20 March 2007 | Coventry
Uncle Jess' Jolly Jungle Adventure!
The legendary euro-sleaze filmmaker Jess Franco directed an average of 5 movies per year during the early 70's, so naturally not all of his films are genuine masterpieces, or even remotely good movies for that matter. The majority, however, are truly entertaining and even grew out to become most wanted cult treasures that are difficult to come across on DVD. "X312 Flight To Hell" is another extremely obscure and rarely seen film from The Godfather of Sleaze, and even though it certainly doesn't rank among his finest efforts, it's an action-packed and exiting exploitation adventure with cargo loads of rancid sex, paltry dialogs and nasty violence. The plot is extremely unoriginal but straightforward, as it introduces a series of highly sinister characters traveling over the Amazon jungle in a ramshackle airplane. One of the passengers is a corrupt bank director who's fleeing from the authorities with a briefcase of stolen diamonds attached to his arm. When the plane crash-lands in the middle of the Amazonian jungle and the survivors have to rely on each other in order to find their way out, some of passengers' true nature begins to show. Especially when the greedy flight captain Paco finds out about the valuable stolen loot, the lives of the rest of the passengers aren't worth a penny anymore. Franco's portrayal of the dangerous Amazon jungle is rather tame, actually. There are almost no virulent animal-attacks (apart from a handful of plastic alligators) or cannibalistic tribes, and most of the cast members die as a result of banal accidents or personal struggles. Sex and nudity, on the other hand, there is plenty! I guess only a director like Jess Franco is capable of mixing the concept of a jungle survival-trek with extended footage of lesbian sex and SM-torturing. The camera-work and editing is almost intolerably amateurish, with fast and uncontrolled movements that are unclear and difficult to follow. At least Bruno Nicolai's score is excellent and surprisingly enough the acting performances are far above average! The heroic male lead Thomas Hunter has quite the ideal charisma for his role and Franco regulars Howard Vernon ("The Awful Dr. Orloff", "Virgin Among The Living Dead") and Fernando Sancho ("Return of the Blind Dead", "Demon Witch Child") make great villains. The female starlets mainly serve as sexy eye-candy. Particularly Esperanza Roy impresses with her