Groovy & Wild Films from Around the World

Friday, December 02, 2011

Lorna the Exorcist (1974)

Well, after some build-up, I finally had the chance to watch Jess Franco's Lorna: The Exorcist. Okay, now, where to start...? Perhaps I should mention – then again, perhaps it goes without saying – that there is nary an exorcist to be found in the film. Nor any attempt at an exorcism. There is a Lorna, however, and we first see her in a ten-minute lesbian romp with Franco muse Lina Romay (as Linda). We soon discover that this is some sort of lesbian fantasy on Linda's part, and as the plot thickens, we find that Lorna is capable of bodily possession. The first clue to this comes from the poor girl who spends the film half-naked in a hospital for the insane, locked in a room and watched over by a doctor played by none other than Jess Franco himself, in scenes that could have been lifted from a handful of other Franco films. The insane girl rants her nights away calling for Lorna. Lorna, we find out, has a direct connection to Linda and her parents in the film, and Lorna soon appears in the flesh to Linda (in yet another lesbian scenario, the third one between the pair at this point) while somehow placing a curse on Linda's mother. Lorna then doesn't so much jump from body to body as she does lesbian encounter to lesbian encounter. And there is plenty of heterosexual scenarios, too, as Linda's father Patrick has more sex in twenty-five minutes than most of us have had all week. As watchable as all these shenanigans are, sadly, this is not one of Franco's more elegant nor graceful efforts. The camerawork is sloppy (okay, no surprise, right?) and the editing is just grating (again, not a big shock), but this is a real shame because Lorna (the film) boasts some of the finest locations Franco has ever filmed at, both exterior and interior. With more care, this could have been a gorgeous entry in the euro-smut genre, and possibly a minor gem. As it is, there are far too many technical distractions, even for a Franco film, as the subject matter, as well as the performances portraying the plot, are not nearly as charming or kitschy as some of his more famous efforts. That being said, the one thing that does make the film worthwhile is Lina Romay herself, who has rarely seemed more sensuous on screen. If nothing else, Franco certainly knows how to shoot a girl.

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