Thursday, November 28, 2013

Lorna the Exorcist (1974)

Written by: Jesus Franco, Nicole Guettard, Robert de Nesle
Directed by: Jesus Franco
Starring: Lina Romay, Pamela Stanford, Guy Delorme

Fall is a great time for movie shopping. Sales abound, and while a lot of times you have to sift through a lot of crap to find the good stuff, great deals can be had. Of course, sometimes you're just sifting for a specific type of crap, as with tonight's movie. But now my shelves are overflowing. I mean, they were before, but it's much worse now. Deep Discount and Scream Factory spoiled me this year. A few months ago I shifted everything in my movie library to fit on the three big shelves that take up one wall of our dining room. After a couple of weeks of at least one movie a day arriving in the mail, now the tops of those shelves are all piled with unwatched stuff again (and I have some movies from two years' ago Halloween sale that are still in the plastic wrap). While on one hand I'm attempting to alleviate this by disposing of some items of lesser interest on eBay, I figured on the other I should, for a time, stop reviewing whatever random thing I happen to have watched on Netflix and cover some stuff that I actually paid money to own. So it's time to play a little game called Justifying My Purchases.

I am about to make you want to see a movie that, unless you're a rabid Franco completist, you probably don't really want to see. Most of the movie is way too slow to be good riffing material with friends (although the parts that are bonkers are bonkers enough that you might be glad you had some witnesses to corroborate what you think you saw), and way too slow to give you much of a chance to stay awake until the crazy shit hits the fan if you're alone, and features some of the least sexy lesbian sex ever committed to film, so unless you have a couple of really specific and weird fetishes, it's useless as an aid to making fapple sauce. “So why the hell did you watch it?” you may ask. To which I answer, “Have you seen some of the shit I watch? That's just what we do around here.”

Patrick is a doughy European businessman who has been summoned to visit an old acquaintance named Lorna (who wears makeup that makes her look a good deal like Mimi from the Drew Carey Show). Well, more ordered than summoned, really. It's pretty clear she holds some heavy stuff over his head. His daughter Linda discovers that his “business trip”, as he told her and his wife Marianne it was, is really to visit a woman with whom he'd had an affair. As soon as he says the trip is going to be a drag for him she seems fine with it though. Oh, it's going to be a bummer going to visit your old mistress? Good, I hope you're miserable, dad. Get a hotel with a pool!

I hope you're ready for some nekkidness, because that's pretty much all you're getting for the next half hour or so. Linda dreams about Lorna quite a bit. My favorite is the one where Linda is in the bath. Lorna hops in with her and they start 69ing. Lorna's contribution is to yet again lick and play with Linda's pubic hair (the fondling, licking, and yes, sucking of pubic hair is a major part of every sex scene in this movie – don't ask me, I have no idea), while Linda repeatedly slams her face into Lorna's ass. I mentioned the awkward and impractical sex scenes in Female Vampire, but they're perfectly plausible compared to the goofy stuff on display here.

There's also an unnamed (or at least, I never caught her name if they did say it) woman in a mental institution who appears to be there because she's in a state of constant sexual ecstasy. She's always writhing around and moaning, and becomes more and more undressed as the movie goes on. More on her later. I also can't find anything by way of casting information to confirm this, but her doctor is Jess in a cameo, he only has a couple of lines, and I am positive he was dubbed by Trevor Baxter, who played Professor Litefoot in the Doctor Who serial “The Talons of Weng-Chiang” and the ongoing spinoff series of Jago and Litefoot audio plays from Big Finish. I'd love to see him at a convention some time so I could ask him. I bet it's not too often a fan comes up and asks him if he did voice work for a Jess Franco movie.

While all this is going on, Patrick has been trying to keep Lorna from getting near Linda. So far all his efforts have gotten him is stabbed in the shoulder with a conch shell and Lorna cursing his wife to die by having crabs crawl out of her vagina (Another hilarious bit of dialog, “Where did you catch them!?”, suggests that in Europe, getting crabs from a sexual partner of dubious hygiene isn't just a figure of speech. Incidentally, animal lovers may want to steer clear as quite a few of them get stomped to death.). Finally, Lorna appears to Linda in the flesh, and we get the entire plot of the movie explained to us in about five minutes.

Patrick used to be broke and struggling, and he made it worse by constantly gambling away whatever money he could find in the hope that one day he'd strike a jackpot and get out of his financial mess. Lorna spotted him at the casino one day and seduced him. She's a witch, spawned directly from Hell by Satan himself, you see. As it turns out, Satanic witches and mules have a lot in common. They're stubborn, bad tempered...and sterile. The problem with that is, she has to pass on her spirit to a new body every once in a while to continue living and serving her dark lord, but the only way she can is to have a child. The only way she can do that is to seduce a man, then have him immediately impregnate another woman. The resulting child will be Lorna's new vessel when she reaches the age of 18. In return, she will make Patrick rich and successful. He, of course, assumed she was full of shit, but a naked woman was throwing herself at him, so what the hell, right?

The time has come for Lorna to stake her claim to her “lovely child” (EW EW EW!), and for some reason this involves yet another round of incestuous lesbian fondling followed by popping Linda's hymen with a huge marble dildo! Lina Romay's huge, expressive eyes (What did you think I was going to say? Get your mind out of the gutter!) really work to her advantage here, as her sustained look of shock, horror, and pain at discovering that she's been having wet dreams about her mom followed by mom manifesting in her bedroom and ramming a great big stone schlong into her is easily the best piece of acting in the movie. As Linda lies on her bed, back arched in agony, the nameless woman across town in the asylum goes into her biggest fit of orgasmic thrashing yet, and the whole thing culminates in Linda appearing to the woman, claiming to be Lorna, and fucking her to death.

It is my theory, because I put far too much effort into justifying unexplained bullshit in crappy movies, that this unnamed woman is sort of Lorna's sexual Renfield. At some point in the past, Lorna tried to have another child, something went wrong, and the resulting mess wound up spending her existence masturbating in a padded room. She was kept around as a contingency plan – better a fucked up body than no body at all – but once Linda became Lorna's new vessel, there was no more need for the other woman, and Lorna destroyed her. Or Jess Franco decided two naked squirming women weren't enough and crammed another one in there just because. I like my idea though.

Patrick visits Lorna one more time to implore her to leave his daughter alone, but he's too late. Her spirit no longer inhabits the old clown makeup body. He returns to his hotel, broken and dejected, having lost his entire family, to find Linda/Lorna sprawled naked on the bed. Things have finally come full circle jerk.

Aside from a cash grab because The Exorcist had raked it in, I have no idea why this movie is called what it's called. What they should have done was have Patrick employ an exorcist to help him save his daughter, and called the movie Lorna vs. The Exorcist. Now that's a title!

I warned you, didn't I? I bet you want to see this movie now. That's the danger with describing movies like, this; you will almost invariably make it sound entertaining, because on paper all this stuff sounds like the makings of a good time. Unless you're from Appalachia or have a pubic hair fetish, there's not really a lot to appeal. Almost nothing happens for the entire run time. The thing I got most excited about was an unconfirmed voiceover appearance by an actor who was in Doctor Who. Not that there's no fun to be had with it. You could always put it on at a party just to make everyone really uncomfortable.

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