Bloody Moon (1981)
AKA: Die Sge des Todes (Original German Title)
AKA: Profonde tenebre (Italy)
AKA: Bloody Moon - Die Sge des Todes (Alternate West German title)
AKA: Colegialas violadas (Spain)
AKA: La Lune de Sang (France)
AKA: Sexmord p pigeskolen (Denmark)
AKA: Terror y muerte en la universidad (Argentina)
AKA: The Bloody Moon Murders (Belgium)

(Release Date: March 27, 1981)


Well, the Bloody Moon is at it again!

J.C. Maek III... 

Video Nasty Critic!
J.C. Maek III
The World's Greatest Critic!!!

There are a few things that director Jesus "Jess" Franco knew really well. The first was Erotica, the second was Erotic Horror, the third was Naked Women, the fourth was... well, I think erotically beautiful naked women in erotic horror flicks covers what Jess-o was truly good at. Clearly one thing he wasn't Jessie-on-the-Spot with was the Slasher Flick.
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Make no mistake, though, aside from that, Ol' Jess has the nudity factor nicely represented in this Spanish-made flick (first released in Germany). But if you know much about Jess Franco, the idea that he actually took a stab (pun intended) at the Slasher Subgenre of horror has got to fill you with just a tad of either trepidation, nausea or both. Yes, this one is all about a madman who stalks and murders beautiful, oft-naked women. At some points he's even wearing a Halloween Mask and at all times his identity is intended to be hidden. Throw in the fact that there are also rubber mannequin-cutting scenes, burning motifs and an all-girl's college and you've got a veritable avalanche of unoriginality clogging up Projector and VHS player alike. The Dnouement even feels more than a lot like that of 1971's Reazione a catena (a fellow entry on the Video Nasty list). But hey, Exploitation and all, right? You gotta love that Jess Franco, man. Well, maybe.

Primarily Bloody Moon concerns a wealthy countess named Maria Gonzales (Maria Rubio) who plans on leaving her entire fortune to her hideously scarred nephew Miguel (Alexander Waechter), ignoring Miguel's sister Manuela (Nadja Gerganoff). But where Aunt Countess fails to show affection for Manuela, Miguel more than takes up the slack, in varied inappropriate ways. Yes, it's safe to say he feels "That Way" about his sister. He says it's because she's the only woman who never laughed at him. But his frustration causes him to do some seriously unfunny things like rape and murder women at costume parties.

After confinement in a mental institution, Miguel (the Spanish version of "Michael") is back again and again women start to die. Yep. Halloween mask, Michael, Mental institution. and that's only ONE rip off!

From this point we focus on an oft-naked college co-ed named Angela (Olivia Pascal) and her oft-naked friends like Eva (Ann-Beate Engelke), Laura (Corinna Drews) and Inga (Jasmin Losensky). All of them are liable to be chopped up by the bad guy and neither teacher (like Christoph Moosbrugger's Alvaro) nor suitor (like Peter Exacoustos' Antonio) nor Doctor (in this case played by Jesus Franco himself) can save them.

Franco's interpretation of Rayo Casablanca's script plays around with a long series of ideas, some of which actually make a small amount of sense. There are all kinds of hints and red herrings here, some complicating, most convoluting the script. Is Miguel really the killer or is he being framed? Is Angela really a victim or is all of this in her head? Could there even be more than one killer? Some of the intended complexity here is even lost in the English translation (which is the version that landed on the Video Nasty list). Angela's plight is complicated by the fact that she is supposed to be a German Exchange Student in a Spanish Speaking country. However, the English translation makes just about everybody sound like cartoon characters from West Los Angeles. When Angela says "What good is a sign when you can't even read it?" we slowly remember "Oh, yeah, she's... she's a foreigner, isn't she? Oh... yeah."

Regardless, any real attempt at quality here is lost in the usual exploitation and definitively Franco madness. Characters make decisions and moves that make no sense and are completely out of character just for the hell of it. Further (though this isn't really a complaint), women in this movie seem to doff their clothing for no good reason and there are all kinds of contrivances built around the shedding of clothing. Ah, Franco, we can always count on you. For example, at a swimming pool attached to the University, a large group of girls are lounging around, studying and relaxing. Two of them decide to take their tops off to get some sun. If I've interpreted this wrong and this wasn't a moment of incongruity then I'm moving to Europe now. Every once in a while there will be a good reason to change clothes thrown in, almost never do the women wear brassieres (even when their shirts are see-through) and at least once a scene of pensive introspection that doesn't require nudity is shot while the pensively introspective woman in question is wearing only panties.

If that's the level of care and realism shown toward the nudity, just imagine how well the rest of the film is handled from a logic perspective. It's not so much "all over the map" as it is "hey, anybody see that confounded map anywhere?" From ridiculous conveniences to plot holes an Ent could skip rope through to false starts and bare misses, I had to wonder if ol' "Hey Zeus Franco" even cared. And you should see the gore effects.

This brings us to just why this film was listed as a Video Nasty by the BBFC. I can just picture folks like James Anderton, Mary Whitehouse and Graham Bright taking notes at every scene and saying "That's a No-No!" and "Oooh, we can't have that, now can we?" and "Bob's Your Uncle, this'll have to go!" Here are just a few violations: A woman is stabbed through the breast... backward, so the blade pops out from the inside; A woman is decapitated (in a lame special effect) by a giant whirling blade as part of a bizarre piece of S&M Foreplay; A child is run down by a car intentionally; A snake's head is clipped off by garden shears and then ol' Franco focuses on its spasming, reflexing remains for a while.

Do these things make Bloody Moon a bad movie? No. The acting, directing, production, dubbing and writing do. Those and the score by Gerhard Heinz, which, for the most part seems to consist of Halloween Tape Effects and four notes played repeatedly on an electric guitar. Over and over and over again. At one point Angela actually puts on a record before jumping into the shower and the record is if those same four notes over and over again and again and again. Those are four popular notes around Alicante Comunidad, Valenciana, Spain, clearly.

And to a certain audience, I'm sure Bloody Moon (or Colegialas violadas in Spanish) might have been popular around there too. But on it gets a Dog! Beautiful women can't save a film that rips off everything from Psycho to Halloween to... well, who has time for the whole list? This flick predates the preponderance of video rentals, so Jess and Rayo must've spent a lot of money on tickets to rip off this many films. The joke is most assuredly on we the idiots who spent money tracking these derivative and banned flicks down. I should've just spent that money on making my own movie. Judging from what Franco got away with here, it would have been cheaper.

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BLOODY MOON (1981) reviewed by J.C. Maek III
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And for the fact that he wonders why there were no unexplained topless sunbathers lounging around his college.
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