Gritos en la Noche
The Awful Dr. Orlof
Marius Lesoeur, Leo Lax, Serge Newman for Eurociné, Producciones Cinematográficas Hispamer Films
directed by Jess Franco
starring Howard Vernon, Conrado San Martin, Diana Lorys, Ricardo Valle, Perla Crystal
written by Jess Franco, music by José Pagán, Antonio Ramírez Ángel, María Silva, Mara Laso, Venancio Muro, Félix Dafauce, Faustino Cornejo, Manuel Vázquez, Juan Antonio Riquelme, Fernando Montes, Elena María Tejeiro, Javier de Rivera, Ángel Calero, Fernando Sala, Laly Vicent, José Carlos Arévalo, Juan García Tiendra, Jess Franco, Pilar Gómez Ferrer, Mercedes Manero, Amy Márquez, María de la Riva, Mari Carmen Ruiz
Available on DVD !
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In only 3 months, 5 women have disappeared, & it is up to
Inspector Tanner (Conrado San Martin) to crack the case, even though his
only clue are some sightings of a terribly disfigured blind hunchback
(Ricardo Valle). Meanwhile the mysterious Doctor Orlof (Howard Vernon)
sweettalks a woman of, at best, "doubtful morals". Slightly
drunk, she tells him "To get rid of me, you have to kill me."
Much to her surprise, that's exactly what Orlof has in mind, his
associate Morpho - aforementioned hunchback - waiting just around the
corner. Truth is, Orlof needs the woman's skin to transplant it onto his
sister's (Diana Lorys) face, terribly disfigured by an accident -
the thing is, all his patients of course die. Meanwhile, with the help
of his ballerina girlfriend (Diana Lorys again), Tanner's investigations
make slight progress, but it isn't until she roams the streets
undercover, dressed up as a prostitute, that they can actually find out
Orlof. But of course, Orlof has also found out her, & due to a
matter of miscommunication, he abducts her when she is lacking backup.
& she is about to die on the operating-table too, would it not be at
this point that Morpho starts rebelling against his master, killing him
& abducting Lorys himself until finally being shot down a castle
wall by the police before worse can happen.
Much of director
Jess Franco's output has been ridiculed - mostly unfairly, as I might
add - & described as inferior schlock. This, however, is a film that
deserves to be considered as a true classic of horror cinema. Spurred by
the success that Hammer's Gothics at the time had throughout Europe,
Franco & his production company Eurociné decided to produce
something similar in Spain - a novelty back then, this being one of the
first horror-movies ever produced there. The outcome was this Gothic
remake of Les Yeux sans Visage - inofficially of course -, that
as little to this movie though as it did to the Hammer
Gothics, instead Franco brought in his own style of directing, a
cinematic language full of odd angles, unusual camera movements, zooms
& extreme close-ups, creating a nightmarish world all of its own,
which would fully compensate for the (even back then) overly clichéd,
meager script (a script which Franco would nevertheles remake numerous
times, the most famous versions being Jack the Ripper & Faceless).
To put in simpler words, Gritos en la Noche is a masterpiece in
style & atmosphere, the work of a true auteur !