RED LIPS; TWO UNDERCOVER ANGELS
(Rote Lippen/El Caso de las dos Ballezos)
Jesus Francos films have attained a cult but after seeing Sadisterotica, one cannot help but wonder what the Franco cult is all about. Sadisterotica is, like all of Francos films, cheaply and shoddily made. The emphasis in Franco films is always on gratuitous sexual sadism, something that reached a height with his notoriously extreme ventures into the women-in-prison subgenre during the 1970s. The version of Sadisterotica seen here gives the strong impression that most of the adult content has been edited out, which means that all that one is left with is a badly made film.
The psycho artist plot is a not-particularly-interesting variation on Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) and House of Wax (1953). Indeed, the psycho artist plot was used by a surprising number of other films around this period A Bucket of Blood (1959), Color Me Blood Red (1965), Blood Bath (1966), Nightmare in Wax (1969), Cauldron of Blood (1971) and Crucible of Terror (1971). Sadisterotica also gives the impression it was trying to capitalise on the then-recent success of Mario Bavas Danger: Diabolik (1967) with the heroine occasionally turning up as a masked thief, or perhaps as the thief heroine of Modesty Blaise the original comic-book version as opposed to the dreadful film version Modesty Blaise (1966). (Franco had predated these and in fact featured the character of Red Lips and her assistant in an earlier film, the second film he directed, the much more obscure Red Lips (1960), although the two roles were played by different actresses). Although even then, the masked thief aspect is of minimal interest to the story.
The plot is a muddle when the eye-patched killers identity is unmasked, you realise that it is the same person who hired the heroine to find the missing model and cannot help but wonder why he would hire someone to expose his own actions. This carelessness seems indicative of the indifference with which Franco churns material out. The film is weakly paced with Franco sidetracking into lame comic interludes, there being one particularly clumsy episode with Janine Reynault trying to seduce an elderly gallery owner to get information. There are occasionally amusing lines Janine Reynault taunts a policeman: Youre a policeman. Look for me. If you can find me, you can keep me. Or when she is first introduced, she wakes up in bed and looks directly into the camera: My God, one cant get up when one hasnt anything on, and so the camera coyly turns aside and waits in head shot while she dresses.
As Red Lips and Regina, Janine Reynault and Rosanna Yanni are not particularly good actresses Yanni being better than Reynault although they at least strike up an engaging rapport with Yanni constantly trying to act level-headed up against Reynaults carefree desire to play. Oddly, the two characters are never given names on screen. The makeup on the beast creature is terrible. Franco himself can be spotted as the art gallery owner Napoleon Bonaparte who is killed early on in the show.
Jesus Francos other genre films are: The Awful Dr Orloff (1962), The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus (1962), Attack of the Robots (1966), The Diabolical Dr Z/Miss Death (1966), The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968), Necronomicon/Succubus (1968), The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969), Justine (1969), Kiss Me Monster (1969), 99 Women (1969), The Girl from Rio (1969), Venus in Furs/Paroxysmus (1969), The Bloody Judge/Night of the Blood Monster (1970), Count Dracula (1970), Eugenie/Philosophy in the Boudoir (1970), Nightmares Come at Night (1970), Vampyros Lesbos (1970), Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein (1971), She Killed in Ecstasy (1971), The Corpse Packs His Bags (1972), Daughter of Dracula (1972), The Demons (1972), The Erotic Adventures of Frankenstein (1972), The Silence of the Tomb (1972), The Bare-Breasted Countess/Eroti-Kill/Female Vampire (1973), The Erotic Adventures of Maciste in Atlantis (1973), The Obscene Mirror (1973), A Virgin Among the Living Dead/Christina, Princess of Eroticism (1973), Lorna the Exorcist (1974), The Perverse Countess (1974), Eugenie (1975), Doriana Grey (1976), Jack the Ripper (1976), Night of the Assassins (1976), Sexy Sisters (1976), Greta the Mad Butcher/Wanda the Wicked Warden (1977), Call of the Blonde Goddess/Voodoo Passion (1977), Wicked Women (1977), Demoniac/Exorcism/The Ripper of Notre Dame (1979), Man Hunter/The Devil Hunter (1980), White Cannibal Queen (1980), Bloody Moon (1981), Oasis of the Zombies (1981), Revenge of the House of Usher (1982), Grave of the Living Dead (1983), The Treasure of the White Goddess (1983), Mansion of the Living Dead (1985), Faceless (1987), The Killer Barbies (1996), Lust for Frankenstein (1998), Marie-Cookie and the Killer Tarantula in 8 Legs to Love You (1998), Tender Flesh (1998), Vampire Blues (1999), Vampire Junction (2001), Incubus (2002), Killer Barbies vs Dracula (2002), Snakewoman (2005), Paula-Paula (2010), Al Pereira vs the Alligator Ladies (2012), Crypt of the Condemned (2012) and Revenge of the Alligator Ladies (2013).