Friday, February 24, 2012

R.I.P.: Lina Romay, Part I

Lina Romay
Friday, 25 June 1954 (Barcelona, Cataluna)
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 (Malaga, Andalusia)

"I love the cinema, as an actress, an editor, as a technician and a spectator. It's said that I am an exhibitionist. Every actor is one, I gladly accept that. I'm not a hypocrite.
Lina Romay 

Lina Romay, the legendary Spanish cult actress and wife & muse of the great Jess Franco, died of cancer on February 15th, 2012.
Born born Rosa María Almirall Martínez, she took the name "Lina Romay" in honor of the Mexican-American actress and singer Maria Elena "Lina" Romay (Jan. 16, 1919 – Dec. 17, 2010), who performed for a time with Xavier Cugat. Franco's Romay was an inspired and inspiring, uninhibited actress who over the course of her career graced an untold number of films and film versions of some of the most insipid and sublime films ever to be made. As David Zuzelo put it in his article at "Lina Romay is one of the true queens of cult and trash cinema. Period."
As we learned while trying to do so, to put together a review of her films is a Sisyphean project at best. She took part in well over 120 films, many of which are available in multiple versions and under a variety of names. Below is our meager attempt to do her film career justice, but we make no guarantee for the factuality of what follows...

La maldición de Frankenstein
(1972, dir. Jess Franco)

Plot from 10K Bullets, grammar corrected: "Dr. Frankenstein (Dennis Price) and his assistant Morpho (Jesus Franco) are murdered by Melissa (Anne Libert) the bird woman and Caronte (Luis Barboo) one evening while working in the laboratory on the Dr. Frankenstein's greatest achievement, the Monster (Fernando Bilbao). The murderers, Melissa the bird woman and Caronte, take the Monster back with them to their master Cagliostro (Luis Barboo) in his castle. Cagliostro plans to use the Monster to create a super race with the beautiful woman who has been kidnapped as the Monster's mate."
Lina Romay's debut film, she appears as "Esmeralda" in the version entitled La maldición de Frankenstein. Aka (among others): Das Blutgericht der gequälten Frauen (Germany), Eine Jungfrau in den Krallen von Frankenstein (German DVD title), The Erotic Adventures of Frankenstein as well as The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein and The Rites of Frankenstein. Exists in an X-rated version. Needless to say, there are versions of this film in which Lina Romay does not appear.
Scene without sound:

La fille de Dracula
(1972, dir. Jess Franco)

Plot according to Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings: "A woman learns that she is a descendant of the Karnsteins. She opens up a crypt and unleashes Dracula, who begins terrorizing the area. She turns into a vampire as well, and engages in lesbian sex. Police investigate." Plot according to at  imdb: "A young woman visits her gravely ill grandmother at the family estate. On her death bed, the old woman reveals to her granddaughter the family curse: they're all vampires. The young woman decides to move into the estate with her uncle and her cousin, and soon finds herself falling victim to the curse." Aka Daughter of Dracula & Dracula's Daughter.
Music from the Film:

Tendre et perverse Emanuelle
(1973, dir. Jess Franco)
Aka (among other names): French Emanuelle, Perverse Emmanuelle, Tender and Perverse Emanuelle.
Plot from 10K Bullets: "Michael Dreville (Jack Taylor) is a psychiatrist who has been asked by a wealthy friend of his Gordon Douglas (Alberto Dalbés) to come up to his home and help keep an eye on his wife. Gordon's wife Emanuelle (Norma Castell) is a pianist and lately she has been having visions that someone is trying to kill her. Emanuelle's body is found on the beach the day Michael arrives and the police make him one of the prime suspects because he was Emanuelle's former lover. After Michael is cleared by an alibi he decides to launch his own investigation into the final moments that lead up to Emanuelle's death." Lina Romay plays Greta, Michael's ex-lover who helps him in his investigation.
10K also says: "Overall Tender and Perverse Emanuelle a first rate murder mystery that will keep you occupied tell the very end."

The Lustful Amazons
(1973, dir. Jess Franco)
Plot, according to Artemis-9 at imdb: "In medieval France, traveler Pygar (Robert Woods) tells he-man Karzan (Val Davis) – Maciste in the French version – of his recent journey to a place called Antigua, and of its entire community of Amazons promising undreamed of sexual satisfaction to any man who comes upon them. More importantly, Pygar tells of a fortune in gold. Karzan/Maciste is persuaded to undertake the journey in search of riches, unaware that Pygar is in collusion with the Amazon Queen (Alice Arno) to actually deliver Maciste as a slave stud to help rejuvenate the race. The expedition is ambushed, Maciste is placed into the Amazons' service, and Pygar, along with one of the Amazon women, Yuka (Lina Romay), attempt to swipe a fortune in gold for themselves."
AKA: Maciste contre la reine des Amazones, Amazon Golden Temple, Mädchen, die sich lieben lassen, The Lustful Amazon and The Lustful Amazons.

The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff
(1973, dir. Jess Franco)
Franco made a total of seven films featuring his Dr. Orloff after introducing the character in The Awful Dr. Orloff (1962 / trailer) – this is the sixth, supposedly based on yet another earlier Franco film, 1970's Les cauchemars naissent la nuit / Nightmares Come at Night (trailer).
The plot, according to McBastard's Mausoleum: "In this 1973 Orloff shocker, William Berger stars as the diabolical doctor who unleashes a nightmare of hypnosis, violence and folk music on a crippled young woman (Montserrat Prous of Secret Diary of a Nymphomaniac [1973 / scene]) and her depraved family. Edmund Purdom (as Inspector Crosby) and Lina Romay (as Sweet Davey Brown's girlfriend) co-star in this beloved slab of psycho-sleaze, packed with enough sadism, murder, and madness to keep Goya spinning in his crypt for the next half century."
"To sleep, perchance to dream":

Les gloutonnes
(1973, dir. Jess Franco)
Aka Les exploits érotiques de Maciste dans l'Atlantide and Maciste et les gloutonnes. At imdb, Ørnås says: "According to legend, a group of women escaped from Atlantis just before the destruction of the continent. They took refuge on a mysterious island, and founded a kingdom. Men who dared approach the island were devoured by these sexually voracious Atlanteans, and thus they were called 'gobblers'."
The art of the zoom:
Riccardo Morrocchi at dbcult goes into more detail "A young woman finds herself transported to the mythical Atlantis, where she experiences all types of dangers and sexual adventures, in the company of the mythical Maciste (Val Davis), the evil Cagliostro (Howard Vernon), Caronte (Robert Woods) and his mate Parka (Kali Hansa) and so on."
Lina Romay appears as Bianca. Les gloutonnes was shot back to back in Portugal with the other 1973 Franco Maciste film, The Lustful Amazons and is available in a non-X and an X-rated version [the latter, to quote an on-line comment, "featuring Alice Arno and Montie Prous in a sticky situation"]. Both films are unrelated to the universe of the Italian Maciste films.

