Archive for Helmut Berger

FACELESS (1987) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Film, France, horror, jess franco, movies, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2013 by goregirl

This weekend I had a serious 80s fixation! It started with Faceless than I moved to the excellent White of the Eye (1987), on to the hilarious Polyester (1981), a little hardcore porn (porn of the weirdest, funniest and most surrealistic variety possible) with Night Dreams (1981) and finished up with the wonderfully wacky Dr. Caligari (1989), It was a helluva fun weekend of movie watching! I also went to two documentaries as part of my DOXA experience; Casting By and Perverts Guide to Ideology. Wine was drank. It was a good weekend.

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Christmas in Paris; a man and two women, clearly well to do, are being driven around in a limousine. The man is a doctor named Frank Flamand. Flamand is confronted in a parking garage by an unhappy customer. Quicker than you can say The Awful Dr. Orlof the angry customer is throwing acid in the face of Ingrid Flamand. Forward to the immediate future and we meet model Barbara Hallen who decides to buy her coke from the wrong sort of people. People who in fact want to remove her face and affix it to someone else’s. Clearly it is the good Dr. Frank Flamand behind the shenanigans. Flamand along with the help of his assistant and lover Nathalie are stealing women’s faces to save Ingrid’s. Problem is Dr. Flamand is not a good enough doctor to pull it off. He seeks the aid of Dr. Orlof who hooks him up with a former Nazi doctor Dr. Karl Heinz Moser. Meanwhile Barbara Hallen’s father has hired private detective Sam Morgan to find her.

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The godawful 80s theme song played during the opening credits is played multiple times throughout the film. They repeat it so goddamn many times it got to be funny after a while. I enjoyed the hell out of Faceless but I am always going to think of that theme song when I recall it. It is featured in this trailer too; check it out…

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Faceless features a cast of familiar and talented European actors and actresses that is well worth noting. I’ll also add that this is one of the more coherent Franco films. The dialog is actually not bad, although there are a couple unintentional laughs. Nathalie is pretty gleeful about her acquisition of reluctant female face donors. Nathalie is a sadistic, horny, kleptomaniac played perfectly by Brigitte Lahaie. She is all sorts of fun! Helmut Berger is serious as cancer playing the mad doctor; that Helmut Berger guy is great. Sam Morgan the private dick takes a few good beatings and really steps up to the plate to rescue the damsel; Christopher Mitchum was well cast and looks plenty defectivey. That is one really bad-ass acid scar on poor Ingrid Flamand. Ingrid is upset a lot and is getting sick and tired of all the damn surgeries. Ingrid is not the most enviable role in the film, but Christiane Jean does just fine. The doctor’s handyman Gordon is an Igor type character Franco-style. He does whatever is asked of him but sometimes takes liberties with the face donors. He is a pretty creepy dude and Gerard Zalcberg gets that. Anton Diffring harnesses his inner-Nazi beautifully as Dr. Karl Heinz Moser the former Nazi doctor. Caroline Munro does a sweet job as the big-80s-haired coke snorting kidnapped model Barbara Hallen. Her father Terry Hallen is played by Telly Savalas who has a few brief scenes in an office. And finally, I loved the little cameo where Howard Vernon plays Dr. Orlof as he did for Franco previously in the titular role of The Awful Dr. Orlof (1962).

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Faceless is 100% pure Jess Franco and is without a doubt one of my favourite post 70s offerings. It is definitely one of Franco’s most energetically paced not to mention gorier films. Violence and action appear at regular intervals ranging from acid in the face and a drill to the head to a hilarious fist fight and an axe versus fire extinguisher battle. It’s all fun and games until someone loses their face! The story is not exactly original, Franco himself directed the aforementioned The Awful Dr. Orlof with a similar premise. But rest assured, this is clearly a product of the 1980s, the huge hair, big shoulder pads, bad music and graphic gore of the decade make this film shine.

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Faceless is screamingly 80s; sleazy, violent, funny, well-cast and a real riot! Highly recommended.

