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Organ / オルガン (1996)
Directed by: Kei Fujiwara
Starring: Kenji Nasa, Tokao Komoto, Kimihiko Hasegawa

Organ opens in a manner that actually shows quite a bit of promise, setting up a grotesque film full of infection and decay, with images that could be hallucinations or evidence that the story is being told out of sequence. I imagined and mentally prepared for a weird, non-linear psychological body horror thriller, but the only thing the film managed to deliver was some disgusting pus and a narrative that was a little too difficult to follow.

There's a dusty and somewhat sleazy look to everything the camera captures, which compliments the film and its subject matter rather nicely. However the editing and scene transitions in particular leave a lot to be desired. It became impossible to tell if the plot was being intentionally obtuse, or if it was just poorly scripted and pieced together. The final act in particular is a complete mess to watch.

I was giving Kei Fujiwara the benefit of the doubt, but by the halfway point I just gave up and conceded that the film was not going to be particularly good. I stopped trying to track characters' motivations and relevance to the plot, and just watched things unfold with only a vague awareness of who everyone was. The film I initially hoped for was just a distant memory, but I guess that's on me for setting expectations in the first place.


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The deadline to join this Hall has officially passed since it has been a week since the nominations have been posted.

The deadline for this Hall will be September 3rd. This gives you all a week to watch each film.



Watch while eating lunch? No.
I actually was eating lunch when I first turned the film on, but after a little while figured that I should probably return to it later instead.



I actually was eating lunch when I first turned the film on, but after a little while figured that I should probably return to it later instead.
LOL.

Yeah, it would depend on the food. I can't remember what I was eating exactly, but it was close enough (hummus?) that I was like, "Nah."



Lust for Frankenstein (1998) -


I don't have much of any experience with evaluating these kinds of films (one could criticize the film for excessive nudity, but that's kind of the point of the subgenre), so I'll do my best at reviewing it. Its story wasn't the easiest to follow and the poor quality of the dialogue didn't help much, but I think I got the gist of what was going on. To get what I enjoyed out of the way, I liked the use of colored filters for several sequences, a few shots which obscured the actors in shadows worked pretty well, and the soundtrack was nice as well. Overall though, I was deeply unengaged with the film. I got that Moira had to lure victims for the monster to kill, but this premise grew thin rather quickly and that the film seemed half an hour longer than it needed to be didn't help much. So yeah, story was kind of just whatever, but the style made up for this to a degree as this is the kind of bizarre, risk-taking film that's hard for me to hate. Also, in spite of what I said about the story, I did enjoy the final scene with Moira's former husband as a confirmation that she had lost interest in him (I have no idea what was going on after that though). So yeah, I don't have a lot to say for this one, but I'm curious to hear what some other people have to say about it.

Next Up: Manos: The Hands of Fate



11 Foreign Language movies to go
Not sure if you're in the US (I know streaming can be different in different places), but it's streaming on Tubi and on Vudu's free service.
You hit the nail on the head, because I'm in Australia, and frustratingly I get the same streaming services, but with different content. If anyone has any other alternates, send them my way, but I found Lust for Frankenstein yesterday after thinking it was impossible, so possibly with as much diligence I'll find Krampus.
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My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.

Latest Review : Anomalisa (2015)



I'm curious to hear what some other people have to say about it.

I can't say I agree with your review, but I absolutely had to pick a Jess Franco movie. The fact that they got HIM to edit the Orson Welles Don Quixote footage for a finished product is insulting. And I've seen other Jess Franco movies I've hated, Oasis of the Zombies, The Castle of Fu Manchu, Devil Hunter (worst cannibal movie) but this is just offensively bad. Everything it tries it ruins.



I can't say I agree with your review, but I absolutely had to pick a Jess Franco movie. The fact that they got HIM to edit the Orson Welles Don Quixote footage for a finished product is insulting. And I've seen other Jess Franco movies I've hated, Oasis of the Zombies, The Castle of Fu Manchu, Devil Hunter (worst cannibal movie) but this is just offensively bad. Everything it tries it ruins.
I'm open to having my mind changed on it. While I still didn't care for it, I felt it wasn't without its strengths.



