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Munecas Rocas / Broken Dolls

Spain, USA 1999
produced by
Kevin Collins, Karen Wong, Casey Yip (executive) for one shot Productions
directed by Jess Franco
starring Paul Lapidus, Lina Romay, Christie Levin, Mavi Tienda, Ezequiel Cohen, Guillermo Agranati
written by Jess Franco (as David J. Khune), music by Jess Franco, Daniel J. White

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Don Martin (Paul Lapidus), an aged actor, has found retreat on an island called Paradise, where he lives with his wife Marianne (Lina Romay), his daughter Beatic (Mavie Tienda), former prostitute Marguerita (Christie Levin) & helping hand Herbie (Ezequiel Cohen). But years of life cut off from civilization have taken its toll on all of them, as they have turned into a rather depraved bunch, with Don Martin, slightly mad, having an affair with Marguerita quite openly, while his daughter watches them doing it frantically masturbating. & her stepmother Marianne delights in slapping her bare bottom. & what's more, Don Martin retreats more & more into his madness, only reliving past gloriess instead of reacting to present events.

But why are all of them staying ?

It is said that Don Martin has hidden some fabulous treasure somewhere on the island, & they all want ot get their hands on it - also including Mario (Guillermo Agranati), Marguerita's secret lover, who forces her to stay with Don Martin to learn the whereabouts of the treasure.

But of course everything takes a different turn in the end: Marguerita & Mario are stabbbed to death by Don Martin when having sex in his bed, Don Martin has gone completely off the hook & finally drowns himself in the sea, & Herbie & Beatric find the treasure, only to find out that everything is just fake hjewellery for the stage, which Don Martin has kept to preserve his past,when he was not the great stage actor he has always claimed to be but a simple vaudeville clown - the promise of richess has only brought emptiness to Beatric & Herbie.

In the end, it looks unlikely that either they or Marianne will ever leave Paradise ...

 

With this movie, Jess Franco picks up the theme of his erratic erotic murder mysteries, of which he made a great many in the 70's (e.g. Eugenia - Una Historia de la Perversion, Tendre et Perverse Emmanuelle), which, despite making next to no (rational) sense, were among his best works, mixing S/M sex & general sleaze with pulp clichés & whodunnit motives, all blended in a weird but poetic way. Broken Dolls is unfortunately not on par with Franco's 70's output - even tighter budgets & Franco's transition to working on video prevent that -, it is however still a weird visit to that wonderful Jess Franco-land

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD