Groovy & Wild Films from Around the World

Friday, July 04, 2014

Severin's Hot Nights of Lina... I mean, Linda!

I've had Severin Films' triple blu-ray/DVD combo in my possession for a while now -- at least a few months -- and I finally gave the set a spin this week and sat my ass down and watched it.

So, why did I wait many months before checking out The Hot Nights of Linda in hi-def? Easy, I thought it was a simple exploitation picture. I usually prefer my Jess Franco on the surreal or kitschy side. What I hadn't noticed before, was that Hot Nights pairs up starlette Alice Arno with Lina Romay once again, and as I've recently been enjoying this erotically dynamic duo in other films like Countess Perverse and How to Seduce a Virgin, I suddenly had more of a motive to check out this Franco curio.

Surprisingly, the film, in its featured form (and I'll get back to this in a minute), is not actually all that exploitative. For a Franco film, I'd say it's midway on the scale between drama and sleaze. There is ample nudity, to be sure, but was really stunned me was how Hot Nights of Linda actually played out more like an Italian giallo, with flavors of Jean Rollin thrown in. Some of the scenes were highly stylized and the camerawork was energetic. Even the on-screen title screamed out giallo -- "But Who Raped Linda?" -- that's right, seems this is actually the official English-translated title. The last scene of the movie ends up wrapping right back to the first scene of the film, again lending it that giallo quality. There's even a sub-plot involving a male cop and a female reporter who are spying on the sexual shenanigans going on at the villa across the way, where our lead actresses are cavorting with each other and with the servants. This distracting sub-plot is a device Franco's used before, as in Nightmares Come at Night, but this time there is a better payoff in the end after someone ends up dead.

I absolutely loved this film! The main reason I found this movie of Franco's so attractive was that I've never seen a Jess Franco giallo before. I suppose you could throw Bloody Moon into that category, but the style of that film was more influenced by the trend of 80's slashers of its time period. Hot Nights of Linda was more of an honest, mid-seventies experimental mystery. A giallo.

Going back a little to the nudity and the cavorting, I must mention (confess?) that the erotic performances by Lina Romay in this film are now, by far, my favourite. Certainly, she falls back on her characteristically tried-and-true naked bed-writhing, but this time the camera captures a far more honest erotic energy from Lina, more so than my previously-favorite erotic showcases of hers, which up until now had been Exorcism, Female Vampire, and Lorna the Exorcist.

I'll go back to where I'd said I'd get back to -- where I'd mentioned that the version of The Hot Nights of Linda spoken about on this page was in its "featured form" from the Severin blu-ray. Evidently, someone found this film print in a Barcelona bordello (how cool is that?) and the film was restored, mostly, and transferred in hi-def to this wonderful blu-ray. Amazingly, you can see where they've literally had to glue the film back together. This is the version with the on-screen title But Who Raped Linda? appearing in the opening credits. Severin has also included, in this limited 3-disc release, a version of the film on DVD called Les Nuits Brulantes. Severin labels this DVD as the "Alternate Banana Version". Anyone who's seen their cover-art for this new blu-ray release can guess that there's a scene of Lina Romay blowing a banana -- and they'd be right to guess that, although the scene is pretty tame. So I had to assume, from Severin's "Alternate Banana Version" labeling, that the banana scene would go father in this "rare" version. Well, in what is a videotape transfer of Les Nuits Brulantes, there is no banana blowjob at all. There is, however, banana lesbian sex. There is also no sight of the cop-and-reporter spying sub-plot (which was actually a shame, because the actress playing the reporter was absolutely lovely), but there is, instead, plenty of hard core sex, nearly all of it featuring Lina Romay throughout. There are some very nice extended scenes featuring Romay and Alice Arno together, but other than that, I'd have to say that the featured, HD version, The Hot Nights of Lina (aka But Who Raped Linda?) is by far the better of the two versions, for many reasons.

Go ahead, pick up Severin's cool-ass blu-ray and check them out and see! Before their "limited edition" is all gone. Highly recommended.

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