on a holiday abroad, two young women (Mireille Saunin and Michele
Perello) become trapped in the mythical, nightmarish world of
Morgana (Dominique Delpierre)...
nothing quite like the European horror films of the '60s and
'70s — colorful and baroque, they mixed sleaze, gore, moody
atmospherics and nonsensical plotting in a heady cocktail that
remains unique to this day. The best of these films are now
rightfully revered as classics, but as more and more of them
show up on DVD in crisp, remastered editions that surely do
them better justice than even their original theatrical runs,
it becomes more and more apparent that the term "newly rediscovered
cult classic" carries less and less currency. Girl
Slaves of Morgana Le Fay is a good case in point.
On the one
hand, Bruno Gontillon's somewhat pretentious erotic fantasy
(there's nothing particularly horrific about it) contains the
elements that distinguish many other films of its ilk. There
are some stunning European starlets in various states of undress.
The location photography is frequently stunning. The lounge
soundtrack strikes the right balance between '70s tackiness
and dreamy atmospherics. Yet for everything it gets right, it
gets at least two things ridiculously wrong.
First and foremost,
it's principle problem is one of sheer tedium. Little to nothing
actually happens in the space of 86 sluggish minutes of screen
time. True, there are some nice erotic vignettes with the various
French starlets entering enthusiastically into simulated lesbian
sex, but that's about it. Gontillon doesn't show the flair for
melding eroticism with horror and/or fantasy elements that his
contemporaries Jess Franco and Jean Rollin remain renowned for.
What little story there is is underdeveloped and unconvincing.
It's impossible to care about the characters, and even worse
so many of the actresses are of a similar "look" that it's sometimes
hard to tell who is who.
In terms of
cinematic technique, the film isn't especially compelling, either.
While the locations are striking, much of the lighting is flat
— scenes with characters complaining about how dark it is are
undone by way too much light courtesy of the cinematographer,
and apart from some interesting color play in the wardrobe,
there really isn't much to the film's visual palette. Gontillon
tries hard to sustain some sense of mystery and suspense, but
the pacing is much too slack and the situations far too repetitive
for him to succeed.
an unmitigated disaster, Girl Slaves of
Morgana Le Fay is nevertheless a below average example
of its genre, recommended for diehard completists only.
Macabro's new R1 release of Girl Slaves
of Morgana Le Fay is first-rate. The 1.66 framing looks
correct and apart from a few minor instances of print damage,
the source material is in very good condition. Colors are strong,
grain is kept to a minimum, and the image is enhanced for widescreen
TVs. The French audio track (in mono) is clean and clear, with
easy to read (removable) English subtitles.
some text essays on the film, a short film by Gontillon titled
An Artistic Couple, a trailer for the film as well as other
MM releases, a poster/still gallery and an interview with Gontillon.
The director comes across amiably enough and provides some interesting
details on his life and career, with a particular emphasis (naturally)
on Girl Slaves.