Succubus (film)

Succubus (German: Necronomicon – Geträumte Sünden, lit. 'Necronomicon – Dreamt Sins') is a 1968 West German horror film directed by Jesús Franco. The film stars Janine Reynaud as Lorna Green, a performer at a nightclub who performs fictionalized acts that involve erotically charged sadomasochistic murders. It is suggested that Lorna may be under mind control by a man who might be Satan (Michel Lemoine) which draws her to a night in the future when she begins to actually kill people.

Succubus
West German theatrical release poster
Directed byJesús Franco
Produced byAdrian Hoven[1][2]
Written byPier A. Caminnecci[1]
Starring
Music byJerry Van Rooyen
Cinematography
  • Franz X. Lederle
  • Jorge Herrero[1]
Edited byFritzi Schmidt[1]
Production
company
Aquila Film Enterprises[3]
Release date
  • April 19, 1968 (1968-04-19) (West Germany)
CountryWest Germany[2][3]

Succubus was Franco's first film made entirely outside of Spain. During production, the German backers for the film fell out, leading to the producer contacting Pier A. Caminnecci to finance the film.

Production

After working on several productions in Spain, director Jesús Franco sought out financial backing in Germany.[4] Franco became frustrated with the production rules and censorship in Spain, stating that even if he had an entirely Spanish crew, he would have to film in Spain to receive the co-production funding, and that for Succubus, "the censors had taken their red pen and crossed everything out, even the title".[5] The title for the film was found at the home of Pier A. Caminnecci, where Franco found a book titled Necronomicon. The story was only three pages long, so Franco fused the story with a previous film script that he had worked on.[5] Despite this alternative title for the film, the actual story has no connection whatsoever with H.P. Lovecraft's fictional Necronomicon or Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos.

After finishing work on his film Lucky, the Inscrutable, he went to production manager Karl-Heinz Mannchen with an eight-page script for Succubus.[4] After securing funding, model Janine Reynaud was cast in the film after being introduced to Franco by his friend, actor Michel Lemoine.[4]

While filming was in progress, the German financial backers pulled out of the film.[4] Producer Adrian Hoven contacted Pier A. Caminnecci, who took an interest in actress Reynaud and agreed to finance the film.[5][6] An affair later occurred between the two.[4][6]

Release

Necronomicon was the first opportunity I had to make a film the way I wanted to make it. I'm rather astonished that the film did as well as it did.

Director Jesús Franco on working outside of Spain for Succubus[6]

Succubus was shown at trade shows at the 17th Berlin International Film Festival in 1967.[7][8] It was released in West Germany on April 19, 1968 and was a financial success.[2][6]

A review in Variety noted that after the films release it received substantial word-of-mouth for its sex and horror sequences.[8] The film was released in the United States under the title Succubus.[8] To promote the film, a phone number was offered for audience members who did not know what the title succubus meant.[6] The film was shown at Fantastic Fest in 2009 with Franco in attendance. The print of the film shown was borrowed from American director Quentin Tarantino.[9]

The film was originally released on DVD on October 27, 1998 by Anchor Bay Entertainment.[10] It was released again on July 25, 2006 with an interview with director Jesús Franco and actor Jack Taylor as bonus features by Blue Underground.[11]

Reception

From contemporary reviews, Vincent Canby wrote a review in the New York Times, noting that the film could not decide if it wanted "to be a bare-breasted exploitation movie or a nice, erotic horror story about a demented lady of bizarre sexual tastes" referring to the film as "being a bit of a drag".[12] In a review for the Umberto Lenzi film Orgasmo, Roger Ebert critiqued Succubus as one of the worst films of the year, referring to it as "a flat-out bomb. It left you stunned and reeling. There was literally nothing of worth in it. Even the girl was ugly."[13] David McGillivray (Monthly Film Bulletin) claimed that "the most positive thing one can say about Succubus is that it is strikingly different from anything Jesús Franco has directed either before or since."[14] The review complimented that the "utilisation of an obviously low budget is relatively accomplished. In all other respects, however, the film is an absurdly hit-or miss affair with scenes that have a certain bizarre appeal (shop window dummies coming to life) juxtaposed with others of crushing banality."[14] "Hans." of Variety described the film as one that "may stir controversy" as "many will see Necronomicon as just a sex and horror film, other might see more" and that "there wiell be a split opinion about pic's artistic outcome,, but its technical side can't be disputed" noting "excellent color photography, it has several fascinating optical effects."[8]

Notes

  1. "Credits". British Film Institute. London. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  2. "Necronomicon - Geträumte Sünden". filmportal.de. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  3. "Necronomicon - Geträumte Sünden". British Film Institute. London. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  4. Shipka, 2011. p. 184
  5. Shipka, 2011. p. 186
  6. Shipka, 2011. p. 187
  7. "Festspiele / Berlin: Punkt zum Sitzen". Der Spiegel. 29. 10 July 1967. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  8. Variety's Film Reviews 1968–1970. 12. R. R. Bowker. 1983. There are no page numbers in this book. This entry is found under the header "April 24, 1968". ISBN 978-0-8352-2792-6.
  9. Lars. "Succubus". Fantastic Fest. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  10. "Succubus (1967) - Releases". Allmovie. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  11. "Succubus". Blue Underground. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  12. Canby, Vincent (April 26, 1969). "Succubus (1967) Screen: 'Succubus,' a German-Made Fantasy on Sex". The New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  13. Ebert, Roger (August 20, 1969). "Paranoia". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  14. "Necronomicon-Getraumte Sunden (Succubus)". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 40 no. 468. British Film Institute. 1973. p. 254.

References

  • Shipka, Danny (2011). Perverse Titillation: The Exploitation Cinema of Italy, Spain and France, 1960–1980. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-4888-3.
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