The Video Nasties #21 – The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein (1973, Jess Franco)

 

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‘If this continues,

I think I’ll go crazy.’

The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein does not muck about. As the movie starts, Dr Frankenstein has just brought his creature to life when suddenly a blind, vampiric half-woman/half-bird creature runs in and kills him and his assistant. Did I mention she’s also nude except for a cape and some feathers on her body?

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Welcome to the erotic rites of Franco-stein.

Shot around the same time as The Demons – with much of the same cast, same locations and even the same plastic skeleton – The Erotic Rites is a very different beast. It’s Franco-stein Unbound, if you will. Running a lean 71 minutes and filled with outrageous ideas and stunning imagery, it’s the sort of surrealist pop-art monster mash you never even knew you wanted. The kinetic energy is bolstered by the restless handheld camerawork, even if some shots are so out of focus you check to see if your glasses have steamed up. This is a problem, particularly if you don’t wear glasses.

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But when Frankenstein’s monster is represented by a hulking brute in silver(!) body paint, it’s hard to care about such fripperies. If you’ve ever wanted to see two nude people bound together over a bed of spikes being whipped by a silver Frankenstein, then you’ve just found your new favourite movie. But if you prefer robed skeletons, then don’t be alarmed, because those guys are well represented too.

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With typical disregard for his male characters, Franco has the Baron murdered in the first 2 minutes and then fills the role with his daughter Vera Frankenstein, who is also a doctor. Uncle Jess has always cast strong female leads in his films, and this one is no exception. Plus, I’d rather look at Beatriz Savon than Dennis Price any day of the week.

No offence, Dennis.

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Anyway, the sexy naked bird lady kidnaps Frankenstein’s monster at the behest of Cagliostro, who hopes to use the beast to father a master race, hilariously called Pantos. He quickly creates a female monster (shades of Flesh for Frankenstein here) and invites all his friends round to watch ‘this extraordinary event…Cagliostro’s Creature and Frankenstein’s monster…MAKING LOVE!’ 

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It doesn’t sound like my ideal night out, and the skeletons don’t seem thrilled to be there, but then I hear Cagliostro always puts on a sweet buffet at his gatherings.

This is one of the most deliriously fun films you’ll find in the Nasties. The violence is more pulpy than sleazy, with only the nude whipping being cause for alarm for moral crusaders, while the sex is non-existent, despite the frequent nudity. This is classic Franco, full of bonkers moments and wall-to-wall insanity, the smash and grab style of filming often finding moments of real beauty in amongst the chaos.

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Guys, the film is called The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein. What are you waiting for?

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