(ORLOFF AND THE INVISIBLE MAN, ORLOFF AGAINST THE INVISIBLE MAN, ORLOFF AGAINST THE INVISIBLE DEAD, THE INVISIBLE DEAD, DR. ORLOFF’S INVISIBLE MONSTER, LOVE LIFE OF THE INVISIBLE MAN, SECRET LOVE LIFE OF THE INVISIBLE MAN)
D: Pierre Chevalier C: Howard Vernon, Isabel del Rio, Francisco Valladares
In the original adaptation of THE DARK EYES LONDON (1939) by Edgar Wallace, the villain was named Orloff – possibly a cross between Orlok, the German Dracula, and Karloff, the American Frankenstein monster. In any case, it proved to be a name to conjure with, as the name of the mad doctor in Jesus Franco’s superior remake of Franju’s LES YEUX SANS VISAGE (1959) spawning several sequels. It resurfaced in this movie, under the title ORLOFF AND THE INVISIBLE MAN. A doctor is called to Orloff’s castle, not by the professor himself, but by the maid, who claims to be his prisoner, his daughter at the same time asking him to solve the mystery of an invisible presence in the castle, having to do with her father’s experiments. Orloff readily tells the story in a flashback of how his daughter was buried alive and subsequently released by grave-robbers. It doesn’t seem to be of much relevance to the plot, dealing with the creation of an invisible humanoid (the not so special effects being limited to the pulling of strings). Soon after, however, the ingenious raison d’être of the movie becomes apparent, and for once it actually delivers on the promise of the poster of a naked woman in a dungeon, and in a completely unexpected way, even though it’s signaled by its original title. The invisible man is the audience, raping the maid in first-person perspective, there being nothing to block a prolonged view of her struggling in full frontal nudity, the camera zooming in and out in slow phallic thrusts. This, of course, is pure cinematic genius, elevating the movie from boring soft-porn exploitation to a must-see classic. As opposed to modern torture porn, there is no doubt in our mind as to the ecstatic compliance of the thankfully unshaven victim. (Hallo. Vould you like to have a roll in ze hay? It’s fun! Roll, roll, roll in ze hay!) It’s inventive in other ways as well, with an appealing garish color scheme, Howard Vernon predictably adequate as protagonist and narrator. But then again, Pierre Chevalier is clearly a director.
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