Al otro lado del espejo
(1973, dir. Jess Franco)
Aka: Obscene Mirror, The Other Side of the Mirror and Beyond the Grave. Plot according to imdb: "A nightclub singer is haunted by the ghost of her late father. The dead man summons her through a mirror, forcing her to commit a series of violent crimes." Elsewhere, other websites claim it is the ghost of her dead sister. Romay appears in the French version as Marie Madeleine Whitman.
Jazz and the zoom lense:
Over at Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings, the reviewer said: "[...] For my taste, I find that the sex scenes go on too long, there's too many close-ups of pubic hair, and that camera won't stay in focus for more than a few seconds at a time. Yet, it managed to hold my attention and left me thinking about it afterwards."
10k Bullets says, in regard to the Spanish version, "Ultimately The Other Side of the Mirror stands out as one of Jess Franco’s more complex films with is layered subtext and lyrical imagery."

Erotic Kill
(1973, dir. Jess Franco)

Wikipedia's plot synopsis: "Countess Irina von Karlstein (Lina Romay) [is] a mute woman who needs sex like a vampire needs blood in order to stay alive forever. When new victims are found fatally drained of potency, forensic scientist Dr. Roberts (Jesus Franco) consults his colleague, Dr. Orloff (Jean-Pierre Bouyxou), who confirms that a vampire is responsible. Meanwhile, Irina is confronted by a poet who believes he is destined to become her lover and join her among the immortals."
Aka, among others: Bare Breasted Countess, Erotic Kill, Female Vampire and Les Avaleuses. Lina literally sucks the life out of her men – what a nice way to go! It was also later re-cut and re-released in Germany as "J. P. Johnson" film entitled Entfesselte Begierde
Everything you ever wanted to know about the film:

La comtesse perverse
(1974, dir. Jess Franco)
Aka Les croqueuses France, The Perverse Countess and The Munchers.  
Dave Sindelar at Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings says "This is supposed to be a variation of The Most Dangerous Game (1932 / full film), and I suppose it is; it's kind of hard to follow the plot between the endless scenes involving bodies thrashing about, which account for about fifty percent of the movie. Of the remaining half of the movie, most of that consists of women either standing around naked, sitting around naked, or in the process of getting undressed. DB Cult clarifies: "Howard Vernon and Alice Arno inviting young girls to their island so that they can be hunted down and eaten."
Eight minutes,
in French:

Quartier de femmes
(1974, dir. Jess Franco)
Romay makes an un-credited appearance somewhere in this film aka Quartier de femmes, Lovers of Devil's Island International, Devil's Island Lovers, Los amantes de la isla del diablo and Violenze erotiche in un carcere femminile. One or the other version is a serious critique of fascism, the other a sequel of sorts to Franco's 1969 film, 99 Women (trailer).
The plot, according to eyeforfilm: "Devil's Island Lovers is set in an unspecified South American dictatorship. It is the tragic tale of a young couple, Raymond (Andrés Resino) and Beatriz (Geneviève Robert), whose naiveté, idealism and desire for political change see them become the victims of the regional governor and his mistress who, playing a more Sadean version of Dangerous Liasons, had them framed for murder and sent to prison. Now on his deathbed, the repentant governor calls for the foreign lawyer who represented the couple to hear his confession. Armed with this knowledge, the lawyer may be able to secure their release – assuming it isn't already too late and that the governor wasn't just enjoying one last laugh at his victims…"
14 minutes,
in Spanish:

Plaisir à trois
(1974, dir. Jess Franco)
AKA How to Seduce a Virgin & Pleasure for Three; the third of five adaptations Franco made of Marquis de Sade's novel Philosophy in the Boudoir. Alain Petit, who appeared in such fine French sleaze as The Living Dead Girl (1982 / trailer) and Zombie Lake (1981 / trailer), helped with the script. Filmed in Portugal and Spain concurrently with La Comtesse Perverse, this film is another Franco take of the artist-as-killer. I'm in a Jess Franco State of Mind says: "Plaisir à trois is a wickedly droll and amoral 'morality' play, [about ....] the supposed corruption of the innocent [...], here named Cecile. A sexually voracious woman and her male consort direct the proceedings only to have the tables turned on them at the last moment. [...]  Martine (Alice Arno – real name: Marie-France Broquet) produces human sculptures of her female victims after torturing them to death with whips, chains and the rack. Her male lover (Robert Woods), a mute sex slave (Lina Romay), the chauffeur (Howard Vernon), and the gardener (the delightfully diminutive Alfred Baillou) all know about the murder spree and more or less enable Martine's sick agenda. Cecile, who lives nearby with her wealthy parents, will be the next victim..." When released, in England the film suffered a quick fate due to Christians picketing and was thus never picked up during for video release during the later "video nasty" years in England. My Duck is Dead says: "Pleasure for Three is a modern fable [...] bathed in the murky, torrid atmosphere that Franco is so good at producing. Alice Arno is magnificent as the keeper of the 'museum of horrors', a nod in the direction of the wax museums American films are so good at portraying. Lina Romay as a sex-slave who only communicates by moaning is very credible. Only Robert Woods, a defector from westerns, is unconvincing. As it happens, he has since abandoned acting, and now sells water softeners for a living."

Celestine, Maid at Your Service
 (1974, dir. Jess Franco, [as "Clifford Brown"])
The script to this version of Octave Mirbeau's novel Le Journal d'une femme de chambre (published in English as A Chambermaid's Diary [1900], The Diary of a Lady's Maid [1903], Célestine, Being the Diary of a Chambermaid [1930] and Diary of a Chambermaid [1945]) was supplied by Franco's then-wife Nicole Guettard, while the leading lady was her future replacement Lina Romay, who plays the titular character Celestine. Due to the source material, the film can also be viewed as a remake of Jean Renoir's The Diary of a Chambermaid (1946) and/or Luis Buñuel's Diary of a Chambermaid (1964 / trailer).
Time Out has the following to say about Franco's sex comedy: "An object lesson in how potentially liberating material (the nominal source is Octave Mirbeau's Diary of a Chambermaid) can be manhandled into heavy-handed voyeurism treading an unresolved line between the Pasolini-inspired bawdy romp and Buñuelian subversion. Celestine, fleeing a brothel after a police raid, finds herself in a stately home full of promisingly wan-looking sexual repressives she makes it her task to liberate, while still serving the needs of her fellow-workers (male and female)."
Celestine is listed in the German-language book Die schlechtesten Filme aller Zeiten ("The Worst Films of All Time"), and the German magazine Film-Dienst (published in cooperation with the German Catholic Film Commission) says: "We advise against it." For a typical sex scene, go (NSFW) here at Classic Porn.
Romay (Celestine) says Goodbye:

