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It's hard to tell whether Spanish exploitation legend Jess Franco actually planned to make a surreal spy movie, but Kiss Me Monster (originally titled Besame Monstrou) plays like a psychedelic parody of secret-agent thrillers and Hitchcock mysteries. A pair of stripteasing artist roommates, who bunk in a groovy little bungalow practically lost in deep shag carpets, turn freelance detectives when they stumble upon a secret message hidden in the strains of a song. Before you know it they've tracked the source to a Caribbean island where an ancient castle hides a mad scientist experimenting on (usually naked female) captives in his bid to create a strain of supermen. It's almost impossible to follow this incoherent mix of horror, sexploitation, and science fiction-a-go-go, but the absurdist dialogue (seemingly translated by someone who speaks English as a third or fourth language) and simply ridiculous situations are only enhanced by the overripe acting and clumsy dubbing. Flashy editing, garish sets, a terrific score that runs the gamut from lounge to big band to Latin to rock instrumentals, and enthusiastically awful performances by Janine Reynaud and Rossana Yanni help raise this entertaining mess to the level of guilty pleasure. Also stars German romance idol Adrian Hoven, who coproduced the film. Reynaud also appears in Franco's equally surreal but altogether more serious Succubus.

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VT10369 Kiss Me Monster VHS (1969/Jess Franco) $5.99