From Jess Franco comes yet another goofy, erotic, psychotic, stream of consciousness film about unrepentant onscreen sexuality and ulterior motives. If you can imagine CRUEL INTENTIONS as directed by an unrepentant Eurosleaze master, you can pretty much tell where this one is going. Nonetheless, let us ask ourselves “HOW TO SEDUCE A VIRGIN” and decide for ourselves whether it is a worthwhile plot as it is an appealing endeavor?
Martine Bressac is a woman of some nobility and culture who gets released from a mental institution in the opening moments of this film, it turns out she had a nasty penchant for luring women into her downstairs sex dungeon and murdering them. She immediately returns home to her mansion to discover all is as she left it, and by that I mean that her dungeon is still full of “dead” women in all manner of distress and undress played by actresses who can’t remain still long enough for the camera to casually pass over them. The simple fact that that real naked actresses were somehow easier to procure for filming than a series of convincing special effect mannequins lets you know that that this could only be a Jess Franco film.
Martine is home for all of five minutes before she goes out and lures a streetwalker over to her murder den, adding another slowly shambling “body” to the décor in about the time it takes for the credits to finish. It is then what we meet Charles, Martine’s husband; a charismatic man who ultimately waited for Martine’s release for reasons having nothing to do with the concept of “for better or for worse”.
Nonetheless it isn’t long before we the viewer learns how twisted the Bressacs are in their intimacy. Event though they have a limited faculty, Igor-esque female love slave named Adele (played by none other than Lina Romay) which they keep as some kind of pet, it is discovered that the only way for these two sick aristocrats to truly get off is for Charles to have sex with as many women as possible, and for Martine to start murdering them again. You know what they say about the couple that “slays together”…
It is then that they view the girl next door, a young COLLEGE AGED women named Cecile (played by Tanya Busselier). The Bressacs are in love again for the first time in many years as they watch their would-be prey slowly gyrating in her bed sans clothing while Jazz music plays (A scene that must occur in some form or another in every Jess Franco film at some point during the running time). They simply must have her…
So they come up with a plan. They will offer to let Cecile live with her while her parents travel. This endeavor works incredibly, (suspiciously?) well and before you know it they are driving Cecile home from the airport, trying not to laugh manically and lick their chops as they do.
From there the rest of the movie is a series of crude social ruses designed by the Bressacs as loving hospitality in order to get Cecile to become intimate. This is silly bit of feigned formality on their part as Cecile “the virgin” seems agreeable to most sexual activities with the members of the house with a wanton, willing openness expressed by her that is seldom assigned to most prostitute characters in a film like this.
During the final moments of this film when Martine finally is about to finish “Cecile” in the manner of her own choosing that will finally allow her to enjoy this experiment as much as her husband (who had been taking very good care of the young lady during her stay, indeed) there is a twist ending which does allow this to end on a slightly less sinister note than you might expect, though not by much.
For the first time in many Jess Franco films the main plot was something that was simple, easily understood and contained no scenes of unrelated filler and (or) violence for the sake of itself. Furthermore while the scenes of full frontal nudity and constant sexual suggestion had little or no effect on me (as usual), the hushed, evil dialogue between the Bressac’s as they watched Cecile in her bedroom through their binoculars was incredibly unsettling (and dare I say, more than a little hot). Yet this dark, dramatic intrigue seemed to suffer greatly once they got ahold of Cecile and she was agreeable to anything and everything of a sexual nature with no real manipulation required. Not only did this actually make the couples evil plan seem kind of pretentious (if not wholly pointless) I found myself wondering (as did a certain character in the film, all too late) perhaps she wasn’t a virgin after all? I guess you can’t trust some people…not even your next door neighbors!
Extras include an interview with writer Alain Pettit, an introduction by critic Stephen Thrower, extensive production notes and a collection of trailers of films by Mondo Macabro which are more delightfully stupid, lurid and entertaining than most studios main features.