Les possédées du diable
(1974, dir. Jess Franco)
Aka Lorna the Exorcist; remade as Incubus (2002). Over at imdb, HumanoidOfFlesh has the following to say: "An affluent businessman Patrick Mariel (Guy Delorme) must protect his wife Marianne (Jacqueline Laurent) and nineteen year old daughter Linda (Lina Romay) against Lorna (Pamela Stanford), a predatory witch who once helped the family attain wealth and status and now demands Lorna's soul as her payment. Lorna the Exorcist is a pretty unnerving and extremely sleazy horror movie made by Jesus Franco. There is plenty of sex (both lesbian and heterosexual) and lots of full-frontal nudity provided by Lina Romay, Jacqueline Laurent and Pamela Stanford. The action mostly takes place in modernist hotels and casinos. There is a strong fairly tale ambiance and plenty of perversity. The scene in which Lorna deflowers Linda by first having teenage girl suck from her breast and then by shattering her virginity with a dildo is truly unsettling as is the final descent of Linda into madness. 8 exorcisms out of 10."
The website rockshockpop reveals that Jess Franco made the film for producer Robert de Nesle, who marketed it as an Exorcist (1973 / trailer) style horror film before it was cut and re-cut and eventually turned into a hardcore porno movie entitled  Linda and/or Luscious Linda that drifted into obscurity. Only bootleg versions were available until Mondo Macabro finally released a DVD of Franco's original version (w/out the hardcore inserts).

The Erotic Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
(1975, dir. Ken Dixon)
Aka Afrika erotika, Never on Friday and Une île, 30 filles et moi. Lina Romay appears as one of the naked babes running around this flick starring Lawrence P. Casey (of The Gay Deceivers [1969 / trailer] and The Student Nurses [1970 / trailer]) as Robinson Crusoe. It is the debut feature film of director Ken Dixon, whose limited output since – the "documentaries"  Zombiethon (1986 / edit), Filmgore (1983), Famous T & A (1982) and The Best of Sex and Violence  (1981 / full film) and the direct-to-video trash classic  Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity (1987 / trailer) – reveals a notable obsession.
Over at, Mike Haberfelner says The Erotic Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is "a rather tired sex comedy" in which "the girls are all pretty and get naked a lot" but "the film brings nothing but standard dirty jokes to Daniel Defoe's source material." The basic plot, he explains, revolves are Robinson Crusoe, who "is stranded on an island exclusively inhabited by women, and they want to eat him ... until he uses his lovemaking skills to convince them otherwise – and now all the girls want to do is have sex with him, all of them and all the time."

Downtown – Die nackten Puppen der Unterwelt
(1975, dir. Jess Franco)
Franco costars with Lina in this film, produced by the great euro-exploitation producer Erwin C. Dietrich. According to Trash Film Addict, Downtown is one of seven pictures Jess Franco made in 1975, and it "overcomes its woefully poor origins through some excellent dialogues, engagingly uninhibited performances and generally seedy, pulpy atmosphere. [...] Lina Romay and Martine Stedil are in top form and incredibly seductive as a duo of criminal lesbians, with their sex scenes nearly crossing the line into hardcore."
At imdb, superguapo2000 says: "It's always amusing to watch Jess Franco convert the elements of any film genre into a confused, sleazy spectacle, and Downtown is no exception. As if the genre of film noir wasn't already replete with clichéd scenarios, here comes Jess Franco's interpretation, a furiously banal, incredibly sloppy, crotch-shot-filled piece of cinematic madness that's overall worth watching." The plot: A far from overworked detective (Franco) is hired by a beautiful young woman to photograph a nightclub owner in compromising positions, which proves easy to do. But when the politician shows up dead, the detective becomes the prime suspect and gets caught between gangsters, the police and a duo of homicidal, conniving lesbians. Aka Downtown, Les putains de la ville basse and Schwarze Nylons, wilde Engel.
Franco gets hired:

Women Behind Bars
(1975, dir. Jess Franco)
As the title indicates, it's babes behind bars time. This trashy little film was written by no one less than the great French producer Marius Lesoeur, the man behind many an exploitation classic, including Zombie Lake (1981 / trailer), which starred his granddaughter Anouchka as the little girl with the zombie Nazi father. AKA Des diamants pour l'enfer and Frauengefängnis 3, Women Behind Bars was one of 72 titles banned in the UK during the video nasty scare, probably because of all the frontal nudity and women being tortured, as in the scene of Lina Romay having live electrodes applied to her breasts and genitals. Wildside ciniema says "Women Behind Bars is sexy but fairly uneventful. It won't knock you off your feet nor will you find yourself furiously jerking off by the final credits. It's a barely-clothed thriller wrapped up in incredibly erotic situations and hilarious (and constant) camera zooms. You’ll come away from it with whatever you went in looking for." The plot, as explained by Anonymous at imdb: "A small-time hood brings the attention of the law with an insurance scam and diamond theft, but things become even more interesting when his moll Shirley Fields (Romay) murders him and is slammed behind bars where she faces all manner of electric shock treatments to various parts of her anatomy."
A scene:


Le jouisseur
(1975, dir. Jess Franco)
Aka Der Sex Playboy and L'homme le plus sexy du monde. It seems that only three people in the world have ever seen this film, and no poster of it can be found on the web. (If anyone has a jpg of the poster or VHS, we would greatly appreciate getting it.)
The image above, from the DB cult website, supposedly comes from the movie and shows the film's lead male, Fred Williams – the sexiest man in the world, to translate one of the film's titles – messing around with – well, who do you think? Over at imdb, Pierre-Alexandre Buisson says: "What a strange piece of film. [...] This comedic gem is about a bored count (Williams) who likes to hunt down pretty women, disguised as a servant. A lot of misadventures happen to him, and the one-liners fall like a golden rain, revealing once more how much Jesus Franco is a talented dialogist. Olivier Mathot plays a mustached bandit, and Lina Romay is, as always, the seductress. Lots of weird situations, dumb soft-core sex scenes, and no particular linear narrative line. [...] If you usually don't like Franco and his disturbing subjects, here comes the light touch he can also put in his comedies, because this one's hard not to like." Over at I'm in a Jess Franco State of Mind, they say "Although we don't want to take the comparison too far, Le Jouisseur can be seen as a way down-market anticipation of Francois Truffaut's The Man Who Loved Women (1977 / trailer) and certain Woody Allen films of that era."

