JESS FRANCO MONTH: The Demons (1973)

“Let The Exorcist beware, The Demons are here!”

One can only imagine that Jess Franco sat in a theater as Ken Russell’s The Devils ended and thought to himself, “But where’s the sex? I want more of it. I demand more of it!

After watching a witch burn, we meet two nuns in a convent, the virginal Margaret (Britt Nichols AKA Carmen Yazalde, who appears in The Erotic Rights of FrankensteinA Virgin Among the Living Dead and is sacrificed in Tombs of the Blind Dead) and her more sex-obsessed sister Kathleen (Anne Libert, House of 1000 Pleasures and Sins of the Flesh).

A rich woman named Lady De Winter (Karin Field, Target Frankie and Return of Shanghai Joe) believes that Kathleen is possessed by Satan and that the two are the daughters of that blackened witch, so she puts her top man, Thomas Renfield (Alberto Dalbés, A Quiet Place to Kill and Espionage In Tangiers) after her. Of course, he falls in love and lets her escape. And even when Inquisitor Lord Justice Jeffreys (Cihangir Gaffari, Dick Turpin and Bloodsport) gives him another chance, Renfield runs back to her and the two are soon tortured into near oblivion.

Meanwhile, Satan himself appears in the convent and assaults Margaret, replacing her innocence with an overwhelming desire to punish anyone who harmed her mother or sister, starting with Lady De Winter, often by kissing them into skeletons. You know, no one loves female revenge more than Jess Franco and he’s going all out here, with Margaret seducing her Mother Superior right into suicide and then leaving no man or woman safe from her vengeance.

This is one of the more gorgeous films Franco would make — it was shot by Raul Artigot (The Ghost GalleonThe Cannibal ManThe Pyjama Girl Case) — and he makes great use of his budget. And he lives up to those dreams of a movie that somehow answers, “What if Witchfinder General was more about lesbians?”

You can watch this on KinoCult.

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