SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY (1971)
Sie tötete in Ekstase
Directed by Jess Franco
German dubbing with English subtitles
On DVD and Blu-Ray from Severin Films
Young Doctor Johnson has been conducting some questionable research involving injecting animal hormones into foetuses and humans to see if they can prevent illnesses. Though seemingly reaching a breakthrough, a panel of his superiors aren’t impressed with his unethical research and strike him off the doctor’s register so he may never practice medicine again. After slumping into a depression that not even his loving wife can snap him out of, Johnson commits suicide. With the loss of her true love, Mrs Johnson vows to get revenge on the panel of doctors who ruined her husband’s life and ‘killed’ him with their decision.
Jess Franco’s revenge horror thriller SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY offers up a straight-foward storyline of a woman so full of grief at the death of her husband that the only way she thinks she can fix it and bring him back to her is if she takes the lives away from those who essentially took her husband’s life away from him. Through seduction, Mrs Johnson plans to murder each of the four doctors and has a particular gruesome fascination of destroying the reproductive organs of the men in question. Though one of the doctors on the panel is female, this won’t stop Mrs Johnson from using her sensual allure to get close to the doctor to exact her revenge on behalf of her deceased husband. No matter what gender he enemies are, she’ll exact revenge nonetheless. This doesn’t exactly come as a shock as in all the Jess Franco films I’ve seen previously there’s usually a lesbian scene.
For fans of erotica, there’s not much in the film to get excited over. Apart from some full front nudity here and there from both the men and women and some frolicking around in the buff, SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY is pretty straight-laced. I wouldn’t even go as far as saying the film is softcore, there’s that little nudity in it. Instead, the film focuses on Mrs Johnson’s predatory approach towards the doctors and the thrill comes from how she is going to dispatch these people and will she get away with her crime. You can’t help but feel sorry for Mrs Johnson. Her husband pretty much died the day he lost his job as he never spoke a word to her since, instead torturing himself at the loss of his career. Mrs Johnson mourns this fact, that she lost him at the drop of a hat and often daydreams of kissing and making love to him, even literally attempting to with his dead, cold body in their home, but she hasn’t realised that nothing will bring him back. She even daydreams of kissing him whilst she’s seducing her victims to get her through the crime to reach her bloody goal. After all, she’s not doing it because she’s sex obsessed or physically attracted to these people. Seducing them is a means to an end.
Attractive Spanish actress Soledad Miranda makes for a strong lead character as Mrs Johnson whilst Fred Williams puts in a fine performance as her husband. Both the actors and the supporting cast do all that is required of them to play their respective characters with the script and screenplay not too challenging to tackle. I’d have liked to have seen a jucier plot than what we see here, which is pretty much paint by numbers, but it all works fine as it stands.
Severin Films have brought SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY to Blu-Ray with a decent HD transfer complete with 2.0 stereo sound of German dubbed audio and English subtitles. There’s a great selection of special features too including an insightful recent interview with Jess Franco on the film as well as an interview with Paul Muller who stars as Dr Huston in the film. There’s also a featurette about actress Soledad Miranda, who died at the age of 27 before this film was released, from historian Amy Brown, and an interview with Stephen Thrower, the author of Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jess Franco.
Not one of Jess Franco’s best films but SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY certainly has its own style which will appeal to Franco fans and sexploitation fans in equal measure.