Now it's time to say Hello to one of the grand purchases from the Vaults of Tower, an obscure but daily growing slice of bad, obscure, exploitative, erotic, European horror cinema from 1971 known as Morgane et ses Nymphes, or as the English call it Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay! While Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay is most definitively a Mondo Trasho entry into "Le Bad Cinema", I have to point this out (with at least my middle finger): The movie is most definitely not "BAD".
Now, bear with me here. I'm going to get this out of the way up front... Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay is virtually packed with Beautiful Naked Women Engaging in Lesbian Sex and apparently loving every second of it. Yes this is a European (specifically French) Erotic Horror piece that fits quite nicely into the "Exploitation" category. Yes, this is a bit contrived and in places, somewhat cheap. To stretch the imagination, if this were made in the USA in 1971, I'd bet this would be a sub-standard vaguely medieval version of Deep Throat.
However, there is a lot more going for this movie than just the Beautiful Naked Women engaging in Lesbian Sex and apparently loving every second of it. For example, Director Bruno Gantillon, in spite of the fact that this was only his second film, displays an expansive camera eye that drinks in the French country side every bit as appreciatively as it does the lithe, naked bodies of its principal characters. This is far from just being a single-note visual linking the hotness together. No, Gantillon alternates styles and lighting to suit each scene, pacing himself greatly when necessary and enjoying some skillful quick-cuts when appropriate only. Further, Jacques Chaumelle's script isn't a carbon copy of every similar film (this is no Zombie Lake, but then, I love Zombie Lake too). The acting, combined with a script packed with varied characterizations and Gantillon's quality directing makes this a nice film to look at regardless. No, I'm not trying to turn a B-Movie into Citizen Kane, and, let's face it, most, including me, will watch this flick for the Beautiful Naked Women engaging in Lesbian Sex and apparently loving every second of it. But if that's all one is to expect, one will be surprised.
Two young, beautiful friends (who enjoy the occasional erotic twist with each other, we learn) from Paris journey to the Country on holiday. Beautiful Brunette Françoise (Mireille Saunin) draws her Beautiful Blonde Friend Anna's portrait while Anna (Michéle Perello) drives them over the river and through the woods! Though they are warned (at the Inn they stop at) to avoid proceeding into the dark country side (like in Dracula), they avoid this warning (like in Dracula) and rage on into the dying of the light.
But the woods never end, and the ladies discover that they are going in circles in this creepy forest. Soon, however, they rage on to the dying of their engine and find themselves alone in a seemingly deserted farm house. Undaunted, they relax on a bed of hay and have a... well, a roll in the hay. While it was polite of Anna to give Françoise an orgasm before sleepy time, when Françoise awakens half-dressed the next morning, Anna is gone. What is Anna? A Guy? Hell!
Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your point of view) a creepy little dwarf named Gurth (Alfred Baillou, who wears more mascara than Eric Draven) points Françoise in the direction of where she can find Anna. Through the woods (with a creepy dwarf) and over the river (in a boat that drives itself) and Françoise finds herself in a charming medieval Castle where Beautiful Women roam Free and Naked (or occasionally in see-through gowns without undies), pausing only to have Lesbian Sex to please their Hot, Mystical Mistress, one Morgane (Dominique Delpierre)!
Though desperate to find her friend, Françoise instead finds herself stripped naked and bathed, fed dinner and wooed into a sexy passivity. This is just as we, the viewer, learn that Anna herself is being held (or, uh... "Bound") in the Dungeon, being given the choice between eternal youth as a Beautiful Naked Woman engaging in Lesbian Sex and apparently loving every second of it, or slowly aging into an old crone and variously victimized by varicose and viscous vermillion vault keepers.
But what will Anna choose, and what Françoise choose, especially as it is discovered that, to Morgane, Françoise is more than just another hot slave girl? Before we find out, we're introduced to the three favored concubines of Morgane (most akin to the three "Brides of Dracula"), the alternately naked and see-through gown clad Yael (Régine Motte), Sylviane (Ursule Pauly) and Sarah (Nathalie Chaine). With their psychic visions and Morgane's supernatural sorceress puissance and witchy wisdom, Françoise hasn't a ghost of a chance of escape... but how will the three top topless hotties react to another favored and flavorful hen in the hen house, and how will horny-ass Gurth react when he finally realizes that "Gay Means Gay, laughing boy!"?
Of course, we're all subjected to one massive Lesbian Orgy before the closing credits roll... and I really wasn't offended by this. To be fair, this is all relatively soft-core, never crossing the threshold into out and out porn. This is about the level of explicit action that one might get from your average Misty Mundae film. On the other hand, though Morgane et ses Nymphes does have a sense of humor, this never devolves into the silly comedy of such modern day followers in this genre. In many respects this is an erotic Art-Film, much more than a Z-Grade Midnight Movie. There is a European Sensibility to this, and an honest effort to make the story work. The orgy in interlaced with scenes of three beautiful dancing girls in the aforementioned gowns performing a well-choreographed soft shoe (actually no shoe) number to the score by Cisco El Rubio (AKA, I've heard, Francois de Roubaix). Further, this isn't the ham-handed and overtly masculine "cut to the chase" montage of sex scenes. Not only does this film have a logical (if somewhat thin) plot, but much of the sex is given a romantic bend, preceded by kissing and long locked eyes. Man... I wish I was a Lesbian.
I can't believe I typed that. I wish my Back Space Key wasn't broken still.
The script is literate and interesting, bringing in some thrilling images of Arthurian Legend (in case you aren't aware, "Morgan Le Fay" was King Arthur's Half Sister in most of the tales) and a surreal dreamy supernature to the proceedings. As such, this is much less a "Horror Film" (though that aspect is there) than a "Fantasy Film". Both the Means that "Fata Morgana" employs and the Ends that she seeks are about seven kinds of questionable, but let's look at this... she's not chopping up teenagers in their dreams, she's not stalking summer camps, she's not trying to kill her family on October 31st of every year and she's not carving her guests up with a chain saw and making a Chili out of them. All in all, Morgane's goals are not so bad (unless you're a 700 Club viewer) and she most certainly has good taste (and probably tastes good). If I were a Lesbian Sorceress from Camelot, you'd better believe I'd pack my Magic Castle with Naked Cinderellas! Hell, with her secret of Immortality, this is one Tower that won't be going out of Business.
Three Stars out of Five for the Sexy Arty Gay-Girl Horror Fantasy known as Morgane et ses Nymphes. It's an interesting, literate and actually pretty mature take on an old legend (for a similar theme, check out The Blood Spattered Bride's take on Carmilla) that never shorts out into the crap its genre threatens to turn it into. Male or Female, Gay, Straight or Bi, if you like Fantasy/ Horror films and aren't disturbed by nudity and Lesbian Sex, Check out Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay... it might just be a unique experience. You see, in the USA we can't get away with stuff like this, probably because the films that get made of this type give the impression that the all-too-male film makers are giggling down their sleeves like Boy Scouts at a Slumber Party who found their dads' Porn Stash. But then again, I guess the way this review reads suggests that I'm guilty of the same thing. But, hey, I'm literate, I'm mature, I'm artistic. It's not like this is the only kind of flick I ever watch. Now, if you'll please excuse me, I've just discovered that The Sundance Channel has Vampyros Lesbos On Demand to watch for Free, and I'd really like to get that reviewed, please.
What? What? Oh, now you stop that!
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