JESS FRANCO MONTH: Plaisir à trois (1974)

How to Seduce a Virgin is another Jess Franco trip into De Sade, as Countess Martine de Bressac (Alice Arno) emerges from a sanitarium — 18 months after castrating a lover — with no intention of giving up on the left hand path, soon discovering a young woman who she wants to destroy just because she can.

Yes, The Philosophy In the Boudoir inspired many of Franco’s movies and this one, well, this one goes all the way. All the way to remake Eugenie, which had been a success for Franco before and the theory, one thinks, could have been to make a more horror-themed version of the same story.

Martine’s husband Charles (Robert Woods) soon joins her in the basement of bodies preserved at the exact moment of death and shows him the girl they must corrupt, Cécile (Tania Busselier).

Despite the warnings of the gardener Malou (Alfred Baillou), Cécile soon joins into the sexual games of the Bressacs, including the embrace of the mute girl Adele (Lina Romay) who lives with them. Yet the game has changed, as Adele, Cécile and the Count end up draining the Countess of her life, leaving her as one more exhibition in the terrifying hidden room and as they leave behind their home, only Malou is left to stare at the cold eyes of the lost lady that he has served so many decades.

The original ending predated Maniac by several years, as the preserved corpses came back to life and attacked the Countess. There’s also a moment where Cécile is drugged and wakes up to become a mannequin which is the kind of weirdness that I keep watching Jess Franco’s filmography for.

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