Les nuits brûlantes de Linda
(1975, dir. Jess Franco)

Another Franco film co-scripted by his then-wife Nicole Guettard and starring her eventual replacement, Lina Romay, who plays a nympho – something she played often in Franco's film. Aka La Felicità nel Peccato (Italian), Linda - Linda la maison des pecheresses - Qui a violé Linda? (France), Story of Linda, The Burning Nights of Linda and Brutal Nights of Linda; as with many of Franco's films of this era, Les nuits brûlantes de Linda is available in a hardcore and non-hardcore version, the latter prepared by Eurocine with triple-X inserts "which may or may not have been filmed by Jess Franco." The scene of Olivia (Romay) raping her sister Linda (Catherine Lafferière) with a banana – "with disgusting results" to quote cinema de bizarre – is one of the more popular scenes of the movie.
Over at imdb, Michael Elliott wrote the following, which is used all over the web usually without credit: "Extremely bizarre, poetic and sometimes revolting film from director Jess Franco. A woman (Alice Arno) in desperate need of work goes to a remote Greek Island to care for a man (Paul Muller). The man warns her that his two daughters, one a nymphomaniac (Lina Romay) and the other a cripple, are both dangerous. Soon the nympho is seducing the woman as well as others in the house. This is a Franco film where sex is all over the place ranging from softcore to some hardcore scenes some of which are fairly disgusting to watch. Franco pretty much grabs the viewer by the throat and drags them through the dreamlike world he creates. [...] The brilliant music score by Daniel White also helps the film and its weirdness." Elsewhere, an illegal downloading site says "One of 12 [!] films JF made in 1973 and another no-budget masterwork, a true film-maudit featuring excellent performances, a haunting score and cubist compositions which often employ mirrors to open out the claustrophobic spaces into odd dimensions. Is it a comedy, a tragedy, a crime thriller, a mystery or a dream?" (The commentary seems much too intelligent for an illegal download site, so it is probably swiped from somewhere; sorry we can't give credit.)

Les chatouilleuses
(1975, dir. Jess Franco)
Another Franco film co-scripted by his then-wife Nicole Guettard and starring her eventual replacement, Lina Romay, who plays Loulou, one of the four prostitutes in this "period piece nunsploitation sex comedy."
Over at imdb, Michael Elliott is there once again to comment: "Silly but entertaining sex comedy from Jess Franco set in Central America. The story revolves around four prostitutes (including Lina Romay, Pamela Stanford) who are on the run from a group of bandits and hide in a convent pretending to be nuns. The film runs a very short 63-minutes, which is just about right since we mainly get comedic sex scenes involving the four girls trying to sleep their way out of trouble. There are also countless lesbian scenes and Franco certainly knows how to shoot these and make them very erotic. The print I viewed was in French only and was P&S so hopefully a remastered version will show up at some point."

Rolls-Royce Baby
(1975, dir. Erwin C. Dietrich)
Romay stars in a directorial effort of the great Erwin C. Dietrich, a man whose name automatically guarantees Eurotrash. Much like is the case in the USA with a film graced by the name of David Friedman or Henry Novak, in Europe you know what you're gonna get when Erwin C. Dietrich's name is on the credits. Romay plays the titular character, "The Rolls-Royce Baby." The website girlsgunsandghouls – whence the image below comes from – has a well-written review of the film. Over at imdb, Michael Elliott is there yet again to comment: "[...] Romay plays a sex addict who has become a famous movie star. To get her sexual needs, she has her chauffeur (Eric Falk) drive her around in the Rolls-Royce to pick up various men and women for sex. This film is pretty much softcore except for a small oral scene and this mix really gives the film a what the hell feel because I'm not quite sure what Dietrich was going for. The film is never really erotic because the sex scenes are more graphic than anything else but at the same time they never go hardcore so all of the scenes are in a rather strange mix in terms of what's going on. [Romay's] pretty good in the film and one could argue that she's never looked better. The film opens up with her shaving her private areas with a straight razor so she certainly isn't shy. In the end the film comes off rather flat but fans of Romay will certainly want to take the ride (no pun of course)." Here you find a NSFW and highly explicit German trailer (with lots of swinging testicles) to the film that, to freely translate what is said in German at one point, "shows what men like" – including a brief shot of the during and after of the shaving scene.

Die Marquise von Sade
(1976, dir. Jess Franco)
Aka Das Bildnis der Doriana Gray and Le portrait de Doriana Gray. Lina Romay excels in a double role as Doriana Gray and her own twin sister; the plot has less to do with Oscar Wilde's famous book that it does with Franco's 1973 film (and Romay vehicle) Female Vampire.
Eccentric cinema  give the film a 7 out of 10 rating and says that "Quite simply, Doriana Grey is one of Franco's strangest and most lyrical films." They also give the plot as follows: "Doriana Grey (Lina Romay) is a beautiful recluse who lives in a castle somewhere in Europe. One day her world is invaded by a reporter (Monica Swinn) from a women's magazine. She's anxious to write a story on Doriana, to bring to light the rumors surrounding the noblewoman and her twin sister. It transpires that the twins are each lacking an essential element of their libido — while Doriana is a sexual vampire who extends her life, if not pleasure, by draining her sexual partners dry, the sister is the one who feels the sensations — and they are so overpowering that they've driven her insane..." At cinepassion, Fernando F. Croce poetically says "[Franco's] art is a liquid beauty that manifests itself almost diffidently through the grindhouse grime, as when Romay arises from her divan and ambles forward as if underwater, and the transit of assorted fields of light becomes luminously apparent as she crosses the room. Alienation trumps Eros even amid money shots: The self is destroyed rather than united as carnal halves meet, the Marquise's marbled onanistic sanctuary is transformed into a tomb."

Midnight Party
(1976, dir. Jess Franco & Julio Pérez Tabernero)
Also known as Lady Porno, La Coccolona and Heisse Berührungen. According to imdb, Jess Franco (as James Gardner) directed the French version, while the forgotten Julio Pérez Tabernero (as Tawer Nero) did the Spanish version; both versions star Lina. Erwin C. Dietrich – the man knew what he liked – is there again for the ride as the producer; he reedited the film for his German-language version, entitled Heisse Berührungen. Franco edited parts of this film into his 1979 flick, Justine and the Whip.
Depending on where you look on the web, the plot varies, but a common explanation is "Lina Romay plays a stripper who is kidnapped by a secret agent and taken to a torture clinic, where she is subjected to a variety of torture techniques – beatings, burns, toenail pulling, and so on."
Pierre-Alexandre Buisson's critique on imdb is also often quoted, usually without credit: "It all begins with Lina Romay dancing in chromed pants on a stage in some cheap bar. She hooks two playboys and ends up with an invitation to their midnight orgy. Her communist rock star bearded lover shows up in her dressing room and starts shouting slogans. Her husband pays her a visit. And then she talks directly to the camera, explaining to the viewer she has to get dressed for the party. Definitely one of Franco's numbest and most chaotic features, where he plays a sadistic wooden-legged private eye with his trademark black sunglasses. You can see all you want from Romay, who spends most of the movie running around naked. The plot doesn't seem to be very important and the jokes fly low. If you like Franco you'll laugh to death watching this one but if you're a newcomer, you may wonder where the hell can we get some drugs as effective as the ones they used to write this."

