Four floozies who work a topless joint ("it's in right now") go on holiday to the Canary Islands, looking for some action. After much walking, giggling and jiggling they find it, in the form of a secret sect of undead Satanic monks. Unlucky for them, the hooded hooligans rape immoral women and reap their souls by expending their demon semen. What were the chances?
When the girls initially arrive at the huge hotel it looks to be deserted. Assuming the guests must be enjoying the beach, they look around for a desk clerk. Brooding Carlo suddenly appears out of the shadows. He confirms their reservations and offers two rooms some distance from each other. The quartet ask if they can have adjacent lodgings, but creepy Carlo explains that all the other rooms are taken. Discouraged, they flip coins to decide who will be staying with whom and they pair off accordingly; then quickly peel off, too.
"I was afraid I'd be stuck with one of those prudes", Lea tells Candy as they embrace. Between kisses in the other room, Mabel expresses to Caty, "I was afraid you'd end up with one of those pious bitches." Both parties mutually agree that if they don't find some men to play with during their stay, they will at least enjoy their roommate's attentions. Okay, sounds like a plan.
Retiring to bed, Candy tells Lea that she can't stand sleeping alone and slinks down next to her adding "I've always been a tree-hugger". After some lesbian lapping Lea leaves for a walk to take some photographs. An extended sequence of aimless wandering about follows, before she stumbles upon an old monastery. The wind picks up, we pan to the trees and then hear a shrill scream. Well that didn't sound very encouraging.
Carlo is next seen with a nude woman chained to a wall by the neck. He presents a bouquet of flowers to her which she hungrily shoves into her mouth. He rips them away in anger and calls her a double-crossing tramp. "You've fallen for one of those whores!" she accuses. "Didn't I prove they don't interest me by throwing the knife?" Carlo responds. Ah, the plot gets thicker. (At this point it really didn't take much.)
"You can't leave me this way", the wall ornament complains as he's leaving.
"Your hands are free aren't they?" he counters. As her fingers wander, the patented Franco crotch-zoom brings us into her folds as well.
Thankfully, things become mildly interesting about halfway through the film. We meet the strange inhabitants of the monastery who capture Mabel and pass her around like a salt shaker; Candy discovers Carlo's "pet", who gives us some needed back-story; then Candy runs into the arms of luscious Lea to tell of her findings. This leads to the most exaggerated display of cunnilingus ever, during which Candy pulls a pubic hair out of her mouth and Lea amusingly tells her to "make a wish and blow".
Mansion Of The Living Dead is definitely not one of Franco's more compelling productions. One must assume that Amando De Ossorio's Blind Dead films were the loose inspiration for this bizarre and uncharacteristically restrained effort from the Spanish auteur. He gives the location an admirable unsettling atmosphere, but does so little with it that it's patience testing. It is obviously quickly shot and edited, while the story is thread-bare as can be. Scenes linger for apparently no other reason than to pad the running time and the few moments of violence are crude and unconvincing. I would argue that it offers just enough weirdness to keep you watching till the end; however, my tolerance toward Franco-films may make me a bit biased, hence all the spoilers.
and the awards go to,
* Antonio Mayans as Carlo, for giving the most inspired performance in the film.
("I'll leave you that way. With a burning desire. Trembling like a cat in heat.")
* Lina Romay as Candy, for exposing the most flesh and reading the most lines, not to mention looking remarkably comfortable roaming hallways wearing only a pair of high heels.
* The presiding judge of "the court", who announces: "I say she's put to death while she enjoys cardinal sin, so that her desirable body may join the ranks of Satan's servers" before Mabel's gang-rape; then asks their unholy father for the power to not receive enjoyment from this act of faith.
* Eva Leon as the naked and bound crazy woman, who doesn't notice she could easily undo her restraints and insists to Candy, "I love him and I hate him".
* The wonderfully absurd moment when Carlo changes desks before addressing the fact that someone might have been murdered in the establishment.
* And most deserving of all, one to Jess Franco, for doing it his way and having absolutely no concern for conformity or critical backlash.
Nor a concern to actually include a mansion, either, come to think of it.