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  Kiss Me, Monster Ladies First
Year: 1969
Director: Jess Franco
Stars: Janine Reynaud, Rosanna Yanni, Chris Howland, Michel Lemoine, Manuel Velasco, Manolo Otero, Ana Casares, Adrian Hoven, Marta Reves, Barta Barri, María Antonia Redondo, Jess Franco, Dorit Dom
Genre: Comedy, Trash, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: The Red Lips team of Diana (Janine Reynaud) and Regina (Rosanna Yanni) have had an interesting adventure recently and are pondering their next move when someone drops in on their home, a couple of agents from Interpol who wish the ladies to tell them all about their latest escapade to see if there is any further investigation to be carried out. They are happy to oblige, and the four of them settle down for the evening for a tale which starts when the adventuresses were woken from their slumber one night by a banging on the front door. On opening it, a man stumbles in and hands over a sheet of music, then collapses at their feet with a dagger in his back - what could be up?

Kiss Me, Monster was director Jess Franco's follow up to his previous success Two Undercover Angels, or Sadisterotica as it was also somewhat misleadingly known, though this was not the hit that was and ended the Red Lips series rather abruptly. The thinking was that the shenanigans here were simply too hard to follow for what should have been a straightforward spy spoof, and on watching it you can see the critics' point, as it comes across as a work made up of various random scenes which happen to feature the same two actresses, then assembled in the editing room with very little regard for just how easy to watch it would have been when it barely mustered any sense.

And yet, while there are those, even among them that enjoyed the first instalment, who will tell you that Kiss Me, Monster was a complete mess which wasn't worth the effort to work out what was going on, there were a hardy few who admitted they quite appreciated Franco's efforts in that it was brightly coloured, breezily performed and had a mood of devil may care fun that the director should have tried to recapture more often than he went on to do. It was true enough that the proceedings were barely coherent, but then again Diana and Regina admit they have no idea of what is happening themselves until it's all resolved at the end with a McGuffin which has been hardly mentioned in the previous hour or so but suddenly becomes very important indeed.

Part of the reason the girls have a spot of bother trying to get to the bottom of the mystery is that whenever they meet someone who apparently holds information which would clear things up, they end up dead within less than a minute of their encounter. Now, why the baddies would wait till that crucial moment to bump them off is another mystery, especially since the soon-to-be corpses manage to blurt out yet another clue before they expire which leads our heroines a little further down the mystery towards the solution. At least there were plenty of sunkissed European locations to lend an attractive appearance to each successive sequence, and as the lead actresses got to change their outfits in practically every scene there was always something to catch the eye.

If not the mind, as there came a point in this when you eventually gave up and let the whole experience wash over you, though seasoned Franco watchers would be observing a slight Dr. Orlof influence over the villains' mad science which fuelled the plot. Or seemed to. In the meantime, we were treated to such timewasting as a lengthy trip to a night club where the patrons were filmed grooving to Jerry van Rooyen's jazzy lounge dance tunes, all played by a band who didn't look to be matching the sound of the tunes on the soundtrack, then changed appearance completely (including their race) when Diana and Regina show up to play saxophones at those seated at the tables. Unless this was a different nightspot where this happened, in which case what did that other place have to do with the rest of the movie? But then, you could legitimately enquire that about the majority of the film as the brightly played investigators (they really were the best aspect) get embroiled with lesbian assassins and manufactured supermen before they drive off laughing.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Jess Franco  (1930 - 2013)

Legendary director of predominantly sex-and-horror-based material, Spanish-born Jesus Franco had as many as 200 directing credits to his name. Trained initially as a musician before studying film at the Sorbonne in Paris, Franco began directing in the late 50s. By using the same actors, sets and locations on many films, Franco has maintained an astonishing workrate, and while the quality of his work has sometimes suffered because of this, films such as Virgin Amongst the Living dead, Eugenie, Succubus and She Killed in Ecstasy remain distinctive slices of 60s/70s art-trash.

Most of his films have been released in multiple versions with wildly differing titles, while Franco himself has directed under a bewildering number of pseudonyms. Actors who have regularly appeared in his films include Klaus Kinski, Christopher Lee and wife Lina Romay; fans should also look out for his name on the credits of Orson Welles' Chimes of Midnight, on which he worked as assistant director.

 
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