Angel of Death (1985)

Jess Franco never wanted to claim this movie.

In Jess Franco: From the Margins to Auteur Cinema. Analysis of the Cinematographic Story, he said “I started doing a movie that was titled Gente del Rio, in which appeared Mengele who was hidden there, and was wonderfully played by Howard Vernon. Gente del Rio was a film about some fishermen who live in a town in Central America and know that Mengele lives there, but nobody dares to come up to him. Until some of them attempt to catch him. The movie is their fight to get hold of that bastard. And they get him. It was based on persons I met in Brazil, former Nazis who lived like gods on some fucking rural estates, and what I wanted was to show the clash between these people and the humble people of the river. But the producer wanted to give more importance to the character of Mengele, but in Andrea Bianchi’s shabby action movie way. I did not want to do that with that character, who is a sinister and sordid type, but who must be given another treatment, not as if he was a street whore. So I abandoned the film, and in the end I left it. I did not finish it, nor did I want to finish it, because it was wrong, and I did not want it to appear out there on video. Almost all the material that I did with the Italians is like this, they did me a thousand dirty tricks, everything went wrong, and that’s why I have never admitted the film as mine.”

Nazi hunters Aaron Horner (Jack Taylor) and Marc Logan (Antonio Mayans, who was in nearly all of Franco’s later movies) have hunted down the escaped Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele (Howard Vernon) to South America, where he and his assistant Gertrud (Shirley Knight) have created a Fourth Reich, which mostly seems to involve experiments that created a monkey man and starting an army trained by crippled Vietnam veteran Wolfgang von Backey (Christopher Mitchum). Luckily, Horner and Logan have an army that includes kung fu experts, a crossbow shooting soldier, an acrobat named Mr. Agility and a female spy named Eva (Suzanne Andrews) already on the inside.

So yeah, while Franco wrote and started this, the aforementioned Bianchi (Burial Ground) finished it. It has little to none of the sleaze you expect from Jess Franco making a movie where soldiers face off against neo-Nazis who experiment on humans. Even Fernando Rey showing up for a cameo can’t make this any better and that’s a shame. This is being sold on the Franco name and it isn’t a Franco film.

The name Commando Mengele is better, though. I also feel that Jess Franco is like pizza or sex. Even if its bad, it’s still pizza or sex.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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