11 Foreign Language movies to go


Lust for Frankenstein - (1998)

Directed by Jesús Franco

Written by Kevin Collins & Jesús Franco

Starring Lina Romay & Michelle Bauer

I felt absolutely miserable watching Lust for Frankenstein, even though it was loaded with softcore pornography - and probably had pretensions to being art. It all started with the overlong opening credits sequence, which looked like someone had programmed their home handy camcorder to do. The video effects already had me thinking "oh no" and then things got progressively worse, with the horrible sound recording making a lot of what was being said completely unintelligible. Just minutes in, and I wanted out. Pretty early, I just knew that this was going to get a minimum rating from me. I found it hard to conceive of anything worse than Lust for Frankenstein, in my worst cinematic nightmares. All my fears were very well founded - for in it's entirety, it's a spirit-crushing endeavour just to stick with it to the end.

In her middle-class apartment Moira Frankenstein (Jesús Franco regular Lina Romay) has a dream about the house she grew up in, with a monster and murders or something related to her father. She wakes and sees a vision - and we see a plug for Jesús Franco's 1968 movie Succubus (way to reference your own movie doofus) - of her blood-stained father's reanimated corpse. So, of course, she hurries there and encounters sexual activity going on, which she joins in. Later she finds a monster made of human body parts - called "Goddess" (Michelle Bauer). Goddess needs Moira to lure people sexually, so they can be hooked up to Goddess and drained of their life force - Goddess also needs Moira to constantly sexually service her - for she's been implanted with an out-of-control libido. Will Moira and Goddess live happily with their arrangement? Can they go even a minute without doing it?

So, it seems Jesús Franco has been making movies since the 1950s - which begs the question, "What's wrong with you dude?" If you've been making movies for decades, why does it look like you barely know how to do it? Is it your choice to make movies that look and sound horrible? Did you do a lot of drugs and make your 16-year-old intern direct this movie? By the way - just because you know how to play with different filters, and fiddle with the contrast and brightness knob on your camcorder doesn't make you an artist man. Neither does constant softcore pornography make it European or cosmopolitan. It just looks trashy and cheap. Was this an odd movie for you, or are all your movies just a huge waste of everybody's time? Just because that guy who brought two escorts to your premiere thinks you're an artist doesn't make you one. Try abstaining from the booze and the drugs, and learning how to express yourself a little better.

I kept on imagining Leonard Maltin, and what kind of introduction he'd give Lust for Frankenstein - and I imagined him giving a glowing account, like he would for High Noon or something. Why? Because I had to do something to get through the endless torture that watching this movie was. I hear some people sadly saying that this is the worst movie Jesús Franco has ever made. Come on guys! This is the worst movie anyone has ever made. I was so sad, because I was thinking to myself - "When I die, am I going to have to see Lust for Frankenstein again as my life flashes before my eyes?" If so, when that section of my life comes up, I'm going to be thinking "Gee Whiz, what what I thinking of???" I'm also wondering if Jesús Franco is one of those directors who deserves to join the list of filmmakers which goes Edward D. Wood Jr. (another auteur not at all averse to directing pornography), Herschell Gordon Lewis, William Beaudine etc - or if this was just a low point for him.

The very last thing pornography ever needs is a bit of horror to fill in the gaps, which is sure to reverse those testosterone and dopamine production levels and increase vasopressin as your body starts asking "What is it? Make up your mind!" We weren't evolutionarily suited to bad movies like these, and the next time I visit a doctor I'm probably going to have to tell them that I saw Lust for Frankenstein and need help - perhaps therapy, anti-depressants and and close monitoring via frequent blood tests. If I ever watch another Jesús Franco movie I'll probably end up in an Emergency Department. At times the half of my brain that has nothing to do with evaluating the merit of films was telling me "this is kind of hot," but the other half of my brain was just rolling it's eyes and saying "what a moron - you get turned on by anything." I don't think I can really credit the film for pornography though. I'm not the kind of person who'll give films a better rating due to nudity and such.

So, yeah. I thought I'd seen the worst of the worst, and then along comes Lust for Frankenstein - a film that, for me, couldn't rise to the level of being a proper film - at least as much as would get my rating meter to move up even slightly. Usually I'll give a film some credit for artistic endeavour - but this film's attempts to go in that direction were done in by all the factors I've already mentioned. By coincidence, I was thinking the other day of the line that separates pornography from what would be classified officially as a 'film', and if there were any gray areas. I thought that any serious attempt at being artistic, having something to say, or telling a story generally outside of sexual situations would be enough to do it. Walerian Borowczyk, for me, is the master of creating something artistically valid, beautiful, interesting and fantastic film-wise that some people call out as being pornography - and it seems to me that Franco is on the other side of that spectrum. He made a film here that had wanted to be art, but was ugly, dull and stupid. Give me Borowczyk any day over this.





