In the village of Holfen, a number of young women are found stabbed to death by what is determined to be an ancient dagger with a curved and rusty blade . The superstitious locals believe the murders to be the fulfillment of a curse placed on them in the 17th century by Baron Von Klaus, a sadistic libertine who killed many women before dying in the swamps surrounding his castle. The Baron's spirit is said to live on in his male descendants, but Von Klaus heir Ludwig (Hugo Blanco) along with his girlfriend (Paula Martel) don't arrive in town until the day after the latest murder . He is entrusted with a key to his ancestor's torture dungeon and begged to bring an end to the family curse by visiting it, destroying it, and leaving the castle, never to return again. But will he have the willpower to resist the lure of his horrific heritage? . Meanwhile , Inspector Borowsky (Georges Rollin) investigates the strange murders along with a journalist (Fernando Delgado) . There are some suspects , as a doctor (Sergio Mendizabal) and a Baron Von Klaus's descendant called Max Von Klaus (Howard Vernon) .
This average-budget film contains thrills , a criminal intrigue and lots of murders . It's a passable slasher movie directed by prolific filmmaker Jess Frank and also produced by his own production company, Manacoa Films along with Albatros SA . Here Franco manages to give us an adequate ambient , an evocative production design by Antonio Cortes , being rightly narrated , including a murder plot enough to keep you intrigued throughout the flick . Based on a story by David Khune or Jesus Franco and screenplay by Pio Ballesteros , Juan Cobos and by the same Jesus Franco or Uncle Jess . The picture was well starred by good Spanish actors , such as Fernando Delgado , Paula Martel , Gogo Rojo and Hugo Blanco , who subsequently worked for Jesus Franco in "The Secret of Dr. Orloff" . And of course , Howard Vernon , Jess Frank's usual , ordinarily playing Dr. Orloff . The Spanish support cast is frankly fine as Sergio Mendizabal , Maria Frances , Jose Luis Coll and the great Manuel Alexandre , among others . The picture belong to Franco's first period in which he made acceptable pictures such as ¨Gritos en Noche¨, ¨Miss Muerte¨ or ¨Necronomicon¨, developing a consolidated professionalism . However , his career got more and more impoverished in the following years, but his endless creativity enabled him to tackle films in all genres, from "B" horror to erotic films.
Atmospheric cinematography in black and white by Godofredo Pacheco filmed on Northern Spanish locations . Good musical score by Daniel White , Franco's usual musician , including Jazzy soundtrack , wonderful songs and musical numbers . The motion picture was professionally directed by Jesus Franco. However , here he doesn't use his trademarks , as he carries out a traditional narration , without zooms , neither lousy pace . Jesus uses to sign under pseudonym , among the aliases he used, apart from the names Jess Franco or Franco Manera, were Jess Frank, Robert Zimmerman, Frank Hollman, Clifford Brown, David Khune , Toni Falt, James P. Johnson, Charlie Christian, David Tough , among others . Franco used to utilize usual marks such as zooms , nudism , foreground on objects , filmmaking in ¨do-it-yourself effort¨ style or DIY and managing to work extraordinarily quickly . In many of the more than 180 films he's directed he has also worked as composer, writer, cinematographer and editor. His first was "We Are 18 Years Old" and the second picture was ¨Gritos en la Noche¨ (1962) , the best of all them , also titled "The Awful Dr. Orlof" , it's followed by various sequels such as El Secreto del Dr. Orloff (1964) aka "The Mistresses of Dr. Jekyll" , " Orloff y el hombre invisible (1970) aka "Dr. Orloff's Invisible Monster" and finally "Faceless" (1987) . He also directed to the great Christopher Lee in 4 films : "The Bloody Judge" , ¨Count Dracula¨, ¨The Blood of Fu Manchu¨ and ¨The castle of Fu Manchu¨ . Jesús's influence has been notable all over Europe . From his huge body of work we can deduce that Jesús Franco is one of the most restless directors of Spanish cinema and often releasing several titles at the same time. Many of his films have had problems in getting released, and others have been made directly for video. More than once his staunchest supporters have found his "new" films to contain much footage from one or more of his older films . Jesús Franco is a survivor in a time when most of his colleagues tried to please the government administration. He broke up with all that and got the independence he was seeking. He always went upstream in an ephemeral industry that fed opportunists and curbed the activity of many professionals . But time doesn't pass in vain, and Jesus' production has diminished since the 90s ; however he went on shooting until his recent death .
7 out of 7 found this helpful