Saturday, October 25, 2008

31 DAYS OF FRIGHT: It's Probably Just a Bad Dream

Now this is more like it! Hot on the heels of DEVIL HUNTER – Jess Franco’s over-ambitious 80s cannibals & kidnappers adventure – I popped in BLOODY MOON, another slice from Franco’s 80s trash pie. But while DEVIL HUNTER fails because it tries to be all things to all viewers, this outing finds Franco sticking to the genre’s already-shopworn giallo-inspired clichés. The result? One of the prolific director’s more entertaining efforts.

Opening five years before the film’s main events, BLOODY MOON finds poor, disfigured Miguel (Alexander Waechter) stalking the babes at his aunt’s International Youth Club School of Languages. (Just think of it as the camp from FRIDAY THE 13TH or any other slasher setting filled with nubile teens running off to have sex in the woods.) Rejected by his sister Manuela (Nadja Gerganoff) with whom he has had an incestual relationship of some degree, Miguel steals a Mickey Mouse mask, fools some poor, dumb language student and brutally stabs her to death with a pair of scissors after she unmasks him in her boudoir.

Five years later Doctor Franco releases Miguel into Manuela’s care and they head directly back to the language school campus, despite the good doctor’s warning that he should avoid tension and any mention of the horrible events of “that night”. Savvy viewers who have seen, um, more than two slashers will be keenly aware that despite all suggestions to the contrary Miguel is, as they say, a red herring.

The all-girl language school setting provides Franco and awesomely-named scribe Rayo Casablanca with plenty of victims, not to mention countless opportunities for dressing, undressing, topless sunbathing and all manner of running about in hideous 80s fashions. Filled with catty, slutty, trim, big-breasted students, the language school also feature a staff that includes Christoph Moosbrugger as Alvarro, the school’s randy language instructor and Peter Exacoustos as randy handyman/gardener Antonio.

When Angela (Olivia Pascal) shows up a week into the school’s class schedule (despite the fact she was inexplicably on the same train as Miguel and Manuela), she learns than her bungalow was the site of the brutal murder shown in the flick’s HALLOWEEN-inspired opening. It’s not long before a black-gloved killer is stalking Angela, killing people in her room and then spiriting their bodies away in an attempt to make her look like a nut.

The script makes almost no attempt to disguise the mystery and even the laziest viewer will figure it out without much effort. I’m not sure if it’s due to the inept screenplay or Franco’s “who cares” attitude when it comes to logic (probably both), but BLOODY MOON is packed with so many nonsensical asides and dubious plot threads that it’s simply best forget about the flick’s “mystery” elements and concentrate instead on what makes it such trashy fun – relentless nudity and several bloody set pieces, including a stone mill power saw sequence that Severin boasts is presented here complete for the first time.

While not on par with the insane brilliance of something like PIECES (also coming to DVD on Tuesday), I have to give Franco credit. BLOODY MOON gives the dopiest of 80s slasher flicks a run for its money, thanks to its fast pace (the flick is barely 85 minutes long), topless babes, ridiculous dialogue and enough gory mayhem to make up for the gaping holes in logic.

If 80s trash cinema and/or old school slasher flicks are what you desire, BLOODY MOON definitely delivers more treats than tricks.

No comments: