on November 1, 2001
Jess Franco is known primarily for his "who cares?" approach to film-making, which is exemplified in such works as "Succubus" (1969) and "Vampyros Lesbos" (1970), where attention to such details as a coherent plot, good acting, and photography are sacrificed in favour of a disconnected, yet erotically charged, atmosphere of dissolution and dark despair.
"Baron von Klaus"(1962), by contrast, is a traditional gothic horror movie. The genuinely eerie mood of the film results from a relatively tight screenplay, decent acting, good cinematography and inspired direction.
"Baron von Klaus" bears considerable resemblance to the equally engaging "Doctor Orlof" (1964). Both are filmed in highly effective black-and-white, both tell stories of reclusive madmen, and both feature the creepy, bug-eyed Howard Vernon.
The DVD release is as excellent as the film itself. IMAGE adds another solid entry in its EUROSHOCK series. The film reproduction is first class, with sharp detail and minimal print damage in evidence throughout.
on November 1, 2001
For those of you who have put off watching a Franco film- don't delay watch this film! This is one of his most atmospheric, scary, and obsessed films. There are echoes of H.P. Lovecraft here: the young heir falling under the influence of his evil ancestor "Charles Dexter Ward". "The Music of Erich Zann" comes to mind when Hugo Blanco states "My grandfather was a great musician and a murderer". Older reviews state this was a mediocrity, I disagree. There are many tense moments to be found in this mystery. This print features the uncensored torture scene, but does not have the pre-credit murder sequence that I have read exists. The image is beautiful and crisp. The soundtrack is noisy with an ever present hiss, but this is not terribly intrusive. The alternate footage is hardly worth having; it being a shortened version of the explicit torture sequence. The music is virtually non stop, changing mood according to what the scene requires. A "Take Five" variant is just one of the highlights.
on October 28, 2001
This early 1960's Jess Franco film never had a US release (until this new DVD from Image) and it's kind of easy to see why. Not that it's bad...it's not. It's just that it's pretty old-fashioned, talky and slow going for the first hour. And when it finally picks up, we are subjected to a deliriously out-of-place torture-rape-bondage-nudity sequence that surely would have shocked any American audience at the time. I'm not complaing --- but I can just see American distributors watching this at the time and scratching their heads saying "Whoaaa!!" The scene is just so out of context with the rest of the film which feels like something out of the 30's. And if they trimmed out the sequence, nothing would be left except for a very average mystery thriller without much of a payoff. Still, it definitely has appeal for euro-horror buffs and giallo fans with it's crisp B&W photography, excellent use of the 2.35:1 frame, and other ethereal qualities. A few unintentional chuckles add to the fun. This is Franco in his earlier period before he became ... and he handles all the technical aspects with care and skill. The script is just not as compelling as his Dr. Orloff thrillers, unfortunately.
The only extras are an alternate "softer" sequence of the rape scene (still contains minor nudity, though) and the original french trailer. If you're a serious euro-buff or Franco fan, you'll probably want to check it out. Otherwise, there's a lot of better stuff out there for the more casual viewer. Image should be applauded, though, for releasing such limited appeal titles. This will be looked back on as another "golden" period for home video so enjoy it while it's happening. These titles will surely not be "in print" forever.
on February 3, 2002
I agree with Frankenberry from Hollywood Ca...however he was much too kind...THIS IS THE WORST mess I've purchased in a long time and I sold it for junk. This is not Franco at his best, it's Franco at his most boring! Not even worth keeping as a Franco curiosity. So the cinematography is nice and the print is good...nothing happens until that ridiculous "torture scene"! That's not why I enjoy Euroshock. I want something that keeps me glued to the film and this waste of disc material wasn't it....I adore Image for their diligence in reviving these old chestnuts with such TLC, but they should have slipped the old Baron out the back door to the dumpster. Pee-eew. I'll wait for "Mill of the Stone Women"---it ain't Franco, but at least it's Euroshock!