Succubus (1968) Review

The sensual experience of '69

I thought this movie was a festering pile of shit until the last 30 seconds.  Then I completely changed my mind.

A lot of these Euro-horror films from the '60s and '70s emphasize style over substance to the point of a complete lack of cohesion or even a basic plot.  Sure, they look pretty but nobody has a freakin' clue what's going on because there isn't a coherent storyline.

I thought Succubus was one of these because it seemed to meander all over the damned place and nothing was explained.  It just seemed to be a collection of dream-like, disjointed scenes but then (almost) everything was wrapped up in the end and I understood why the film was so surreal, ambiguous and confusing: because our confusion mirrored that of the protagonist.  The audience experienced her bewilderment for the duration of the film and only realized what the hell was happening to her at the same time that she did.  And to that I say, "Bravo, Mr. Franco.  Bravo."

The story revolves around Lorna (Janine Reynaud), an S&M performer at an upscale nightclub who finds herself in a bizarre and sometimes hazy world of dwarves, bondage and torture, mannequin fornication and murder.   Everyone around her seems to turn up dead and she isn't sure if she is dreaming the whole thing or is actually a temptress who seduces and then kills her lovers.  Or perhaps she is just losing her mind.

Please don't misunderstand me.  I do think the film is a good one and perhaps one of the best of Franco's that I've seen, but it's far from perfect.  I like the fact that it's not just topless female prison guards flogging topless female inmates like so many of  Franco's later movies.

It's not just pointless sex and violence, although obviously I do appreciate films with copious amounts of both, but I also like films that are unique and clever and Succubus does challenge the audience to think.  Not everything makes perfect sense and not everything is profound but the surreal, abstract imagery and shrouded plot do require some cerebral activity from the viewer.

It does have a decent amount of nudity, which of course is a good thing, although all of it is from Janine Reynaud who was already getting a little long in the tooth when she started acting. But the biggest gripe I have with Succubus is how slowly things develop. Some may describe it as "leisurely paced" but I prefer to call it painfully slow.  It's so goddamn slow that if the story didn't come together in the end like it did, I'd still be calling this film a festering pile of shit.

With some reviews I recommend partaking of a generous amount of drink to get the most enjoyment out of the film, with Succubus I think the film would make the most sense if you were trippin' balls.

Violence Rating/Index:  2.5 out of 5
Booby Rating/Index:  2.5 out of 5  - Click to see the nude scenes.

The trailer is in Spanish which just makes it more erótico.


That Bastard From Bellingham said...

Janine Reynaud, my god...the sheer beauty of this woman. DIG that face!

As is, this sounds pretty cerebral...at least, pretty artsy for a Franco. Somethin' to check out~!

D4 said...

I understand how these movies can switch your view on them at the very end.. but.. too slow. I couldn't.

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