Jul 18, 2014

Lorna the Exorcist

1974 France
Directed by: Jess Franco

Patrick is a down on his luck business man in France, taking a gamble at a local casino, betting his remaining money.
He wins a large amount of money due to a mysterious woman sitting across from him.
The strange woman, named Lorna, invites him home to her apartment for drinks to celebrate his good luck. Things turn even weirder in the heat of passion, as the strange woman will sleep with him on one condition; When he comes home, he must have sex with his wife. She will then become pregnant, and in 18 years Lorna will claim his daughter as her own. Agreeing in the heat of passion, Patrick follows her instructions.
Eighteen years later, a couple of days before Patrick's daughter Linda's birthday, a mysterious phone call from Lorna destroys his peaceful and happy life. He must deliver his daughter as the agreement, or Lorna will lay his entire life in ruins. As Patrick and his family arrives at their destination in Camargue, they are all drawn deeper and deeper into a psychosexual nightmare.

Jess Franco had his most productive and experimental period as a filmmaker during the 70s and many of his finest films were made during this period. Starring his beautiful wife Lina Romay in the lead as Linda, the girl who unwillingly explores her own dark sexual desires, and has her innocence corrupted. Lina Romay did a truly remarkable job in the film, and its haunting and unsettling to see her innocence slowly drifting away. Franco himself pops up as a doctor during the subplot of the film featuring a former victim of Lorna, sexually starved at a mental institution. The subplot might not be necessary to the film, though it helps to underline the dark power Lorna wields over her victims. Franco mainstay, Howard Vernon, also pops up in a very small role without any dialogue, as one of Lorna's henchmen. Vernon also did still photography for the film under his real name Mario Lippert, as he did on several of Franco's movies.

The minimalistic and haunting guitar score in the film by Andrè Bènichou and Robert de Nesle is perhaps the single most powerful soundtrack in any Franco film. Heart wrenching, beautiful and hauntingly perfect, the score fits the somber oppressive tone of the film, and lifts the dreamlike atmosphere to perfection.
Lorna the Exorcist is through and through a Jess Franco film, eerily slow shots, the wild zooms and the stark extreme eroticism. Less violent than many of his other films, though Franco used this to great effect as the few scenes of violence in the film feels incredibly brutal and uncomfortable.
Long shots of lesbian sex with Lina Romay borders on hardcore territory through the film, and it can best be
described as Franco making love to her through his camera.
For 100 minutes time seems completely still and you are trapped within the psychosexual dream world that only Jess Franco could make.

Intensely Erotic, oppressive and hauntingly beautiful, Lorna the Exorcist is easily one of the best films Jess Franco ever made. Highly recommended!