Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Frauen ohne Unschuld (1977)

... aka: Wicked Women
... aka: Women Without Innocence

Directed by:
Jesus Franco


Franco scores yet again in this highly believable tale of a nude woman who may have murdered a nude couple and is rushed off to a nuthouse where other nude women are tended to by nude nurses who sometimes get nude to have sex with whoever (doctor or patient alike... it doesn't matter!) they want while a mad killer runs around knifing nude women. For a little variety, there's nude opera singing, nude praying, nude kleptomania, nude sailboat riding, nude hanging, nude resisting arrest and nude flashbacks. And if you happen to like nudity, the filmmakers are also kind enough to throw in nude blackmail, nude torture, nude sponge baths, nude insomnia, nude lesbian gang rape and nude sex scenes reflected in at least ten mirrors. Because of some soft jazz elevator muzak, a couple of blurry camera shots and occasionally picturesque background scenery, I've seen some people call this "art." It's not. Brainless sleaze is more like it. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.




A few detectives enter a home, find a dead, bloody couple in the living room and spot a naked, bloody and delirious Margarita Martin (Lina Romay) rushing up the stairs. She's apprehended, hog-tied (!!), placed in the back of an ambulance and gets hauled off to the "Clinic for Mental Disorders." In shock and now with a severe speech disorder, Margarita is only able to moan and mutter incoherently ("Neeee!"), which makes it impossible to get any information out of her about why she killed the couple. For some reason, the staff have decided to hack off all of her hair, she's dressed in what amounts to a slightly oversized t-shirt and is thrown into a room with a bunch of other nutty broads. There's an older woman who think she's a famous opera diva and breaks out into song every once in awhile, a nymphomaniac who lays around masturbating all day, a religious nut who constantly lectures everyone, a thief who keeps a stash of the stuff she steals under her pillow and others. Just like in all patients in mental institutions, they all have nice bodies, sleep in the nude, are bisexual and never wear panties. They also decide it's better to gang bang Margarita than listen to her moan and whine all night.



The very professional and ethical staff - led by Dr. E. Farkas (whoever played him decided he didn't want credit) and his nurse wife Irina ("Nanda Van Bergen" aka Muriel Montossé) - occasionally bed down with the patients when they aren't busy screwing each other. A detective (played by the film's cinematographer, Peter Baumgartner) has already informed the Farkas couple that Margarita knows the whereabouts of a stash of diamonds (the wealthy couple she is being accused of murdering were apparently smugglers) and they've decided to get to work curing her. And by 'get to work curing her' I mean with the same method all doctors use - lesbian sex. Irina has a marathon sex session with her to try to get her to spills the beans. When that doesn't work, they enlist the aid of pot-smoking lezbo Petra (Esther Studer); figuring that since she's the only one who can sexually please the nymphomaniac patient, she'll bring Margarita to such heights of ecstasy that she'll snap out of it. Uh huh.




A psycho dressed in all-black pops in every once in awhile to kill people. During his first attack scene (where he kills a nurse), his hood slips off and you can clearly see which character it is. Margarita witnesses the crime, passes out and is raped while unconscious, leading one of the nurses to wonder "Maybe it was the remedy she needed?" After another girl is murdered, the film then unveils several plot twists; one of which is completely absurd (clearly undermining several previous scenes) and the other so obvious it barely qualifies at a twist. Despite constant full-frontal nudity and some fairly prolonged sex scenes, this film isn't really all that sexy (a combination of awful dialogue and the sheer ridiculousness of it all certainly don't help). There is however one startling moment of nudity that abruptly cuts from an injured girl to a porn-level close-up of a bloody, post-raped vagina being examined. Can't say I was really expecting to see that, but it figures. There are are a couple of good (and fully intentional!) laughs, such as when all the girls are having sex and the religious one wanders into the room, kneels down next to the bed and starts praying.




It was one of sixteen films Franco quickly cranked out for Swiss producer Erwin C. Dietrich from 1975 to 1977. I've only seen a handful of these and they aren't nearly as good as some of the stuff the director was doing in the 60s, earlier half of the 70s or even some of the stuff I've seen of his from the 80s. Every single one of these are sex films, but only some fall under the horror umbrella. So far I've seen ILSA, THE WICKED WARDEN (1976), JACK THE RIPPER (1976) and WOMEN IN CELLBLOCK 9 (1977), as well as DORIANA GREY (1976); a hardcore take on 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' and (based on what I've seen thus far) the most interesting of the bunch. Others I still need to check out include BARBED WIRE DOLLS (1975), LOVE LETTERS OF A PORTUGUESE NUN (1976) and SEXY SISTERS (1976).



Also in the cast (all of whom appeared in other Franco film) are Michael Maien (MARK OF THE DEVIL) as a doctor who likes to dirty dance with the patients, Peggy Markoff as the wanna-be opera singer, Monica Swinn as a drunk and the voluptuous Dagmar Bürger (probably the best eye candy in this flick, along with the leading lady) as the all-important nymphomaniac.

The film has been released on DVD with English subtitles. Unfortunately, the subtitles don't seem to actually cover all of the dialogue and only pop up sporadically.

★1/2

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