Going Overboard (Valerie Breiman, 1989)

I do not know how I'm ever going to justify this but this movie didn't even start to wear me down until nearly the hour mark. For the most part its coherent, the plot keeps moving and I had a couple (very small) chuckles, usually born from complete bewilderment more so than any actual good jokes. I thought the film was going to get a bit of a shot in the arm once the freedom fighters made it to the boat but the film really comes to a stand still at that point and gets like, actually bad. I was watching some extremely not good wrestling before this so maybe my perspective was skewed but a good chunk of this is at least watchable. Wouldn't be completely shocked if this ended up last on my list tbh.



I'm open to having my mind changed on it. While I still didn't care for it, I felt it wasn't without its strengths.

IMO the primary direction for a softcore movie should still be trying to be sext, and that was anything BUT. Sexiest movie I've ever seen (as in the one that made me the most aroused and felt the most artistic because of it) is Basic Instinct. Not perfect, but sexy as hell. Sharon Stone looked INCREDIBLE and her acting for the part made her sexier. And the acting from both her and Douglas during those scenes made it feel too real. And that was simulated.


Lust for Frankenstein is the polar opposite. These people are ass ugly naked, the acting sucked, the sex wasn't simulated and it didn't even feel real, partly because the psychedelic effects were very distracting, meaning it's merit as a porn movie is wasted on crappy psychedelia with crappy songs. I remember the shorter edit of Titanic: The Legend Goes On which had 14 minutes of credits, and those credits played the same "Heart Will Go On" rip-off twice. And they played it multiple times in the edit's actual movie content.


There's a riff of this Titanic movie, btw. MHTV. Makes it watchable.



IMO the primary direction for a softcore movie should still be trying to be sext, and that was anything BUT. Sexiest movie I've ever seen (as in the one that made me the most aroused and felt the most artistic because of it) is Basic Instinct. Not perfect, but sexy as hell. Sharon Stone looked INCREDIBLE and her acting for the part made her sexier. And the acting from both her and Douglas during those scenes made it feel too real. And that was simulated.


Lust for Frankenstein is the polar opposite. These people are ass ugly naked, the acting sucked, the sex wasn't simulated and it didn't even feel real, partly because the psychedelic effects were very distracting, meaning it's merit as a porn movie is wasted on crappy psychedelia with crappy songs. I remember the shorter edit of Titanic: The Legend Goes On which had 14 minutes of credits, and those credits played the same "Heart Will Go On" rip-off twice. And they played it multiple times in the edit's actual movie content.


There's a riff of this Titanic movie, btw. MHTV. Makes it watchable.
Those are all fair points. My rating for it may go down by the end of this Hall with enough time to reflect on it.



11 Foreign Language movies to go
She's not just a regular, she was his romantic partner and wife!
That's...kind of disturbing, considering what she's directed to do in Lust for Frankenstein. Wow.



That's...kind of disturbing, considering what she's directed to do in Lust for Frankenstein. Wow.
I mean, I haven't seen the movie yet, but she was in tons of movies that he directed. From the outside at least it seems like they were both into it?

I find it far less disturbing--conceptually--than the stuff Dario Argento filmed with his own daughter.



11 Foreign Language movies to go
I mean, I haven't seen the movie yet, but she was in tons of movies that he directed. From the outside at least it seems like they were both into it?

I find it far less disturbing--conceptually--than the stuff Dario Argento filmed with his own daughter.
There's something about the horror/sex/bad exploitation/wife film hybrid that just seems icky and disturbing to me - not necessarily from the other person being unwilling or uncomfortable, but just the mindset of Jesús throwing his most cherished into something so horrible, in so many different ways. But yeah, Argento and his daughter - that's beyond icky, and into completely messed up territory.



That's...kind of disturbing, considering what she's directed to do in Lust for Frankenstein. Wow.

"That's no porn star, that's my wife!"



11 Foreign Language movies to go


Krampus : The Christmas Devil - (2013)

Directed by Jason Hull

Written by Jason Hull

Starring A.J. Leslie, Paul Ferm, Samantha Hoepfl
& Richard Goteri

Like an air crash investigator, I tried piecing together where all the Krampus movies we get these days originally came from, and although I did get as far back as Rare Exports (2010) I never really pegged on to a satisfying explanation. I could point to Krampus (2015), which is popular and has a respectable reputation (which also features actors such as Toni Collette) but this film came along two years after the film I'm looking at here - Krampus : The Christmas Devil (2013). Now, I'm pretty sure the 2015 Krampus wasn't riding on the coattails of the microbudget 2013 one, so none of it makes a lot of sense. The only thing that does make sense is that 'Krampus' can't be copyrighted or trademarked - so like 'Amityville' we're destined to see a never-ending series of 'Krampus' films from here on out into eternity.