Barbed Wire Dolls
(1976, dir. Jess Franco)


Aka Frauengefängnis, Caged Women, Women's Penitentiary IV and a dozen other names – although some AKAs should also be re-edited versions if not completely different films using but a little of the original footage. The Official Splatter Movie Guide says "This legendary Franco atrocity pits his favorite actress Romay against scuzzy prison warden Monica Swinn with predictable results. Franco throws in flogging, bondage, starvation, rape, and electrocutions." Classic Porn says "This is one for the real deranged sex maniacs out there. There's virtually no plot just one flimsy excuse or another to show helpless women being obsessed with sexual lust. There are plenty of laughs to be had if that sort of thing rocks your boat, though. One outrageous scene has Jess Franco playing in-mate Lina Romay's father, who attempts to seduce her in slow motion... only trouble is, they actually act (very badly) in slow motion live rather than slow down the actual film!!! Incredible!" One definite recut of this film was done in 1979, when additional footage from Hitler's Last Train (1977) and Captive Women 4 (1977) was added and the film was then released as Jailhouse Wardress, "directed" by Alain Deruelle.

Les emmerdeuses
(1976, dir. Jess Franco)

Aka The Troublemakers and Les grandes emmerdeuses, this is obviously one of Franco's rarer films, for little can be found about it on the web. On the Cult Movie Forum, Steve Thrower says. "Les Grandes Emmerdeuses is one of those almost indescribable Franco films in which you're invited to watch as the director and his cast spend an hour or so simply daydreaming and playacting a movie into existence, on the most threadbare of budgets, and with apparently the least preparation possible. We see Jess and Lina Romay and a few regular compadrés (Monica Swinn, Richard Bigotini, Pamela Stanford) swanning between hotel rooms and seaside locations in the middle of the swinging seventies, fuckiing and chatting and rambling, all set to a wonderful psych-rock soundtrack. Abstract and blissful, this is Franco 70s style. [...] Lina Romay and Pamela Stanford muck around, pretending to be evil criminal lesbian extortionists or something. [...] The loose, dreamy verité sensation is amplified by the opening scenes in which Lina talks directly to camera before showing off her pussy."

Jack the Ripper
(1976, dir. Jess Franco)

The book Jess Franco – El Sexo del Horror says this film is "The most valuable work of the Franco/Dietrich association, in that it manages to create a peculiar atmosphere, sober and unhealthy at the same time, translated very well by the extraordinary interpretation of Klaus Kinski who is, at the same time, moderate, sweet, disturbing and suddenly capable of unexpected outbursts of uncontrollable violence."
Video Picks for Perverts is less thrilled by the film, though thrilled by all the boobage: "There's tons of Jack the Ripper movies and they usually suck because people forget what's important about Jack the Ripper: dead hookers. Anything else in one of these movies is just gratuitous or whatever. Well, this one is just as boring as all the rest, but at least they got the good parts right: the first hooker gets her top torn off, the second one strips and gives Jack a hummer before he ices her, and the hottest one of all gets all her clothes torn off and he cuts off one of her tits while she's still alive. He also hangs a guy who figures out he's the Ripper. This isn't like the real story, because in this one this cop's girlfriend goes undercover as a whore to find the Ripper and they actually catch him. (In the end he just gives up and doesn't fight the cops or anything! Lame.) That's okay though because this gives them a chance to show the girlfriend's tits, and they're pretty nice" Romay has a supporting part as Marika; this is the last film that the great Klaus Kinski made with Franco.
German trailer:

Night of the Assassins
(1976, dir. Jess Franco)

Romay plays Rita Derian in this film often claimed to based on an Edgar Alan Poe story entitled The Cat and the Canary which, actually, doesn't exist: The Cat and the Canary is the title to a play by John Willard that has already been filmed a number of times, the best version being the 1927 silent version by Paul Leni (full film), the least interesting being Radley Metzger's version from 1979, which we reviewed a few years ago here.
Franco himself supposedly once stated that the true inspiration for the film came from an uncredited Edgar Wallace novel. But the plot as supplied by The Video Vacuum is 100% pure Cat and the Canary, with the exception of the first murder: "A wealthy dude gets buried alive in his own backyard by a killer wearing a skull mask and black cloak. His relatives gather at his mansion for the reading of his will and are stunned to learn that his illegitimate daughter is left the bulk of the inheritance. Naturally, the skull-faced killer soon arrives to murder the money-grubbing relatives."
German trailer:

Wanda, the Wicked Warden
(1977, dir. Jess Franco)

Between Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976 / trailer) and Ilsa, the Tigress of Siberia (1977 / trailer), the legendary Dyanne Thorne made this film for Franco who, pleased with Barbed Wire Dolls, decided to do another film of the women-behind-bars genre – supposedly even using the same sets. (Lina Romay is also there again, this time as Juana.) Although not a true entry of the Ilsa series, which began with Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1975 / trailer), Wanda, the Wicked Warden is so true to the formula that it was released in the US at one point as Ilsa, the Wicked Warden.
Dr Gore, who says "This is the sleaziest of the series," gives the film a rating of "4 out of 4 ILSAS!!!!!" (his exclamation marks), going on to say: "[...] Once again, Ilsa is reincarnated to give more females beatings and tortures galore. This time she is running a clinic in the jungle for sexual deviants. You know the remedy Dr. Ilsa prescribes: Whips, pins and electro shock therapy. 'Now, you will scream.' The movie starts out with a mass shower scene. So right away, we know we are in good hands. Ilsa also takes a bath to show some camaraderie. The suspense is over. We've seen everybody naked in five minutes. So the rest of the flick is Ilsa dealing out punishment to the often naked inmates while some flimsy story plays itself out. [...]" The film's most common AKAs are Greta – Haus ohne Männer and Greta the Torturer. In the Fantasy Filmfest 2000 catalog the plot is given as follows: "In this very bleak women-in-prison film, Greta (Thorne) is the ruler of an 'asylum', somewhere in South America, where the prisoners are humiliated, tortured and murdered. A girl (Romay) who allows herself to be smuggled into the asylum to look for her sister, meets a gruesome fate at the hands of the sadistic warden."

