JESS FRANCO MONTH: Juliette (1970) / De Sade’s Juliette (1975)

Ah, welcome to the part of watching Jess Franco movies where there are just rumors and hints of films unfinished or finished, screening once and never showing up again. Then again, with as many movies as Franco was part of and the fact that things keep showing up, I know that so much of his lost work won’t stay that way.

Juliette from 1970 is a 40-minute film and that’s because that’s all that was filmed before Soledad Miranda, Franco’s muse and the actress playing Juliette, was killed in a car crash. The story had her seducing and killing men, then confessing in church, a place where one of the devout falls for her.

Franco had the existing footage and often discussed using it to make a tribute to Miranda. With his death, that won’t happen.

De Sade’s Juliette (1975) is just as intriguing, as this story about the BDSM relationship between a young woman (Lina Romay) and a poet (Alain Petit), plus murder, Lina fellating a hanged man and her ending the film by shooting herself between the thighs. They even took the time to make an English dub of this yet it was unreleased, other than in Italy, where Joe D’Amato heavily re-edited the existing footage to create Justine and the Whip (also sold as Justine; this has nothing to do with Franco’s 1969 movie Marquis de Sade: Justine), also using Franco’s Midnight Party and Shining Sex and taking the music from Nico Fidenco’s Black Emanuelle theme. How confusing can Italian — and Spanish — exploitation get? I think the answer is in this article.

This is also a good place to sneak in Entre pitos anda el juego (Between Dicks Is Where the Game Is). This 1986 Franco adult film has Lina — I mean Candy Coster, as she does have her blonde wig on. In this story, her husband Evaristo has no interest in making love to her any longer, even when she wakes up in the middle of the night bareassed and begging and man, Evaristo, what gives? She decides to play the field and if you ever wanted to watch Lina between two men giving a combination soliloquy and siphoning the swimmers in stereo, well, this would be the movie for you to watch. It’s also an opportunity for you to see Lina with her friend Lola before winning her husband over and then a scene with the entire cast.

Maybe I’m strange, but I prefer the softer side of Jess and not the need to see it all, but then again, I end up feeling like Evelyn Quince. I go from “Oh, it’s high rrrribaldry at its best!” to “Oh, I don’t like this! This is becoming less randy and more sexually explicit at every moment! Our once bawdy tale is turning into a tawdry tale of pornography!”

But then I realize that when I said I’d watch every Jess Franco movie, I meant it.

I also realize that someday my weird brain is going to make me do the same with Joe D’Amato.

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