The Vengeance of Doctor Mabuse (1972) unknown Jess Franco Movie

MoCuishle

Directed by: Jesus Franco (as Jess Frank)

Stars: Fred Williams, Jack Taylor, Ewa Strömberg

Language: Spanish Subtitles: English

Country: Spain

Also known as: Revenge of Dr. Mabuse M schlägt zu, La venganza del doctor Mabuse,Dr. M schlägt zu

Vengeance of Dr. Mabuse borrows a great deal from the first Orloff film. Mabuse (Jack Taylor) has both a female assistant and a hulking Frankenstein monster henchmen in the Morpho vein. Said monster ends up turning against its master because of love (or lust) for a woman. The climactic showdown between cop and monster in both Mabuse and the first Orloff film are strikingly similar.

This is a hidden gem, even by Jess Franco’s standards. Never receiving a cinematic release, it has cropped up on German television during the 1990s. It is a kind of sci-fi horror, a partial return to the saga of Doctor Orloff from Uncle Jess’s earlier films – there’s even a Morpho-type character, Andros, a disfigured henchman nicely played by Moisés Augusto Rocha. Rocha labours under make-up that is effective from a distance, but not so much during the many close-ups Franco has chosen to give him. The mute is regularly beaten and chastised by leather-clad Leslie (Beni Cardoso).

Music comes from Jess and Rolf Kühn and is either ubiquitous levels of jazz, or more haunting piano-lead refrains. It gives the production a sophistication it may not otherwise have. The location may be the Mexican border, but nothing is specified. You didn’t think it would be, did you?

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