7. Succubus (1968)
This somewhat confusing entry from the filmography of Jesús Franco follows a hot brunette named Lorna (Janine Reynaud) who’s not completely sure of who she is. She confuses fantasy and real life, and she sort of lives in two different realities. In one, she is an unsympathetic stripper who stages weird, sadomasochistic events in a nightclub. In the other, she may or may not be a psychotic killer who has sex with mannequins and lives in a castle with the devil. Or maybe she’s just fantasizing. Confused yet?
A flitting, erotic daydream fuelled by a nightmarish sense of displacement, Succubus finds Franco exploring all corners of depravity and transgressive subculture. Lesbianism, S&M, and bizarre fetishism take the stage in a film that not only blurs the line between fantasy and reality, but also between conventional narrative and obfuscating abstraction. Arguably, it represents Franco at his most energetic and contemptuous towards filmmaking and societal conventions.
Succubus is truly challenging and possibly even a little frustrating, but there’s little denying its mood and visuals. Gorgeous, subversive, and altogether striking, this is pure Franco, for better or worse.
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