JESS FRANCO MONTH: Les cauchemars naissent la nuit (1970)

Movies take a lot of work. And yet Nightmares Come At Night only played at a single theatre in Belgium and was considered a lost movie until 2004. So all that sweat and energy and anxiety took years for the world to see. And what they saw was a movie that finds Jess Franco giving in to a new way of making movies and more and more, giving up logic.

Diana Lorys (Get MeanFangs of the Living Dead) is the gorgeous Anna de Istria, a dancer who has become obsessed with another dancer, Cynthia (Collette Giacobine, What the Peeper Saw), an attraction so intense that it causes her to hallucinate, having waking dreams — or nightmares — so powerful that not even medical science can save her.

Meanwhile, Cynthia owes two jewel thieves, played by Jack Taylor and the wonder that is Soledad Miranda, a share of their recent crimes.

When you try to capture your dreams in the morning in writing, it always gets lost in translation. That’s how writing about this movie feels. It’s also two dreams smashed together, an attempt by Franco to save two different films that were unfinished.

Except that this is Jess Franco’s dream, but he was dreaming about his obsessive love for Soledad himself and you don’t speak the language and Jess may have been an alien and you just try and make sense and then give up to it deliriously making no sense, hoping it never ends, that the world could really be a place where jewel thieves can manipulate the most gorgeous of women to wrap and curl and undulate around their fingers, all while Bruno Nicoli sets the most jazz of all jazz scores and you wake up in a cold sweat, fumbling for water and a pen to try and figure out where it all went right.

So at one point, you realize Anna is trapped in her home, but also trapped by lust, but also trapped by her dreams in which she alternatively kills people or listens to men drone on and then the camera pans across a wall that says “Life is all shit.”

The at home equivalent of putting your face in front of a speaker at a doom show and taking handfuls of whatever drugs someone has in their pocket and shining a gel light directly in your eyes while someone whispers in your ear and tells you that you’re pretty great.

Or Jess Franco making his own expensive masturbation mix tape.

Either way, a success.

You can watch this on Kino Cult.

This Jess Franco film is also on the ARROW PLAYER. Head over to ARROW to start your 30-day free trial. Subscriptions are available for $4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly. ARROW is available in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland on the following Apps/devices: Roku (all Roku sticks, boxes, devices, etc), Apple TV & iOS devices, Android TV and mobile devices, Fire TV (all Amazon Fire TV Sticks, boxes, etc), and on all web browsers at https://www.arrow-player.com.

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