Macumba Sexual (1983) from Tuna

Director Jess Franco says that he enjoys making three types of films:

  • First there is the horror genre, such as vampire films.
  • Second is the sex film with minor horror elements.
  • The third category is what he calls his mysteries, but not in the same sense as we think of a mystery, as in a whodunit. Rather, he likes to make films where the audience is not quite sure what is going on. 

Macumba Sexual, or just Macumba as he prefers to call it, is the third variety.

Lina Romay and her husband are on vacation in the Canary Islands. They are both having erotic nightmares about a certain Princess Obongo, played by the famous transsexual Ajita Wilson. Romay's nightmare seems to be coming true when she gets a call from her boss, asking her to travel to another island and meet with the same Princess Obongo to clinch a real estate deal.

Unfortunately, Obongo works for the Macumba of death and darkness, and thinks Lina Romay is her successor. What, you don't know what a Macumba is, or anyone who works for one? Well, it's nothing like a macaca. A Macumba is one of the many polytheistic gods imported to the Canaries by immigrants from Africa.

The entire film is in sort of a waking dream state, and you are never positive what is going on, thus qualifying it as a mystery by Franco's definition. Franco himself plays the part of an idiot hotel manager, one of his favorite roles. He feels he has a real talent for playing the fool, thus matching his abilities behind the camera.

Macumba Sexual is a rare example of a Jess Franco film actually made under Spanish auspices. After a few films in his homeland, he became tired of Spanish censorship and made films elsewhere, but things had changed enough in Spain by 1983 for Franco to consider rediscovering his roots. With this film, he was given a low budget but complete artistic freedom so, like it or not, you are seeing his vision untainted. It is now also released uncut for the first time. Severin uncovered a pristine print, interviewed Jess and Lena for the special features, and remastered an already good transfer into a crisp, saturated print of this film. It is especially welcomed because this film contains spectacular imagery. In fact, the beautiful visuals far outstrip the minimalist plot and in typical Franco fashion, the gorgeous images include plenty of nudity.

It's currently rated 5th best out of his career output (he's directed 187 films at current count, over a span of 48 years). Here's his current top twenty:

  1. (6.86) - Miss Muerte (1966)
  2. (6.12) - Eugénie (1970)
  3. (5.88) - Liebesbriefe einer portugiesischen Nonne, Die (1977)
  4. (5.86) - Paroxismus (1969)
  5. (5.80) - Macumba sexual (1983)
  6. (5.72) - Eugenie (1970)
  7. (5.71) - Sie tötete in Ekstase (1971) (TV)
  8. (5.71) - Faceless (1988)
  9. (5.64) - Démons, Les (1972)
  10. (5.63) - Gritos en la noche (1962)
  11. (5.59) - Mano de un hombre muerto, La (1962)
  12. (5.59) - Marquise von Sade, Die (1976)
  13. (5.56) - Eugenie (Historia de una perversión) (1980)
  14. (5.50) - Comtesse perverse, La (1974)
  15. (5.46) - Count Dracula (1970)
  16. (5.36) - Cartes sur table (1966)
  17. (5.36) - Marquis de Sade: Justine (1969)
  18. (5.30) - Journal intime d'une nymphomane, Le (1973)
  19. (5.29) - Noche de los asesinos, La (1976)
  20. (5.29) - Vampyros lesbos (1971)

Some, including me, consider this one of Jess's better films.



  • "Voodoo Jess" - Interviews with Director Jess Franco and Star Lina Romay
  • widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1, beautiful transfer



We have full frontal and rear nudity from Lina Romay, Ajita Wilson and Lorna Green, as Ajita's slave.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online


The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 5.8/10. but based on an insignificant number of votes.
  • It sold 115,000 tickets in a theatrical release in Spain
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this is a strong C+, top cult material, again with kudos to Severin.

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