The Awful Dr. Orloff
Film: The Awful Dr. Orlof (Gritos en la noche)
Director: Jesús Franco
Writer: Jesús Franco
This film begins with a young woman walking toward a building. She is clearly tipsy and she is singing. She goes inside and we learn that this is her apartment. She opens her closet and finds a scary man; he is played by Richard Valle. She screams and they get into a tussle. Many of her neighbors look out their window and see the struggle. Valle carries her out of the building and meets up with Howard Vernon. They leave.
We cut to the next morning and we are in a horse drawn carriage. We have Conrado San Martín, who is a very good police inspector. With him is Diana Lorys. We learn that she is a famous ballerina and they have fallen in love. They are engaged to be married. Martín goes in and meets with a co-worker. We then learn that his boss wants to see him. It turns out that Martín has been doing great work and now he is given this case of five missing women. They all have less than favorable reputation and no one has been able to figure anything out.
We then cut to the inside of a bar where Vernon is watching a woman sing for the crowd, she is played by María Silva. She then ends up drinking with Vernon to the point where she is drunk. He gives her a necklace and she agrees to come home with him. He takes her to a mansion that we learn isn’t his, but for sale. Valle ends up attacking her and knocking her out. They take her in a coffin and drive her to a dock. By boat they arrive outside of a castle. As they are taking her off the boat, the necklace Vernon gave her falls into the river.
Inside we learn that something has happened to a woman. Her face is disfigured. This woman is also played by Lorys. It turns out that this is Vernon’s daughter. He is kidnapping women to try to fix his daughter’s face. We also see that there is another woman that is living there as well; she is played by Perla Cristal. She is against what Vernon is doing and tells him constantly.
Martín is frustrated by this investigation. None of the leads seem to make sense. He decides to have a drawing done of the man that the witnesses have seen. This leads them to believe that there are two men doing this. He gives this to all of the officers to keep an eye out for them while making their rounds.
Back in the castle, we learn that Vernon used to be a prison doctor. He was doing an experiment and it caused a fire. This is how his daughter was disfigured. He put Cristal and Valle into comas to get them both of out prison. He believes now that he has figured out why his experiments have been failing.
That night, Martín and Lorys go out. Martín leaves the carriage and Vernon sees Lorys. He falls for her being that she looks so much like his daughter. He speaks with her and she knows that he is the killer. She tells this to Martín, but Vernon has already gotten away by the time that she does.
Lorys then takes it into her hands to try to catch him. She goes to that bar where Vernon picks up women and he sees her. She begins to come up with a plan to catch Vernon. She doesn’t tell Martín about this. He learns from a different source more information about who could possible be doing this.
Will Martín figure out that it is Vernon before it is too late? Can he be stopped before there are too many more victims? Can Vernon fix his daughter? Will Vernon make Lorys a victim in the process?
I have to say that I found this film quite interesting. The concept of Vernon making a horrible mistake and then trying to correct it is interesting. He did a really solid job in this film. He is really a selfless criminal, even though he doesn’t see that he is going about it in the completely wrong way. I thought Lorys was beautiful and her acting was pretty good. Martín was good too and this film builds suspense pretty well. Especially when Lorys writes a letter to Martín, but he doesn’t realize it and puts it off. The information could solve the case much quicker, but it has a feel of the boy who cried wolf. The ending I wasn’t a huge fan of, but it isn’t horrible.
One of my biggest issues with this film was that it never really explains what is wrong with Valle. Is he blind? Or is there something else wrong with his eyes? How can he walk around and do everything he does while being blind. Vernon expects a lot out of him, but would you really rely on a blind man this much? The film also really doesn’t flesh out most of the characters, so I didn’t connect as much so the film doesn’t get much of that emotional feel that can help to enhance a film.
With that said thought, I did like this one. This has a moral dilemma of causing a horrible accident to disfigure your child and going to whatever lengths needed to fix this problem, even if it means killing others. I think acting is pretty good, the story isn’t too complex and everything gets explained about halfway through. There isn’t a lot of mystery since we know who is doing this. This one is more of seeing if Martín can figure it out before it is too late, which means Lorys possible dying. The copy I watched wasn’t in the greatest condition, plus I had to watch it dubbed in English. This is a Spanish film and that is the language that it is intended. It is also in black and white, so if that could sway your decision to see this. I would recommend giving this film a viewing though.
My Rating: 6 out of 10