Shining Sex (1975)

B-Movie Enema has reached the end of Lina Romay Month!

And, if I’m being honest, I need a break. This has been an emotionally draining month of adult entertainment from Jess Franco. Each and every one of the previous Severin released Franco films featuring the gorgeous Ms. Romay had something on there to say that it was the most erotic, most decadent, most debaucherous, most this, and most that of Romay’s career or of Franco’s one year period of 46 movies that explored sadistic, homosexual, and murderous whatever.

Every. Single. One. Of. These. Movies.

But now, it’s time for Shining Sex. This is about an exotic dancer (Romay), who is seduced by an alien from a different dimension named Alpha and her human slave. They come to learn about the sex. Meanwhile, Jess Franco is also in the movie playing a guy who’s all about the paranormal. It’s one of the few times that Franco went into things like the paranormal and science fiction. So, I suppose you can say we’re in for a real treat for this final entry in this theme month! But before we dive into the movie, we should probably see what Severin has to add from the back of their Blu Ray release of this exploitation classic…

“Lina Romay is at her most explicitly seductive as…”

“One of the most provocative films of writer/director Jess Franco…”

Please, Severin, I’m already dead. You’ve bludgeoned me into complete submission this entire month with these movies trying to outdo one another. If it wasn’t based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade, it was Nazi gold that you stare at while fuckin’ on a couch… owned by a Nazi. If it wasn’t planning to kill your wife after she gets home from a mental asylum, it’s incest. Seriously, Severin, Franco, and Romay, I’m no longer able to function as a normal person.

If I’m being perfectly honest, the reason why I like Jess Franco’s films (for the most part) is mostly due to how bizarre they are. Even his earlier, artsier films (The Awful Dr. Orloff or The Diabolical Dr. Z) are shaded with a little bit of surreal to go along with a more straightforward horror approach. Two Female Spies is a fascinating, and relatively complex, tale dealing with international intrigue as well as a healthy amount of criticism for society’s inability to hold the rich and powerful to account for the shitty things they do. Oasis of the Zombies is bad, but it’s still got an idea it tries to pull off. And Ilsa, The Wicked Warden? Well, they can’t all be that fucking great.

Holy cow, these past four movies went full balls deep into the insanity. However, were they each successful in doing what they set out to do? Well… kinda? Cries of Pleasure totally leaned in on the depravity of these really pretty awful people. Sinfonia Erotica did a good job depicting a libertine lifestyle and how it totally twisted a man into being a murderer. The Hot Nights of Linda played out just like a smutty romance novel, and, shockingly, stuck the landing to prove the reason why it was structured the way it was. The more I thought about Night of Open Sex, the more I actually really liked it for gorgeous locations, a fun third act tone, and Lina Romay just being flat out steamy.

Still, you don’t watch these movies and not come out the other side a different person.

Shining Sex is science fucking fiction! Not only that, but it is nearly 20 minutes longer than any of the previous movies from this month. There are only two possible outcomes…

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I can’t really put into proper context how scared I am to press play on this. This month has been so strange, so depraved, so perfect. I don’t know if I can survive the fifth movie or if it will make me ascend to a different kind of lifeform. Like, as this movie ends, will I be sitting here still and doing my normal questioning of my own life choices or will I have poofed into a singularity, a glowing orb no longer encased and trapped in this mortal coil? Will I then be able to ponder the larger questions of life and existence?

Or will I just simply get ready to do the next article in this never-ending cavalcade of bat shit bad movies that I have assigned as my life’s work? We all know what the answer will be, so I best just get to it.

The movie opens with Romay, playing Cynthia, refreshing her makeup, brushing out her hair, and refreshing herself with some essential sexy oils. She says there’s a couple requesting her. Apparently, this couple is unimpressive. But that’s not her concern at the moment because she needs ot go out and perform her famous dance “Shining Sex” for the cabaret attendees. And you know what?

It’s quite sexy. I mean… I don’t need an elaborate dance to called “Shining Sex” to entice me. Lina Romay has proven time and time again to have lots of exactly what’s needed to be called sexy or erotic, or fuckin’ hot, or whatever adjective you prefer. I can say I have had quite enough of these movies for a little while, but I can’t say the same for Lina Romay’s boobs.

