The young model Tulia arouses the interest of model agent Sarah, who invites her to her country house for a weekend. There she lives together with her nephew Theo, a gifted amateur photographer who is inspired by Tulia. However, Theo and Sarah have completely different intentions than just taking pictures of Tulia. Little by little, they try to lower Tulia's inhibitions and make her compliant with alcohol and drugs. Tulia always sees herself as self-confident in her actions when she tries to sleep with Theo, but this fails because of his impotence and later gets into bed with Sarah. When suddenly Mr. Field shows up to ask for his secret lover Rhonda, Tulia begins to have doubts. What has happened to Rhonda and what is Theo hiding in his photo laboratory?
José Ramón Larraz is probably best known for his blood-soaked vampire-erotic-gothic-horror Vampyres about two lesbian vampires who lure men into their castle to kill them after making love. Larraz began his career as a comic book author for the well-known Spirou series, among others. A meeting with the famous American director Josef von Sternberg brought him to gain a foothold in the film business. His first work was the erotic thriller Whirlpool. It was followed by other low-budget exploitation films like Deviation, La Muerte incierta or Scream... And Die!, in which central themes can be found, which Larraz always relies on, such as a dreamlike staging, perverted love connections and well-punctuated shock scenes.
His directorial debut Whirlpool is a knockout. The story about Sarah and Theo sexually exploiting young women is deeply perverted and raises the question where the abuse begins. Tulia always sees herself as being in control of the situation, but alcohol, drugs and subversive games push her further and further in the direction Sarah and Theo want her to go. The secret of Rhonda's disappearance is finally revealed in the shocking finale.
The first seven films are probably the best works of Larraz, of which for a long time only Vampyres was commercially available. Fortunately, this changed on April 25, 2016 when the terrific Symptoms was first released on Blu-ray by BFI in the UK and a little later in the US by Mondo Macabro. Symptoms was, by the way, the official contribution of England to the Cannes Film Festival in 1974. Another gap is now closed by Arrow Video, which on 25 March 2019 released a Blu-ray box with three films by Larraz in England under the title Blood Hunger: The Films of José Larraz. Included for the first time is an official release of Whirlpool, which until now could only be seen as a bootleg in rather poor picture quality, Vampyres and The Coming of Sin, which is uncut here for the first time.
This comparison deals with Whirlpool, which was officially released for the first time by Arrow almost 50 years after its theatrical release. As already mentioned, the only alternative was a European version with poor picture quality. The colours are very washed out and a timer is continuously inserted in the upper third of the picture. In the US, the film was distributed by producer Jerry Gross via his Cinemation Industries company. The US version is unfortunately not complete, as the comparison with the EU version shows. There are no censoring cuts, but the plot has been tightened up in some places. The scenes in which Sarah drops the girl off in the city and Mr. Field is questioned by the inspector have been shifted a bit to hide other cuts. Basically, you can live with the adjustments for the US market, and you can finally watch the movie in reasonable picture quality.
The title insertions in the opening credits give an indication of the country from which the version originates. In the EU version, "Athena Film Copenhagen presents" is shown, while the US version by Arrow shows "Jerry Gross presents".
In the American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films 1961 -1970 there is a note that in 1970 the two films Relations and Whirlpool were produced by Athena Film.
This is probably the unedited European cut of the film. Besides the US, the film was sold to other markets. In England, the film was cut down considerably despite receiving the "X" rating. In Germany, a nearly 80-minute long cut version was released under the title Flash Light, while in Italy, in addition to the regular theatrical version called Perversione Flash, a version with hardcore scenes was released under the title Vortice dei sensi. However, none of these versions have been released so far.
The Blood Hunger: The Films of José Larraz Blu-ray box by Arrow Video is one of the most outstanding releases of the year 2019. For the first time there is the possibility to watch Whirlpool in a reasonable form and The Coming of Sin is available in full for the first time. The films have been excellently restored and shine in unprecedented quality. Extensive bonus material completes the release. If you like exploitation, you should do yourself a favor and get the box. It's worth it.
EU version: 89:31 min (NTSC)
The US version was compared to the uncut EU version.
The BD begins with the distribution logo.
BD: 7 sec.
In further shots you can see Theo running back home through the forest.
EU: 36 sec.
Sarah takes the car into town and drops the girl off.
In his office on Trafalgar Square, Mr Field receives an inspector from Scotland Yard. He gives him a picture of Rhonda and asks if he knows her. Mr Field says he knows her and offers the inspector a cigarette. The inspector refuses, but Mr Field lights one. The inspector says that Rhonda has disappeared and that he wants to know when Mr Field saw her last. He alludes to the fact that the two of them were lovers and that he therefore wanted to speak to him privately.
Further scenes follow in which Sarah drives through the city.
EU: 2:33 min.
In the EU version, Sarah stands at the door until she is let in.
The BD shows here the scene where Sarah drops the girl off.
EU: 15 sec.
BD: 9 sec.
A few shots are missing from the strip poker game. Tulia gets a new card.
EU: 12 sec.
Theo deals the cards in the second round of poker.
EU: 19 sec.
Tulia takes a sip from the glass, then we can see earlier how Theo distributes the cards for the third round.
EU: 10 sec.
Sarah pours more whiskey into Tulia's glass. Meanwhile, Theo distributes the cards for the fourth round.
EU: 17 sec.
Sarah begins to reach down to take off her panties. Cut to Theo, then we see Sarah a little earlier.
EU: 7 sec.
A cut to Tulia and Theo follows after Sarah has left the table. In the next shot, we can see Tulia and Theo earlier.
EU: 6 sec.
After the dream, we watch Tulia awakening from her sleep. She gets out of bed, puts on her coat and wants to leave, but then she notices that the door is locked. She looks out the window, which is also locked. Tulia lets herself fall back onto the bed. A cut follows on the house, the poker table and the fireplace. Tulia wakes up in bed and gets up.
On the BD follows the scene where Mr. Field is visited by the inspector.
The scene was already shown before in the EU version.
EU: 1:13 min.
BD: 1:26 min.
After Mr Field was seen, Tulia and Theo run along the shore. They kiss.
EU: 26 sec.
Without another word, Mr Field goes to his car and drives away. Tulia would like to know from Theo what the man wanted. Theo says he's looking for Rhonda and he's probably not alone. Tulia asks why he is looking for her here. Theo thinks that it is Rhonda's 'sugar daddy', who is now looking for her everywhere out of desperation.
EU: 43 sec.
Tulia looks around in the attic in further shots.
EU: 29 sec.
Tulia tries longer to open the lock.
EU: 22 sec.
Sarah walks across the room and calls for Theo.
EU: 5 sec.
Again, we see Tulia longer as she tries to open the lock. In the next shot, Sarah can be seen a little earlier.
EU: 5 sec.
Before the window is shown, we can see Mr. Field approaching the house.
EU: 14 sec.
Film tear in the EU version: The car can be seen a little longer.
BD: 2 sec.
On the BD, "The End" is also displayed at the end, and the picture on the wall can be seen longer.
BD: 15 sec.
A small note at the end. Looking back, when Tulia discovers the pictures in the cellar and thus the fate of Rhonda becomes clear to her, the picture is black and white on the Blu-ray. In the EU version, it is red and sometimes brown. Probably the colouring is due to the bad transfer, though.