Directed by Jesús Franco
Written by Pier A. Caminnecci
Budget 3,000 EUR
Produced by Adrian Hoven
Edited by Fritzi Schmidt
Producer Adrian Hoven
|Starring Janine ReynaudJack TaylorHoward VernonNathalie Nort|
Cinematography Franz X. LederleJorge Herrero
Initial release 19 April 1968 (West Germany)
Screenplay Pier A. Caminnecci, Sami Haavisto, Jari Mustonen
Music director Friedrich Gulda, Jerry van Rooyen, Mikko Mustonen
Cast Howard Vernon, Adrian Hoven, Jack Taylor, Michel Lemoine, Janine Reynaud
Similar Kiss Me - Monster, Two Undercover Angels, Lucky - the Inscrutable, The Diabolical Dr Z, Der Todesrächer von Soho
Succubus (German: Necronomicon - Geträumte Sünden) is a 1968 West German horror film directed by Jesús Franco. The original German title translates as Necronomicon - Dreamt Sins. The film stars Janine Reynaud as Lorna Green, a performer at a nightclub who performs fictionalized acts that involve erotically charged sadomasochistic murders. It is suggested that Lorna may be under mind control by a man who might be Satan (Michel Lemoine) which draws her to a night in the future when she begins to actually kill people.
Succubus was Franco's first film made entirely outside of Spain. During production, the German backers for the film fell out leading to the producer contacting Pier A. Caminnecci to finance the film.
After working on several productions in Spain, director Jesús Franco sought out financial backing in Germany. Franco became frustrated with the production rules and censorship in Spain, stating that even if he had an entirely Spanish crew, he would have to film in Spain to receive the co-production funding, and that for Succubus, "the censors had taken their red pen and crossed everything out, even the title". The title for the film was found at the home of Pier A. Caminnecci where Franco found a book titled Necronomicon. The story was only three pages long, so Franco fused the story with a previous film script he had worked on.
After finishing work on his film Lucky, the Inscrutable, he went to production manager Karl-Heinz Mannchen with an eight-page script for Succubus. After securing funding, model Janine Reynaud was cast in the film after being introduced to Franco by his friend, actor Michel Lemoine.
While filming was in progress, the German financial backers pulled out of the film. Producer Adrian Hoven contacted Pier A. Caminnecci who took an interest in actress Reynaud and agreed to finance the film. An affair later occurred between the two.
Succubus was released in West Germany on April 19, 1968 and was a financial success. The film was later released in the United States under the title Succubus. To promote the film, a phone number was offered for audience members who did not know what the title succubus meant. The film was shown at Fantastic Fest in 2009 with Franco in attendance. The print of the film shown was borrowed from American director Quentin Tarantino.
The film was originally released on DVD on October 27, 1998 by Anchor Bay Entertainment. It was released again on July 25, 2006 with an interview with director Jesús Franco and actor Jack Taylor as bonus features by Blue Underground.
In 1968, Vincent Canby wrote a review in the New York Times, noting that the film could not decide if it wanted "to be a bare-breasted exploitation movie or a nice, erotic horror story about a demented lady of bizarre sexual tastes" referring to the film as "being a bit of a drag". In a review for the Umberto Lenzi film Orgasmo, Roger Ebert critiqued Succubus as one of the worst films of the year, referring to it as "a flat-out bomb. It left you stunned and reeling. There was literally nothing of worth in it. Even the girl was ugly." David McGillivray (Monthly Film Bulletin) claimed that "the most positive thing one can say about Succusbus is that it is strikingly different from anything Jesus Franco has directed either before or since." The review complimented that the "utilisation of an obviously low budget is relatively accomplished. In all other respects, however, the film is an absurdly hit-or miss affair with scenes that have a certain bizarre appeal (shop window dummies coming to life) juxtaposed with others of crushing banality."