JESS FRANCO MONTH: Justine and the Whip (1979)

In 1975, Jess Franco was shooting a remake of his 1969 film, De Sade’s Justine. But as these things happen, he ran out of money and all he had to show for it was a few sex scenes starring his obsession, Lina Romay.

So the producers of this film thought long and, well, hard and decided that only one person could save this movie and make it something releasable. And sleazy. And they decided to seek out the one man who could potentially out perv Jess Franco.

Ladies (who am I kidding) and gentlemen, Joe D’Amato.

Justine (Romay) is a stripper in love with a songwriter who can’t deal with her need for sex from anyone at any time. It goes back to that feeling that I’ve always had about sex objects in film. Most men think that they’d be able to handle that kind of life, but satisfying a sex addict isn’t always a sustainable life choice. So Chris starts drinking and his life falls apart and in turn, so does the existence of Justine, which is always in danger of being snuffed out by her own hand.

Using the unfinished movie and scenes from Franco’s Shining Sex and Midnight Party, D’Amato, all set to music from the Black Emanuelle films.

I don’t know if you understand how happy this makes me.

After inviting her childhood friend to make love one more time — as well as shave themselves to return to their innocent past — Justine recounts the sordid events that have led her here, at the end of quite literally her rope, a rope that also circles the neck of her lover, leaving himself behind for her to find, to fondle one last time and blow her brains out in a way that only Jess Franco (and D’Amato) could bring to us.

Franco shows up as a client that is deathly afraid of the power of Lina’s sexuality and you can completely understand how he feels. This is someone just in the periphary of her carnal car crash and unlike the manly men that surround her, he understands that no arms can ever truly hold her except those belonging to choir invisible.

At once a greatest hits package of Lina making love and a square up reel of the downside of all this excess, this movie is a mess, but it’s a glorious mess. It’s my mess and it’s freaking me out.

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