Night Has A Thousand Desires
Released by: Mondo Macabro
Released on: December 13th, 2016.
Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Lina Romay, Daniel Katz, Carmen Carrion, Albino Graziani, Jose Llamas
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One of nine films Jess Franco is credited with directing in 1984 alone, Night Has A Thousand Desires (or Mil sexos tiene la noche in Spanish) opens, like a lot of Franco movies, in a night club. Here a hypnotist named Fabian (Daniel Katz) uses her in his act – once she’s under his spell, she can see through his eyes. This means he’s able to walk around the room and take objects from people in the audience, and have her explain what they are without having actually seen them. This is going well enough until he takes a note from a man, a beautiful woman hanging off of each arm, who hands him a note that tells him he’s only got a few hours to live.
That same night, Irina meets Lorna (Carmen Carrion). This woman seems unusually fascinated by Irina. As they get to know each other, things get… odd. Fabian’s enemies seem to wind up dead – or do they? Irina’s dreams are psychosexual vignettes that show her sleeping with, then murdering, various players but the walls between fantasy and reality seem to be crumbling here. After Irina winds up smoking weed and having group sex with Fabian’s nemesis Ahmed (Albino Graziani) and a few of his friends, we have to wonder if Fabian is actually controlling her for real or if Irina is up to something else altogether?
Franco is treading familiar ground here. The plot is very similar to Voodoo Passion and the score pulls from Daniel White’s compositions originally written for Female Vampire. The locations are recycled from The Sexual Story Of O, made the same year, and a few of that picture’s cast members return as well. On top of that? We get Lina Romay playing a woman named Irina and a mysterious woman named Lorna, a night club scene and lots of hazy, bizarre cinematography set to some strange music. As such, this is the type of stuff that Franco fans live for!
The cast all do decent work here, but it won’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Franco’s films, especially from this period, that Lina Romay really is the focus of the picture. She’s interesting to watch here, looking rather fragile in one scene but able to convince you that she’s insane and very dangerous in the next. Anyone familiar with her, ahem, body of work will no doubt pick up on the fact that she’d put on a bit of weight by this point, but she’s still got plenty of sex appeal to spare and spends a large portion of her screen time strutting about in nothing but her birthday suit – which is as it should be. The film also gives her a few chances to really go over the top a couple of times, with her work here equaling if not bettering some of her more memorable sex tantrums from pictures like Doriana Gray and Lorna The Exorcist.
Lots of sex, a little violence. Plenty of style and some really impressive location. All of this helps to give Night Has A Thousand Desires its own otherworldly vibe which, when coupled with its surrealist depiction of Irina’s experiences, makes Night Has A Thousand Desires a fascinating mix of sex, horror and insanity.
Night Has A Thousand Desires is offered up on Blu-ray by Mondo Macabro in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer in 2.35.1 widescreen transferred from the film’s original negative. Colors are reproduced really nicely here and the transfer boasts good black levels and is presented free of crush or compression artifacts. The elements used were clearly in very nice shape as there isn’t any serious print damage to note outside of some minor specks here and there. As this is a Franco film, there are some shots that look softer than others and some shots where his trademark use of soft or out of focus shots and wonky zooms come into play – as such, detail can be a little erratic, but by and large things look very, very nice here for the film’s first ever authorized English-friendly home video release.
The only audio option on the disc is a Spanish language DTS-HD Mono track with optional subtitles offered in English only. The audio here is pretty solid, providing properly balanced levels and audible dialogue. The score has good depth to it and there are no issues with any hiss or distortion.
The first of the main extras on this disc is the Eurotika! episode on Jess Franco that features some interesting interviews with the Franco himself and serves as an enjoyable career retrospective. Over the course of twenty-four minutes, we learn how he became interested in genre fare, had a hit with the Awful Doctor Orloff, and then went on to become a remarkably prolific director of cinematic oddities from pretty much any genre you’d care to name. In addition to interview clips with Franco, we also hear from Daniel Lesoeur, Caroline Munro, Monica Swinn, Brigitte Lahaie, Nigel Wingrove and quite a few others.
Up next is a half hour long interview with writer Stephen Thrower, author of Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco and Nightmare USA. Here Thrower starts off by giving us some background information as to where Franco’s career was at this point in his life before than talking up the specifics of this movie, connections to some of his other pictures and of course the importance of Lina Romay’s involvement in this film and in the director’s personal life.
Aside from that we get the omnipresent Mondo Macabro promo reel, menus and chapter selection.
The Final Word:
Night Has A Thousand Desires is definitely an above average film from Franco’s filmography – it’s artsy, it’s trippy, it’s surreal, it’s bizarre and it is, in the way that his best movies are, completely hypnotic. Highlighted by Lina Romay’s intense lead and accented by some fantastic locations and some seriously choice music, this is one that fans of the storied director’s oeuvre will absolutely appreciate. As to the disc itself, the film makes its long overdue English language home video debut form Mondo Macabro in very fine form indeed, and with a couple of solid supplements to provide some historical background and critical analysis.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!