Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Paula Paula: Jess Franco with a Side of Naked Surrealism

The problem with Jess Franco is that the guy is so goddamn prolific you really never know what you're gonna get. That's also a blessing, right? An unpredictable director is a rare, rare thing. A beautiful thing. Something to treasure. I suppose that you have to judge the book by its cover for a Jess Franco movie or rather judge his movies by the cover box. If it looks like a horror picture, you're going to see naked women (usually multiples) and blood. If it's a sexy picture on the cover, well... get your bottle of WET out and at least one "catch" and you're in for a satisfying evening (or 2 minutes if you're like me). One of the mini-challenges I wanted to do this year was to go through all the Intervision titles. We'll be continuing them over the next month or so sporadically, but Paula Paula really wasn't my cup of tea and the cover tells you why... it's about as sexy as a Jess Franco cover gets. Only problem... I really prefer Franco's surreal, eerie lesbian infested creep outs.

The Quickie... 

The Players:  Three - Lina Romay (wife of Jess Franco and super babe), Paula Davis and Carmen Montes (actress who's been in some movies with great titles i.e. Barbys vs. Dracula)

The Scare: It's not scary. It's surreal. Naked women strewn about with strange underlying psychological exploration that never comes together for me.

The B(lood) & G(ore): This is not why you watch a film with a cover like this

The Ta’s: "Yes, have some" in Lewis Tully's voice. That's why you watch the movie (and the cover agrees).

The Family Plot: See below from Diabolik but I think that the movie gets lost in a sea of nudity and strange, abstract imagery. My arthouse decoder may be on the fritz.

The Finish: If you've made it this far then you'll understand how it ends better than I.

The Art: Is sexy. The cover is sexy. It's pure intervision.

The Tech and Extras: Minimal per the Intervision standard, but again, Intervision specializes in putting out the strange titles, not embellishing them.

The Scope: It's later Franco. It's not horror. It's Franco being sexy and making something that toy with your emotions and your conception of reality. Unfortunately I missing something or just didn't care for the movie.

From DiabolikDVD:

The New York Times hails him as “the elder statesman of EuroSleaze.” The Vatican condemns him as “the most dangerous director in the world.” And with his hallucinatory new film, Jess Franco may prove them both correct: An exotic dancer named Paula (an eye-popping debut by Paula Davis) has been murdered. Her lover Paula (Carmen Montes of Franco’s SNAKEWOMAN) is the prime suspect. But in a nightmare world of passion and perversion, could abstract desire be the greatest crime of all? Lina Romay (BARE BREASTED COUNTESS) co-stars in this ‘audio-visual experience’ inspired by Jekyll & Hyde, featuring a superb jazz score by infamous Austrian pianist/composer Friedrich Gulda and loaded with Bonus Features that reveal the complete story behind one of the strangest and most fascinating films of Franco’s entire career.

Bonus Features include: Jess Franco on Contemporary Filmmaking. Jess Franco on Paula-Paula.
NTSC All Region
Interview with Franco
Spanish with English Subtitles

You can pick up Paula Paula from DiabolikDVD from the link above or Amazon through the link below though we encourage you to support the little guy. Also check out the Intervision website



  1. The original Franco-supervised limited DVD release cover sez it all: "An Audiovisual Experience". If he'd ever designed an "installation" for the MoMA, this'd be it.