The Film (4/5)
Jess Franco died a little over one year ago now in April of 2013, as one of the last remaining auteurs of early EuroCult cinema it was a tragic loss, but being in his mid-80's, and having been in declining health for sometime it was hardly unexpected. If one is to find a silver lining in the dark cloud of Franco's tragic passing it would be that over his very long and prolific career the Spanish director left us with over 200 films (more if you qualify the varying cuts of some of his films) to explore and to enjoy for decades to come. Prior to his passing his films began to trickle on to the Blu-ray format with Redemption Films releasing his classics Female Vampire and Exorcism on to the format in October of 2012. In late 2013 Severin Films would throw their hat into the Franco Blu-ray arena with their excellent and elaborate Hot Nights of Linda Blu-ray release. Severin, however, is no stranger to the hardened Francophile and have previously released many of the director's films on DVD since their inception in 2006 between Severin Films and their Intervision Films spinoff they have released 9 Franco films offering fans of the director much to appreciate.
One of their earlier DVD releases Bloody Moon has now seen fit to make it's Blu-ray debut, and does so with spectacular results (more on that in A/V). Franco as has probably been mentioned in every review in the last 5 years at least has made over 150, and damn near close to 200 films in his career. The man made films in every conceivable genre, if a trend came along during the last 50 years of cult, horror, or exploitation filmmaking you can bet their is a corresponding Franco film to it.
Bloody Moon is Jess Franco's entry into the 80's slasher film genre. Now on the interview on the disc, it is pretty well established that this was pretty much a director for hire gig for him, and he has all but disowned Bloody Moon. Watching it from the perspective of Franco himself, I can see why. Many Franco fans tend to come to the director through the horror genre, and his more genre affiliated works like The Diabolical Dr. Z, Vampyros Lesbos, Jack the Ripper, etc. However, Franco himself did not have any particular love for the horror genre, and his best horror films tend to be a blend of horror with elements of other types of filmmaking. For example one might take Virgin Among the Living Dead as a horror film on face value, but the film also has a twist of the surreal. Bloody Moon, however, is very much a typical 80's slasher film.
With that much being said Franco's Bloody Moon ends up being an excellent example of the genre, and a violent fun time all around. The film features Alexander Waechter as Miguel a deformed man who as the film opens picks up a young lady at a party while wearing a Mickey Mouse mask. When the woman realizes that the fella dressed up as the world famous mouse is not, in fact, her boyfriend she freaks out. He in turn kills her, and gets locked up in a asylum for 5 years. When he is released it is into the care of his sister Manuela (Nadja Gerganof). She is instructed to not do anything or take him anyplace to remind him of the killing as that might trigger his murderous impulses. So the first thing she does is take him back to the coastal school, where the murder took place, and HOLY SHIT MORE MURDERS HAPPEN.
Bloody Moon is a bizarre little film from Franco. The film has a more languid pace for this type of movie, and yet when it gets to the kill scenes it really ramps up, and Franco really delivers the goods. The film is most well known for a decapitation by circular saw death that will probably impress no one that didn't come of age obsessively reading Fangoria magazine and watching VHS tapes (guilty), but for those of that did it, and the other kill scenes are pure gore gold. The characters are little more than 2 dimensional eye candy to get naked and/or die. Bloody Moon can be a bit cheesy at times, the dubbing is quite hysterically awful, and there are moments like when an obvious Styrofoam boulder comes crashing down that can take the viewer out of the film, but the films strengths such as the score, and the over the top violence, and atmosphere created by Franco really push this toward (but not quite) into the realm of classic slasher status.
Outside of the work of Ascot Elite films (and actually possibly surpassing it) in Switzerland. This may be the finest looking of all the Jess Franco Blu-ray's to hit the market at this time. The film is presented in a 1:85:1 1080p transfer the preserves the films original aspect ratio. The fine detail is so excellent on this transfer you can actually see the murderers DENTAL FILLINGS (quote me on that), black levels are inky and deep, and and colors are vibrant yet natural. This looks spectacular.
The English dubbed audio sounds quite good for the most part as well. The dialogue is completely audible, as is the films synth score, and effects. There are a few moments where hissing and pops become noticeable, but nothing too obvious.
Ported over from the DVD release of Bloody Moon is a 19 minute interview with director Franco called Franco's Moon. The interview is an in depth piece about Franco's work on the film (and actually opens with Lina Romay leaving to go shopping, it's the little details that amuse me). We also get a trailer for the film.
Franco's Bloody Moon may not one of Jess's favorite of his own works, but I sure as Hell loved it. It is a gory and ridiculously fun slasher fest that looks positively amazing on it's new Blu-ray release. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.