Bloody Moon (AKA Collegialas Violadas) (1981)
First released: 1982
Directed by: Jess Franco
Current status: Available uncut
Bloody Moon was yet another movie to make the infamous list which, on reflection, shouldn’t really have been on it on the first place. When the film was first submitted for a UK cinema release in 1982, it was cut by a mere 1:37 seconds. In July 1983 is was added to the Video Nasty list and, as with all the titles, became collectible. It was later re-released by Inter-Light in 1992 in two versions, the cut cinema version and an uncut version. Video Nasty favourite Vipco then released the film in 1993 with 1:20 seconds of cuts, ordered by the BBFC. In 2008 the film was made available in region 0 uncut, and the good old MPAA in the US allowed the film a release with no cuts. It is now available in the UK in all its glory and probably the main reason for wanting to own this film is the simple fact that it is a Jess Franco film. Granted the guy wasn’t exactly Steven Spielberg, but boy did he work hard!
Jess Franco, the Spanish Takashi Miike in that he has made over 180 films, sometimes releasing several films at the same time. You cannot mistake a Jess Franco film too, for those I have seen are littered with sordid sex scenes, often involving lesbians and dreadful European porn music. Franco’s film would often spend ten minutes filming a girl in the bath, or brushing her hair and getting undressed, lesbian scenes or even sex scenes would just go on and on and on. A Franco film with a running time of 70 minutes would be almost one fifth sex! He very quickly became a cult director, but also a very popular one for his time. He was also able to carve out his own niche and managed to become his own person and was pretty much able to direct what the Hell he wanted. Believe it or not, his journey into the world of film began at the age of six when he would compose music with his brother Enrique. After the Spanish Civil War Franco went on the study piano, became a writer and a bachelor of law until moving into arts and theatre, a workaholic so to speak! Born in 1930 he made his first feature film in 1959 called ‘We Are 18 Years Old’ and from there went from strength to strength making all sorts of movies from horror to porn. Franco would often star in his own movies as someone of importance, or a seedy character, and would add his name to the credits but would also use different names to the point of confusion. He would also have a number of movies on the go at once and actors thinking they were playing the part for one movie would see themselves in an entirely different one! Back in those days things were a lot simpler and no one complained. Franco was an influence to filmmakers all over Europe and even some American directors, and Franco did not stop at just directing, he would also write, compose and edit his own films, as well as be the cinematographer. Franco continues to lead a bust schedule, even today with his last film being released in 2008 called A Bad Day at the Cemetary. Many of his films never see the light of day in the UK, however you may know some of his most famous works, 99 Women, Vampiros Lesbos, The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein but it was Bloody Moon which gained him such huge notoriety.
Bloody Moon is not really all that offensive, and is basically a simple slasher like which we have seen hundreds of times, however, not quite like this. See, Franco just loves to eroticise his movies, and even here where we don’t really need the huge amount of nudity and sexual references, Franco finds ways of getting those scenes into his films. There is one scene where one of the female’s fake’s having sex so impress the rest of the girls listening outside her room. As she moans and screams, we are with her for every bit of it, like some dirty old pervert! That’s how you can often feel with a Franco film, like a pervert, but it is fair to say the guy has his own unique style which he exploits to the best of his abilities and, thankfully, he has great taste in women. See, I find with the majority of these older films you tend to end up with one main female who is stunning and the rest aren’t. No with Bloody Moon, every female, from main stars to background dancers, are like angels, beautiful and captivating so we can at leasy give Franco that! His want for gorgeous women on screen works perfectly here as we spend the entire film in a language school in Spain, and a killer is on the lose.
Now, the plot is basically that but there are a few minor details which create a sense of mystery surrounding the killers identity. The film opens with a fantastically 80’s European house party, bad fashion, bad music and terrible mustaches and even worse hair cuts. The female’s are all gorgeous with not many clothes and each one of the men look like porn stars. One fella called Miguel is wandering around with a bizarre mask on, on the prowl for someone to have sex with. He finds his target, pretends to be someone else behind the mask and takes her off to bed. Once the girl realises he’s not who she thinks, she panics and Migeul’s attempted rape goes wrong so he decides to kill her in brutal fashion with a pair of scissors. He gets scarred in the violence as the woman slices his face, and after the murder he is locked in a mental asylum for five years. On his release he goes to the language school to live with his sister Manuela, and he wants the pair to re-kindle their sexual relationship. Manuela refuses as people simply won’t understand, and then an idea is hinted at “we could kill them all”. A terrible idea for a killing spree if ever there was one, but a killing spree kicks off and we are kept guessing all the way through. The plot, in all honesty, takes a back seat and simply allows Franco justice to join his scenes of violence or sexual fantasies together. There is also a bizarre owner of the school, a wheel-chair bound woman who likes to shout of Manuela’s name a lot and doesn’t care for Miguel. A terrible actress who looks right at home here as pretty much all the acting is dreadful. Probably the standout piece of acting comes from the female lead, the gorgeous Olivia Pascal as Angela.
Angela becomes the infatuation of Miguel who cannot take his eyes off her after seeing her on the train to the school. He watches her as she walks to her new room, knee high boots and short skirt and, to be fair, who wouldn’t. Franco simply shows his actor doing what we would all be doing had this girl walked past, but its the way Miguel watches that unsettles, and it doesn’t stop there. He follows her round like a lost sheep, looking for excuses to knock on her door, and so we are clearly being lead to believe he is the killer. Franco makes it a little too obvious as with each murder, we cut to Miguel usually holding what looks like the murder weapon. Now, the murders themselves are plentiful, and come the end they really mount up but probably the standout murder is the head being chopped off by a rotating saw, the effects are actually very impressive indeed. However, all repulsion is lost by an irritating kid watching the murder and trying to save the girl. We also witness earlier on a brilliant knife though the left nipple moment, however when the body is later discovered the knife is more around the abdomen area! A chainsaw death is impressive, but you can’t help but wonder why the victim didn’t just move out of the way, a spike through the neck is pretty horrific and we even get some animal cruelty as a snakes head is chopped off! So yes, there is plenty of violence on offer here but the overall feel is that of piss take on the slasher genre rather than wanting to seriously offend. It is all so gloriously over the top and silly that it is hard to take serious and become repulsed, and maybe that was Franco’s idea all along?
Each murder is accompanied by what sounds like an ambulance siren, another possible indication that Franco was simply laughing at the genre? Who knows, whatever the idea was, Bloody Moon is very very enjoyable and does not require a lot of brains to have get some sense of fun out of it. It has all the ingredients of what you would want not only from a by the book slasher, but also from a sleazy European horror. This is NOT an Argento film, is will not dazzle you with its great moments, stunning camera trickery or soundtrack. This is as simple as it gets, a killer stalking and killing young girls with the odd bit of nudity thrown in for good measure. As I said, the acting is awful, the music will make you want to throw up, the plot is thinner than one of those After Eight Mints, but the kills are good and the sense of fun is never far away. This is possibly one of the most enjoyable films I have watched so far from the list, simply because it is very easy to watch and is very pleasing on the eye. It doesn’t break any new ground and will most certainly never win any awards, but who cares, sometimes you don’t need all the hoo hah, sometimes its nice just to sit and escape and just enjoy a film for all the wrong reasons. Jess Franco, I salute you kind sir!
By the way, here is a pointless fact about the films Spanish title, the words Collegialas Violadas translates as ‘Raped Schoolgirls’.
Should Bloody Moon have been added to the Video Nasty List: Hard to say, had it been a serious film then yes, but there is far too much stupidity on offer for this to ever be offensive.