The Awful Dr. Orlof [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
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When beautiful music hall entertainers begin to disappear under mysterious circumstances, Inspector Tanner is summoned to investigate. His resourceful fiancée decides to help him by going undercover as a cabaret singer, and succeeds all too well, attracting the attention of the diabolical Dr. Orlof, who, with his blind henchman Morpho, is using the skin of slain women to restore the beauty of his disfigured sister, Melissa! "The Awful Dr. Orlof" is one of the last films of the 1960s to strike a genuine chord of Gothic horror reminiscent of the great classics of Universal, and the silent masterworks of Germany's UFA. Simultaneously, it strikes an underlying harmonic of progress and innovation, heralding a new age of erotic and sado-masochistic permissiveness within the genre. Jess Franco's first majorfilm is an atmospheric, well-photographed, amazingly lurid little masterpiece that deserves serious attention from horror fans. The brilliant, cacophonicjazz score and unusual camera angles work to create a real feeling of menace, and there's rich attention paid to period detail, and eerie lighting.
Jesús Franco, Spain's crazed cult auteur, had made a couple of features before The Awful Dr. Orloff, but this infamous thriller (reportedly Spain's first horror film) gave birth to Franco's brand of erotic horror and surreal madness. The story of a mad surgeon who kidnaps and disfigures beautiful showgirls in an attempt to restore the face of his scarred daughter is right out of George Franju's Eyes Without a Face. The style, however, is a mix of foggy Universal monster movies and sexed-up Hammer horror, which Franco pushes to the limits of Spain's 1960s censorship restrictions (and beyond). Gaunt, hollowed Howard Vernon plays the sadistic surgeon Orloff (a role he revived in a number of sequels), and Ricardo Valle dons a phony but freaky mask to play his grunting, blind, bug-eyed henchman, Morpho, who has a savage habit of taking a big bite of the victims.
It's a smooth, elegantly orchestrated thriller with handsome sets and vivid locations, and the fogbound cobblestone streets, dark alleys, and eerily empty mansions create a genuinely spooky ambiance. He also tosses in a wild, creepy, thoroughly modern experimental score. Franco went on to direct more than 150 films under a dozen pseudonyms, most of which make the brief flashes of flesh and perversity here look tame, but this trendsetting landmark is still considered one of his greatest. Image's new widescreen edition, mastered from a gorgeous French print, is reportedly restored but contains some abrupt transitions and jump cuts. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Orlof's assistant is a hideously disfigured, bug-eyed blind man in a Dracula cape named Morpho. It would have been cool if Franco had teamed up Morpho and the hairy huchbacked freak from his later film SADISTEROTICA for another movie.
More surrealism, effectively eerie visuals and a creepy soundtrack make this a nostalgic experience for horror fans Remember this was made only a mere 2 years before Herschell Gordon Lewis's groundbreaking (if you can call it that) BLOOD FEAST although ORLOF is in B&W and BF is in "Blood Color".
For a while THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF is interesting, but it's also pretentious and rather harmless by today's standards. The movie also ends rather abruptly,it's still well worth a look but I expected it to be more gruesome given the subject matter.
In 1962, prolific director Franco (credited in "Orloff" as Jess Frank) began a wholly new, wholly subversive subgrenre of horror cinema, merging (long before David Cronenberg) medical science and terror (and, to a certain extent, eroticism in the 'roughie' vein) with varied yet gruesome results. "The Awful Dr. Orloff" isn't far off the stalk 'em/slash 'em realm and could even be seen as a precursor to Roy Ward Baker's pseudoperverse 1971 Hammer produced "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde". The difference is , however, Orloff (played with understated glee by Howard Vernon) pursuing women (usaully nightclub performers/prostitutes) beautiful enough to provide the skin needed for grafting onto his horribly scarred daughter rather than murdering them for their pituitary glands. Orloff's desire to help his daughter is not driven by her wish to be beautiful but by his sinister urge to make his sexual object attractive.Orloff is assisted by a blind, yet perverse, henchman named Morpho (Riccardo Valle) who, previously, fell under the scalpel of Orloff years before in the name of 'science'.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Love the Gothic Castles and the characters are amazing including a monster named morpho who has a bugged out eyeball and scares the daylights out of beautiful women.Published on Dec 5 2013 by Lone Wolf
I love this movie. Awful acting and all. There's atmosphere to spare and a morbid story that moves. A mad surgeon uses his disfigured mind-controlled "slave"---Morpho---to kidnap... Read morePublished on Oct. 29 2002 by Mark Norvell
This movie reminds me some what of Lugosi's "Human Monster", but it really doesn't measure up. Somewhat atmospheric, but there really isn't much entertainment value here. Read morePublished on March 6 2001