...the story of her journey into perversion


Blue Underground step into the world of Jess Franco with a delightfully perverse look at innocence lost in 'Eugenie...the story of her journey into perversion'. Not only will it's starlet be familiar to some SGM readers but the basic theme of the movie perhaps will be too, but more on that later, first the film itself...

The proceedings begin with horror icon Christopher Lee acting as some sort of devilish narrator relishing reciting the works of the Marquis de Sade (of whose book 'Philosophy in the Boudoir' this film is based) as an entourage of seriously deviant lackeys (including would you believe some pantyhose face monks) carry out the sacrifice of a willing young naked blonde. Hmm, that's a good start...

We then cut to our heroine in the form of the young Eugenie (played by the beautiful Marie Liljedahl) who is pretty much your standard teenage girl as in that her nagging mother and philandering father just don't understand or truly communicate with her. But then again that said, Eugenie fairs better than most teenage girls do these days in that she remains ever innocent in her virginal ways, likely at that point where she's only going as far as having girlie crushes. As a treat for young Eugenie, she is allowed to head off for the weekend with her fathers mistress (the similarly alluring Maria Rohm) to a secluded island where her incestuous stepbrother (along with their mute waitress and black stud handyman) resides. The excited young lass heads off to her weekend adventure but is completely oblivious to what her hosts have lined up for her. You see, as hinted at in the films intro our entourage have more than Eugenie's well being in mind as she is about to discover she is to be the star attraction at a weekend of perverse kinky fun!

Before she even gets a chance to unpack her bags, her devious guardians have drugged poor Eugenie and have her dab smack in the middle of their sexual activities in a scene that will have you chuckling in similarly perverse pleasure when she is entwined in a lesbian clinch the brother stands at the blinds slowly opening and closing them in the red hued room (I defy anyone not to do the same with their own blinds after watching this highly amusing scenario). And this is even before the rest of the weekend guests arrive!

The next night Eugenie is introduced to the wonders of the (ahem) 'turkish cigarette' and before you can say 'Franco Schmanko' her innocence is thrown right out the window when Christopher Lee and his stoned entourage arrive and ends up embroiled in a brutal orgy of bondage mayhem that will inevitably lead to disaster.

'Eugenie' is a thoroughly entertaining slice of classic Franco perversion and it is the perfect casting of Marie Liljedahl for the lead that adds immensely to the films viewing pleasure. To understand this I'll take a brief step back to remind folk about the first time we met Marie Liljedahl, you see she made her Euro starlet debut in Joseph Sarno's seriously cool retro gem 'Inga' (available from Retro Seduction). A part not too dissimilar to the character she's playing here, that of the curious virgin ready to be pounced upon by her supposed guardians and the tale of a virginal innocence being lost. The themes are the same (perhaps Sarno was inspired by De Sade too?) but with this adaptation Franco ups the stakes a good amount by throwing some very dark perversion into the frame. The soft core sauciness and devious pleasures of self gratification on show will no doubt have been pretty intense masturbatory fodder for the art house crowd that would have happened upon this gem when it was originally released. And it is today's genre fans (and perhaps some dubious Rophynol date rape freaks) that will find this similarly gratifying with this excellent release from Blue Underground.

Franco's direction is very much impressive here with the aforementioned red hued bedroom scene being a stand out moment of classic Euro cinema (which will be especially enjoyable to those of you who enjoy those turkish cigarettes). Harry Alan Towers adaptation (under the pseudonym Peter Welbeck) for the screen is exemplary in that he has successfully translated De Sade's story to the modern day environment and Christopher Lee steals the show during the films finale (which considering the small amount of time he spent on set is quite impressive). The only down point of the movie itself is Bruno Nicolai's score as his work is often revered by genre fans but here it's pretty much just frothy Euro fluff (though thankfully it doesn't detract from your viewing pleasure).

The anamorphic widescreen print on show here is simply stunning, more so when you consider this is a film made back in 1969 and long considered to be lost to the ravages of time. It really does look as though it was mastered from a source print that had just been finished yesterday; pin sharp, colourful and flawless throughout. Similarly the optional English and French audio tracks are well presented also, albeit in 2-channel mono I couldn't really find fault. But in addition to an impressive presentation of the film itself we are delivered some thoroughly enjoyable bonus features also.

There's a lovely lengthy trailer for the film under its 'Philosophy in the Boudoir' title which you may want to avoid watching until after you've first seen the movie (just a note for the spoiler wary among you), a text biography section on Franco's work (which is accompanied well by an always welcome liner notes section by top geezer Tim Lucas) and a comprehensive collection of stills and promo materials for the film that surely must encapsulate just about every still available for the movie (very impressive it is too). But the real icing on the cake here is the short documentary 'Perversion Stories' in which Jess Franco, Harry Towers, Christopher Lee and Marie Liljedahl (who stills looks great) reminisce fondly (and sometimes awkwardly in the case of Lee and Liljedahl) about their involvement in the production. As well as being very informative and relaxed it's also highly amusing with Franco himself coming across as a man that must have a thousand witty and brutally honest anecdotes to tell (he's certainly not one for mincing his words and his banter is welcomingly candid and refreshing).

If you've already got Sarno's 'Inga' release in your collection then you must simply go out and buy this immediately, if you're a fan of Franco's work then you will positively delight in the wondrous presentation that Blue Underground have delivered. Franco, Lee and Liljedahl working together in a De Sade adaptation - what more could any genre pervert ask for? Lovely stuff indeed, check it out!

Review by Alan Simpson

Released by Blue Underground
Region - All NTSC
Not Rated
Ratio - 2.35:1 (anamorphic)
Extras :
'Perversion Stories' documentary, Theatrical Trailer, Stills Gallery