IJesus Franco directs this 1981 slasher movie that follows Manuela (Nadja Gerganoff), a young woman who, along with her mentally deranged brother, Miguel (Alexander Waechter), operates a boarding school for girls in a Spanish resort town. When Miguel demands that he and Manuela resume an incestuous affair and she refuses, he sets his sights on Angela (Olivia Pascal), while other young women also begin meeting a gruesome fate.
From the strange mind of Jess Franco, we bring you another slasher film firmly planted in the 80’s. With the beginning scene of women dancing, disco music playing, roller skating and leg warmers….there’s no mistaking the time period. Miguel, our creepy scar faced lurker is doing his best creep-behind-the-bushes routine and seduces one of the ladies per wearing a stolen rabbit mask. When in her drunken stupor realizes it’s not here boyfriend, Miguel proceeds to stab her to death and ruin the party. Five Years later after spending time in a mental asylum’ he is released to his sister Manuel’s care to frolic about at her successful boarding school for young woman called Europe’s International Youth-Club Boarding School of Languages, on the Spanish resort of Costa Del Sol.
As mentioned before Miguel wears (or so it seems) a weird reptile, burn mark scar across the right side of his face, which on the most part doesn’t seem to phase anyone anymore. He also shares an odd incestual relationship with his sister which seems to be a pretty common themes in Franco’s films. His sister is pretty hot, so why not …right? (just kidding). Anyway’s they make pretty sure the audience knows they are brother and sister and they like sex together. It also is hinted that his mental state suffers from this particular fascinations. “Only if we could get rid of everyone, then things could go back to the way they were.” Moving on.
This boarding school, seems more like a chick party for nubile young men who disco away the night, exchange sex partners pretty frequent and also appear to be getting murdered off one ny one. One of the scenes features a nice knife through the tit shot to add impact. Our main character, Angela is played by the beautiful Olivia Pascal from “Vanessa” fame. She seems to be among the most level headed of the chick parade and is convinced her schoolmates are getting picked off by a killer. While of course they are, she’s being stalked and a number 80’s impact kills get thrown at us. This includes the ridiculous saw blade scene, which is ridiculous due to the victim taking the bait so casually before getting her head sawed off. We also have a tree clipper scene, that’s presented mostly with fake close ups and reaction cuts. Before long you’ll begin to see a plot unfolding in typical whodunit style. it’s not too hard to figure how this one will play out as we’ve seen this kind of format presented in several tv detective series. So wihtout the occasisonal odd moments, the film is pretty much a formual film. The kills run from cool to not so cool (aka the obvious fake plastic head shots). Obviously now though it becomes part of the unintended humor of it all.
Some of the camera shots are pure franco, which are usually the murder shots zoomed in for facial reaction and emotional impact. They are easily recognizable and in some ways humorous with their framing.
This film has its charm, if not for the 80’s set theme alone. Of course as with many of Franco’s film it is choppy in shot cutaways and logic at times.Giving more emphasis to nudity, murder, incest and hot chicks. The film holds a more retro attraction for me than a film with a cohesive story line. Though if I remember correctly back in the video rental age, that kind of thing was pretty much the norm anyway’s (except for the incest part) The restoration on this is as good as any. The colors have that old restored vividness that you seen nowadays in these films. While I haven’t seen the entire Franco collection, this film seems pretty in line with the ones that made him a pick for preferred viewers of his style. Its’ a fun film in its offbeat way. However I have to end this review with the simple statement that Olivia Pascal is hot as hell! Which entices me now to seek out these so called “Vanessa” films. I’d add this to a 80s retro DVD collection for good measures.
Available at Severin Films