The Awful Dr. Orloff (1962)

Article #1659 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-29-2005
Posting Date: 2-26-2006
Directed by Jesus Franco
Featuring Howard Vernon, Conrado San Martin, Dina Lorys

Dr. Orloff and his robot-like assistant Morpho are kidnapping and killing young women in an attempt to restore the beauty of Orloff’s daughter. The police investigate the crimes.

How awful is it? Well, the movie IS directed by Jesse Franco….and I feel the need to say right off the bat that that comment is a cheap shot. A large percentage of Franco’s movies are stinkers, but this is one of the exceptions. The worst problem with the movie isn’t even Franco’s fault; I doubt that he’s responsible for the horrible dub job done on this movie. Other than that, the worst problem is that the story line is hardly original, but I’m willing to let that slide, since I’m just glad he bothered to pay attention to the story at all. By just having a story to follow, the movie makes it easier for me to appreciate Franco’s visual inventiveness, which is quite strong here. The character of Morpho is also effectively creepy; Ricardo Valle does a fine job in his performance of the character, but since he never says anything, he has the advantage that his performance isn’t compromised by the dubbing. On a purely visual level, Howard Vernon is fairly scary himself as the title character, and if you can see past the dubbing, the performances do seem solid throughout. Of the movies I’ve seen of Franco’s for this series so far, this is easily the best of the lot, and I bet there are a few other worthy ones out there as well.


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