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Fans of the Synapse Film's DVD release of VAMPYROS LESBOS should get a kick out SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY ($30), another erotic thriller from director Jess Franco that also stars the beauteous Soledad Miranda. The plot of SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY is as far-fetched as they come, but it is a workable springboard that allows the central character to go about her erotic killing spree. In SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY, Soledad Miranda portrays Mrs. Johnson, the wife of an eminent doctor whose latest research is designed to improve the quality of life for humanity. Unfortunately, Dr. Johnson (Fred Williams) peers on the medical council discredit his work; calling his experiments unethical and that he should be banned from the practice of medicine. As the harsh words of his peers resonate in his head, Dr. Johnson is slowly driven into madness and ends his own suffering by suicide. At this point, the distraught Mrs. Johnson formulates a plan to exact revenge the members of the council that took her husband away from her. One by one, Mrs. Johnson seduces the members of the council, whom she murders in orgasmic bliss. SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY is a strange, but haunting movie that benefits from the presence of Soledad Miranda and the erotic, but deadly encounters staged by director Franco.

Synapse Films has made SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY available on DVD in a Letterboxed presentation that has not been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY is framed at 1.66:1 and appears correctly formatted in this aspect ratio. The film element used for the transfer is in rough shape, displaying numerous small defects and small scratches. These problems can usually be overlooked, especially when one considers that this is a thirty-year-old foreign production that has not been carefully preserved. Heck, knowing Synapse, this is probably the best quality print of SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY that is still in existence. For the most part, the image on the DVD is reasonably sharp and detailed, with some shots appearing somewhat softer. Colors tend to be subdued, which seems to indicate that after three decades the film elements have begun to fade. This isn't to say that the image is colorless, just that most of the hues appear somewhat pale. Blacks are generally okay, but there are a couple of spots where they veer towards gray, making the image appear somewhat less dimensional.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is in German and sounds reasonably good. Since I don't speak the language, I can't judge the intelligibility, but the voices don't seem distorted in any way. As you might expect, fidelity is limited and there is a bit of hiss that can be heard during the quiet passages of the film. There are a few other sonic anomalies on the track, but they are never distracting. Removable yellow English subtitles are presented on the DVD for the non-German speaking audience. The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a theatrical trailer, which is the DVD's only extra.

While not as much fun as VAMPYROS LESBOS, SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY does have its moments. The Synapse DVD is probably as good as this movie will ever look on NTSC, so Jess Franco fans will want to check out the disc.


She Killed in Ecstasy



DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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