Lorna the Exorcist
Director - Jess Franco
Cast - Lina Romay, Guy Delorme, Howard Vernon, Jacqueline Laurent
Country of Origin - Spain/France
Distributor - Mondo Macabro
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
Date - 1/23/13
The Film (4.5/5)
Patrick (Guy Delorme) is a middle-aged business man who has seen much success in his life. That success, however, was at a cost. When Patrick was a younger man he mad a pact with Lorna Green a mysterious woman who promised him great wealth in exchange for his first daughter Linda. It is the eve of Linda's 18th birthday, and she wants to spend her birthday in St. Tropez with her friends. Unfortunately, for the family a phone call from Lorna changes their plans. Patrick changes their destination to a resort town in the South of France where he and his wife previously resided, and where Lorna remains. Patrick is determined to prevent Lorna from taking his daughter from him, but what horrors will the family endure to prevent her capture.
I will admit forthright that I have not seen many of Jess Franco's films. Over the years his oeuvre has eluded me, and I've been trying to play catch up in recent times. Lorna the Exorcist, I must say, is everything I love about the man's cinema (and EuroCult films in general) in one package. Lorna is a sleazy, weird, and unabashedly fun film that never truly wears out it's running time.
The Exorcist is one of the most successful horror films of the 70's, if not all time. In the wake of it's massive popularity many filmmakers chose to make demonic possession films to capitalize on that films success. Lorna the Exorcist, must like his later film Exorcism (aka Sadist of Notre Dame)seemingly utilizes the words Exorcist in the title, but aside from that has nothing to do with that particular film. Rather, Lorna the Exorcist takes its inspiration from Faust.
Lorna the Exorcist feels like it straddles the line between Franco's more mediative and poetic films (A Virgin Among the Living Dead, Female Vampire) and his more exploitive works (Exorcism, Jack the Ripper). It has a pacing that at times feels slow, and deliberate that leads into more intense and bizarre moments. If there is one major thing this film has going for it, it is certainly filled with bizarre imagery, crabs coming out of vaginas, a deflowering by wooden dildo that has to seen to be believed, and Lorna herself looks like the female version of Divine, and seemingly owns every moment she's in.
And then there is Lina Romay, Franco's muse from the early 70's through her recent death. Lina tends to get overshadowed in this period by the late Soledad Miranda, but knowing that Lorna The Exorcist comes within a year of Female Vampire it puts her abilities into perspective. In Female Vampire she definitely feels like she's playing the part of a centuries old vampire just through body language alone. Here she definitely plays the part of a young and confused 18 year old girl with same aplomb.
Jess Franco has one of, if not the most immense filmographies of all European Cult directors. He has over 200 films to his credit, and even in his 80's is still working on new works. Lorna the Exorcist may not be as well known as some of his others from the same period, but it certainly has the same atmosphere, and feeling that makes his films such a joy to fans the world over, and as such feels like a hidden gem in his vast filmography.
Lorna the Exorcist has been presented by Mondo Macabro in its original 1:66:1 aspect ratio. The transfer as it stands will probably not win any awards for A/V presentation itself when taken in total, it is however, the most complete version of Lorna the Exorcist ever released anywhere in the world. The original negative for the film no longer exist, so Mondo Macabro cobbled their cut together from 3 35mm sources to bring this release to life.
Now for the most part the transfer is quite excellent all things considered. The colors are quite striking in places, and there is a good amount of fine detail on display. However, due to the use of multiple sources we do get moments where the image looks a bit faded, colors are washed out, and there are occasional moments of print damage throughout. This being said it is highly unlikely Lorna could possibly look better on a DVD than it does on this release.
Mondo Macabro have provided 2 audio options on this disc, an English audio track, and a French audio track in Subtitles. Simply because I prefer to have a subtitle option when watching a film, I went with the French track which did the job quite nicely. The dialogue came through nice and clearly, as did the soundtrack for the film (which should be said was quite a treat for the ears). I did not detect any instances of pops, cracks, or hissing on the track.
Mondo Macabro have put together a nice slate of extras for their release of Lorna the Exorcist. The disc kicks off with 2 featurettes from Franco biographer (not out yet) Stephen Thrower. The first is called Fear and Desire and discussed Franco in general and runs about 17 minutes. The 2nd is 15 minutes in length and concentrates solely on Lorna. There is a 15 minute featurette called Gerard Kikoine on Jess Franco which interviews the man who did the sound design and dubbing on many of Franco's films. The disc is rounded off by liner notes, talent bios, and trailers for other Mondo Macabro releases.
An absolutely bizarre, fun, and wild film from a man who sure knew how to make them. Lorna the Exoricst is Jess Franco at the height of his considerable abilities. The restoration from Mondo Macabro is absolutely fantastic from the A/V quality down to the fact that they have managed to bring together what could be considered the definitive cut of the film. The disc has a nice slate of extras to tie things together. Mondo Macabro’s DVD of Lorna the Exorcist comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!