27 September 2014 | drownnnsoda
Alice in Wonderland meets the nightclub queen
"Succubus" has Janine Reynaud as Lorna, a nightclub performer whose sadomasochistic live shows attract a plethora of wealthy onlookers. Though her shows are a success, Lorna begins to lose her grip on reality, fading in and out of a dreamlike marathon of bizarre encounters, images, and even murders.
As with virtually all Jess Franco films, "Succubus" suffers a serious incoherence issue— the editing is at times sloppy, the pacing is languorous and sometimes un-involving, and the central premise and exposition are all but essentially forgotten within the first ten minutes. The opening scene is clear and captivating, but the audience loses any and all potential grip immediately after— such is Jess Franco. With a plot that is either intrinsically unintelligible, or perhaps ingeniously molded to mirror the schizophrenic mind, the film instead offers visuals a plenty.
Sexually-charged, gaudy, and thoroughly dazzling are the aesthetics here, from the seediness of the nightclubs to the various sets and scenarios which Lorna is immersed in; there is a consistent visual flair that Franco employs which guarantees audience attention just on a surface level. The hallucinogenic nature of the film is reminiscent of adventures down the rabbit hole, albeit a bit more macabre and ten times as sexual. The stringing together of waking reality or waking fantasy is powerful on a subconscious level, as each of the images provoke without relent.
It's not difficult to see why some people can't stand the film, or Jess Franco, but there's something unusually captivating about "Succubus". Not being the biggest Franco fan, I did stumble through the film at times and I did find it dull in more than one instance, but it is a thoroughly bizarre amalgam of images and mindsets inhabited by a murderous nightclub S&M stripper/performance artist, and there's something inherently fascinating about that whether you like it or not. Even if you wanted to be bored, it's kind of hard to be. Confused? That's understandable. 6/10.