Director – Jess Franco (Devil Hunter, Zombie Lake)
Starring – Jess Franco, Lina Romay (Helter Skelter, Vampire Junction), and Olivier Mathot (Maniac Killer, Revenge in the House of Usher)
Release Date – 1979
Blu Release – 3.5/5
Sometimes I like stepping out of my comfort zone. I love stupid horror along with slashers and the occasional pre-Walking Dead zombie flick. That’s why I like having some Vinegar Syndrome flicks on standby. Their exploitation selection is top notch but that doesn’t mean they have that corner of the market locked down. Other fantastic labels release exploitation flicks of varying sub-genres.
Recently Severin Films released two Jess Franco flicks. The first is the sexploitation flick Sinfonia Erotica. This was a surprisingly fun Franco flick. The second release is the 1979 horror flick The Sadist of Notre Dame. I enjoyed Sinfonia so I was excited for this one. Thank you Severin for sending this one my way.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a former priest who was excommunicated from the church due to his radical beliefs that immoral women needed to be murdered in order to save their soul. Now he follows lonely women down alley ways or stalks their home before he murders them to free their souls.
That is until he crosses paths with a beautiful woman who is secretly sleeping with her female roommate. While searching for more women he comes in contact with a dancer and learns that his current infatuation is a sex journalist who takes part in underground bdsm sex parties. The priest is disgusted and aroused by this so he sets out to kill them one by one but the police is on his trail.**Spoiler Alert**
Franco is a strange director. His movies are always sexually charged but some seem to lack stories while others just feel pieced together from other films. Sadly, The Sadist of Notre Damewas not one of those film that had a solid story. The idea behind The Sadist of Notre Dame was fantastic but somewhere along the way the film lost touch with the story. It almost feels like two different films are pushed together to achieve the end result.
The acting in this one is ok to say the least. The characters are very clichéd and flat with very little personality to hold the viewer’s attention.
The story for this one has some ups and downs. I really enjoyed the almost priest killing people that sexually aroused him. This was a fun idea but the story is a patchwork of this and a second subplot following the detective that completely ruins the flow of the film.
Finally, the film has some violence but the kills are easily forgettable. In fact, I had to real quick watch a few before I could finish the film. The effects are minimal and the kills are unoriginal. Overall, The Sadist of Notre Dame is one of the few Franco flicks that don’t jive well with me. It could have been so much more if only Franco and company got their feet under them properly.
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