And Death Smiled


This is a kinda-sorta entry in the Dr. Orlof series but he’s only mentioned in passing…When Dr. Z literally dies of embarrassment at a science symposium, his daughter uses the doc’s brainwashing machine (intended to reform prisoners) on an exotic dancer aptly named Miss Muerte (which was the original title, by the way) to seek vengeance against Dr. Z’s philistine colleagues.  Now, this is the movie where you can see Jesus Franco’s signature style begin to emerge, in the surreal touches such as Miss Muerte’s lethally sharp nails…and her stage act where she performs in an expressionistic spider web with a mannequin…Not to mention the scene where she wears a sort of nude bodystocking emblazoned with what looks like a giant spider made of menstrual blood..Sorry for that particular mental picture, sickies…but I don’t know how else to describe it…Just as much of Franco’s work buggers description…Most surreal of all, however, is that the screenplay was co-written by Jean-Claude Carriere, the guy who wrote the scripts for The Unbearable Lightness Of Being and The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie…Yep, Dr. Z is yet another point where the arthouse and grindhouse dovetail. The more you look at it, the thinner that fine line gets, doesn’t it?



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