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The Awful Dr. Orlof [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)

Conrado San Martín , Diana Lorys , Jess Franco    Unrated   Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 24.95
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The Awful Dr. Orlof [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) + Virgin Among the Living Dead [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) + Nightmares Come at Night [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
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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

Special Features

Featurette: “The Horror of Orlof” (15 min) - one of the last on camera interviews with director Jess Franco (shot not long before his death), Interviews with former friends and collaborators discussing Franco’s legacy (broken out into several segments among these new Franco releases), ALL NEW Audio Commentary by Tim Lucas, Trailers and much more!

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars CREEPY "MORTHO" LIVES...On Dvd Jan. 11 2003
By Hugo
When I was a boy they would show this movie very late saturday nights on TV and I'd stay up way past bedtime just to watch Gothic Horror Euro-movies like this and BLACK SUNDAY(a.k.a. "The Mask Of Satan")which terrified and scared me to death. I grew up, but I never forgot those two, amongst several other OLD gothic horror flicks I've been lucky to find on Dvd these past couple years. I always thought the terrifying "Mortho" was a vampire! All I know and have never been able to forget is that I was Mortho-fied with fear and terror at the site of him. I'd be so terrified laying in bed when the lights were out because I feared seeing his face on the ceiling if I opened my eyes. He still seems quite creepy after all these years. This movie is a CLASSIC of its genre and a 'must have' for collectors. It is a gem of a remaster in classic B&W, mostly filmed at night(it seems), nevertheless, it's a well made atmospheric movie. More of a "thriller" than a "horror" flick. Nice to have just for the memories of loving scary movies as a child...
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK cult horror flick Nov. 14 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Another cult horror "classic" from Jesus "Jess" Franco. This one concerns a doctor who drugs attractive women in order to remove their skin to graft onto the face of his disfigured daughter, he has found he needs live skin from live women as dead skin is no good for his purposes.
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.
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Format:VHS Tape
Seen now, some 40 years later, Jess Franco's "The Awful Dr. Orloff" (1962), is a bizarre homage, an S/M twist on the Universal horrors of the '40's (1944's "House of Frankenstein") and producer Val Lewton's horror/noir ( also 1943's "I Walked With a Zombie") to Master Director Terence Fisher's semi-goth Hammer excursions (1958's "Horror of Dracula"). "Orloff" is imbued with fog shrouded camera lenses prowling the cobblestone streets of unknown, syphilitic European villages interspersed with a venereal cohesion of flesh and fantasy.
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'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars AKA The Diabolical Doctor Satan May 6 2001
Format:VHS Tape
This 1962 Spanish French production directed by Jess Franco is clearly inspired by Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face, with the same story of a surgeon who grafts the skin of beautiful women onto the ruined face of his daughter. Franco's skill as a visual storyteller are perhaps stronger than the script he has to overcome. The dialogue scenes that might ordinarly be accepted in another genre, here seem extended for this kind of horro pic, with a particularly long scene of the surgeon and his mistress reminiscing about how he helped her escape from prison. (We aren't told why was in prison, but considering that she is only around as the voice of reason, we don't mind when she is removed). Although the place where the action takes place is unnamed, Franco succeeds in creating the European world of the vampire, with night scenes in the rain, cobbled unpopulated roads, horse driven carriages, figures wearing voluminous capes, and the surgeon having a disabled servant. He also gives the soundtrack a cacophanous mix of discordant sounds and musical instruments, as if an orchestra is tuning up in the forest, and uses tight framing and editing. The victims of the surgeon all frequent the town "cabaret", with it's Blue Angel Marlene Dietrich style mode of performers, which gives the suggestion that they are immoral and therefore disposable. When the surgeon comes across the girlfriend of the inspector of police, who he considers the double of his daughter, the plot becomes their mutual game of chase - he pursuing her for her face, and she pursuing him to catch him. Read more ›
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