It’s probably criminal that a self-confessed Surgeon of Horror, that I have now just sat down to watch a film by Jesús Franco, a Spanish director whose work spanned over 170 films and garnered a reputation in the field of exploitation and B-Movies.
The film under the retrospective gaze is Bloody Moon, which celebrates its 40th Anniversary since its release, fits perfectly into this description. Part of its appeal / repulsion, depending on your stance comes down to the heavily stylised nature of the film.
Bloody Moon is incredibly clunky and on many occasions the editing of the narrative is fractured and sparse, which can alienate the viewer through the series of seemingly unrelated scenarios that are strung together.
What does work well however is by creating a prologue that deliberately skew our perspective of our lead suspect, Miguel (Alexander Waechter). Miguel bears a horribly disfigured face and due to this he is already ostracized from society. When he tries to hide his features from a woman during a sexual encounter, by masquerading as someone else, it naturally goes wrong. Feeling rebuked again, Miguel loses his temper and stabs the poor victim to death with a pair of scissors and is institutionalised in a mental institute for his crime.
Five years later, Miguel is left in the care of his equally disturbed sister, Manuela (Nadja Gerganoff) who runs a youth boarding school of languages on the Costa Del Sol. It is the school camp / campus setting that has likened this film to other slasher films of the time, like Friday the 13th.
We have our central heroine, Angela (Olivia Pascal), who arrives at the school and immediately becomes the subject of Miguel’s infatuation. So when the body count then starts piling up then Miguel immediately falls under suspicion.
Despite its displaced narrative, there are some moments when the bouts of the extreme are satisfying for fans of the genre, namely the power saw scene. There is however, a harrowing moment that swiftly follows this when a child who tries to save the girl from the killer grind, and is mowed down by a car as he tries to escape.
Bloody Moon is nicely tied up through an admittedly maniacal conclusion that is handled with a heightened sense of melodrama. It deserves your time, for it is both entertaining and twists and turns its way along while amping up the gore factor at timely moments. So if you can forgive the clunks and awkward delivery, there is a decent slasher film lurking beneath the surface.
- Saul Muerte