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Jesus Franco

Starring: Helmut Berger, Brigitte Lahaie, Telly Savalas, Christopher Mitchum, Stéphane Audran, Caroline Munro, Christiane Jean, Anton Diffring, Tilda Thamar, Howard Vernon

THE BLOODSTAINED BUTTERFLY (1971) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2012 by goregirl

The Bloodstained Butterfly like so many films, has been in my queue for quite a while. I have tended to seek out the more horror-oriented giallo first. I’ve gone on a couple hard-core binges over the last couple of years. What is left on my list has been more difficult to find. My excellent new video store has a decent little selection of giallo and had two titles I had not seen which included this little nugget; The Bloodstained Butterfly.

Françoise Pigaut is found murdered in a local park. A knife left by her body is covered in fingerprints and along with other clues the police quickly discern the woman knew her killer. Alessandro Marchi is arrested and charged with the crimes. The evidence against Marchi is mounting but is he guilty of the crime? His adulteress wife Maria, his sleazy lawyer Giulio Cordaro, his teenage daughter Sarah and her lover; the handsome and troubled pianist Giorgio could all be potential suspects.

The Bloodstained Butterfly has a whodunnitesque intro where they throw titles up on the screen to introduce each of the central characters. This ain’t your mama’s Agatha Christie though, this is 100% pure giallo. Sex, nudity, a convoluted plot, red herrings, a black-gloved killer; you know the deal! I have long sung the praises of 1970s giallo; to which I am addicted to like crack. The Bloodstained Butterfly is missing the elaborately staged death scenes of some of its peers instead focusing more on its puzzle and eclectic mix of characters.

Alessandro Marchi is a somewhat empathetic character; I say “somewhat” because you don’t exactly trust the guy even if you do feel a smidge bad for him. Giancarlo Sbragia is excellent in the role. Maria Marchi is a beautiful but severe looking woman who I do not think smiled once. Evelyn Stewart is no stranger to giallo and plays Maria like a pro. Both halves of the married couple are cheating and Alessandro’s much younger alcoholic lover is one of the films wackier characters; I would not have minded seeing more of her. I almost don’t want to admit I kind of liked attorney Giulio Cordaro early in the film as he turns out to be such a sleazy douchebag! I mean this in the most positive way possible; Günther Stoll plays a douchebag perfectly. Teenage daughter Sarah has two cheating parents and her father was accused of her best friend’s murder. She was surprisingly normal considering. Perhaps a little too normal? She begins a relationship with a pianist who we learn was dating Françoise our dead girl. The plot thickens! Wendy D’Olive was a decent choice; she is pretty and likable enough. Sarah is the least likely suspect, but on the other hand, this is giallo and I’ve seen my share of wackadoodle twists. Rule number one of giallo should be never rule anyone out! Finally we have a young handsome Helmut Berger who plays Giorgio. He is not hard on the eyes, but man he has got issues! Ugly adult issues. I probably could have summed this up by saying the characters and performances are great, but I thought the solid cast was worth mentioning!

The Bloodstained Butterfly is stylishly filmed in various locations with a wonderful array of interesting set pieces. Various sequences in the film are seen through the eyes of different characters and help to keep the visuals lively. The Bloodstained Butterfly is the only Gialli I am aware of where a chunky portion of the film takes place in court. It does not drag the film down by any means as director Duccio Tessari constantly keeps things moving giving us plenty of insight on the films characters. The ever important twist is outstanding and even as a well-seasoned giallo watcher took me by surprise. Gianni Ferrio’s excellent score effortlessly weaves in a classical piece of music and adds to the mood wonderfully.

Despite a lack of violence, I thoroughly enjoyed The Bloodstained Butterfly. I am shocked this film had ratings from only 300 users on IMDB!! The Bloodstained Butterfly is an extremely well-executed and satisfying gialli. I highly recommend seeking this one out!

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Duccio Tessari

Starring: Helmut Berger, Giancarlo Sbragia, Evelyn Stewart, Silvano Tranquilli, Wendy D’Olive, Günther Stoll, Carole André, Anna Zinnemann, Lorella De Luca, Stefano Oppedisano, Dana Ghia, Wolfgang Preiss, Federica Tessari, Peter Shepherd, Gabriella Venditti