For their inaugural release, the indie DVD label Intervision Picture Corp. have done what few would dare to do: expose the entire semi-civilized world to a couple of mind-numbingly deranged psychological b-thrillers from Spain’s one and only Jesús “Jess” Franco. Although the titles — The Sinister Eyes Of Dr. Orloff (1973) and Paula-Paula (2010) — represent two entirely different periods from the director’s 50-year-plus career, they may not necessarily characterize the finest examples of the eccentric Spaniard’s filmmaking style which has earned him a large cult following around the world. But, then again, these two flicks very well may be Franco at his best — since even the most diehard of bad movie lovers run and hide at the very mention of his name!
Our journey into the most remote of Euro-sleaze oddities begins with The Sinister Eyes Of Dr. Orloff, one of many sequels to Franco’s hit The Awful Dr. Orlof(f) from 1961 (yes, he had a hit). The film also serves as a remake of Franco’s own Nightmares Come At Night (1970) — but, no matter how you slice this one, it’s still a turkey.
Here, William Berger takes over the role of Dr. Orloff from the great Howard Vernon (who is sorely missed), presenting the character as a psychiatrist this time ‘round as opposed to a deranged surgeon (the character was almost always different in whichever movie he was in). Orloff gets called in to examine a poor young lass named Melissa, who may or may not be loco. Throughout the entire movie, Melissa has a lot of nasty visions (or are they real?), and the few audience members that are brave enough to try to comprehend this ball of confusion will probably try to pull their eyes out.
Speaking of pulling your eyes out, try focusing your orbs on the Jesús’ 2010 erotic mess-terpiece, Paula-Paula. Sub-titled “An Audiovisual Experience,” Franco’s newest contribution to the world of cheese ‘n’ sleaze centers (?) on a stripper named Paula, who is institutionalized for the murder of another girl named Paula (once Franco thinks of a name for one female character, he uses it for all of his female characters).