Wednesday, December 29, 2021

She Killed in Ecstasy: Limited Edition – Severin Films (Blu-ray/CD Combo)

Theatrical Release Date: West Germany, 1971
Director: Jesus Franco
Writer: Jesus Franco
Cast: Soledad Miranda, Fred Williams, Paul Muller, Howard Vernon, Ewa Strömberg, Horst Tappert, Jesus Franco

Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Approximate Running Time: 80 Minutes 25 seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: LPCM Mono German
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.98

"In what fans and critics consider to be her greatest role, the luscious Soledad Miranda in one of her final performances before her tragic death stars as the vengeful widow who seduces then murders the men and women responsible for her husband’s suicide." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "remastered in HD."

She Killed in Ecstasy comes on a 25 GB single layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 22.5 GB

Feature: 13.9 GB

This is another solid Hi-Def makeover from Severin Films that trumps all previous home video releases for this film. Colors are accurate and have never looked more vibrant than they do in this transfer.Other areas of improvement include image clarity, shadow detail, black and contrast levels.

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with one audio option: a LPCM mono mix in German and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. Once again, there has been extensive work done with the audio, as the dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs to. With that being said, outside of some very minor instances of background hiss, There is a minor instance around the fifty minute mark where the audio for a moment sounds ever so slightly distorted or off. Range-wise, things once again far exceed expectations, with the film’s delirious score greatly benefiting from this new audio mix.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a slipcover, German theatrical trailer (2 minutes 37 seconds, LPCM mono German, no subtitles), a featurette titled Sublime Soledad (20 minutes 22 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with Stephen Thrower author of Murderous Passions, Franco Volume 1: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús and Flowers of Perversion, Volume 2: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco (13 minutes 7 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actor Paul Muller (6 minutes 32 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles) and an interview with Jess Franco titled Jess Killed in Ecstasy (16 minutes 56 seconds, LPCM stereo English with removable English subtitles).

Included with this release is a CD titled 3 Films by Jess Franco, which contains twenty-four tracks of music from these three Franco films: Vampyros Lesbos, She Killed in Ecstasy, and The Devil Came from Akasava, and an insert that contains the track listing.

Summary:

There are two things that clearly inspired She Killed in Ecstasy, and actually a third connection to something else if one factors in that the film is a loose remake of Jess Franco’s own film, The Diabolical Dr. Z. The other two inspirations being Jess Franco’s fondness for monster/mad scientist type films and, last but most definitely not least, there is a more than passing similarity between She Killed in Ecstasy and François Truffaut’s The Bride Wore Black.

Structurally, She Killed in Ecstasy's narrative is more fleshed out than the other films that Jess Franco was making during this phase of his career. The premise is simple: the protagonist stalks and kills those who drove her husband to kill himself. And, after a brief set-up, things move along at a brisk pace until the conclusion. Another strength of She Killed in Ecstasy is that all of the main players and their motivations are well defined.

In other areas of She Killed in Ecstasy, there is a satisfying mix of carnage and eroticism. The scenes that shine the most in this regard are the well-executed death scenes, most notably the one where Howard Vernon’s character gets stabbed over a dozen times in the genitals.

From a performance standpoint, the world revolves once more around Soledad Miranda, whose captivating performance finds that ever so perfect balance between alluring seductress and an angel of death, exacting their vengeance on those who have wronged them. At the moment where her character reflects on what she has done while half naked on her couch,

Several cast members from Vampyros Lesbos return for She Killed in Ecstasy, albeit in different roles. This time, the cast functionality outside of Miranda's performance is essentially mere props that Jess Franco exploits at the appropriate time. Unfortunately, the performance that leaves the most to be desired is Fred Williams's in the role of Soledad Miranda’s husband, who has taken his own life after his life’s work has been rejected by colleagues. His emotionless performance makes it difficult to care about his plight.

On the other hand, the other three main performances are great in their respective roles as they just sit back and let Soledad Miranda’s character savagely inflict pain on them. Also, there is a scene that is oddly reminiscent of a moment in Vampyros Lesbos's film. And in this scene, Jess Franco’s character becomes the victim as Soledad Miranda’s character slowly tortures him while he sits in a chair.

Another wonderful asset that this film has is its jazz-infused score, which was composed by Manfred Hübler and Sigi Schwab. The albums Psychedelic Dance Party and Sexadelic would serve as the soundtrack for these three Franco films: She Killed in Ecstasy, The Devil Came from Akasava, and Vampyros Lesbos.

Shooting back to back with Vampyros Lesbos, there is an immediacy to the events which unfold in She Killed in Ecstasy. Unfortunately, Jess Franco and Soledad Miranda would only go on to make one more film together, The Devil Came from Akasava. She would die tragically in a car crash shortly thereafter. Ultimately, She Killed in Ecstasy is an extraordinary film that makes a perfect companion piece to Vampyros Lesbos.

She Killed in Ecstasy gets an excellent release from Severin Films, highly recommended.








Written by Michael Den Boer

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