JESS FRANCO MONTH: Les ébranlées (1973)

Dolls for Sale is another Al Pereira (Howard Vernon) movie and this time, the detective is hired by a woman who simply wants him to break into a location and take an envelope. Of course, this leads to a murder and Al going deeper and deeper into a sleazy world that no one ever escapes.

That downward spiral takes Al so low that he stabs Lina Gordon (Glenda Allen), the woman who used him, who has just killed another woman (Anne Libert). But the reason why is that Al has learned that she was born a man and for some reason, his mental state just can’t deal with that, knowing that someone so seductive could be masculine under her feminine mask.

There’s a roughness that feels lived in, a sleaziness that feels authentic and a sexuality that feels brazen, thanks to Kali Hansa as Leona. I’m shocked that Al Pereira emerged from this story to appear in several more Franco films, but I often wonder if the Franco Cinematic Universe is a multiverse, where there are multiple Al Pereira, Red Lips, Dr. Orloff and Cathy/Lina aspects all living different lives, slightly off and all struggling to escape with their sanity intact and never their innocence.

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