Succubus (1969) from Tuna

Succubus is another masterpiece from Grade-B horrotica filmmaker Jess Franco, this time allegedly based on a segment of the Necronomicon.  Because it was produced uncensored in Germany with adequate financing, this is the first film he was able to make exactly as he wanted. Despite that, he admits that most people, including himself, don't understand it. I don't feel so bad now. I can relate nothing about the plot, as I didn't understand it at all. Jess says that it is not necessary to understand a film in order to enjoy it, and that the average person doesn't understand any of the films he sees. That may or may not be self-serving rationalization on his part, but in my case I found this particular film tough going.

Here's what I did understand:

Janine Reynaud plays a woman who performs a snuff act in a nightclub for bored jet-setters. The devil has so corrupted her that she has become as evil as he is. She becomes more and more cruel. Along the way, she seems equally interested in men and women.

In a special DVD interview, Jess says it was originally to be made as a joint venture with Spanish money, but there was a law that any film partially financed by Spain had to be made entirely in Spain, and was subject to Spanish censorship. When a German offered to put up funds, Franco submitted his script to the Spanish and German censors. The Spanish banned it, the Germans approved it with no restrictions. That made his decision easy. Franco says that this film ultimately did very well financially, but one must note that Jess did not provide any quantification of "very well" and one must be aware that he did not operate on the same scale of measurement as Spielberg. For Sr. Franco, "very well" probably meant that he was able to leave Germany without doing any significant time in debtor's prison.



  • The newly remastered DVD has a lot of grain, indicating that Jess probably shot it to look grainy.
  • Widescreen transfer, anamorphically enhanced
  • "From Necronomicon to Succubus" - Interview with Director Jess Franco

  • "Back in Berlin" - Interview with Star Jack Taylor

  • Theatrical Trailer



Janien Reynaud shows breasts, buns, and a hint of her pubic area.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online. Genre Reviewers consider it a must see for Franco fans. This one is typical.

The People Vote ...

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 film is a C-, a film only for Jess Franco fans, but a must for them because it sets a style that would influence much of his later work.

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