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A serial killer who throws his knives from a great distance to kill his
victims is roaming the streets of London, and his trademark is to pack a
bag for each of his victims before making his kill, in equal shares
warning them and scaring the living daylights out of them. Inspector
Ruppert Redford (Fred Williams) is entrusted with the case, but for the
longest time it looks as if he's just wooing Helen (Elisa Montés),
secretary of Dr Bladmore (Siegfried Schürenberg), who's been dragged into
the case rather innocently. Meanwhile, Redford's best friend, crime
novelist Charles Barton (Horst Tappert), seems to have more success in
digging up clues, finding a trail to Celia's (Barbara Rütting) nightclub,
where mescaldrine, a drug 5 times as potent as heroin, is trafficked - but
unfortunately he can't help his friend Redford because he's addicted to
the stuff himself ... but when Celia attempts to have him killed, he's out
Eventually, Redford, who's only half as clueless as he
appears to be, finds out the truth about Helen - she's actually the wife
of an FBI agent who died tracking down the source of mescaldrine. After
his death she wanted to continue his work, but her only clue was Dr
Bladmore, so she started working for him ... and has found out only
recently the good doctor really does have his hands in the production of
the drug. But she also finds out that Barton is actually her husband ...
it gets complicated, as the doctor and company kidnap Helen to keep her
from revealing more, but Barton raids the doctor's place to destroy his
drug lab for good, then there's the knife thrower who kills the doctor
before being killed by Redford, and ultimately, Redford also has to shoot
Barton (who was an FBI agent destroying a drug lab, right?) - and then he
gets the girl ...
Coming out at the tail end of German krimi
cinema, The Corpse Packs his Bags is pretty much Jess Franco's
homage to German cinema as such, from expressionist early days through to
Wallace-series of the 1960's, and it's done with quite some
panache, as more than most filmakers Jess Franco knows how to create
atmosphere by eccentric camera angles and using existing architecture to
the fullest, and just knows about the movies he pays homage to. Plus, a
certain ironic approach certainly doesn't hurt. That said, The Corpse
Packs his Bags is still not one of his better movies, it suffers from
a script that - even more than most krimi movies - fails to make sense,
lacks actual narrative structure, plus neither of the two male leads
(Williams and Tappert) succeed to rise above wooden status, and it lacks
the delirious feel of many of the director's best.
Not a total
trainwreck maybe - actually, there are some pretty solid sequences in
here, which even those who're not into the director will have to admit -,
but by no means a good movie, or even one of Franco's better ones.