One from the to watch pile…
Countess Perverse aka La Comtesse Perverse(1974)
Film: I love films about humans hunting humans: Turkey Shoot, The Most Dangerous Game, The Hunger Games… you name it, I love it! Add to that the themes from cannibal films like Cannibal Holocaust, or Cannibal Ferox and I’m even more attentive. Throw in a handful of 70s nudity in a European environment and I am 100% sold.
Mention Jess Franco though, and I’ll temper all that excitement, just in case: I’ve been stung more than once before!
Now I am no expert of Franco though I know that he loves his nudity and on occasion, the movies can be overlong due to a lavish amount of attention spent on scenery shots.
… and Countess Perverse is no exception.
Countess Perverse tells of a young woman, Silvia (Lena Romay) who escapes an island where Count Rabor Zaroff (Howard Vernon) and his wife Countess Ivana Zaroff (Alice Arno) has been sexually abusing her and feeding her strange raw meat. She washes up on another island’s beach where she receives assistance from Tom (Robert Woods) and Moira (Tania Busselier), but she finds their relationship to be an open one and very soon she has moved in as a guest/ in house concubine.
What she doesn’t realise though is that Tom and Moira are pawns in the Count and Countess cruel games, and very soon Silvia is once again trapped on their island, but this time, she is issued a challenge’ survive a hunt where she is the prey, and she is free to go…
Will she survive? Does this film contain nudity from some stunning 70s actresses? Am I sexist to mention it?
This film had a troubled release, with additional porn scenes added in various countries, and the suggestion of cannibalism left a nasty taste in some people’s mouths, making it a difficult sell when it was presented at Cannes. This edition is labeled the ‘original director’s cut’ in which the hardcore additions have been excised, and considering those scenes were performed by different actors, it’s for the best. Thriller: A Grim Film suffers for its added porn scenes, in my opinion, and I imagine the same would have been here.
European and Franco film fans should take note of the appearance of Alice Arno and Lina Romay here, for me it’s always nice to see them appear in these films. Fans of 70s bush will be pleased to know that there is an abundance of it in this film, actually, more bush than an episode of Russell Coight… speaking of which, there’s a bit of coight too!
Essentially this is a sexy redo of The Most Dangerous Game, which also had problems when being sold due it’s themes. The soft core sex in this film isn’t particularly sexy, to the point there are a couple of lingering lesbian kissing scenes which looks like the actresses are really forcing themselves to perform. The last ten minutes of this film (the actual hunt) are interesting though.
The are a few lingering low points in the film where Franco, as I mentioned above, does seem to spend a long time looking at the scenery of where this is filmed. It’s not the scenery is awful, is just could have done with a minute or three worth of editing to speed the proceeds of the film up. The houses used in the film are dizzyingly fantastic and must be seen to be believed!
Format: The edition of this film reviewed was the Mondo Macabro Region-free DVD with runs for about 79 minutes. It is presented in an OK 1.33:1 video with a similar stereo audio. Nothing special, but clear enough to see the beautiful European locations and their regularly nude denizens.
Extras: There is a few interesting extras on this disc, including a text ‘About the Film’ piece which tells of the film’s production and difficulty finding a distributor, some more text Cast and Crew Profiles, an interview with actor Robert Woods, and one with film historian Stephen Thrower.
There is also a Mondo Macabro release roll which shows a bunch of other releases from the label. For me, it’s become somewhat of a shopping list!
WISIA: I can honestly say I’ve never been so bored whilst watching beautiful naked women but when the action gets started towards the end, it gets interesting, unfortunately just quickly enough for the film to end with its ‘moral’ resolve. If I do watch this film again, I’ll probably just go to the final chapter!