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Sadisterotica

Review by: 
Blackgloves
AKA: 
Two Undercover Angels
Release Date: 
1969
Studio: 
Anchor Bay UK
Genre: 
Exploitation
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
0 PAL
Aspect Ratio: 
1.66:1
Directed by: 
Jess Franco
Cast: 
Janine Reynaud
Rosanna Yanni
Adrian Hoven
Chris Howland
Movie: 
3
Extras: 
1
Bottom Line: 
3

 This whacked-out, sixties b-movie crime drama/monster flick from the adventurous mind of Jess Franco introduces flame-haired Janine Reynaud and beautiful blonde, Rosanna Yanni as Diana and Regina, aka the "Red Lips" Detective Agency -- two amateur sleuths who rely on their feminine charms to crack a variety of far-out mysteries and thwart the diabolical schemes of various deranged master criminals.
 
The characters are recurring ones in Franco's unmanageably large filmography, but Reynaud and Yanni gave the definitive interpretations in this enjoyable camp romp and it’s not-quite-so-good sequel, "Kiss Me Monster", both of which employ much the same cast and locations and even share a small amount of footage! Most of the cast also appeared in "Succubus" -- a very different kind of film from this peculiar, light-hearted, sexy crime flick ... which just goes to show the versatility of many of the principle cast members.
 
The film itself is a colourful, comic book romp full of outrageous situations and larger-than-life performances. Franco fans will be familiar with many of the characters who pop in & out of the frivolous narrative of "Sadisterotica", since the director has always liked to reference his other films, and even steal his own plot-lines (which are usually fairly standard b movie scenarios anyway), for redeployment in a different context. Here, we meet again Inspector Tanner and Morpho (sometimes Dr. Orlof's woman-kidnapping, zombie sidekick. Here, a bug-eyed, woman killing werewolf!) -- both characters who first appeared in "The Awful Dr. Orlof" and who have reappeared in subsequent Franco flicks many times since.
 
The film starts, rather unusually, with a fashion model being kidnapped by a hairy werewolf called Morpho (Michel Lemoine with a toned-down, Paul Naschy-style make-up job!): a creature who is controlled by an eye-patch-wearing artist whose work is both inspired by and depicts the moment of death -- "Peeping Tom" fashion! Unfortunately, the deaths shown in his paintings are real ones! Kidnapped captive fashion models are mauled to death by Morpho while the mysterious artist photographs their last moments for use in his work! Their bodies are disposed of by having them turned into "living sculptures" made by coating their dead bodies in plaster!
 
Mr Radeck (Adrian Hoven), the millionaire boyfriend of one of the missing girls, employs Diana and Regina to find out what happened to her for a fee of $25.000. They soon discover that one of the paintings currently being shown at a trendy gallery bears an uncanny resemblance to the missing girl, and that other works look very similar to eight other models who have recently disappeared. The girls attempt to seduce the gallery owner in order to find out who the artist is, but he is murdered by a poisoned dart just as he is about to give up the vital piece of information. Various red herrings and comic moments ensue until a trawl through some hip & happening sixties night clubs eventually brings Diana face to face with the dangerous artist and his murderous, hirsute companion. An unexpected twist to the case is then revealed!
 
"Sadisterotica" is a delightfully loopy piece of b-movie trash, painted in gloriously brash primary colours that overflow with cool sixties camp. A toe-tapping jazz score helps keep the air of comic book zest bubbling away as the zany antics and ludicrous, werewolf-related criminal escapades play out. Producer, Adrian Hoven, who stars in both films to great effect, also financed the follow-up, "Kiss Me Monster", but Franco was not able to recapture the luminous, pop-art rush of "Sadisterotica" a second time for some reason, and the sequel looks drab and pointless in comparison. Anchor Bay UK have re-released both films, originally released in the US many years ago on DVDs that have since been discontinued; and despite "Sadisterotica" suffering from a soft, artifact-ridden full-screen transfer, it still looks visually inventive and colourful next to the sloppy and dull-looking "Kiss Me Monster".
 
Franco throws in lots of references to "House of Wax", "Peeping Tom" and "Danger: Diabolik" among other horror & b-movie classics, and the film's comedy skits actually work quite well throughout -- despite the director's hack reputation and the dodgy English dub. Franco himself appears in a wonderful little comedy cameo role early in the film and Yanni and Reynaud are both beautiful, Sixties euro-starlets who have great chemistry together as the playful spy duo. Both actresses also looks fantastic in the cool, Diabolik/Cat Woman-style black masked costume they get to wear in several scenes, as well as numerous skimpy bikinis! Franco does a great job with a film that obviously has little money at its disposal and, despite not having the "luxury" of being able to turn to his usual sleaze tactics to prop up the film, he manages to come up with quite a convincing example of light-hearted, second-feature sixties ephemera that still has enough recognisable Franco touches and motifs to satisfy the director's fan-base.
 
Anchor Bay UK release the film with a mono 2.0 Stereo audio track and an unnecessary 5.1 Surround Sound track with DTS option (overkill indeed considering the ultra-primitive nature of Franco's soundtracks). The only extras are trailers for "Kiss Me Monster" and "Sadomania" and a biography of Jess Franco. The "Sadomania" trailer is the only reason that both "Sadisterotica" and "Kiss Me Monster" have been given 18 Certificates by the BBFC since nether film contains anything more than a light peppering of mild nudity that would usually only get a 15 certification at the most! 

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