After her performance of “Shining Sex”, she meets with the couple that requested her company. Now… I have a question. The majority of her performance was some general thrusting of hips and shaking of the boobs. Then she followed that with lots of writhing on the floor. Lots of shots right up the ol’ Paradise Alley, and lots of just teasing and stuff. So, does she do this every time she does this act? Is it a living act, like stage acting, where it evolves from one night to the next? I’m not just being “that guy”, I’m legitimately curious.

They order Cynthia a drink, but they don’t have much to say. She has lots to say. For example, she did shows with two other women. She also did a show in Germany with a race horse to which she said, “That’s super porno, you know!” Yes, Cynthia. Yes, we know.

The weirdo couple (by the way this is Alpha and Andros) take her back to their place because hers is too messy. I suppose this is just what performers and strippers do in Europe – the go and fuck anyone who requests it. They get back to the couple’s apartment and Alpha seems essentially shy but Cynthia tries to loosen her up by unzipping her jumpsuit and letting her touch her bits. When Alpha tries to kiss Cynthia, she mostly bites.

Between this lady’s bitey nature and Andros’ scary cool demeanor, I’m not sure they aren’t just Europeans and not actually space aliens.

That expression doesn’t help.

I guess it takes Andros a really long time to park the car because these two go at it for many, many minutes uninterrupted. I’m fairly certain Alpha learns everything ever known about sex during the time it takes Andros to drive to the parking garage and walk to the apartment. Poor guy isn’t going to get any of this cookie.

I do find it interesting to think about these movies I covered this month and what passed for erotic or sexy during the 70s and early 80s. Now, I do suspect that in films that were explicitly pornos we got more penetration (or at least shots of penetration) and a whole bunch more close up evidence that those ladies are totally going down on each other. That said, these Jess Franco films seem to operate on a spectrum from one scene to the next.

Sometimes, it’s a little more sensual and what you’d almost see two real life partners engaging in. More embracing and softer or more passionate kissing, etc. Then, there are scenes in which someone is totally enraptured – and usually alone. They are moaning loudly and bucking on top of the bed alone as if they are possessed or having some sort of an episode. These are the scenes in which I had been most confused during the viewings of these five movies. Not the action or reaction to sexual stimuli, no. It’s knowing these reactions are happening without obvious sexual stimuli. Why is she bouncing around on the bed and moaning as if she’s been horrifically injured? These are very bizarre scenes.

I mentioned last week, the tongue wrestling. That will happen too. It’s tongue stuck all the way out and circling around another tongue, and usually female on female. It seems very wet and sloppy, but also lazy. And of course there are rougher scenes in which two people are absolutely overcome by the need to fuck. These scene are easy to understand depending on context but it’s often quite violent and I don’t particularly react to that.

I mean, I suppose people react to different things, right? I’m guessing what Europeans found interesting or sexy during the act of incredible passion is going to be different than some American dickweed thinks is sexy 40-45 years later. What a lot of this rests on, though, is how much this is really performative art. It’s not sex nor is it modern era porn sex that stands as a monolith for what a lot of young guys think sex will be in the real world.

It’s almost interpretive in its artistic quality. Sex makes you an animal. Sex controls you unlike anything else in the sensory world. Sex is a primal force.

So, Alpha has a brief freak out as Cynthia pleasures her and that makes her rush to the dresser to grab this little porcelain hand. The hand almost seems like a talisman or some sort of cultural or religious item. She uses it to fuck Cynthia to total mindlessness. As Alpha does this, this stirs something in Dr. Seward (Franco) who senses and hears the goings on but doesn’t exactly know what he felt. He says to his nurse that it seemed like all the items in the room around him started taking on lives of their own. He is taken to his study to dig deeper into these mysterious feelings.

Cynthia wakes up in Alpha’s bed alone. She walks to the patio and finds Alpha and Andros enjoying the nice day. They sit in wicker chairs tits and balls out to the world. Alpha is rubbing Andros down with some sort of lotion or liquid. When they see Cynthia, they bid her a good morning. Cynthia seems confused or unsure what is going on. As Cynthia relaxes on the chaise lounge, Alpha is the slightly more aggressive one. She rubs the confused girl’s body and applies some of that same lotion. This scene goes on for a very long time before suddenly, Cynthia bolts. She returns to the bed with Alpha following and they do some sexy stuff together again.

This time, Alpha just does stuff with her hands and it causes Cynthia to go to the edge of an uncontrollable orgasm. She begs for Alpha to finish, but she leaves and allows Andros in on the fun instead. For the first time in these five movies covered, there is a clear penetration shot. So Shining Sex is definitely going for real porno level sex in this.

