Color, 1981, 86 mins. 28 secs.
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Lina Romay, Lynn Endersson, Antonio Mayans, Antonio Rebollo
Severin Films (Blu-ray) (US R0 HD) / WS (1.66:1) (16:9), Vértice Cine (DVD) (Spain R2 PAL)

Globe-hopping filmmaker Jess Franco's prolific Sex Is Crazyand often Sex Is Crazyunderseen output during his "S-classified" return to Spain has been getting a lot more international exposure in recent years, with a string of Blu-ray releases highlighting how this sexually frank period managed to play around with various genres like hardboiled pulp and science fiction in a way bordering on the abstract. One of Franco's funniest and most complex titles from this period has to be Sex Is Crazy (El sexo está loco), a freewheeling meditation on adult moviemaking with silver-skinned naked aliens thrown into mix.

Those aliens are first seen performing a ritual on an equally undressed Lina Romay, which is soon revealed to be a particularly goofy stage show / porno movie shoot about extraterrestrials who can copulate and reproduce in a matter of moments. The fact that the audience is clad in rubber monster masks isn't even close to the weirdest thing to come, either. From there we spend time with Lina and her production cohorts including mascot at the time Antonio Mayans (under his usual "Robert Foster" credit, with Lina as "Candy Coster"). Sex Is CrazyEssentially it's a string of encounters between the actors and crew that frequently turn out to be part of the film itself without our knowledge, a playful kind of rug-pulling that leaves you unsure exactly what genre this falls into at all. Part Sex Is Crazythriller, part sci-fi, and almost all sex, it's a wild and virtually indescribable film that borders on the avant garde.

If this sounds like hard viewing work, it really isn't; the concept might be as dense as an Alain Robbe-Grillet film, but the execution is so light and frequently surprising that you'll likely just kick back and enjoy the ride. Every time the film seems to be honing in on a traditional plot (like our main characters forming a committed sexual foursome), things shift gears again as a crew member breaks the illusion of what we're watching. It's Franco at his most meta with the act of sex itself functioning as performance, all simulation and means to an end for the audience. Of course, Romay was in top form during this period and gives a wide-ranging performance that allows her to go from silly to terrified to aroused in the blink of an eye, even when she's just stuck in a room with a bottle of water.

Never given much of a release outside of Spain, Sex Is Crazy turned up on Spanish DVD in 2009 with English subtitles popped up in 2009, running 82m14s at PAL speed. It was pretty drab and obviously cropped, but even under those circumstances it was a delight to just see in an English-friendly version. In 2022, Severin Films added this to its essential roster of Franco's '80s Spanish output with a radically improved presentation. Framed at 1.66:1 with quite a bit of Sex Is Crazyextra Sex Is Crazyimage info, it's much more colorful and sleek than the earlier release could have possibly indicated. The DTS-HD MA Spanish 2.0 mono track sounds nice as well, with optional yellow English subtitles provided. The featurette "Jess Is Crazy" (22m6s) with "Jess Franco expert" Dr. Álex Mendíbil -- how exactly does one get officially certified to be a Jess Franco expert? -- is a handy guide to the film's role in Franco finding his mojo back in Spain where censorship restrictions had suddenly lifted, albeit not with all of the old guard necessarily gone. Then "Franco/Godard" (49m31s) with Stephen Thrower is a deep dive into the film's place in Franco's Golden Films International cycle, the piecemeal nature of the score, the puzzle of figuring out exactly when this was shot (probably early 1980), the odd artistic connections to Godard's Every Man for Himself, and the amusing game of trying to parse out what exactly is going on here. Finally, "In the Land of Franco Part 7" (24m38s) is a total delight and a worthy addition to the ongoing Severin series, here with Thrower bouncing around the Côte d'Azur in France with none other than Monica Swinn, walking down memory lane for such films as Doriana Gray and Downtown.

Severin Blu-ray

Sex Is CrazySex Is CrazySex Is Crazy Sex Is Crazy Sex Is Crazy

Vértice Cine DVD

Sex Is CrazySex Is CrazySex Is Crazy Sex Is Crazy Sex Is Crazy


Reviewed on November 24, 2022.