Jesus “Jess” Franco is a notorious filmmaker to say the least. He has made well over 200 films during his career. Horror, exploitation, sleaze, he’s done it all. The majority of his work is known for its “Exoticism” if you will. His films have become legendary to horror and exploitation fans around the world. She Killed In Ecstasy, 99 Woman, Blood of Fu Manchu, Barbed Wire Dolls and more are beloved by many. Another film that makes a lot of people Jess Franco lists is 1975’s Shining Sex. It’s a very odd combination of film. Part erotica (that’s the big part) and science fiction. It’s a very unique blend, and a very unique film.
Shining Sex is the story of Cynthia. She’s an exotic dancer of sorts at a high class club. In fact the film opens with a long dance by her. She’s good, really good. So good that a couple named Andros, and Alpha and offer her some extra cash to come home with them. Little does Cynthia know they are actually aliens from another planet. Alpha infects her with a little bit of alien juice if you will and they soon take control of her. They all have sex but they also want her to simply kill a handful of people who have found out that they are actually aliens.
Cynthia does manages to be a seductive killing machine thanks in part to the weapon they load in her “woman” area. She does disappoint one time but a nice little does of electro shock takes care of that. I wish there was more I could tell you about this film but that’s about it. Not saying its bad, I actually find it rather enjoyable, it’s just much on plot. I mean the scene where Andros and Alpha take control of Cynthia has almost zero dialogue and goes on for close to 15min. The film itself run short as well, but how much can you stretch this.
Now here is what I give Franco the most credit for. This film, like a lot of his work is made cheap. This film itself had to have been made for pocket change. But you really can’t tell. Franco was a master of his craft. He could make these films on the cheap but the way he would frame every shot and hid the negative aspects was marvelous to say the least. His films felt like big productions. Unfortunately those productions were usually heavily edited. In fact Shining Sex had close to 20minutes cut from it making it impossible to understand. In Japan a version of this floated around that made the tape trading circles in the mid to late 90’s but that version was a fogged when it came to nudity. So basically what I am saying is that for the longest time the film was unwatchable, but not anymore.
Thanks to the amazing folks at Severin we are not getting Shining Sex on Blu-ray full uncut and remastered. Yes, everything her is presented in the original manor and the transfer is pristine. This is an old film that Severin has done a remarkable job with. The picture quality is amazing, especially considering the old negative they had to work with. The audio is clear as a whistle. This is a great transfer to say the least. I still say Severin needs to start selling their cover art as posters, as they make incredibly eye catching. And they also included a fantastic amount of special features.
· In the Land of Franco Part 3 – Stephen Thrower & Antonio Mayans Tour Multiple Franco Locations in Málaga, Spain
· Shining Jess – Interview with Stephen Thrower, Author of Murderous Passions and Flowers of Perversion
· Never Met Franco – Interview with Filmmaker Gerard Kikoine
· Very NSFW Outtakes
· Franco At Eurociné – Interview with Producer Daniel Lesoeur
· Commentary with Authors/Podcasters Robert Monell and Rod Barnett Trailer
· Filmmaker Christophe Gans on Franco
This is defiantly one of the strangest, yet coolest films I have ever watched. Its probably my second favorite Jess Franco film. This is a must own to say the least. A simple story that has to be seen to be believed, good acting, a great score, and its definitely something you will never see again in terms of plot Pick one up right away.
Overall 3.5 out of 5 Stars!