I’ve only seen a handful of iconic director Jesús (Jess) Franco’s 1970s exploitation classics, so I started Eugenie with a reasonably open mind. The story is an adaptation of Marquis de Sade’s Philosophy in the Bedroom, but it’s hardly as outrageous as the author’s more notable cinematic adaptations nor the book itself.

Barely older than a teenager, Eugenie (Marie Liljedahl) is a young woman seduced by Madam Saint Ange (Maria Rohm) and brought to an island where a local cult dedicates themselves to providing her a unique sexual education.

There’s relatively little outright sex or torture, despite prominent female nudity and the specter of rape throughout. It’s more erotic surrealism than pornography, although the latter came three years later when Franco adapted the story again. For collectors seeking vintage Franco at his most sexually extreme, this is not the release you want.

Franco’s reliance on surrealistic imagery, jazzy scores and vibrant colors is at play here, but he feels reserved by comparison to his other films. The presence of Christopher Lee as Dolmance, the leader of the sadistic cult (and narrator), elevates the material. The haunting final sequence is an effective end to the story, though, and a vast departure from the source material’s misogynistic horror.

Special Features

  • 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (2160p) and HD Blu-ray (1080p; widescreen 2.40:1 feature presentations
  • Audio: 1.0 DTS-HD (English, French)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Francais, Espanol
  • New audio commentary with film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth
  • Perversion Stories — Interviews with Franco, Liljedahl, Lee and writer-producer Harry Alan Towers
  • Stephen Thrower on Eugenie — Interview with the author of Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco
  • Jack Taylor in the Francoverse — a new interview with star Jack Taylor
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Poster and newly expanded still-photo gallery.