Lorna, the Exorcist (Les possédées du diable), 1974
When her flesh begins to crawl... so will yours!
“Hello Pappa!” – Linda
Taking cue and title opportunity (and zero inspiration) from the previous year’s The Exorcist by William Friedkin, Jesús Franco, (the king of micro-budget sexploitation films, jungle misadventures, giallos, crime film-nudes/noirs and one of the pioneers of the nunsploitation genre where convoluted references are made to religious oppression or sexual suppression by indulging in soft-core porn, much like Abel “Bad Boy” Ferrara’s early films (minus the drilling message of a Ferrara project and other similar threatening, film-making whispers and sensibilities), and common themes of celibacy, lesbianism and incestuous resolution that run amok in Franco’s body of highly erotic, mischievous work (his films are mere inches away from crossing into the pornographic territory). Franco directs a Faustian themed film where the protagonist refuses to make parallels; calling Faust, God, the devil and satanic pacts the creations of an author’s mind.
“You’re like a mysterious seductress from the pages of a Fairy Tale” – Patrick
“That’s what I am” – Lorna
And I’m gonna throw up.
Patrick fondles the voluptuous and a very naked Lorna, “Your tits seem real enough.” It could have been “lips” and not “tits” but with Franco helming the erotic boat, who gives a shit?
A family man’s past comes back to haunt him, in the shape of his long lost fuck buddy, Lorna. She asks him for his daughter in return for making him super rich and super horny, nineteen years ago.
I realize I have taken the name of Jesús Franco in the same paragraph as two of the most eminent directors of our time, I realise that is sacrilegious to some but it’s time to get off the high horse. Franco, whose films are not all that pressing or profound as, say, Ms. 45, 1981 or Cruising, 1980, has a reputation to maintain. His much celebrated and adored underground stock of bad acting, cheap props (when a man throws up blood and some of it lands on his suit, he reacts in alarm as if the suit was not meant to be puked upon) and a sex scene every ten minutes is every fanboy’s wet dream.
All of it is quite inviting, if not refracting, that one bit makes for a large cult following and his films like Queen of the Tabarin Club, 1960; The Awful Dr. Orloff , 1961; 077 Intrigue in Lisbon, 1965; The Diabolical Dr. Z, 1966; Eugénie, 1973; Wanda, the Wicked Warden, 1977; Necronomicon, 1966 and Venus in Furs, 1968 amongst other rather titillating and blatantly raunchy with a dash of the supernatural outings are considered to be masterpieces.
However, this pilgrim was not impressed; aroused probably (I dig the trim) and perplexed but not intrigued nor ruffled. Although I must say, this Franco dude cast some top babes in his X-rated, simple-minded feature films. Take the random babe in the random room at a random health facility, which could be a mental institute, for instance – credited as Mad Woman, the random lady is gyrating her exposed pelvis and grinding her body on a single bed whenever Franco’s camera is on her or closing in on her voracious vagina. She groans, she moans, she fakes an orgasm like every other top babe in the film and in the end adds very little fodder to the plot, except that she is in a lesbian scene and that Catherine Lafferière looks enticingly lustful much like the plot itself, but with a faking an orgasm or twenty.
We see the credit roll – with nothing left for the end – as the film starts (like it happened in the old days), the camera lingers on some lemons hanging from branches with morning dew on them and then BAM, cut to two women; Curly the Clown and Pocahontas going all brown nose on each other. This goes on for a good ten minutes. I know Franco has a reputation, however witnessing this guy’s handiwork first-hand is a completely different ball(s)game.
Lorna the Exorcist is stamped and sealed with the Franco trademark, complete to downright terrible film-making; cameraman shadows, actors unintentionally looking into the camera as they change sex positions, Linda inadvertently looking away from Lorna’s anus as both perform cunnilingus on each other, choppy editing, a picture from a calendar as a stand-in view of Camargue in France, random Patient Seven reading a magazine in the nude and upside down, top babe number one rubbing her boobies against a mirror, random babe turning out to be a lost soul who had abandoned Lorna and now is in the care of Dr. Jesús Franco for paranoid schizophrenia, top babe number two slithering on the bed, top babe number three wearing only fishnet stockings and sitting on top babe number two’s face followed by an elaborate flashback from “nineteen years ago”, where the actors look the same, transfer of power through the act of carpet-munching, Marlboro product placement (in a Franco film, for what?), horny daughter in bathtub, horny babe’s finger in vagina, once again the sensual slink of top babe number two, crabs coming out of a vagina and other such lubricious flourishes fill the entire 92 minute run-time of the film. The latter is wrapped in or perverted by a lazy or a borrowed or both, musical arrangement full of Flamenco guitars, punctuated with electronic wah-wah pedal riffs and elevator music. How acutely pornographic.
The film focuses on many women, however, Lorna (played by Pamela Stanford), with two pairs of eyebrows, heavy-duty eye makeup, and bad teeth, is the harlot; the Whore of fucking Babylon. A Babylon, which is only spoken of, like bloodless wounds and a wife trying to convince us that she sees red. We follow Lorna throughout the film – a film trying very hard to make it work with a broken and tarnished ideology of the reckless 70s – from the apartment to the casino, then to the blackjack table where the house edge is in effect but I do not suppose the actors know that or they would not be this gracious in tipping the dealer; to the dance floor where everyone is dancing awkwardly, to the awful dubbing, and even more malicious intent; Lorna the Exorcist is just bad; so bad that the director hides behind someone called Clifford Brown in the credits and supposedly retakes are a luxury here and we get to see a crew member help open a sliding door from the other side – it is plain old squally with tonnes of sex to keep the viewer going anyway.
Having said all, the crabs scene is hilarious in a particularly demented way, in part for its glaring suggestions and the film is meant for a select few who have taken to the taste of whatever Jesús Franco has to offer, including his latest picture Revenge of the Alligator Women, 2013 (now that’s a mouthful) and the remake of Lorna the Exorcist, called Incubus, 2002 and also scathingly called “(a) pure waste of film stock, well almost.”
I had pressed play expecting to be interested some, if not absorbed. Instead, I got to watch Pamela Stanford (Sexy Sisters, 1977) gobble up a dildo covered in virgin blood. How sickeningly awful. Urghhh!