Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Beware the "EROTIPHILE" Process!

Last night I finished a mammoth side job: scripting and recording audio commentaries for three forthcoming Jess Franco titles for Redemption/Kino Lorber Blu-ray and DVD: THE AWFUL DR ORLOF (1962), NIGHTMARES COME AT NIGHT (1970) and A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD (1971, for which I commented on the original director's cut entitled CHRISTINA, PRINCESS OF EROTICISM). While preparing my commentary for ORLOF, I dug out my pressbook for the original theatrical release, which was the bottom half of Sigma III Corporation's double bill with Riccardo Freda's THE HORRIBLE DR HICHCOCK.

The pressbook is a riot; it freely throws around the word "necrophilia" (the subject of the Freda film) as if confident that maybe only one in a thousand people in those days would know what it meant. In fact, it presents the transcript of a radio spot tape whose 30 second spot begins:

ANNOUNCER 1: NECROPHILIA - N.E.C.R.O.P.H.I.L.I.A. Look it up in your dictionary. Horrible!
ANNOUNCER 2: (Gleeful in contrast to Number 1): And then go see THE HORRIBLE DR HICHCOCK!

The pressbook also offers the promotional card shown above as a free giveaway item for kiddie matinees. One thing you need to know is that the exposed fleshy parts of the cartoon girl's body have been covered in some kind of pink felt; it feels good when you touch it.

In case you can't read the text, here's what the card says:

The girl's figure on this card has been treated with the "EROTIPHILE" process.
You will find it pleasurable to stroke it gently with your fingertips.
However, prolonged stroking may be dangerous. You might become obsessed with the same desires that overcame Dr Hichcock as he caressed his victims! Were that to occur, not even Dr Orlof could help you.

These things were sold in units of 1000 for only $24 and, boy, do I wish they were still available. What stocking stuffers they'd make.

Another thing I noticed about this pressbook is that it lists the director of THE AWFUL DR ORLOF as Jess Franco. This may not seem strange, but consider: On the original Spanish release prints, the director was credited as Jesús Franco. On French and English export prints, he was credited as Jess Frank -- which is how Franco was billed onscreen until he began working for producer Harry Alan Towers circa 1967. Franco is not mentioned by name on any of Sigma III's double bill posters, so it doesn't appear there. The pressbook dates from 1964, so -- as far as I can tell -- it may well be the earliest appearance of the name Franco would later adopt and by which he would become best-known.

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