Kiss Me Killer
(1977, dir. Jess Franco)

Franco remakes an old film of his from 1964, La muerte silba un blues (aka 007 Operation Jamaique); Romay plays a stripper named Moira Ray who, at one point, even tries to get a marble statue aroused. The film is well-served by an excellent score by Daniel White. cinemasomnambulist supplies the plot: "A bunch of gangsters plan a drug heist that, of course, all goes to shit and people start getting killed. Gangster Paul Radeck (Francisco Acosta) blames drug dealer Freddy Carter (Alberto Dalbes) for the screw-up and shoots him and his buddy. Believing that Freddy is dead, Paul then marries Linda (Alice Arno), his widow. Things are just hunky dory until one night, at a nightclub, Linda hears the band play a song that her dead husband wrote for her. Is Freddy alive? Let the intrigue begin! A stripper named Moira Ray (Lina Romay) comes along and seems to have some sort of agenda or something. Freddy, who is totally alive, hooks up with Moira and just keeps messing with Radeck's head until they meet up for a violent showdown."
French trailer to
Operation Jamaique (1964):

Agent 077 opération Jamaïque - Bande annonce von moidixmois

Swedish Nympho Slaves
(1977, dir. Jess Franco)

30 seconds
in German:

A Franco-directed, Erwin C. Dietrich-produced (and written) "crime thriller" aka Die Sklavinnen, Die Sexhändler and Les flagellées de la cellule 69. The plot? Martine (Martine Stedil), the daughter of the obscenely obese millionaire Radeck (Vítor Mendes), is kidnapped – which sets a lot of balls in motion. Her kidnappers hide her in the luxury bordello Pagode, run by Madam Arminda (Romay), who decides to use the pretty young girl herself and pumps her full of drugs to do so. When the importance of the gal gets around, a couple of rival crime gangs enter the picture.
At imdb, John Mclaren of England opinions: "We all know the Jess Franco template for this mid-period run of his films: plenty of nudity, overuse of Lina Romay (who must always be nude), re-used vaguely tropical sets, and an element of blatant sexploitation. Well, Die Sklavinnen fits all those requirements. If you think you have seen the film before, then you probably have. [...] Romay is the baddie and gets tortured a little, but it is all pretty tame. Reasonable amount of FFN, but we wouldn't like it any other way. So, one of the lesser Franco outings. [...]"

Shining Sex
(1977, dir. Jess Franco)

According to Trash Palace, this flick is a "hard-to-find, offbeat, artsy erotic sci-fi with an effectively serious approach that keeps it from slipping into satire," while over at Tomb It May Concern, David A. Zuzelo says "I've never seen a good print of this one, nor an English translation, but with a Lina factor this high it stays a favorite!"
Eofftv explains the plot thusly: "Nightclub dancer Cynthia (Lina Romay) unwisely goes home with two of her clients, Alpha (Evelyne Scott) and Andros (Raymond Hardy), who seduce her and, during sex, rub a strange fluid on her body. This has the effect of turning Cynthia into a brainless slave who now has the power to kill any sex partner she's with. Acting on telepathic orders from Alpha, Cynthia begins to kill everyone who has deduced that Alpha and Andros are aliens." The website Nova calls the film "A very strange science-fiction film featuring Lina Romay's intimate parts as the main character. [...] Romay's genitals become the central figure in an intergalactic conspiracy involving many male life forms that experience their final and greatest orgasm in her company." Parts of the plot were reused in 1986 for Franco's reportedly finished but never released flick Sida, la peste del siglo XX, while (according to Robert Fishing) footage from the film  (along with footage from Midnight Party [1976]) was later edited into the Aristide Massaccesi (aka "Joe D'Amato") version of Justine and the Whip (1979). The original picture here shows Romay post-coitus with a dead partner.

Cocktail spécial
(1978, dir. Jess Franco)

Cocktail spécial is a hardcore remake of Franco's Eugenie, The Story of Her Journey into Perversion (1970 / trailer) and thus also a remake of his 1973 film Plaisir à trois. Released in Germany as Feuchte Lippen, Cinema Turkey says "This film is a great 70s porn flick, entertaining and tasteless, including incest and pissing scenes. It's the story of a virgin who gets [into the] private sex-party circles of a pervert woman who also has a relationship with the virgin's father. At a bizarre sex party, she tries to arrange the defloration of the virgin by her own father… that's a story!! The original name (Cocktail speciale) comes from a scene where some party guests mix a cocktail just with their own body-fluids… no comment!"
Someone calling themselves "Duktor" on My archives says that the plot of this "ultra-rare and great XXX from Jess Franco" revolves around the naïve teenager Eugenie (Beni Touxa), who "is convinced by the perverse Martine (Carole David) to spend a weekend at her country home [...]. Martine's true intention is that of offering Eugénie as the main course of a secret orgy, where she plans to get the girl's father to unwittingly deflower his own daughter. [...] The young guests of this house placate their sexual lust amongst themselves, with the sporadic participation of a vicious young man."

Women without Innocence
(1978, dir. Jess Franco)
Aka Frauen ohne Unschuld, Femmes sans pudeur, Il insaziabili notti di una ninfomane and Wicked Women. Romay stars as Margarita Martin. Movie House Commentary says "Women without Innocence opens with a naked and bloody couple dead on the floor. The police arrive, and we see a naked Lina Romay running upstairs to hide. It's already pretty obvious that we have just started another of Uncle Jess Franco's films. This one is not a WIP flick, but it's close. The variation is that most of it takes place in a mental hospital for women instead of a women's prison. The doctors are trying to cure Romay of the trauma she suffered when the couple was murdered. We eventually get around to the real plot about smuggled diamonds, but this being a Jess Franco film, we will have to wade through an enormous number of naked women and people having sex. When the patients aren't exposing themselves or masturbating, the doctors and/or nurses are getting it on. Not that there's anything wrong with that."

Cartas de amor de una monja
(1978, dir. Jorge Grau)

Nunsploitation from the director of Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974 / trailer / full movie) and Ceremonia sangrienta (1973 / trailer), more familiar under its AKA title, Love Letters of a Nun, which has led it to often be mistaken with Franco's own nunsploitation flick from 1977, Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun (scene). In a review found on numerous websites, Jason Buchanan states "[T]his controversial religious drama [is] about a seventeenth-century nun swept up in a diabolical torrent of passion and lust. Spain, 1640: reverent superior nun Mariana (Analía Gadé) is attending the funeral of her younger sister Isabel's husband when Isabel (Teresa Gimpera) begins fondling the cadaver as if it were her sleeping lover. Aroused by the sight yet repulsed by her response to such a morbid sight, Mother Mariana fears that she won't have the courage to confess in the morning and begins drafting a confession letter to Father Augustin (Alfredo Alcón). Later that same evening, novice nun Maria (Lina Romay) bursts into Mother Mariana's room distressed after being taunted by a local pilgrim. When Mother Mariana attempts to comfort Sister Maria, the novice mistakes her superior's maternal affection for romantic interest and attempts to seduce her. Following a moment of hesitation, Mother Mariana rejects the advances, prompting Sister Maria to masturbate with a large crucifix. Convinced that this is a sign of demonic possession, Mother Mariana prepares to report the incident to the Holy office."
7.5 minutes of the film:

