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Doctor Zimmer (Antonio
Jiménez Escribano) has found a way to control the personality of
a person, meaning he can determine wether a person is evil or good. He has
even gone so far as to test it on an escaped death row convict, serial
killer Hans Bergen (Guy Mairesse) ... however, when he wants to present
his results at a medical congress & ask for permission to test his
invention on more humans, he is laughed at, booed out, called a Nazi &
dismissed altogether ... to much for the wheelchair-bound old man, so he
dies from a heart attack right there on the spot, but not before telling
his daughter Irma (Mabel Karr) to continue his work ... however, it soon
becomes clear she is more interested in avenging his death ...
Soon enough, Irma fakes her own death, then abducts Nadia (Estella
Blain), a nightclub dancer with stagename Miss Muerte & especially
long fingernails, & uses her father's brainwashing device to turn her
into her instrument of revenge, & there are 3 men, all doctors from
the congress, on her list: Vicas, Moroni & Kallman ...
Soon enough, Vicas (Howard Vernon), travelling by train, meets a
seductive young blonde - Nadia of course - who before long invites him
into her compartment for you-know-what, but suddenly scratches his throat
with ehr fingernails ... & since her fingernails were dipped in
Curare, Vicas doesn't survive it ...
Moroni fares even worse. He meets a beautiful blonde - yes, Nadia again
- at a café, but since he is a faithfully married man, she doesn't have
quite the same effect on him ... but when he leaves the café she follows
him around & makes him more & more nervous ...
& he should be, too, since Irma's male killer Bergen ahs since
broken into his house & killed his wife. When Moroni finally arrives
home, he only finds his wife's body & takes the first taxi to the
police station ... only, the first taxi is driven by Bergen, & he
releases a poisonous gas onto Moroni ...
Of course the police (represented by Jess Franco himself & Daniel
J.White) have since taken up investigations, & with the help of
Philippe (Fernando Montes), Nadia's ex-boyfriend, an acquaintance of
Irma's & a doctor at the congress where Zimmer died all rolled into
one, come to some right conslusions, but somehow too many pieces of the
puzzle are still missing.
... on his way home from whereever, Doc Kallman (the last on Irma's
list) finds the body of a lovely blonde (mhm, Nadia again) lieing across
thew street, & good Samaritan that he is, he takes her with him into
his very own clinic - but not to gie her medical assistance but to
threaten her with a gun, since he figures (& quite rightly too) she
might be the woman who has killed Vicas & Moroni. & while he keeps
her put with his gun, he asks his servant to call the police ... what he
doesn't know though is that his servant & his nurse were since
replaced by Bergen & Irma, & of course, they show little
hesitation in killing Kallman ...
In the meantime, Philippe has found Irma's secret hide-out &
entered it, & intervenes just in time to prevent Bergen from killing
Nadia - who has served her purpose -, instead he kills Bergen, but when
Philippe faces Irma herself, he proives to be little match to her &
her diabolical machinery. Only Nadia, who starts to remember him again,
& the police who have agfter all found the hide-out as well, can kill
Irma & save Philippe's life.
The last shot sees Nadia - now her old self again - caressing
Philippe's face .... but wait a minute, aren't her fingernails still
dipped in Curare ?
In his later career, director Jess Franco was often dismissed as an
incompetent hack, a no-budget oddity, a quickfire filmmaker, a producer of
tasteless sleaze, or at best a side-note to film history because he had
worked with Orson Welles. All these misjudgements stem from having seen
the wrong films of the director's large filmography (over 150 and
Of course, Franco did his fair share of shitty movies (& Oasis
of the Zombies, his probably most frequently re-released film, is also
his worst), he did often work without any budget to speak of (but then
again, what's a man to do if he wants to film & there's simply no money
around), & he did deliver incredible sleaze (though sometimes quite
stylish sleaze, too, like La Comtesse Noire/Female Vampire).
However, Miss Muerte has none of these shortcomings, this is an
extremely well-done sci-fi/horror/thriller boasting a visual style &
freshness that was only rarely rivalled in its time or even today.
Franco here shows his very own cinematic lagnguage, consisting of unusual
camera set-ups & angles that turn even his cheapish sets into
something interesting & an excessive use of the zoom lense used to
tell the actual story. & not to forget, while the plot of the film
itself is pure & somewhat silly pulp, Franco shows genuine love for
his pulpy roots, which is clearly translated into the movie.