There are some really great shots in this movie. Particularly focused on Andros, played by Raymond Hardy (I’m SURE that’s his real name). He’s got these mirrored aviator sunglasses on the entire movie. We have not seen him without them. But the reflections in them are kind of stunning at times. It gives him a real alien look. Almost like an insect at times. Anyway, we also see orders from his Mistress Alpha in the reflections too. It’s very well shot.

Sometime later, Cynthia is getting in a car with Andros while it appears that Alpha is calling out to her with her mind. I don’t know if she’s controlling Cynthia or if she’s just kind of harvesting sexual energy from her or what. This movie doesn’t seem to have a real narrative, but it is actually quite artistic. There’s a particular level of art to almost all of Jess Franco’s films. I’ve touched on that already this month. But this seems to be beyond that and is taking the artistic idea to a narrative level by not really having anything in terms of exposition through this first long stretch of the movie.

During this car ride with Andros, it does seem as though Alpha was connecting to, or possibly possessing, Cynthia’s mind. He drops her off at the ruins of this castle and leaves. She walks around and eventually enters. Inside this place is a woman who seems to be walking around either in a trance or like an alien, or both. She sits down and calls out for entry. Cynthia comes in and kneels and asks to be blessed.

Cynthia reveals she was sent to this lady, Madame Pecame, by voices in the shadows and in her mind. What the holy fucking shit is going on, I cannot say. I think Alpha is inside Cynthia. Or possessing her? Madame Pecame doesn’t seem like an alien as much as a mystic or possibly like a fortune teller. I don’t… I don’t know. I know Madame Pecame is played by Monica Swinn, and she was Lorna in The Hot Nights of Linda. Other than that, I can’t say for sure what’s happening to my eyeballs.

As best as I can tell, Madame Pecame is an enemy to Alpha. There’s jealousy surrounding the knowledge this hippie dippy lady knows. In fact, Alpha wants this chick dead. Cynthia has been sent to “love” and then kill Madame Pecame. Cynthia has no beef with her. She just has to do what Alpha tells her.

Madame Pecame is into that idea because of course she is – this is Lina Romay saying she’s come to do the sex to her. Here’s the rub (heh), though… If Alpha wants Madame’s wisdom destroyed with her death, it’s too late. She’s already transferred it to Dr. Seward. I can only assume the knowledge is about where to find Nazi gold in a jungle house’s basement.

While Cynthia and the Madame have sex, it affects Seward as well. I think Madame Pecame dies during this too, but Seward can see Cynthia, who has snapped out of Alpha’s control and realized she did a really bad thing. He sends his servant, Boris, to go pick Cynthia up so they can help her.

Dr. Seward discovers some sort of substance on Cynthia’s body. He wants to get it examined. He tries to question Cynthia. She can’t really answer what her name is. Her head hurts, but she recognizes the name Alpha. She’s the one that has drained Cynthia’s willpower. Seward knows there’s some heavy shit happening.

Alpha calls back out to Cynthia, and she leaves the doctor’s place before he can realize she’s being controlled again. He sees her walking down the road, but admits they can’t stop her or try to bring her back because Alpha would likely kill her or the control over her will would lead to her death. He then tells Boris that she’s being controlled by Alpha who is a being from another dimension. While they will hope to see her again, saving her might be a tall order. You see, that stuff he had examined that he found on Cynthia’s body? Well, it is a substance that will basically destroy the fabric of her tissues.

This is a particularly competent movie. Again, it’s shot well too. I love how they present the strangeness of Alpha and the world that connects to her, like the Madame in the earlier scene. I think I really did save the best for last. Plus, Jess Franco himself is getting in on the primary plot of this movie too!

Evelyne Scott plays Alpha and she just carries herself as a villain really well. She’s got a striking look to her that seems a little androgynous when she is simply sitting in her wicker throne or standing there watching things happen or trying to call out to Cynthia, but she’s also feminine when she’s only wearing a very thin robe in the mornings or having the sex scenes with Lina Romay. I already said that the look of Andros is pretty great too. He’s a good henchman.

So, about that substance that will be breaking down poor Cynthia’s tissues, well, I kind of love how that is portrayed in this movie. You see, I’m a HUGE fan of Classic Doctor Who. What Franco does here is very Classic Doctor Who. She just has these smudges on her skin that indicates she has this disease. It’s on her chest, and later, she freaks out and spits in Alpha’s face. Some of the stuff even appears in the corner of her mouth. In subsequent scenes, the stuff spreads and it starts to form glittery stuff on her skin too. It just is a wonderful way to portray a flesh eating disease and deterioration.

