franco uses flesh and lust to convey a variety of emotional/mental states--ranging from extreme Romanticism (sexuality and spirit become identical) to the most outrageous brutality (evoking a world in which appetite alone prevails). Whatever cosmic view Franco explores, he does so with a true artist's candor--and the results are genuinely exhilarating, stunning.
I recommend both "Tender Flesh" and "Lust For Frankenstein" to the fortunate few--to those visionaries and artists who shamelessly love the shameless medium of film. What adventures await you! These films are not made for the uncreative, neo-puritan masses, however. I hope that all would-be censors will continue to stay focused on televised ball games, the latest Academy Awards sponges and similar species of Rot Americana... Jess Franco's uncompromising, amoral brilliance will always remain at odds with those poor souls who confuse moving pictures with their own moral prejudices."