Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Saw Of Death!

Video Nasty #6

Bloody Moon


Original German Title: Die Sage Des Todes (literal translation: The Saw Of Death)
NTSC Running time: 84:55
Directed by Jesus Franco
Written by Erich Tomek (as Rayo Casablanca)
Produced by Wolf C. Hartwig
Starring: Olivia Pascal, Christoph Moosbrugger, Alexander Waechter, Nadja Gerganoff
Body Count: 9, plus a snake
Availability: Region 1 DVD available from Severin Films

BBFC Status

Why it's a Nasty: Excessive gore!  The circular saw murder, snake decapitation and knife piercing a breast are all prime candidates for raising the ire of the British censors.
What was cut: The BBFC offers no details (the last cut print was released in 1993), but my guess is the scenes listed above.
Current BBFC status: The uncut version of Bloody Moon was awarded an 18 certificate on November 6, 2008.  A Region 2 DVD is available, also from Severin.
Bloody Moon was successfully prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act, making it one of the DPP39.

When facially-scarred Miguel murders a girl at a party after a failed rape attempt, he gets put into an institution for five years.  Upon his release, he is eager to resume his incestuous relationship with his sister, Manuela.  But Manuela (who has a penchant for staring at the moon with her shirt off) rebuffs him, and soon a series of murders grips the campus of the language school Manuela runs on their invalid aunt's sprawling Spanish estate.  At the center of the story is Angela (Olivia Pascal), a student who had caught Miguel's attention on a train.  Angela seems to be the only person who knows about the murders, and spends much of the film in a hysterical state, screaming at the top of her voice for no particular reason.

Bloody Moon is a fun movie.  I'm a little ashamed to admit that this is the first Franco film I have ever seen, but if this is any indication of his style, you can bet I'll be watching more.  Gory murders, vibrant colors, topless women, a twisted sense of style, a vague plot and some really poor special effects all fall in line with what makes an otherwise ordinary video into a Video Nasty.  Turn off your brain, curl up with your girl, and watch the nightmare unfold.

In an interview with the now aged, but still spitting dynamite Franco, he details the making of the film: a Production Manager/Screenwriter who bristled at the idea of anyone tampering with his terrible script, German producers who tried to get Franco to film in Germany when the film takes place in Spain...and Franco himself is Spanish!  The thing that struck me is that while Franco was satisfied with the effects (which even I will say are just awful), it was the music that bothered him the most.  One of the ways the producers enticed him to make the film was telling him that they had secured Pink Floyd to do the score!  Of course, it was bullshit, and the faux-Gilmour guitar wanking that runs throughout is slightly annoying, but after watching Mardi Gras Massacre, I barely noticed it.

But enough of the downside, let's talk about the good stuff!  The centerpiece of the film is the murder of Inge, a naive girl who wants more than anything to be a sex goddess, but is in reality inexperienced and awkward.  (One scene has her bouncing on a bed and ripping fabric while moaning in an attempt to make her friends outside believe she's with a man.)  She goes to a deserted stonemill with a masked man she believes is an acquaintance of hers for what she thinks is kinky sex.  It's not until she is tied to a slab of granite and moving slowly towards the biggest freaking circular saw you've ever seen that poor Inge realizes she will be dying a virgin.  She is nearly saved by a young boy who kills power to the saw...but the boy then kicks the killer in the shin and runs for his life, whereupon the killer restarts the saw, Inge is decapitated in a geyser of blood, and the killer then runs the boy down with his Mercedes.  The mannequin who stands in for Jasmin Losensky (who plays Inge) makes sure that no one except a first-time horror viewer would do anything but laugh at the scene, so the punch of the killer running down her pre-adolescent would-be saviour dampens the chuckles and provides some grit.  Also providing grit, the hedgeclipper beheading of a live snake.  The effects for this little scene are great...but that's because there are no effects.  That shit was real!

I enjoyed this little film, and the fact that Mr. Franco is (along with Lucio Fulci) one of the two directors with three Video Nasties to his name makes me excited for his other movies.

So what have we learned?  Pink Floyd doesn't waste time with German B-movies; beware of men who won't take their mask off; and a pierced nipple sometimes means a knife in the back!  Beware of the Bloody Moon.  You never know who's staring at it at the same time you are.  So when I'm stargazing, I'll make sure to watch my back.  Because my name's Justin.  JustinCase.

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