Bloody Moon (Jess Franco – 1981)
Masked Faced Killers7.5
Number 10 in our Video Nasties Project, Bloody Moon is a 1981 slasher from the late Jess Franco.
Bloody Moon was a German production filmed in Spain by the notorious Jesus (AKA Jess) Franco. The illustrious director had created a name for himself as a psychedelic, sexually charged auteur with a penchant for excessive nudity, vampirism and females in captivity. Not an altogether undesirable CV. With movies containing exploitative elements as Venus in Furs (1969), Barbed Wire Dolls (1975) and Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun (1977) under his belt, it was inevitable that he would, at some point venture into the world of teenage slasher horror. The formula of teens being bludgeoned, stabbed and generally disposed of by emotionless killers was rising in popularity the whole time and never one to miss out on an opportunity, Franco provides us with Bloody Moon.
At a party one night, a young man steals a Mickey Mouse mask which he uses to fool a girl into thinking that he is someone else. Upon discovering the young man’s true identity (his name is Miguel and his face is partially, if unconvincingly, disfigured), she tries to escape but ends up being subjected to a vicious sexual assault culminating in her bloody murder (involving a pair of scissors). The movie cuts to a few years later and Miguel is being released into the care of his sister Manuela. Hints of an incestuous relationship are alluded to, well, it is more a case that they are thrust forward in a screaming and unsubtle fashion. We are then taken to a language school full of almost perpetually topless young ladies who seem to spend a great deal more time frolicking than studying. Miguel and Manuela arrive and all of a sudden, people start dying.
Franco has come under criticism for his alleged over use of nudity and, while it is apparent that certain scenes have simply been put together for the purpose of facilitating lingering shots of scores of semi naked women, there is still a strong sense of plot and structure to the piece.
The suspense builds well and the murders become creative and shocking. The music by Gerhard Heinz is horrendous, but obliquely enjoyable in a mindless kind of way. It would not serve as the best introduction to Franco’s work but, for the already initiated, it is a nice foray into the slasher film, for those more accustomed to his vampire erotica features.
There is one very inventive scene in which a young actress is tied to a rock. She believes the masked stranger to be some kind of amorous Lothario who plans to involve her in a kinky sex game. She repeatedly refers to being ‘up for anything’, almost right up unto the point where he brings a large circular saw down through her neck. The fact that they got the real saw so close to the actress provokes a reaction of real life horror which is not always achievable with the levels of thespian capability Franco’s actresses usually display. There is also another scene in which a topless girl is stabbed through the back, the knife’s blade piercing through her nipple in a highly eroticised image. It was this mixture of sex and violence that Mary Whitehouse and the DPP despised the most, condemning any combination of the two. It is not surprising that Bloody Moon found itself a place on the ‘Nasty’ list.
(1:25:00) (original title: Die Säge des Todes — released with 1m 20s cut in 1993, released uncut November 2008)
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