Sexy Sisters
Switzerland / 1978
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring
Karine Gambier
Pamela Stanford
Jack Taylor
Color / 88 Minutes / Not Rated
Format: DVD 
(R0 - NTSC)
VIP Entertainment
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Me so horny!
WAV format | 0.1 MB

R0/NTSC edition
(Out of Print)
Review by
Brian Lindsey
 
4
    5   10 = Highest Rating  
With Sexy Sisters (Die Teuflischen Schwestern, "The Devilish Sisters"), profligate Eurosleaze maestro Jess Franco again indulges his penchant for the sexually provocative and perverted, only this time without the sadomasochistic torture of the many Women In Prison films he made during this same period. Here the cruelty inflicted is strictly mental rather than physical.
    Bleach-blonde heiress Millicent "Millie" von Stein (Women in Cellblock 9's Karine Gambier) stands to inherit millions when she turns 21, though she's completely ignorant of her late parents' will and what it contains. Such is not the case with older sister Edie (Pamela Stanford), executor of the family estate — she's been controlling the finances for a few years now and wants to keep it that way. A clause in the will stipulates that all money and property will pass to Millie unless she's declared mentally incompetent, in which case Edie gets everything. If Millie dies, however, the entire fortune will be turned over a charitable foundation
. To maintain control, Edie schemes with her lover, the corrupt "Dr." Barnes (who may not even be a real physician), to drive poor, naοve Millie stark raving mad. As part of Millie's "therapy" they keep her confined to the family mansion, chained naked to her bed in a sort of gilded cage complete with golden manacles. Barnes (Female Vampire's Jack Taylor) regularly injects Millie with drugs which cause her to hallucinate and become insatiably horny. Because of these drugs and the twisted mind games played upon her by her own sister, Millie — whose 21st birthday is fast approaching — is on the brink of total mental breakdown. As a form of torture, Edie has lesbian sex with the maid in front of her captive sibling; she also invites strange men to ravage Millie in an effort to drive her over the edge. (A psychiatrist, unaware of Barnes' special "treatment", recommends that Millie be given prolonged periods of rest with no sexual activity whatsoever, including masturbation.) Edie takes perverse delight in implementing her plan... After having her own fun with the one night stands and male prostitutes she brings home for Millie's "consumption", she voyeuristically enjoys the show as sex-crazed little Sis is rogered six ways from Sunday. One of the men brought to the mansion is the same brute who raped Millie when she was only 12 years old — and because of the Spanish Fly that's continually pumped into her, she actually enjoys having sex with him. To complete the mind-fuck, Millie is told that such incidents are merely bad dreams.
    In a house where everybody is screwing everybody else — Edie and the maid; Edie, the maid and the rent-a-studs; Barnes, the maid and Edie; Barnes and the live-in nurse; the nurse and Millie; Millie and the rent-a-studs, etc. — something is bound to go haywire. Sure enough, a monkey wrench is thrown in the works when a guy Edie picks up in a bar for her sister ends up falling in love with Millie after sleeping with her. Awakening disoriented the next morning in his car, in another part of town (was it all a dream?), the man later locates the house and begins spying on the von Steins in hopes of finding a way to free his captive sweetie. In the meantime, a leather-jacketed gigolo (Eric Falk, Barbed Wire Dolls) is brought home to service Millie but drops dead of a heart attack during the act. Millie's truly freaked out now, and Edie has a corpse or her hands... Or does she?
    Sexy Sisters is a fairly professional-looking film compared to a number of Jess Franco's contemporary works — there are no wobbly shots and everything's actually in focus. Yet there's no doubt you've entered the "Franco Zone" when the flick opens in a nightclub, an avant-garde stage performance featuring two nude masked women in progress. He attempts to give the numerous sex scenes an artful flair (shooting some of them through swaying bead curtains, for example) rather than resort to simple, and ultimately boring, bump and grind antics. He also accentuates (celebrates?) the unabashed kinkiness of the Edie character, all the more to contrast her decadent Sadean behavior with that of the innocent, victimized Millie. It is Edie, not Millie, who's the real nymphomaniac. She doesn't need drugs to remain voraciously horny. A few of the scenes with Stanford creep right up to the line of hardcore pornography but never cross it. Actually, had Franco decided to go all the way and make this an X-rated film it could've been a pretty damn good one.
    As an envelope-pushing softcore feature, however, the film is continually undermined by the ludicrous, laughably silly English dubbing. I almost awarded the flick EC's "Extra Cheese" icon just on that basis. A typically monolingual American, I have no idea if the German-language script is any better in terms of dialog, but it does at least sound better in German. Some of the English dialog is so goofily performed — "Ah, my little tigress. I'll stick you so hard you won't have the breath to scream. Gimme your ass!" — you might just be laughing too much to ogle Karine Gambier's voluptuous bod. (She's buck naked 99% of the time.)
    In addition to the cheesy dub job, the film's rushed, abrupt ending is easily the worst I've ever seen in a Franco film to date. I didn't know whether to laugh or be pissed off.

The Region 0/NTSC edition of Sexy Sisters is generally on a par with the other titles we've looked at from VIP Entertainment's Jess Franco Collection, but with a few caveats. Visually, the transfer (1.85:1 widescreen, 16x9 enhanced) isn't quite as vibrant as that of Doriana Grey or Barbed Wire Dolls, coming off a tad darker and less colorful in spots. Given VIP's exemplary track record with the Franco films produced by company honcho Edwin C. Dietrich (working from original vault materials), this is likely the best Sisters is ever going to look. So it's a minor quibble, really; the transfer is more than satisfactory. As for audio, four different language tracks are offered: English, French, Spanish and the original German. The English track, for all its inherent goofiness, is crisp and clear as a bell. It's just a shame that VIP doesn't bother with English subtitles. The acting fares a bit better in German, appearing less stilted, and even the coital moaning and groaning sounds sexier. ("Ja... Ja! Mein Gott! Ja!" and so on.) Extras are on the slim side in comparison to the Doriana Grey and Barbed Wire Dolls DVDs. The same documentary on the filming of Franco's Jack the Ripper (1976) that was included on those discs is also featured here, but there are no interviews with Franco, producer Dietrich or any of the actors specific to Sexy Sisters. You do get two image galleries of production stills and promotional materials, along with the usual array of wild, nudity-filled VIP trailers (in German, with burned-in French subtitles) for such films as Mad Foxes and Rolls Royce Baby. Interestingly, the preview for Sexy Sisters reveals that Franco must have employed multiple cameras at some time on the set. A scene shown in the trailer, shot in close-up — Stanford pulling down Falk's underwear — is lensed from much farther away in the film itself. I'd swear it's the same take.
   
A blurb on the packaging reads: "Warning! This film contains scenes of shocking horror." This is utter nonsense unless you're terrified of full frontal nudity. 3/05/04
UPDATE The R0/NTSC version of this DVD (reviewed above) went OOP circa 2008. Used copies are not particularly easy to obtain.
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