Night Of Open Sex - Night Of Open Sex(Blu Ray) [Severin - 2020]
One of the joys & wonders of wading your way through Jess Franco’s truly vast filmography is your never sure what you’ll get next- will it be glum-yet-trippy horror,will it be crazed & psychedelic-tinged classic monster camper?. Or maybe stark ‘n’ kinky WIP fare, possibly a soft-core period fare, or even off-kilter takes on either the cannibal or slasher genre. 1983’s Night Of Open Sex is tonally & genre-wise all over the shop, making for one of Franco's most deranged & jarring creations- the film wildly swings from perverse strip ‘n’ tease, camp noir fed comedy, mystery-solving action, gruelling women-on-women torture fest, close to hardcore romp, and cheesy euro-camp- it literally at times leaves your head spinning. As part of their continued uncovering & reissuing of rare/thought-lost Franco films here on Severin is a recent Blu Ray release of the film- taking in a bright spanking new transfer, and a good selection of extras.
Night of Open Sex( aka La noche de los sexos abiertos, Eleftheroi erotes) was a Spanish production, filmed in 1981 but not released until February of 1983. And one wonders if/where it played as the tone of the film is so, so schizophrenic & all over the place, so it’s easy to see why it became one of the lesser-known/seen of his 80’s output- as really it would have been so difficult for any one type of genre/ exploitation audience to fully enjoy.
The plot, as it is, centres around exotic-to-nearing hardcore night club dancer Moria( Lina Romay)- as she gets involved in an attempt to try and locate hidden Nazi gold, and along the way she has the help of sleek, sleazed, yet at times tongue-in-cheek amusing private investigator Al Crosby(Antonio Mayans). But really plots in Franco films don’t really mean too much- as more often than not they don’t really let the watcher know what they're going to see, and that’s most certainly the case here.
The film opens in fine tonally jarring manner- as with opening credits we rapidly switch between a shadowy male figure taking a neon-lit coastal drive over lulling sad Spanish guitar, and Romay grinding ‘n’ moaning in the front seat of a bright red car, as honking euro disco plays . As we settling into the film we find Romay is not on the road, but instead in a neon lit disco-tech inside a car front DJ booth, fairly soon she’s on the bonnet, then she’s nude- as Jess does drifting & leering close-up of various parts of her body. The audience watching seem totally not what you'd expect for this type of show, as it takes in smiling euro teens both male & female. Anyway, fairy soon Romay is on the road for real, making her way to a women writer's apartment- then next thing you know the seemingly straight-laced writer is undressed- and Romay is violating her in a gruelling manner with heated curling tongs- all smoking pubic hair & bloody teeth. As we move on the film is constantly darting back & forth in tone- moving from frivolous & cheesy, onto sinister & tense, through to sleazed & near hardcore, onto playful & mysterious, over to jaunting & picturesque, through nasty & perverse. I won’t go into the plot/films unfold more, as you need to see this type of euro sleaze as a roller coaster ride- and what’s the fun of a roller coaster, if you know all the twists & turns before you go on it.
Moving onto this new Blu Ray, and first off the new scan of the film looks great, bright & punchy- and it really does look beyond its low budget. The Spanish dialogue & score is nice and clear, with the English sub-titles been largely easy to read. On the extra front, we get Franco expert/ respected genre writer Stephen Thrower returning for two extras- first, there’s the second part of In The Land Of Franco, this runs around fifteen minutes- and finds him visiting five or six locations in and around Sintra Portugal, and it’s fascinating to see how Franco managed to select certainly angles of a certain location, then seemingly effortless blend them into a film for different impact/ feel. Next, we get the just over twenty minutes of The Night Of Jesus Franco- here Thrower talks about the film to hand- going from discussing it’s canary island shooting locations, the short shooting time of this & other films around this time- one week. Moving on to talk about tone shifts in the film, and how the actors largely improvised- hence it was easier to switch tone/ feel. Once again both of these featurettes are great- with Thrower showing the depth & passion of his knowledge for Franco's film universe. The final extra on the disc is When Donald Met Jess & Lina Part 2- this runs for around nine minutes and is segment of an 1993 interview between Franco, Romay & low-budget US filmmaker Donald Farmer- for this segment it's largely Jess talking- and we get interesting insights into films budget, pseudo names & large budget Franco films like Faceless- again another most worthy extra.
It’s great to see the next in the series of lesser/ known seen Franco films appearing from Severin- and once again they do a great job on the print & the extras. I’d say as a film Night Of Open Sex it's one for the more seasoned Franco fan- due to the jarring tone shifts, but if you are you'll very much enjoy the trip uncle Jess takes on here.