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Flesh and Blood: “A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD” (NSFW)

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As any fright fan knows, the horror genre has a particularly salacious relationship with sexually explicit content. And while nudity so often goes side by side with decapitated heads and brutal bloodletting, there are also horror filmmakers throughout the years who made an art form out of the human body with an appreciation of our most lurid and lucid desires. And it’s with that macabre mentality in mind that FANGORIA is proud to announce our partnership with Mr. Skin for a brand new NSFW column that looks to provoke our minds as well as our more physical impulses, FLESH AND BLOOD!

Director Jess Franco is well known in the exploitation genre. With over 150 films to his credit (some say that number is closer to 200; an exact number is tough to nail down because of missing prints, poor bookkeeping, and pictures that are re-cut and retitled for different markets), he has experience in every subgenre of exploitation film, although most notably, horror and porn.

A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD sees a young, fresh-faced woman named Christina (Christina von Blanc) heading to a secluded French mansion to meet family over the reading of her father’s will. The few townspeople she runs into on her way are all confused: no one has lived in that house for years. You can see where this is going. Upon arriving, Christina meets Uncle Howard, Aunt Abigail, generic family member Carmenze, mentally challenged servant Basillio (played by Franco himself) and stepmother Herminia, who is literally on her death bed.

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When Christina meets Herminia for the first time, she urges the girl to leave, then drops dead. Even without rotting flesh, it is pretty easy to see what is going on here: Christina’s family, none of whom she has ever met before including her father, is dead. They are very blasé about death (Howard plays a waltz while Herminia dies, then she is propped up in a corner during the “funeral” service), are all cold to the touch, and no one has an appetite. A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD is less plot-driven and more a collection of strangely beautiful (but ultimately cliched) scenes and moments that have a loose connection to each other. There are alarms set off by the townspeople, the literal specter of death, warnings from beyond the grave from her father, and the possibility that this is all a dream.

Despite Franco’s penchant for graphic sex and gore, neither is very present here. The “graphic” scenes featuring sex and zombies all come from another infamous exploitation auteur, Jean Rollin. Rollin was brought in to shoot extra scenes for a re-release of the film nearly a decade later, at the behest of producers. None of these scenes are hardcore; they are all soft-core scenes that feature very basic missionary sex, with the male rolling side to side atop Alice Arno (whose face is obscured in an attempt to hide the fact that this is clearly not von Blanc).

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The most vexing of all is a scene that is included as an extra on the Redemption DVD release. The “Princess of Eroticism,” wearing a mask, a cape, and carrying a scepter, leads four couples into a garden, then sits on a throne and watches them have awkward sex in front of her. After a few minutes, she summons the men towards her, and they lay her down and have sex with her while the women watch. Aside from a few floppy penises, this “orgy” scene is not nearly as graphic as what you can find on basic cable nowadays. The music for these sex scenes changes from the haunting, atmospheric soundtrack to strangely peppy music, teetering on the line of standard porno music.

Honestly, this film is not erotic, and not scary. If you are a fan of Jess Franco, you will dig the atmospheric, subtle vibe of the flick, but stick to Franco’s original, 79 minute cut with the far less catchy title, CHRISTINA, PRINCESS OF EROTICISM. This is not the movie to go for when looking for a quick yank.

For full clips, pictures and more from A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD, visit the Mr. Skin link below and sign up today with an exclusive discounted membership rate for FANGORIA fans only!

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About the author
Alyse Wax http://www.alysewax.com
Los Angeles native, horror nerd, and TV addict Alyse Wax was the associate editor of the dearly departed FEARnet.com before Kabletown shut it down. She now freelances for a number of sites, including ShockTillYouDrop.com, Bloody-Disgusting.com, ComingSoon.net, and DailyDead.com. Alyse is currently working on her first book, Curious Goods: The Complete Friday the 13th: The Series Compendium for Bear Manor Media.
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