The Grump Of Horror Reviews José Larraz ‘Whirlpool’

A woman brings a young model to her remote home, where she and her photographer nephew, where they plan to seduce her into their world…

Whirlpool is one of three films being released by Arrow Films directed by Jose Larraz, in a new boxed set on Blu-Ray. The other two are The Coming Of Sin and Vampyres (the latter I did see many years ago).

I know little about Larraz, aside from watching Vampyres and Whirlpool, but based on those two films, I would say as a filmmaker, he seemed to enjoy sex and violence in his films.

Whirlpool, probably best described as an erotic thriller, was made in 1970 and was his debut film. He’s credited as J.R. Larrath on the film. It’s a film he also wrote, based on an idea from Sam Lomberg. As a basic idea, it’s not too bad. But only as an idea. As written however, it is a disaster.

From the moment the model, Tulia (played by Vivian Neves) is brought to the house, the problems for the film begin. In the opening scenes, Theo, the nephew (played by Karl Lanchbury) finds a woman’s boot on a riverbank, we can guess what has happened to its wearer. Sara, the aunt (played by Pia Andersson), has missed another model, Rhonda who left suddenly some time before and regularly brings models back to have weekends or periods of sex with them, either including Theo or just the women.

In the background, a businessman, after a visit from the police, enquiring about a missing model, Rhonda, begins to look into it.

I think you can see where this is going.

As a director, Jose Ramon Larraz isn’t that bad. The sex scenes are well shot and he tells the story well. It’s a shame the story is so bad.

At one point, Tulia, is sexually assaulted by a friend of Theo’s, who takes photographs. Instead of rushing away as soon as possible, she stays at the house. It’s a decision, that completely took me out of the film, to such an extent, the film never brought me back. The final act, as all the secrets come out and the violence and sexual violence continue the film becomes annoying. The ending, doesn’t feel at all like one, rather the film just stopped.

Which is frustrating, as if the last act had happened, say around 30 minutes into the film, the film could have been a Psycho or City Of The Dead type of film, where the shock could have lead to a more interesting story.

Instead what you get, is a film well shot by Julio Perez de Rozas (Ch. Childs on the credits), with a good soundtrack from Stelvio Cipriani and as said well directed by Jose Ramon Larraz.

It’s just a shame the story is so badly handled.

Rating: * out of 5

Overal Rating

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Founder/Head Writer of The Horrorcist.

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