L'éventreur de Notre-Dame
(1979, dir. Jess Franco)

Another Franco film available in a multitude of versions; as L'Éventreur de Notre-Dame, it lacks the hardcore and some of the more violent excesses; as Exorcisme et Messes Noires, you get the added in-and-out and suck that meat lollipop scenes; and as Demoniac, you get the vanilla cut meant for  the USA – so pick your poison appropriately. Other versions/names include: The Sadist of Notre Dame International, Chains and Black Leather, El sádico de Notre-Dame, Exorcism, Exorcism and Black Masses, Expériences sexuelles au château des jouisseuses, Sexorcismes and The Ripper of Notre Dame. Romay, credited as Rosa Almirall, plays Anne.
The blogspot Ninja Dixon says that the "gritty and nasty" film is "without a doubt one of the most personal movies Jess Franco ever made": "Bored upper class is enjoying a simulated black mass including a human sacrifice. Something for the rich and famous to tickle their boring lives and hopefully tickle their sex-lives even more. But in the background the defrocked priest and now adult author Mathis Vogel (Uncle Jess himself) is slithering around taking detailed notes about the masses. He's still a strong believer and wants to save these poor women from Satan – and the only way to do it is to slaughter them as a sacrifice to God!" EOFFTV offers similar if slightly different plot details a bit more: "Maniac Mathis Vogel escapes from a psychiatric hospital and murders a prostitute in a street near Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. He's soon recognized as a former priest, but he continues his vicious murders while fictionalizing his crimes in a story he sells to a magazine. As his madness spirals out of control, he turns his sadistic attentions to the magazine's publisher and his secretary." 
Digital Retribution adds: "Exorcism is a strange little film and one that is hard to categorize. It has lashings of full-frontal female nudity, some bloodshed and violence, and a plot that is rather incomprehensible. Nothing new for Franco, you might think, and yet the film has a strange allure, which draws you into its surreal world." Sounds good to us, with or without hairy meat lollipops and sushi tacos.
Bar scene from the film:

Elles font tout
(1979, dir. Jess Franco)

Aka Quel certo sapore and, in various English language releases, as They Do It All, That Certain Taste, They Make Everything and Claire. Franco, as "Clifford Brown," makes a straight-up hardcore porno film; if some people today seem to find that the film has more of a plot than the average porn movie, that's only because they are probably too young to have seen any films from the Golden Age, a time when the women didn't have Brazilian waxes and the films still had plots (if sometimes but barely) and were often rather (intentionally) funny as well. Supposedly, this film doesn't have a lot of "hardcore humping but [has] plenty of explicit oral." Lina (credited as "Candy Coster") plays Nini, the one with experience. The plot was reused four years later in 1983 for Franco's The Hotel of Love Affairs.
A search of websites on which the film is mentioned reveals that seemingly only two people have ever actually seen the film, as only the same two reviews from imdb are always used. Michael Elliot, from Louisville, KY, who gives the film two out of four stars, explains: "Three couples are staying at a hotel and all are having sexual issues. One day a professional porn star (Romay) shows up and teaches everyone how to do it. This hardcore film is [...] certainly the best of the three I've seen. Again, I'm really not sure how to rate this stuff but Romay, when not sexually servicing everyone, has a lot of nice, comedic moments, which is why I rank this the highest. It's also nice seeing Susan Hemmingway, although it took me a while to get use to seeing her in hardcore scenes." rlcsljo, from Hollywood, CA, who notes that the guys "are in good shape, but don't 'stand out' very far, if you know what I mean," also says that "all of the woman, except Romay, are young and in fairly good condition" and explains the plot as:  "A bunch of hubbies at a hotel are having erectile problems with their significant others until a slut (Romay) shows them, and everyone else in the hotel, how to do it. She even goes so far has to help them when they are sleeping."

Justine and the Whip
(1979, dir. Jess Franco)

Romay plays the title role of Justine. More than one on-line source says that Alice Arno, who's credited as being in the film, doesn't actually appear in it (she's in Claude Pierson's non-porno 1972 version of de Sade's book, entitled Justine de Sade [scene]) and, likewise, that the film was actually spliced together by the great Joe D'Amato using footage from an uncompleted 1975 Jesus Franco film as well as from Franco's Midnight Party and Shining Sex.

Jailhouse Wardress
(1979, dir. Alain Deruelle as "Allan W. Steeve")

Aka Les gardiennes du pénitencier. A true case of Eurocine exploitation, this Nazi WIP film was "directed" by le porno réalisateur Alain Deruelle, who filmed some supplementary new footage and padded it with outtakes from Jesus Franco's Barbed Wire Dolls (1976 / trailer), Alain Payet's Hitler's Last Train (1977 / trailer) and Patrice Rhomm's Captive Women 4 (1977 / trailer) – although, if you review the trailers, Captive Women 4 and Hitler's Last Train look to be the same film. gives the plot of Jailhouse Wardress as: "After the defeat of the Nazis following World War II, a number of former SS officials took refuge in various Latin American countries. In one of these countries, they use a fortress to incarcerate women who must submit to the guards' every desire. The wicked warden is a woman, who runs the prison with an iron hand, is protected by the counselor to the Governor, a fellow Nazi. Their evil ways are brought to an end by an organization intent on avenging the victims of the Second World War, in a thrilling commando raid." Lina Romay has a noticeable presence in this film due to all the scenes taken from Barbed Wire Dolls, which has all been redubbed.
Les gardiennes du pénitencier:

Les gardiennes du pénitencier von apparitor

Devil Hunter
(1980, dir. Jess Franco)

Lina Romay's first time as the assistant director of a Franco film, credited as "Rosa Maria Almiral." Devil Hunter – aka El cannibal, Jungfrau unter Kannibalen, Sexo Cannibal and Mandingo Manhunter, among other namess – is a horror cannibal flick and is probably one of Franco's least-liked films, but then, as The Celluloid Tomb puts it: "Frankly The Devil Hunter is beyond inept even by Franco's worst standards."
The website Eat My Brains says: "The first 15 minutes of The Devil Hunter is extremely slow though liberally peppered with as much gratuitous nudity as most horror fans could handle. Despite the numerous breasts on show [...], it's still incredibly boring [...]. [...] What's it all about? A bunch of nasty people kidnap a movie star (Ursula Buchfellner) and take her to a jungle where a crazy cannibal with ping-pong balls glued over his eyes is enjoying suitably savage ceremonies that involve eating the flesh of naked women, probably virgins, who are appropriately tied up to a big stick. When I say 'eating the flesh', I of course mean picking a bit of red 'used' chewing gum off her skin and rubbing it around his teeth for an extraordinarily long amount of time, as if trying to gross us out."
The Nasties review (with spoilers) on YouTube:

