Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Miscellaneous: How I Spent My Halloween, Or A Fistful of Zagnuts

Once again, not a single costumed child turned up on Chez K’s doorstep. They must have been at the mall or, God help us, trunk-or-treating. They were probably all wearing helmets, too. Halloween has certainly changed since I was a kid.

Later, we watched a ripped-from-the-headline episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent about John Mark Karr, with Liza Minnelli as Jon-Benet Ramsey’s mother Patsy.

Then it was on to the Sundance Channel for their night with Jess Franco. Franco has made over 180 movies, most of them soft-core horror. Judging from the furniture and artwork on display, he’s also the only director to shoot all of his films in international departure lounges. Jess is still active at age 76; he recently made a movie called The Killer Barbys vs. Dracula, which I am prepared to recommend sight unseen.

Sundance focused on a trilogy of films Jess made with the striking actress Soledad Miranda, aka Susann Korda. The first, She Killed in Ecstasy, is an erotic revenge thriller, words that have been used to describe my own life. From the opening titles, in which acid jazz plays over images of deformed fetuses in jars, the mind sits back and says What the hell?

Soledad’s doctor husband commits suicide after a small-minded medical panel condemns his unauthorized experimentation on human subjects. Peer review, my ass. His widow then seduces and murders each member of the panel, usually while wearing nothing but a purple crocheted body sheath. Jess gets points for having Soledad kill another woman with a transparent inflatable pillow – and shooting the scene through the pillow. There may also be necrophilia in the movie, but I’m honestly not sure.

I had already seen the second and best-known film in the trilogy, Vampyros Lesbos, at a Knights of Columbus outing. I gave The Devil Came From Akasava a shot but by then it was 1:30 in the morning, and the movie’s plot – secret agent Soledad goes undercover as an exotic dancer in order to recover a metal that turns people into zombies – is only comprehensible after a good night’s sleep. Maybe not even then.

The kicker? Liza was scarier than anything Jess could dream up.