DR. ORLOFF’S MONSTER (1964)
(a.k.a. EL SECRETO DEL DR. ORLOFF)
Article #1148 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-6-2004
Posting Date: 10-3-2004
Directed by Jesus Franco
Featuring Hugo Blanco, Agnes Speak, Perla Cristal
Dr. Conrad Jekyll uses a robot monster to murder women to whom he has given necklaces.
I really dread covering Jesus Franco films, not necessarily because I find them unwatchable but rather because of his reputation; his merits as a director are so hotly contested that you can find opinions as diverse as those that consider him an unqualified genius and those who consider him the worst director of all time. You would think that any director capable of inspiring these strongly divided reactions would at least inspire some strong reaction in me, but such is not the case. I find his movies neither particularly unwatchable nor particularly compelling.
In the case of this movie, I find the story coherent but ordinary. The characters in the story are developed serviceably enough to get by, but I don’t find them all that interesting. He has a nice visual sense at times, but it never really seems to inspire me to anything more than a comment like “That’s a nice shot of a castle.” His most striking quality is his tendency toward sleaze, but here that seems muted; the movie features nudity that feels both gratuitous but passionless. My overall reaction after watching the movie was somewhat akin to my reaction to driving to work in the morning; it’s not something I react to but something that I do because I have to.
In short, I have no idea as of yet as to why Franco elicits the reactions that he does. Maybe I’ll know with the next movie of his I see. Maybe not.