This is a hidden gem, even by Jess Franco's standards. Never receiving a cinematic release, it has cropped up on German television during the 1990s. It is a kind of sci-fi horror, a partial return to the saga of Doctor Orloff from Uncle Jess's earlier films - there's even a Morpho-type character, Andros, a disfigured henchman nicely played by Moisés Augusto Rocha. Rocha labours under make-up that is effective from a distance, but not so much during the many close-ups Franco has chosen to give him. The mute is regularly beaten and chastised by leather-clad Leslie (Beni Cardoso).
Music comes from Jess and Rolf Kühn and is either ubiquitous levels of jazz, or more haunting piano-lead refrains. It gives the production a sophistication it may not otherwise have. The location may be the Mexican border, but nothing is specified. You didn't think it would be, did you?
And yet a gem this is. Jenny Hering (Ewa Stroemberg) and her partner (who is reading 'The Island of Doctor Moreau') are enjoying dressing up for each other one evening, when Jenny spots Andros outside dispatching the apparently dead body of a young woman. This she reports to Stetson-sporting Inspector Thomas (Fred Williams) who shares a tempestuous double act with boss Crosby (played by Jess Franco, who also plays a drunk in a nightclub - I don't think it is supposed to be the same character). The mad scientist is villainous Farkas, played by a shaggy Jack Taylor, who is developing some Death Ray or other.
The version I watched is dubbed into German, with English subtitles. The dubbing is surprisingly meticulous. In one scene, a beagle (Carlos) is seen to yawn in the way that dogs do, with appropriate noises overlaid! This kind of attention to detail, in a film for which details are a secondary thought (like Farkas's specific plan, and whether or not he is actually Mabuse or not), is charming to me.
I thoroughly enjoyed this. The pacing is refreshingly quick, although perhaps we spend too much time in the company of the policemen who fail to make much in the way of progress. The locations are exceptional, the whole production shines with beautiful shots and ultimately, I find it curious that when lesser Franco films are available on DVD, this languishes in the 'hard to find' corner of the internet. Well worth tracking down for lovers of sleazy sophistication.
Review by parry_na from the Internet Movie Database.