Mil sexos tiene la noche / Night of 1,000 Sexes (Jess Franco, 1984)

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Pointless mild erotica to some, a delicate, precious invocation of a dream state to others, Mil sexos tiene la noche is a thing in itself. Sharing the cast with Historia sexual de O and unfolding in the familiar environs of hotel rooms and balconies, Mil sexos tiene la noche is one of Jess Franco’s more inspired attempts at blending minimalism, sex and hysteria while catering to erotic cinema market. This broadly outlined tale of possession and murder begins with Daniel Katz and Lina Romay performing a magic number in what must be a hotel lounge. It is established that the two have a psychic link. Soon the passionate, vulnerable Lina falls victim to her own craving for affection before delving into the world of sexy hallucinations and ultimately becoming a living instrument of murder.

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Lina Romay is the absolute, unquestionable star of Mil sexos tiene la noche, her hypnotic presence forever burned into the celluloid. Jess Franco spares no film capturing his muse in and out of colourful dresses. The Fulci-style extreme closeups of Lina’s eyes are some of the most gorgeous sights Franco’s insatiable lens has ever caught.

Lina’s partner, Daniel Katz is given the distinct voice of Antonio Mayans, which classifies Mil sexos tiene la noche as another one of the ‘Candy Coster y Robert Foster’ series of films. With his physical presence limited to just two brief (but very important) scenes, Jess Franco reigns supreme on the voice track – apart from dubbing some peripheral characters, the exploitation film prodigy has contributed to the ecstatic, distorted moans and chants which accompany the film’s lengthy dream sequences.

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Mil sexos tiene la noche has got a surpisingly elaborate soundscape. With the extremely stylized, ritualistic mise en scene, the sound is your guide to the Kaleidoscope of colours. Daniel White’s Female Vampire score , re-used in numerous films,  truly belongs in this context and helps bring out new shades of the typically Franco thematic obsessions.

When judged against the early ’70s capers The Devil Come from Akasava or Der Todesrächer von Soho , Mil sexos tiene la noche is slow, but compared to Flores de Pasión or Paula-Paula it moves at positively breakneck speed (what good are these comparisons, anyway?).

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Jess Franco doesn’t create a believable character you’re meant to identify with.  He amuses himself with creating an elaborate environment, a  certain atmosphere – and invites you to take a dip in it.  Mil sexos tiene la noche is unmistakably Jess Franco territory, where characters can be found lounging in bed leafing through a paperback edition of Necronomicon while puffing on a cigarette as the azure waves lap the sun-drenched sandy shores beyond the panoramic windows. With Jess Franco you’re not following a story – you’re inside the film, exposed to patterns and shapes, at the mercy of morphing splotches of saturated colours and blurry lights. Shots of a helicopter flying through the sky seem to function here in the same way images of a billowing kite did in the more celebrated Vampyros Lesbos.

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The above text is meant as a review of Mil sexos tiene la noche  but it’s likewise a fairly valid description of a good number of Jess Franco’s more personal features. Best Jess Franco films are veritable fountains of creative inspiration. Describing a Franco film is like trying to describe smoke rising from a cigarette, a rolling wave, or a dream you’d had: an exercise in futility. It’s infinitely preferable to watch even just fifteen minutes of any Jess Franco film then to read a review, no matter how well-reserached. Seemingly made in a single breath, Mil sexos tiene la noche is there for anyone attuned enough to pick up its otherworldly frequency.

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