Jess Franco’s 1981 slasher movie makes it to UK Blu-ray with a gorgeous print that’s so pristine it almost feels wrong watching it. But I did anyway. People exhibit widely mixed feelings about Mr Franco’s work, and I have to say I’m firmly on the side of people who love him, except on the days when his not-so-great stuff becomes an utter trial to watch. Thankfully that’s not the case with BLOODY MOON, which is a thoroughly competent slasher picture. This being Franco, however, it’s not without its quirky moments.
|A rare slightly tasteful moment. Oh hang on it's brother & sister. Sorry.|
We begin with scar-faced Miguel’s sister telling him he must leave her alone. Oh yes, you have hand it to Franco, we’re not even a minute in and we’ve already got potential incest involving the disfigured. Well done on the distaste-ometer that man. Not content with leaving things at that, Miguel pinches a Mickey Mouse mask and heads off to a nearby party, where his Disney-masked charm succeeds in him picking up a girl and taking her back to ‘Chalet 13’. They’re well into the heavy petting and the mouse mask has yet to come off, so presumably she doesn’t work for the Disney legal department. When it does, however, there’s lots of screaming and Miguel stabs her to death.
|Does Disney know about this?|
We’re in Spain for this film, by the way. I have no idea quite how the legal system works there but it must be jolly lenient if all you get for your crimes is five years in the psychiatric clinic of Dr Franco (yes it’s him on screen). All the therapy seems to have done is make his facial scarring worse (perhaps they missed with the ECT applicator pads). Still, he’s happy to see his sister again (so the treatment probably hasn’t solved that little problem either) and they return to the school where Miguel committed his crime.
|BLOODY MOON does have its unsubtle moments. About 90 of them.|
It’s now the hastily (and cheaply) labelled School For Attractive Young Ladies To Study Languages. Or something like that. Pretty soon, conjugating the Spanish verb for to be is the least of their problems as the girls start being murdered in a variety of gruesome ways. Best, and certainly most ludicrous of these, is the old ‘head taken off with a rotary saw’ trick that was one of several scenes that caused this to be banned by the BBFC back in the day, presumably in case it caused the uncontrollable youth of Britain to go around sawing the heads off mannikins. It all gets very, very giallo as the film goes on, with a suitably daft ending that really doesn’t provide a good excuse for all the murders at all (one would have been sufficient, surely?).
|This bit happens before the picture above. Obviously|
BLOODY MOON actually isn’t bad for Jess Franco. Everyone else in the entire world may have a bit of trouble sticking with it because of a few shortcomings, not the least of which is the music, which often sounds like the demented bowel rumblings of someone who’s eaten an especially dangerous curry. The dubbing is indifferent but the locations are interesting. Best of all is the print itself. As I’ve said above, BLOODY MOON really doesn’t deserve to look this good. The print is pretty much pristine, with the odd scratch here and there and a few tiny lapses into poorer quality for the gory bits, but I have to admit I was surprised at how good this looked.
Severin’s Blu-ray comes with a short featurette interview with Franco which is charmingly cosy - a bit like sitting down to talk with your chain-smoking grandad about his career in the world of filth for fifteen minutes. I certainly chuckled a lot, both during BLOODY MOON and the featurette, and if you’re kindly disposed to Jess Franco, you will too.
Severin's Blu-ray release of Jess Franco's BLOODY MOON is out now.