Tender Flesh (1997)

DVD Cover (Shock-O-Rama Cinema)
Jesús Franco Jesús Franco
Lina Romay Lina Romay
Monique Parent Monique Parent
Aldo Sambrell Aldo Sambrell
Alain Petit Alain Petit
Analía Ivars Analía Ivars

3.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Erotic Thriller, Sexploitation, Thriller
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Review by Chad
Added: January 07, 2006
In Jess Franco's erotic adaptation of The Most Dangerous Game, things begin when stripper Paula (Amber Newman) auditions for a stripping job in front of a certain Mrs. Radeck (Lina Romay). Radeck enjoys what she sees and hires her for the "job" that she has in mind... performing a strip-show in front of her and some of her friends. In attendance at this strip-party is Radeck's husband and French chef Paul (Alain Petit), businessman Kallman (Aldo Sambrell) and his lovely wife Irina (Monique Parent). They watch as Paula performs her stripper duties in front of two plastic beasts with even huger phallus's, and while watching, Irinia tells Mrs. Radeck that she "must have Paula"... some cash trades hands after the show, Paula's pimp Carlos (Mikail Kronen) convinces her to go along with the plan, and the group is off to a remote island owned by Radeck. Upon arriving, Radeck introduces everyone to her mute slave girl Furia (Analía Ivars), and a weekend of carnal sin by way of fetish indulgements and mass orgies gets underway. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when Radeck and Irina decide that some hunting is in order... and Paula is to be the prey.

The first twenty minutes of the movie sets things into motion and introduces us to the characters, the last fifteen minutes of the movie is the big hunt, and the hour in between these two "acts" is where the aforementioned fetish indulgements and mass orgies take place. Franco is well-known for this style of movie, so I wasn't totally shocked by this revelation... however, I found that this was a lackluster entry in his huge filmography. I didn't have a problem with the acts themselves, as I've seen some other people complain about. Sure, some of it is far off the path of normalcy - we watch a woman urinate into a bowl (up close and in detail) which is then used in the dinner preparations, there's some boot worshipping, and there's a bit of heavy S&M - but the problem I had was the way things were shot and dragged out for far too long. Franco fans know that the man is good about paying attention to the details in such a way as to turn an otherwise mundane scene into something particularly memorable; even though he normally shot on low budgets, he was always good with musical scores, lighting, camera effects and interesting angles. With the exception of the S&M scene (which features camera angles and effects that are more annoying than interesting), each scene is shot normally... we see things happen and that's about it.

Even this could be forgiven; after all, it's not every day that you get to watch a woman squat down over a bowl and relieve herself in order to gather the final ingredient for dinner, so the film at least gets points in the originality department. It's the "normal" scenes that tend to drag the movie down. As an example, I'll point to one particular scene towards the end of the film in which Irina and Radeck decide to get down a little bit of lesbian loving. Radeck approaches Irina and they kiss... and kiss... and kiss... and kiss some more. Nothing else happens in this scene, yet the kisses last for a solid ten minutes. Lesbian lovers looking to rub one off during the movie may enjoy this scene, but those who are looking for an erotic thriller with some sort of flow would be highly disappointed by some of these scenes. The ending act makes up for some of this as it is quite enjoyable (and shows us why the film was titled "Tender Flesh" in what turns out to be a particularly nice scene), but fifteen minutes can only make up for so much.

Shock-O-Rama is releasing this and Lust For Frankenstein in a double feature set on January 24th. While I'd probably recommend passing on this film if it was a stand-alone release, the double feature of Franco films is definitely an interesting set and getting two movies for the price of one makes up for things. Although neither movie is great and neither is a must-see film in my eyes, there's more than enough interesting scenes and ideas spread out amongst the two films to warrant a rental. As for this movie by itself, I think a 4/10 is in order.
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