Andros tells his story to the now awake and calmed down Cynthia. He says he was on a boat that was enveloped by a sudden cloud of fog. When the men came to, they were in a different dimension. He became Alpha’s slave. He tells Cynthia she was selected to carry out assassinations for Alpha. These people she is to kill knows too much about them.

You see, that substance that is covering her and playing havoc on her tissues? It’s the delivery mechanism for how she is to kill these targets. It’s a disease that is placed in her vagina that is deadly to people on contact. The good news that we find out is that Andros is immune to it like Alpha. Why do we learn that? Because Andros is in love with Cynthia and would very much like to tap the ass. They begin to do sexy time things, but Alpha gets wind of this through the brainvine and has some problems with it. She seemingly calls Andros away and he has to go and please her instead. This leads to Alpha having a sort of freak out. It almost seems like this kills Alpha but I think alien orgasm is just very weird.

Or just very European.

Cynthia goes to Africa to meet up with her next victim, a biologist who has been studying the possibility of other dimensions and life therein. It’s a honey trap. She’s going to go and seduce these targets and that stuff in her lady cave will kill them instantly. Seward knows everything that is happening because he is somehow connected to Cynthia and can see her movements through the psychic ether.

Those are my words, not this movie’s. I just wanted this sound smart.

This scene where Cynthia is essentially “hunting” this biologist, Kallman, is well constructed and pretty tense. They ride a boat down a river to where he lives. They are technically riding this boat together, but separated. The whole time there’s a switch back and forth from who we’re seeing on screen – Kallman in the back of the boat and Cynthia in the very front. Then, he gets to his home and he’s called outside by Alpha calling his name. He’s got a shotgun, though. He thinks someone is coming to mess with him. This is true, but he doesn’t know what it is. While he’s outside, Cynthia is able to slip into his house… and makes herself comfortable.

She asks if Kallman is frightened of her. He says he is scared of no one because, you know, science guys are the alpha of our species. She says she’s got some gifts for him and that she’s from the place he’s been studying. He sees the glitter on her skin and buys what’s she’s selling. So he starts to kiss her and lick her nipples and decides to go for a taste of that vaguzzles – then for the whole nine yards. The sex is kind of nice for her, but he dies. I guess there are worse ways to go.

When Cynthia goes outside of Kallman’s house, she collapses. Andros comes and collects her. He returns her to Alpha’s place and she’s even more glittery than ever before. Alpha watches as Andros appears to lovingly care for Cynthia. She exits but Andros follows. While they are going wherever they are going, Seward and Boris come to see Cynthia. Before she dies, she says the human race must know there are beings from another world among them. They plan to expose the truth, but are unsure if anyone will believe them.

I’m gonna say it… Shining Sex is most definitely the best of the batch this month. We can debate whether or not it had the best story, but it had the most compelling ideas of these five Jess Franco/Lina Romay movies. There’s a quietness to this movie that only allows for the synthesized organ score to play as an ambiance that helps build a really fascinating undertone of danger or dread. Again, Franco used some good locations and had these really interesting buildings as settings for Alpha’s place and Seward’s institute. As much as Lina Romay is always fun to look at, the rest of the movie has interesting things to gaze upon as well.

I think it is safe to say, that much like with Blue March back in 2019, I need a break from the adult world. There are plenty of Jess Franco and/or Lina Romay flicks I can look at, but it will be a bit, I think. There is a whole world of B-Movies to take a look at and perform enemas for. Unlike with Blue March, my follow up is not going to be the Cinema Snob. Instead, I’m going to tackle the first film in a whole franchise. I’ve wanted to do this for quite some time and I finally get my shot.

Now, I am a bit concerned that I could catch some flack for this. Why? This franchise is inexplicably beloved. I think it is a load of shit, but what do I know? I’ve not covered a video game movie in quite some time either. I’m guessing some people have either read ahead to know what I’m talking about or you’ve guessed. Yeah, it’s Resident Evil.

So, be sure to come back next week for Paul W.S. Anderson’s epic(?) masterpiece(???). In the meantime, why not go over to the B-Movie Enema YouTube channel? There, you can find the first season of B-Movie Enema: The Series. You’ll also find several clips that I pull when I need some extra help fully describing something crazy. Also, check out the site’s Facebook page as well as Twitter too!

See you next week, Enemaniacs!

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