March 15, 2023 Eugenie… The Story of Her Journey Into Perversion (4K Collector’s Edition Review)
Spanish Filmmaker Jess Franco is often remembered for his exploitative films. Dabbling in Horror, and within a dozen sub-genres of it, Franco is also known for his Spy, Giallo, Crime, Science Fiction, Jungle Adventure, and Sexploitation films. To the Horror fan, Franco means 1978’s Count Dracula, 1981’s Oasis of the Zombies, or 1981’s Zombie Lake, but others outside Horror might turn to films like 1978’s Women in Cellblock 9, or 1970’s Eugenie. Also known as Eugenie… The Story of Her Journey Into Perversion, it is very much in Franco’s wheelhouse of his other Sexploitation films. For those unaware, the script is a modern-day adaptation of the Marquis de Sade’s 1795 book Philosophy in the Bedroom. Not sure who Marquis de Sade was? Well, let us just say he was rather depraved; best known for his erotic works, although also known for various crimes. Culturally depicted through the years in various writings and films, there is still quite a bit of interest in his writings some two hundred years after his death.
All this in mind, the late Franco spent a good deal of time working in films adapted from Sade’s writing. This includes the aforementioned Eugenie… The Story of Her Journey Into Perversion, which was recently released in 4K Ultra High Definition format February 21, 2023 through Blue Underground. Widely considered one of Franco’s best films, it is also one of the most controversial explorations of extreme sexuality in European cinema history. Now, in case you are vague on what it is all about, then perhaps you should go to your library and do some research on the writings of Sade… and then you will get the picture. In enough words, if you are not familiar, Eugenie follows the story of a young woman who is taken to an island by a woman she is fascinated with only to be manipulated, drugged, and forced into a sadomasochistic behavior. Chances are anyone interested in this Franco film already knows the story though.
Anyway, Eugenie features a cast that includes Christopher Lee (Dracula 1958, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001) as Dolmance, Maria Rohm (Venus in Fur 1969, The Girl From Rio 1969) as the evil Madame Saint Ange, and Marie Liljedahl (Ann and Eve 1970, Dorian Gray 1970) as Eugenie. A solid group of actors/actresses, they come together to portray characters doing unthinkable things. Now, without diving more into the scope of the film, what is most important is what Blue Underground offers views with this new release. For starters, it is a 4K Ultra High-Definition transfer from restored original camera negatives; and one could imagine that was not an easy task, considering the age of the film. These factors considered; the transfer is quite impeccable. Yes, there are various moments where the lens is out of focus, but this is not something a 4K transfer can mend. In all, you get a very clean transfer, and it only exemplifies the horror and sinister mood of the film.
And with this outlined, what you also get is a Blu-ray disc that includes a lot of extra features. These include audio commentaries, interviews with the likes of Jess Franco, the film Writer/Producer Harry Alan Towers, as well as stars Marie Liljedahl, Christopher Lee, but also, Jack Taylor (Conan the Barbarian 1982, Pieces 1982). Everything taken into account, it is a well-rounded group of features that will offer insight into the creator’s vision for the film. So, if you are someone who has seen Eugenie, this is a great presentation to look for. Although, if you are someone who has not seen Eugenie, please be sure to do a bit of research prior to viewing it; because it is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Certainly sadist, and a Horror film in many ways, Cryptic Rock gives this special 4K release 4 out of 5 stars.