Krampus : The Christmas Devil has Santa Clause and his Demon partner hiding out from the cops in a cave near a U.S. town - and there's so much wrong with that sentence I'll always remember typing it. These cops - including Jeremy Duffin (A.J. Leslie) who remembers being kidnapped by the Christmas Demon Krampus when he was a child - are focusing their attention on a patch of land where kids are going missing. Three troopers go out, heavily armed, but they're captured and taken back to the lair, where Santa has procured a big-breasted, innocent young lady for his demon friend to rape. Krampus kills a trooper before Duffin escapes, desperate to return with backup, fire and vengeance. In the meantime, a bunch of local hoodlums are needlessly torturing Jeremy's wife (Samantha Hoepfl) and their confusingly adult child - but the evil Krampus has other plans for all of these naughty people tonight.

Around the time Father Christmas hollers obscenities at a scared child, threatening to torture and kill him, before facilitating the rape of a young woman, I knew I wasn't watching an ordinary movie. He wonders aloud what the elves at the North Pole are doing while he's away on such arduous and grimy duty, and I expect it's something awful in the very off-center universe this takes place in. I hope I'm not spoiling things when I tell you that I saw a preview for the sequel to this, and in it Jeremy is pointing a shotgun at Santa with the intent to gun him down - shouting "Hey Santa!" as he pumps a few rounds into him. All this before I even get to Krampus himself - a boring horror character really, when you consider the bizarro Santa. All of this happens in a film so cheap and unimpressive that it easily qualifies as z-grade. In this film, when punches fly in a barroom brawl, they come quarter-speed slow - perhaps because of a lack of stunt performers.

The fact that's there's a sequel to this shows that there's something fundamentally wrong with the people at Snow Dog Studio, along with writer/director/cinematographer/editor Jason Hull (who probably is Snow Dog Studio in it's entirety) - but at least he stepped back from taking the lead role. I have one of these "do-it-all" filmmakers in my family - their habit of performing all of the filmmaking roles kind of indicates a 'shoestring' budget (basically, no budget at all) and their films could almost be classified as "projects" instead of motion pictures - but to be fair, Krampus : The Christmas Devil takes the cake, and is a little worse than most of the other microbudget films out there. It's more juvenile, and has no audience. It's most definitely the wrong side of weird, where instead of being eccentric and interesting it's obnoxious and ill-considered. Even if the film was made in jest (and I don't know if it was or not) the joke falls down flat, and when everyone involved started filming the scene where Santa is facilitating a rape, someone should have stopped and said, "hey wait a minute guys, what are we doing here? Are we nuts?"

This movie, it's dumb, and the writing is very basic and unappealing, the production design consists of nothing more than finding locations to shoot in, and the overall inexperienced direction is from a guy who probably thinks he's a natural. The daughter the Duffins have looks older than her parents - which confused me at first. "Who is this?" I thought. "Does Jeremy have two wives?" The make-up effects for Krampus himself are cheap, and as such the demon's face never contorts, changes or moves at all. The credits are so cheap I could replicate them right now on my PC. The cinematography is atrocious - people aren't kept in frame, and the camera wobbles and shakes. The acting is bad. The sound is at least on a level where everyone is understandable, but if we're crediting a film for that, then we really are in strange territory. When I hear an appropriate score, I'm thinking "good for you" because everything else is such a disaster. It's not good, but it's there, unlike other aspects of good filmmaking.

To any small children out there who has had his or her Christmas turned into a terrifying ordeal because of The Christmas Devil, all I can say is that as a representative of the adult world I'm very sorry. There is hope though, because ever since directing, writing, starring in, filming and editing Krampus : The Devil Returns (did the original even make any money?) in 2016, there's been no further output from this creator of festive season classics. Don't worry, Father Christmas is a lot nicer in person, and even his horrifying demon brother has his good points. This film in no way accurately depicts them - in fact, it doesn't accurately depict anything pertaining to barroom brawls, the age-gap between parents and their daughters, or police investigations. It's only a movie. A really, really bad one.




That's...kind of disturbing, considering what she's directed to do in Lust for Frankenstein. Wow.
I understand Romay was a pretty strong creative contributor to Franco's movies over that period, and BDSM themes were a recurring concern in his filmography. So with the caveat that I haven't seen the film in question (even the Franco heads in my Letterboxd circle have little positive to say about this era of his career) I would wager they were both pretty okay with what went down in these movies.