Thursday, January 28, 2016

Marquis de Sade's Justine

Director - Jess Franco (Count Dracula, Eugenie)
Starring - Klaus Kinski (Vampire in Venice), Romina Power (Murder by Music), and Maria Rohm (Treasure Island)
Release Date - 1969
Genre - Drama
Tagline - "An erotic fantasy horror from the tortured pen of The Marquis de Sade"
Format - BluRay (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Day mother fucking 28 and still not a single horror movie has been watched this year.  I just have a few days to go before I can watch one but as soon as it hits February 1st you can bet your sweet ass I'm watching a horror movie.  Hell, I may make a day out of it since I made sure to have myself scheduled off that day like it is a holiday.  Not long ago my friends over at Blue Underground released two Jess Franco films on blu.  The first was Eugenie which was a bit of a let down and the second was Justine.  After I watched Eugenie I decided to skip Justine and check out something else before I picked it back up.  This was a stupid choice because the film I picked over Justine was shit while Justine was an amazing film.  
     The film follows the beautiful Justine (Power) and her sister Juliette when they learn that their father has passed away.  They are living at a nunnery and are forced to leave upon his death.  They find someone to take them in but quickly learn that the home is a brothel and she plans on turning them into prostitutes.  Justine leaves while Juliette stays.  Justine finds her way to a nice older man's home where she is allowed to stay if she becomes the maid cleaning the renters room.  Something comes up missing and she is accused where she is then arrested.  While in jail she meets a thief and a murderer who is planning a jail break.  She helps Justine escape with some outside help.  The men that help her escape turn on her and want a little of her goods forcing her to run through the woods until she comes upon two nobles who are secretly in love.  One of the men is married and wants Justine to help him remove his wife from the equation.  Justine fails to help and he kills his wife anyway and then burns an M into her chest marking her a murderer.  She flees and finds herself at a monistary where "monks" practice sex and pain.  They "teach" Justine their ways and then plan on killing her when she makes her big escape and flees to a city where she meets an artist who falls in love with her but some confusion leads to her being accused of murder and the entire town turns on her before Juliette arrives.  She is the mistress of a noble now and he orders to have her turned over to him and her sister.
     I had seen a few Jess Franco films before and most were an amazing mix of eroticism and horror.  However, Eugenie was a departure from the horror stories that I am accustomed to with Franco.  The film had an interesting premise but just did not transfer well to film.  It needed to be edited heavily and the scenes needed to be trimmed down drastically.  With that being said, Justine is one hell of a film that I could not look away from.  The acting in this one is the film's only negative aspect.  The entire cast is brilliant with the exception of the film's leading lady, Romina Power.  Power is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen and any scene where she was nude had me glued to the screen like the creep I am.  However, there was several scenes where she looked stoned and delayed her dialogue like she was unaware that she was being recorded.  This made several scenes laughable.  On the other hand, the remainder of the cast did an amazing job.  The whole cast worked so well with one another and really fed off each other.  My favorite performance came from film legend Jack Palance who was just insane.  He had so much intensity and made the scenes he was in just so enjoyable.  The story for this one is a true adventure story mixed with eroticism and beautiful images.  The film follows Justine on her misadventures that culminates to sexual acts or torture.  This was great and made the film feel huge in scope.  I really enjoyed that angle and I enjoyed the small amount of humor that was written into the story to break up the monotony.  Finally, the film does have a kill scene or two but they are very lackluster and very little to do with the story.  The kills are just people die off screen or dying of poisoning.  This did not require any practical effects which is a bit of a let down.  Overall, Justine is one hell of a film.  The film melds adult with drama and a little dab of humor.  It is a great movie experience and I can not recommend it enough.  Please check this one out!

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