Sinfonía erótica
(1980, dir. Jess Franco)

Romay, credited as Candice Coster, stars as Martine de Bressac in this film based on a story by De Sade. 10K Bullets, which finds that "Sinfonía Erótica [is] another superb Marquis De Sade adaption from Jess Franco that is highlighted by Lina Romay's most accomplished performance of her career," explains the plot thus: "Martine de Bressac returns home after a brief stay in a mental institution only to discover that her husband Armand (Armando Borges) who has been having an affair with a man named Fiore (Mel Rodrigo) who works for them. Norma (Susan Hemingway) is a novice nun who violated body is discovered in the woods by Armand who takes the young woman home. Armand, Norma and Fiore conspire to rid themselves of Martine by murdering her and taking her fortune." 
At imdb, the indomitable Michael Elliott of Louisville, KY, calls the film a "disturbing and extremely well-made Jess Franco film" and says it is "one of Franco's 'art' films that manages to be quite beautiful in a poetic sense and ranks among one of his better films." If you're in an intellectual sort of mood, you might want to read what Salon Rojo has to say about the film here.

Ópalo de fuego: Mercaderes del sexo
(1980, dir. Jess Franco)

Aka Deux espionnes avec un petit slip à fleur and Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties. Credited as Candy Coster, Lina Romay costars with Nadine Pascal in an action comedy Trash Palace describes as "a crime & kidnap caper with a good dose of sadistic sex! With Lina Romay (as Cecile) and Nadine Pascal (as Brigitte) are ex-stripper inmates who are sprung by the government to go undercover to help with a kidnapping case." Obviously Franco films are easy to find in Louisville, KY, 'cause Michael Elliott has seen this film, too. He says, "There's a lot of humor, a lot of sex and of course a whole bunch of naked women running around. If you're offended easily then you'll certainly want to skip this film as the 'funny gay man' character is on full blast here. Normally this character is played by Franco, but he doesn't do the part this time, but that doesn't mean the humor comes any cleaner. The stereotype of this gay character is so outrageous and politically incorrect that you can't help but laugh your ass off. The highlight of the film is a scene where one of the strippers rapes him on a couch. [...] The film also features some of the worst striptease scenes in film history but a couple of these are played as jokes."
In all truth, if Romay still looked managed to pique our visual nerves enough in Sinfonía erótica to make a certain part of our body twitch, beginning with this film we sort of wished that she would keep her clothes on a bit more...

Wicked Memoirs of Eugenie
(1980, dir. Jess Franco)

Lina Romay, billed as Candy Coster, plays Sultana in this film AKA Erotismo and Lolita am Scheideweg and more. Like so many a Franco film, the source is de Sade – in fact, this film is basically a remake of his 1970 film featuring Christopher Lee and the attractive if forgotten Marie Liljedahl (of Inga [1968 / trailer], Grimm's Fairy Tales for Adults [1969] and The Seduction of Inga [1971 / trailer]) entitled Eugenie... the Story of Her Journey Into Perversion (trailer). On imdb, Dirtymoviedevotee from Brugge, Belgium, wrote the following about this film: "Jess Franco's umpteenth return to Sade – in this case, more specifically his Philosophy of the Boudoir – just might be his finest hour as a filmmaker whose '60s and '70s output has been increasingly and rightfully redeemed since its initial scathing reception. On this occasion, he managed to strike a near-perfect balance between the sensual and the shocking, helped in no small part to Juan Soler's exquisite camera work. [...] Katja Bienert was barely 18 when she was cast in the perpetually unclad lead as Eugenie, spoiled brat offspring of incestuously inclined diplomat Erwin Tanner (Tony Squios). Their unhealthy if unconsummated relationship is eloquently mirrored in that of decadent Alba and Alberto De Rosa (Spanish sleaze veterans Mabel Escano and Antonio Mayans), an aristocratic pair of siblings who have clearly taken their mutual attraction several steps further already. An oppressively claustrophobic mood permeates the movie once Eugenie and dear old dad are lured into the forbidden world of their newfound 'friends'. A violent yet impeccably stylish climax seems like Franco's attempt to imitate Peckinpah, the result coming off far less embarrassing than you would imagine. [...]"

White Cannibal Queen
(1980, dir. Jess Franco & Franco Prosperi)

When researching this film, the question that ended up intriguing us the most – and to which we could find no definite answer – is whether there really are two different Italian directors named Franco Prosperi or if the Prosperi that helped give birth to the Mondo genre is the same one who lent a helping hand to this film. According to imdb, the Franco Prosperi  who worked on this film here and fine stuff like Hercules in the Haunted World (1961), The Evil Eye (1963), White Slave (1985) and Cannibal Holocaust II (1988) is not the same as the Franco Prosperi who helped with Mondo cane (1962 / trailer), Goodbye Uncle Tom (1971 / trailer) and Wild beasts – Belve feroci (1984 / trailer). Anyone out there know the truth? (Also according to imdb, this film used the same sets as Cannibal Terror [1981].) Much like most people don't seem too taken by his take on the popular cannibal genre, Franco himself has gone on the record as not being fond of the cannibal genre; as eccentric cinema puts it, he only "agreed to do such a movie because it would allow him to play around with three of his favorite film elements: adventure, horror and exotic locales. The resulting Cannibals fails in all of these departments — conspicuously cheap and badly staged at every level." Brian Harris of WildsideCinema says "Jess Franco's hack-dashery shines as bright as ever in this horrid entry into the Italian cannibal sub-genre. Cannibals exit water dry, paint their faces in day-lo colors and some even sport hair styles, porn 'staches and wedding rings! The actual cannibalism is typical Franco slow-motion, close-up dreck and the super plump and crazy righteous Lina Romay [billed as Candy Coster] is utterly wasted in her role as Jeremy Taylor's nurse & caretaker, Ana." Plot (from imdb): "A man who lost an arm and his family to a tribe of cannibals returns ten years later to bring back his teenager daughter, only to find that she has grown up into a beautiful blonde woman who has become the cannibals' queen."


For Part Two of Lina Romay's career review, go here
For Part Three of Lina Romay's career review, go here.

1 comment:

Herb stryker said...

Thanks for the fascinating over view of the late Ms. Romay. I am huge fan of Jess Frnco's films especially when he and Lina teamed up ( Female Vampir, Doriana Grey, Lorna The Exorcist, etc.) Even though IMDb states otherwise, Lina doesn't appear in CocktailSpecial. Thanks for posting. I really enjoy your blog.