Venus In Furs - Venus In Furs(DVD) [Artus Films - 2018]As part of Artus Films growing ‘Collection Jess Franco’ series here’s a region two DVD release of this classic late 1960’s exotic thriller from Mr Franco. The films an extremely heady blend of arty sensuality & moody surrealism, with moments of 60’s grooving atmosphere & trippy revenge kills- all sound-tracked by a blend of smooth-to-darkly moody jazz.
Released in 1969 Venus In Furs (aka Paroxismus) tells of jazz trumpet Jimmy (James Darren) who witnesses the torture & rape of the mysterious blonde Wanda(Maria Rohm), at the hands of creepy playboy Ahmed (Klaus Kinski), his friend Percival (Dennis Price), & Olga (Margaret Lee). Wanda’s body washes up naked & dead, and then Jimmy’s obsession with her begins, as he seemingly sees her everywhere he goes- is she still alive, and if not, who is killing off one-by-one those who took part in her torture & rape?.
As Franco films go this is decidedly classy, well-shot, and at times very moody picture- with moments of subtle trip-ness, unease & subdued creep-ness. Yes, there is female flesh on display, but it’s very much underplayed & subtly arty, adding to the films dreamy atmosphere. Unlike some of Franco’s later 1970’s femme fatale revenge films such as Vampire Lesbos or She Killed In Ecstasy - the swinging & campy 70’s-ness is played down, for a more haunting & at times melancholic mood. I’d say Venus In Furs easily stands as one of Franco’s greatest, effectively arty & most balanced productions- making it a great introduction to those unfamiliar this highly prolific euro director.
This DVD features a great, great scan of the film- with the reds, greens, and blues really popping, and the general lush-to-trippiness of the film very nicely enhanced. The print here is English language, with removable French subtitles. Extra wise you get a forty-three-minute doc about the film- this is in French, without subtitles- but from what I could gather it looks quite detailed/ informative. We also get a very low-grade seven-minute snippet of the Italian language print of the film, a stills/ poster gallery, and a selection of trailers from the other releases in the ‘Collection Jess Franco’ Series from Artus.
All in all, this is an extremely worthwhile release of this Franco classic- as I mentioned early this is a great starting point for those who have never checked out any of his vast & daunting filmography- as it really shows him firing on all cylinders, creating a very distinctive-yet- balanced slice of erotic tinged thriller. Roger Batty