Awful Dr. Orlof, The (1962)

Directors: Jess Franco
Starring: Howard Vernon

Genre: Horror


"Jess Franco's first major film is an atmospheric, well-photographed, amazingly lurid little masterpiece that deserves serious attention from horror fans. The brilliant, cacophonic jazz score and unusual camera angles work to create a real feeling of menace, and there's rich attention paid to period detail, and eerie lighting. The English version is even well dubbed. This was a big hit for Franco, and he followed it with a sequel, DR. ORLOFF'S MONSTER, in 1964.
This movie was part of a craze in Europe for plastic surgery related horror films, launched by
Georges Franju's EYES WITHOUT A FACE, AKA THE HORROR CHAMBER OF DR. FAUSTUS (1959). Franco's film is also a homage to the Edgar Wallace book DARK EYES OF LONDON, which features a character named Dr. Orloff sending his blind henchman out on missions of murder. Filmed in Spain. Director Franco wrote the screenplay under the psuedonymn David Kuhne. He also appears in a scene as the piano player." - from DVD Pacific

My oppinion:
I must admit I was very surprised about how good this movie was. Not many Franco movies are good in the way this one is. Don't get me wrong, I love Franco's work, but I didn't expect a "quality" movie like this one. The Awful Dr. Orlof has some very creepy moments, and the B&W photography and nice looking sets creates a marvellous atmosphere. The acting is on an ok level, except for Howard Vernon wich does a great performance as Dr. Orlof! You even get some black & white nudity, wich is always fun. The soundtrack was also very nice, and deserves mentioning. The plot isn't exactly groundbreaking, and there are a few scenes that brought out a little giggle from me (like the "sketch artist" scene) but that didn't lower my impression of the movie. The only other negative thing I can think of is the dubbing, wich was pretty terrible at certain points, but I'm getting used to that..
If you're a Franco fan, and haven't seen this yet, I'm sure you'll be as impressed as I was, but this one is definantly worth a look even if you're not a fan of Franco's work! Highly recommended!

My rating:

Want more info on this movie?: IMDB

Buy "The Awful Dr. Orloff" at: DVD Pacific, Amazon.com or VideoUniverse