VENUS IN FURS
Venus in Furs has been called Jesus Francos masterpiece. One must realise that this is Jesus Franco we are talking about and this is relatively speaking. In respect to other films, Venus in Furs is a competently made exploitation film. It could almost be a version of La Dolce Vita (1960) as directed by Mario Bava or Riccardo Freda. It is filled with numerous tame softcore sex scenes that bear Francos unmistakable exploitation imprint. However, it has an atmosphere that while crude is hard to shake. The initial assault on Maria Rohm takes place at a party where everybody else stands frozen in position like mannequins while the provocative Rohm struts through the room. There is a weird scene with Dennis Price being taunted by Maria Rohm sitting in a series of provocatively teasing positions and apparently killing him with her reflection. Klaus Kinski gets his in a scene that turns into strange Arabian Nights fable. Dialogue is filled with dated howlers and there is a The Sixth Sense (1999)-styled twist ending that doesnt make much sense. Maria Rohm has an aloofly sophisticated beauty in some of his better images, Franco places her in a series of provocative poses and there is one undeniably erotic image of her simply caressing a statue. The beautifully wide-eyed Margaret Lee rivals Rohm for onscreen allure. There is a surprisingly good score co-written by no less than Manfred Mann. You can understand why this is such a culty psychotronic hit among Franco afficionados.
This is one of three films made all around the same time that bear the name Venus in Furs. Originally titled Paroxysmus, this was retitled Venus in Furs for US release, a title taken from an 1870 erotic novel by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch. The late 1960s/early 70s saw a spate of Marquis de Sade adaptations many of these made by Jesus Franco and Venus in Furs producer Harry Alan Towers. The thinking here was clearly to trend jump from the writer that gave his name to the term sadism to adapt a work by the writer that gave his name to masochism Sacher-Masoch. The irony of this exploitative retitling is that the Franco Venus in Furs has become the most well-known of the films under that name and the one most associated with the title even though the film has nothing to do with the book.
Jesus Francos other genre films are: The Awful Dr Orloff (1962), The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus (1962), The Secret of Dr Orloff (1964), 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), Sadisterotica/Red Lips (1969), The Girl from Rio (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), Doctor Mabuse (1972), The Erotic Adventures of Frankenstein (1972), The Silence of the Tomb (1972), The Sinister Eyes of Dr Orloff (1973), 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), The Sinister Dr Orloff (1984), 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).