JESS FRANCO MONTH: The Sinister Dr. Orloff (1982)

Dr. Orloff (as usual played by Howard Vernon) is a central villain in the Jess Franco Cinematic Universe. Here, he’s given up on resurrecting his daughter Melissa (Rocío Freixas), who lies frozen in time in the basement. Her son Alfred (Antonio Mayans) has not stopped and is doing things in the Orloff way, which means using his assistant Andros (Rafael Cayetano) to kill sex workers until they can find the one soul that can be reincarnated inside Melissa. He’s also being tracked by Inspector Tanner (Antonio Rebollo) who wants to finally catch an Orloff and end this cycle of death. Also, this being a Jess Franco movie, both Orloff’s either want to own or make love to Melissa.

What works here is that Franco decides to follow Maniac and have the younger Orloff obsessed with the women who walk the streets and sin while his sainted mother lies in state.

If you’ve watched The Awful Dr. Orloff, The Mistresses of Dr. Jekyll, The Diabolical Dr. Z and The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff — and the Orloff film that follows this Faceless — as well as other Vernon-acted non-Franco Orloff films like The Invisible Dead and Only A Coffin, you’ll be surprised that Vernon’s character has started to realize that perhaps all this murdering has led to a life of horror instead one of scientific experimentation. That isn’t going to stop him from being a monster but he’s gradually starting to undergo some character growth if only his son wasn’t whipping women and trying to put their souls into his mother so he could cuck his father through an act of infernal incesticide.

Man, Jess Franco will lead you down some wild paths, right?

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