Sadisterotica Review

Sadisterotica sits alongside Kiss Me Monster as one of Jess Franco’s “Diane and Regina” spoof spy pictures. Watching the films in quick succession (and, it must be said, out of order), comparisons are of course inevitable and thankfully Sadisterotica marks a huge improvement over its execrable companion piece. For starters there’s actually a plot being used, though admittedly it’s more a hodgepodge of ideas as opposed to anything coherent. Eight girls – all of them models or dancers – have disappeared, the victims of an eye-patch donning psychopathic artist. Naturally, our intrepid are soon on the case which involves a werewolf-like character and nods in the direction of Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief and Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood.

With all this going on Sadisterotica (something of a misnomer, by the way, though that should hardly come as a surprise) has the clear upper hand over Kiss Me Monster inasmuch as it resembles a proper film as opposed to belated collection of stock footage and what felt like various outtakes. Moreover, it also demonstrates a sense of fun; the spoofery doesn’t really have any targets as such (unlike Dean Martin’s Matt Helm pictures or the Flint movies which were doing the rounds at roughly the same time as the Diane and Regina efforts) but there’s a cheerful nature to be discerned, one which often overspills into an agreeable cheekiness. Indeed, Franco even chucks in a few nods to the camera. Hardly post-modern, of course, but it does make the film far easier to swallow.

In fact, Franco appears to be far more concerned with telling a story than was usually the case at this point in his career. (He was soon to embark on a working relationship with British producer Harry Allan Towers, a move that would produce what were to be perhaps his most mainstream efforts.) As a result it also means that Janine Reynaud and Rossana Yanni – Diane and Regina, respectively – actually have something to cling onto, as was definitely not the case with Kiss Me Monster. Of course, they’re no Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell or Jeanne Moreau and Brigitte Bardot – the stars of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Viva Maria! whom they appear to basing themselves on – yet they do engage at the very least.

There is a major problem, however, inasmuch as Anchor Bay are offering us Sadisterotica in its “English version” only. Thus appalling dubbing overrides everything and the film becomes a genuine chore to get through. Any nuance or subtlety is lost almost entirely, whilst the supporting cast have been blessed with hideous “comic” European accents. Furthermore, this prevents from ever getting involved in the action – though fans of excessive go-go routines and energetic bebop may find some entertainment – rather we simply sit back getting increasingly frustrated at the state the film is in.

The Disc

Not only do we get the “English version” of Sadisterotica, we also get it in appalling condition. Despite the sleeves claims that the film is in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, this clearly isn’t the case as scene after scene demonstrate obvious cropping of the image. Moreover, this image looks no better than VHS quality owing to its lack of clarity, overall murkiness and overt ghosting (even on the tiniest of movements). As for the soundtrack this comes in DD2.0, DD5.1 and DTS, though each successive remix only serves to make the sheer awfulness of the dubbing all the more apparent. The extras, meanwhile, amount only to a batch of theatrical trailers (for this particular venture plus Kiss Me Monster and Sadomania), plus a brief biography and select filmography for Jess Franco.

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Last updated: 19/04/2018 07:09:10

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