JESS FRANCO MONTH: In 80 Betten um die Welt (1976)

Around the World In 80 Beds is a collaboration between Erwin C. Dietrich (who took all the credit; he also made Secrets of a French MaidSix Swedish Girls in a Boarding SchoolShe Devils of the SS and you can get a feel for what he specialized in by those titles; Franco made 17 movies for him) and Jess Franco (no credit, but hey, I’m not doing a month of just any director’s films, much less for the second year in a room), this is not Mondo Erotico except in Germany, so don’t get it confused with the 1973 Filippo Walter Ratti-directed Mondo Erotico; nor the Joe D’Amato-directed, Amanda Lear-starring Crazy Nights which is also called Mondo Erotico and certainly not the Osvaldo Civirani-directed Tentazioni proibite, which also played in Germany as Mondo Erotico.

Esther Moser is the host of this film and just in the year 1977 she’d appear in Franco’s Ilsa, the Wicked WardenDie SklavinnenBlue Rita and Die teuflischen Schwestern. Instead of eighty beds, as promised, the viewer instead is given several stories in an anthology-style film, starting with a black mass in Greenwich Village — yes, five people can be a black mass, one figures, one for each point of the pentagram — and then jet sets us if not all over the world then at least to different small sets to show what the naughty are doing in San Francisco (where an eighty-year-old Elisabeth Bathory claims she stays young by bathing in male-made fluids), Copenhagen (for incest live on stage and you thought this was a  new thing the weird kids that search Pornhub are into), Hamburg (where a dominatrix known as the Bride of Satan does her dastardly work), Agoa (where the elders of a tribe take a new bride before her husband; yes, remember that all mondo movies must have a jungle scene that defines racism); Amsterdam (where a sex class experiments with toys, including a man being penetrated, so this is ahead of time at least sexually) and Istanbul (for yet another live sex show).

Who knew all this sex could be so boring?

I guess sometimes, Franco needed money, but this is a rough one to get through. At least there’s one funny moment when a love doll looks bored by sex, if an inanimate toy can be turned off. You may also notice Eric Falk (Stiletto from one of Dietrich’s wilder movies Mad Foxes) plus several of the girls who show up in Franco’s movies from his time with Dietrich, like Esther Studer, Pilar Coll, Lorli Bucher and Yvonne Eduser .

But seriously, unless you’re someone whose ADD demands that you see every Jess Franco film and have a Letterboxd list and a whole month on your site devoted to him, you may not need to see this.

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