Plot: What’s it about?
Eugenie (Marie Liljedahl) is a beautiful young woman who enters a lush, tropical paradise, but her adventure is not the traditional vacation. Instead, Eugenie finds herself in a world of perversions beyond her wildest dreams and while she was an innocent young woman when she arrived, that isn’t the case for long. The island is home to a sadistic man named Dolmance (Christopher Lee), who oversees the treatment of Eugenie, which involves all sorts of carnal perversions, including those meant to break her young spirit. Her world is turned into one of sexual exploration, as she is taken to her limits of pleasure and pain, then taken past those limits into a realm she never even knew could exist. As she is pushed deeper into this world, she soon becomes involved with drugs and even murder, as well as continued sadomasochistic treatments. Can Eugenie find what she’s looking for in this world, or will it devour her like it has so many others?
This one has all the elements an exploitation fan could want, the direction & style of Jess Franco, a gorgeous lead in Marie Liljedahl, a number of additional beauties in various stages of undress, and to top it all off, the presence of Christopher Lee. Yes, Eugenie has a lot of positives and while it has been tough to find on home video, Blue Underground has now released the complete & uncut edition on DVD. As you’d expect from a Franco directed adaptation of a work by the Marquis de Sade, Eugenie has a sadistic and extreme edge, which means some scenes of graphic sex and we’re not talking traditional romance here. The descent of an innocent girl into the world of sadomasochism is explored in depth, as Liljedahl’s character is taken through various realms of pleasure and pain. Not the kind of movie to sit down with your folks and watch, but it has some appeal, if just to see all the wonderful women and lush visuals. I think fans of Franco’s will be most interested in Eugenie, but anyone into erotic cinema should give it a spin, especially since Blue Underground’s disc is such a solid treatment.
As it focuses a lot on the central character, Eugenie needed a female lead that was not only beautiful, but also very charismatic. And while she hadn’t been in many movies at this point, Marie Liljedahl had already more than proved her talents. You wouldn’t want her to play Juliet in a traditional take on Shakespeare’s classic, but as far as the realm of erotic cinema is concerned, Liljedahl is a more than solid worker. I mean, she is downright gorgeous and carries herself very well on screen, with a strong erotic presence. Here she showcases her ample physical talents and struts her stuff to perfection, though some of the scenes are a little extreme, which can dull the erotic appeal for some audiences. She also gets to show some emotion also, which isn’t too in depth, but she handles herself well, nonetheless. Other films with Liljedahl include A Virgin Among the Living Dead, Inga and Greta, Grimm’s Fairy Tales for Adults, and the erotic classic Inga. The cast also includes Maria Rohm (The Bloody Judge, Justine), Jack Taylor (Iguana, The Icebox Murder), and Christopher Lee (The Scars of Dracula, The Wicker Man).
Video: How does it look?
Eugenie is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I had some doubts about how good this transfer would look, but in the end, Blue Underground has delivered a terrific visual presentation. I saw some grain at times, but the print looks top notch and shows little marks or debris, which is excellent news. This is important because Eugenie is a beautifully filmed picture, with striking visuals and memorable use of color to enhance the experience. I found the colors to be bright and bold, but a tad on the dull side at times, though never to a point in which the impact is lessened. I was also impressed with the black levels, as contrast remains stark and refined throughout, a simply smashing effort from Blue Underground.
Audio: How does it sound?
A pair of mono soundtracks are found here, one in English and the other in French, so you can choose your poison. As expected, the audio is a shade on the thin side, but all things considered, I was pleased with the results. The materials have little signs of wear & tear, so hiss is minimal and distortion is never an issue. The vocals are well presented, with no muffled moments or the like, nor will you have to fiddle with the volume throughout. The sound effects and music sound as good as mono allows, which is solid enough in this case. Not the most remarkable audio soundtrack, but one that more than handles the material.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The main attraction here is Perversion Stories, a collection of interviews with Franco, producer Harry Allan Towers, and stars Christopher Lee & Marie Liljedahl. I always love to listen to Lee’s thoughts, so this was a terrific piece and with Franco & Liljedahl involved, it proves to be an excellent inclusion. This disc also includes additional information on Franco’s career, a selection of poster artwork & still photos, and the film’s theatrical trailer.