Hot on the heels of Vampyros Lesbos comes this grief-stricken tale of revenge featuring several members of the Vampyros cast. One important addition is Howard Vernon, appearing as the head of a medical board who determine that a brilliant young doctor should not be allowed to continue his experiments with human embryos; research which may result in a drug for treating cancer. When Dr. Johnson (Williams) is struck off - just as his work is entering a crucial stage - weeks of persecution come to a head, ultimately ending with suicide.
Graced by the presence of Franco rep players such as Ewa Stroemberg and Paul Muller, She Killed In Ecstasy really belongs to one person: once again, Soledad Miranda delivers an extraordinary performance, this time portraying Johnson's shell-shocked widow who turns into a black angel of death as she vows to murder those responsible for her husband's demise.
For the greater part of the running time, Franco perfectly matches mood with theme as Miranda turns from incognito assassin to in-your-face stalker 'n' slasher who makes damn sure her last two victims know exactly who she is. Apart from Stroemberg's seemingly ridiculous death-by-inflatable-pillow (which could be a reference to her character's relationship with Miranda in Vampyros:no way could she harm her), She Killed In Ecstasy is a superior slice of eroticism, with some superb photography capturing the pervading air of sadness surounding Miranda's performance.
Once again, Second Sight have treated us to a stunning DVD, with a near flawless presentation of the vivid colour schemes. Watch out for Jess Franco as one of the guilty quartet, though his performance suggests he really should stay behind the camera.
Legendary director of predominantly sex-and-horror-based material, Spanish-born Jesus Franco had as many as 200 directing credits to his name. Trained initially as a musician before studying film at the Sorbonne in Paris, Franco began directing in the late 50s. By using the same actors, sets and locations on many films, Franco has maintained an astonishing workrate, and while the quality of his work has sometimes suffered because of this, films such as Virgin Amongst the Living dead, Eugenie, Succubus and She Killed in Ecstasy remain distinctive slices of 60s/70s art-trash.
Most of his films have been released in multiple versions with wildly differing titles, while Franco himself has directed under a bewildering number of pseudonyms. Actors who have regularly appeared in his films include Klaus Kinski, Christopher Lee and wife Lina Romay; fans should also look out for his name on the credits of Orson Welles' Chimes of Midnight, on which he worked as assistant director.