• The Lady Kills / Pervertissima (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review



    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: August 25th, 2020.
    Director: Jean-Louis Van Belle
    Cast: Carole Lebel, Claude Beauthéac, Paul Descombes, Maelle Pertuzo, Albert Simono, Charles Buhr, Andre Vernier
    Year: 1971/1972
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    The Lady Kills / Pervertissima – Movie Review:

    Mondo Macabro continues to be the gift that keeps on giving for fans of wild and weird international cinema, and their latest release, a double feature of Jean-Louis Van Belle pictures from the early seventies, does nothing if not to help cement that fact.

    The Lady Kills:

    The first film opens with a nasty rape scene in which a young woman watches a quartet of men have their way with a poor young woman. From there, we travel to Dusseldorf, Germany and witness the murder of a man at gunpoint, shot dead in front of his lady friend after the pair enjoyed a night out with some friends. Soon enough, we learn that the woman behind this murder is Françoise Frémond (Carole Lebel), and that she loves bubble baths.

    Details behind Françoise’s lifestyle are scarce, but it isn’t long before a fashion designer named Andre Ficheux (Claude Beauthéac) has set his eyes on her and talks her into accompanying him on a trip across the pond to London. Again, Françoise commits a murder, and it isn’t the last one she’ll be behind before the movie ends as her vague mission leads her further across Europe to knock off dudes in Rome and Berlin.

    The Lady Kills, made in 1971 and presented here with a title card that reads Perverse Et Docile, doesn’t always make a whole lot of sense but it is never anything less than a deliriously entertaining picture. Lebel makes for a very photogenic lead; she’s a gorgeous woman and frequently clad in what would have been, in 1971, the finest fashions. Van Belle (who also wrote the script) and his team have a real eye for framing her in just the right light and from just the right angle to really make her an intriguing character. If the plot is more than a little wonky, the film’s wild visual style more than makes up for it. Carefully chosen locations allow the director to play around with a seriously impressive color scheme, be it a London sex club or a weird and delightfully unnecessary body painting session.

    The movie also benefits from an excellent score, heavy on the kind of fuzzy, guitar-centric psych rock that perfectly complements the story and the visuals. Tonally, this picture is all over the place, consistency isn’t a strong point of the narrative, but it delivers plenty of sex, violence and artistically inspired insanity so there’s plenty here to keep fans of European exploitation pictures more than engaged throughout.

    Pervertissima:

    The second picture, made a year later in 1972, is once again based on the director’s own script. The premise here is pretty thin, but once again Von Belle makes it work. Basically, a lovely young woman named Françoise (Maelle Pertuzo) is hired by a newspaper company to make her way around Paris and, by way of using her feminine charms, find out what gets Parisians all hot and bothered. Her article, to be entitled ‘Love In Paris,’ will require the kind of research that can only be done in person and without the burden that clothing can so often be seen as.

    Excited about her new gig, Françoise hits the streets and checks out a few of the city’s more unusual locations – a sauna intended only for lesbians, a swingers club where the participants all where weird masks, a hooker-infested alleyway, an upscale strip club and then, finally, the clinic of one Doctor Vilard (Albert Simono), a potentially very insane man who is hoping to use whatever human flesh he can get his hands no to perfect the sex robots he’s been working on, all of which is part of his plan to build an army capable of taking over the Earth itself! It’s good to have goals.

    This utterly bizarre mondo picture with sci-fi and horror movie tropes weaved in and out at times feels a bit like a Black Emmanuelle movie, with Françoise’s investigative tactics often times mirroring those used in those Italian pictures, but Von Belle puts his own quirky Gallic spin on things. The movie serves as an interesting tour of some of Paris’ seedier attractions and it offers up plenty of sin and skin sure to appeal to those looking for a nice hit of early seventies sleaze. It never feels particularly authentic but that just adds to the film’s entertainment value.

    Production values are pretty solid here and the movie definitely benefits from a great score and a cool theme song. Simono is a lot of fun to watch in his role, well-cast as a mad scientist type, but for most viewers it’ll likely be the lovely and utterly charming Maelle Pertuzo (who pops up briefly in the first film as well) who turns out to be the main draw.

    The Lady Kills / Pervertissima – Blu-ray Review:

    Mondo Macabro brings both features to Blu-ray sharing a 50GB disc in AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfers taken from new 2k scans of the original negatives. Both films are framed at 1.66.1 widescreen and look to be framed in their intended aspect ratios. You might note the odd scratch here and there if you’re looking for them but otherwise, both films look very clean and show very little in the way of print damage, while retaining the grain you’d expect them to. Colors are reproduced quite nicely, always accurately and never looking oversaturated, and we get strong black levels here too. There are no issues with noise reduction or edge enhancement nor are there any issues with compression artifacts. These both look really good, nice and film-like.

    The French language 16-bit LPCM 2.0 Mono audio tracks sound quite strong. Dialogue is clean and nicely balanced and the scores in both films have pretty solid range. There are no problems with any audible hiss or distortion nor are there any sibilance issues. The optional white English subtitles are clear and easy to read, free of any noticeable typos. No problems here at all.

    The main extra on the disc is a half-hour featurette entitled Who Is Jean Louis Van Belle? Here we learn about the late filmmaker’s life and times thanks to a few interviewees from the French and Belgian film industries who worked with him and knew him. It paints a nicely detailed picture of a filmmaker who probably should be better known in Eurocult film circles. We also get some interesting introductions to each film by writer and Belgian film expert Christophe Bier that provide some historical context and offer up some welcome background information on each feature – these are definitely worth checking out.

    Rounding out the extras is an umbrella commercial directed by Van Belle, the ever-expanding Mondo Macabro promo reel, menus and chapter selection.

    The Lady Kills / Pervertissima – The Final Word:

    Mondo Macabro’s Blu-ray double feature release of The Lady Kills / Pervertissima is impressive, presenting two genuinely obscure, and admirably sleazy, Eurocult entries in great shape and with a couple of good extras as well. Highly recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized The Lady Kills / Pervertissima screen caps!