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Saturday, April 27, 2019

EMANUELLE AND FRANCOISE -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

Is "Cinemax After Dark" still a thing? I remember in the 80s when HBO's sister channel Cinemax would show softcore sex comedies and thrillers during the late-night hours. Director Joe D'Amato's EMANUELLE AND FRANCOISE, aka "Emanuelle's Revenge" and "Blood Revenge" (Severin Films, 1975), is a lot like what would happen if one of those softcore sex thrillers had a head-on collision with one of the director's celebrated blood 'n' guts gore epics. 

Francoise (Patrizia Gori, WAR OF THE ROBOTS, DEADLY CHASE) is a cute, chipper fashion model whose life would be sunshine and lollipops if her live-in boyfriend Carlo (well-played by George Eastman of D'Amato's ABSURD and ANTROPOPHAGUS) weren't such a horrible cad.

Not only does he make her have sex with guys he owes money to, but when she walks in on him getting it on with another woman, his response is to stuff her clothes in a suitcase and toss her out on her ear.  Poor heartbroken Francoise goes straight to the nearest train track and throws herself in front of the next speeding locomotive.

Enter Francoise's worldly older sister Emanuelle (Rosemarie Lindt, SALON KITTY, PORNO-EROTIC WESTERN), who, after reading Francoise's novella-length suicide note, vows revenge against Carlo. 

She contrives to meet him and then leads him on until he ends up in her trap--a secret prison cell behind a sliding wall in her living room, with a two-way mirror through which chained-up Carlo must watch her indulge in the culinary and sexual delights he is now denied (with a much harsher final punishment reserved for the end).

The film is an example of how capable director Joe D'Amato (THE ALCOVE, ABSURD, ANTROPOPHAGUS, BEYOND THE DARKNESS, EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS) was at handling this sort of sexy potboiler, which has the look of one of the better low-budget Italian films of its kind being produced during that era. 

There's a good deal of nudity and sexual activity, from Francoise's unfortunate encounters to Emanuelle herself cavorting with various male and female partners for Carlo to see.  Rosemarie Lindt, not exactly the kind of woman I picture when I hear the name "Emanuelle", is a good actress with sort of an Honor Blackman quality.

Co-written by D'Amato and Bruno Mattei (SHOCKING DARK, ZOMBIE 3, ZOMBIE 4), the film resembles a giallo much of the time, but what really plunges it into horror territory is when Carlo, forced to watch as his captor and her guests gorge themselves on an elegant candlelight dinner, imagines them feasting on human body parts.  Thus we see these sophisticated diners happily chomping away on severed hands, feet, and various other carnal delicacies rarely seen outside of a zombie flick.

A later scene (which may or may not be a hallucination) finds Carlo on the loose after escaping his secret room and attacking Emanuelle with a meat cleaver.  This scene consists mainly of Lindt rolling around nude in a gallon or two of fake blood while a crazed Eastman swings the meat cleaver, which doesn't look very convincing but is certainly lively and fun to watch.

Things finally come to a head when Emanuelle decides it's time for Carlo to pay the ultimate price (I'll give you three guesses what that is), leading to an entertaining final sequence with a pleasing twist ending.  It's more of a kick in the rear than a gut punch, but fans of both sexy thrillers and gruesome gorefests should find that EMANUELLE AND FRANCOISE fits the bill on both counts. 

Buy it at Severin Films

Street date: April 30, 2019

Special Features:
    Three Women and a Mirror: Interview With Actress Maria Rosaria Riuzzi
    The Other Side of the Mirror: Interview With Actor George Eastman
    Deleted/Alternate scenes

    2k Scan From Original Negative
    Reversible Cover


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