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Los Ojos Siniestros del Doctor Orloff

The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff
Los Ojos del Doctor Orloff

Spain 1973
produced by
Films Manacoa
directed by Jess Franco
starring William Berger, Montserrat Prous, Edmund Purdom, Loreta Tovar, Kali Hansa, Jaume Picas, Lina Romay, Robert Woods, John Russell (II) (= Joaquín Blanco), José Manuel Martín
written by Jess Franco, music by David Khunne (= Jess Franco)

Dr. Orloff

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Melissa (Montserrat Prous) leads a miserable life: She has been paralyzed from birth, lost her father at age 10 under mysterious circumstances, and now, at age 20, her aunt Flora (Kali Hansa) and her stepsister Martha (Loreta Tovar) keep her locked up in her room most of the time, waiting for her to go crazy or die so they can get their hands on her inheritance. It's only thanks to Melissa's uncle Henry (Jaume Picas), who has accepted her as his own daughter, that the women restrain themselves ...

Enter Doctor Orloff (William Berger), a prominent scientist who promises to cure Melissa - but he actually has an agenda all of his own since Melissa's father stole his wife, Melissa's mother. Anyways, eventually uncle Henry is killed, and Melissa is convinced she has committed the crime, even remembers killing him - but in her memories she can walk, which is impossible, right?

Melissa believing that she has killed her uncle of course plays right into the hands of Flora and Martha, as they figure it now wouldn't take much for her to be pushed over the edge and into insanity. However, Matthews (José Manuel Martín) by and by gets a pretty accurate picture of what's going on, and he packs Melissa into a car and makes a getaway with her. The car breaks down though, and while Matthews tries to fix it, Melissa goes into a trance, actually does get up, walks around the car ... and slits Matthews' throat. Flora and Martha are hot on her heels, and they get her back to the mansion right after the murder, and prepare for her to be picked up and put in Doctor Orloff's care. And once Melissa is gone, Flora kills Martha to not have to share the inheritance. Then though Melissa returns to the mansion to kill Flora under the hypnotic control of Doctor Orloff, who wants to have his revenge on the entire family because of losing the love of his life to Melissa's dad. Onle when all others from Melissa's family are dead does Orloff prepare to kill Melissa as well, with an exceptionally slow and untraceable poison.

However, the weird goings-on in Melissa's mansion have not gone entirely unnoticed: Next-door neighbour musician Sweet Davey Brown (Robert Woods) has long taken an interest in Melissa, and was probably the only one who showed her compassion, ever, and after she just got shipped away to Doctor Orloff just like some animal, he decided it was time to do something and reported everything to the police ... and ultimately, he and police inspector Warren (Edmund Purdom) save Melissa just in time from the hands of the evil scientist ...

 

The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff is certainly not Jess Franco's best film, not his most explicit, most erotic, most perverse, most whatever - but it's so much fun: Basically, the plot follows all the rules of a pulpy old-fashioned murder mystery, including an overconvoluted basic storyline, far-fetched plottwists and plot devices that suspend disbelief beyond breaking point. But it's all done in typical Jess Franco-style that involves sexy women in revealing outfits (though there's next to no actual nudity in this film), hypnotic camerawork, trippy sequences, attention to unusual details, great use of existing architecture and the like, all garnered with a typical 1970's flair that includes fashion and colours. And thus, even though it will be haqrd for one to denie this is a silly movie, you'll probably enjoy it all the same ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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directed by
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written by
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now streaming at

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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