JESS FRANCO MONTH: Muñecas Rojas (1999)

On an island near the coast of Maracaibo, ex-Shakesperean actor Don Martin (Paul Lapidus) has brought an entire family of followers with him to start a new society. The inhabitants of his kingdom include his wife Tona (Lina Romay), his lover Gina (Christie Levin, Snakewoman), his daughter Beatriz (Mavi Tienda, Helter Skelter) and Herbie (Exequiel Cohen).

Their days are all the same, mostly with Tona beating Beatriz while screaming at an ocean liner, Gina trying to pick up Herbie and Beatriz spying on her father having sex with Gina. Yet no one tries to leave and even follows the old actor when he buries a treasure on the island. And then, Mario (Guillermo Agranati) shows up and wants to marry Gina. The old man marries off his daughter instead, as he thinks that Mario can get him in with a composer.

And then Herbie finds the treasure, which reveals that maybe Don Martin wasn’t all that great of an actor. He proves that with a long soliloquy that he closes by stabbing Mario and Beatriz as they have sex on his bed before drowning himself, dooming everyone to never leave the island.

Pretty much a shot on video version of House of Lost Women, it’s a soap opera or maybe Franco working through his fascist father hating that he played jazz. But man, some days I do feel like LIna, standing on that island and screaming how badly I want to get out of here, so I get it.

If you make enough movies, eventually you remake your own movies. If you’re Jess Franco, you remake your remakes and than make new versions of them.

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