Cast: Janine Reynaud, Jack Taylor, Adrian Hoven
Extras: Director and co-star interview, Trailer
Considered by many to be a cult classic, Jess Franco's, "Succubus" tells the story of Lorna, (Janine Reynaud) a nightclub performer whose act consists of simulation S&M – it's filled with sex, torture and murder – all simulated.
Lorna begins having nightmares in which she is meeting with a mysterious man named Rolf, (Adrian Hoven) who influences her to have sex with and then kill various people – all the while through voice over stating she is going to be his own personal "Succubus," a demon on Earth! Lorna doesn't know whether she is actually committing these deeds or going insane as her partner William, (Jack Taylor) who owns the nightclub looks on in worry.
Succubus is basically a series of boring, soft focus dreamlike images of Lorna's comings and goings as she either has sex, or attempts to have sex, and then kills her victims for no apparent reason other then to fulfill the whims of her manager who is controling her subconscious. Why is she killing these people? What is the motivation of the mysterious Rolf in having her commit these crimes? Don't look to "Succubus" to answer any of these logical questions. If the film was meant to make the viewer wonder if Lorna is actually committing these acts or just going insane and it's all in her mind, it failed for me in doing so.
To say "Succubus" moves at a languid pace would be a complement. Instead, the movie is downright slow for a mere 79 minute run time. It's amazing when one is watching a really good movie it can have a run time of 2+ hours and it seems to go by so fast. But when a movie is boring, a 79 minute run time can make it seem like a 2+ hour movie. "Succubus," in my opinion, is one such film – an endurance test to get to the end and see what it's all about. However, there wasn't a payoff to be had; which is a shame since I am an admirer of Franco's, other cult classic, "Vampyros Lesbos."
Another thing I noticed is that even though the DVD states "Unrated," I couldn't help but get the feeling this was not the entire film. During the kill and sex scenes, I got the feeling the editing was such that there was more filmed, which would indicate that maybe an "Uncut" version of the film exists somewhere.
Blue Underground releases "Succubus" in a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen edition in a very nice remastering. Contrast is perfectly balanced with an acceptable black level. The majority of scenes were filmed during the day so no issue of shadow delineation is a concern. Colors are rich and flesh tones appear natural. Though a fine grain is evident throughout the film, it doesn't take away from viewing, and in fact, seems to be part of the presentation adding to the atmosphere. No edge-enhancement was noticed and dust and debris were very minor. Overall, Blue Underground, has done a very nice job on "Succubus," allowing for the location scenery and production values in the film to shine.
Audio comes via a no frills mono track and does an adequate job. The center channel was clear and free of distortion.
The special features section contains the featurette "From Necronomicon to Succubus." It's a 22-minute interview with director Jess Franco who discusses the fact that a real Necronomicon existed as a book, and how it's been translated to stories and film over the years.
Next up is "Back in Berlin," a 7-minute discussion with one of the films' stars, Jack Taylor. Rounding out the DVD is the theatrical trailer for "Succubus."
Jess Franco has made something like 180 movies over his very long career. For reasons that escape me, many consider "Succubus" to be among his best works, while I maintain his best and most coherent film was "Vampyros Lesbos."
If you are a fan of Jess Franco and "Succubus," you certainly won't go wrong with picking up this DVD.