A closer look at the films of José Ramón Larraz
As Malcom and Sally are planning a longer stay in London, they ask their friend Lorna if she could take care of their housekeeper Triana. Lorna is an artist who lives alone and secluded in a country house. Triana has recurring nightmares at night, in which she is chased by a naked man on a horse or finds herself in the middle of a wooden horse construction while the man circles her with his stallion. Unexpectedly, the fire of desire ignites in Lorna, so that a love relationship develops between the two women. One day, a naked man unexpectedly appears on a horse, similar to the one in Triana's dreams. He introduces himself as Chico and increasingly arouses Lorna's interest. What begins as a love triangle, slowly turns into jealousy for Triana, which has an explosive effect...
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.
All these elements can be found again in The Coming of Sin, which is a Spanish production. Triana reawakens sexual desire in Lorna, an artist disappointed by men, but when a man emerges from her nightmares, the relationship between her and Lorna drifts increasingly into darkness. The (nightmarish) dreamlike staging is once again phenomenal. In one scene you can see the naked Triana sitting in a wooden horse, while she is surrounded by the naked Chico sitting on a horse. An ingenious allusion to the Pasiphae story, in which Poseidon had a wooden cow made so that Pasiphae could practice the act of love with the Cretan bull, in which the Minotaur was finally conceived. The Coming of Sin takes the necessary time to tell its story and shows how a catastrophe is slowly approaching. The movie remains deliberately vague in some points, e.g. the question of how Chico makes it out of the dream of Triana into reality, so that there is enough room for interpretation.
Blood Hunger: The Films of José Larraz offers The Coming of Sin uncut for the first time ever
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 The Coming of Sin, which has a quite interesting release history.
The first VHS release came from Hokushin Audio Visual when the BBFC did not yet require editing for home cinema releases, i.e. before the Video Nasty scandal in which sex and violence depictions in films were publicly demonized. However, the distributor had cut the version considerably, as the film was planned as part of a double feature. Most of the cuts are plot tightenings, but the love scene between Lorna, Triana and Chico was also shortened a bit. A longer version was released on VHS and DVD by Pagan Films (the Mondo Macabro predecessor label), but the BBFC required some cuts, which can be read about on the BBFC homepage. The rape scene of Triana was affected here and in the three-way scene had to be cut by a few seconds, as well. In Italy, a version called Sodomia was released on VHS with additional hardcore scenes cut into it, but with some action scenes removed. So until now it was not possible to see the uncut original version of the film.
Back to the UK VHS by Hokushin Audio Visual. The version starts with the "X-Rated" release card by the BBFC. The original opening credits have been removed and instead the credits are shown when Triana is driven to the country house by Sally and Malcom. You can see the somewhat lurid alternative title The Violation of the Bitch. At this point you can admire the tasteful cover design of the UK VHS, which leaves little doubt in which direction the movie might go.
The Italian VHS by Scorpion seems to have been pulled from a cinema print. As already mentioned, the title Sodomia is shown at the beginning. On pretty much every suitable occasion, HC scenes were cut into the film. So the love scenes of Triana and Lorna offer new explicit details, as well as the question if Triana and Chico were raped can be clearly answered in the Italian version. As a rule, care was taken that the faces of the actors are not visible, but it is obvious that these scenes were re-shot with other actors. By the way, it is not unusual that extended HC film versions have been released in Italy, as demonstrated with the film Massacre at Central High.
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.
UK VHS: 67:27 min.
The cut UK VHS (by Hokushin Audio Visual) was compared to the uncut UK Blu-ray by Arrow Video.
In the VHS, the complete opening credits are missing, where you see Lorna in a museum painting a picture.
In VHS, the title inserts were simply superimposed over the next scenes.
BD: 2:23 Min.
Triana can be seen longer in the car.
BD: 5 sec.
Triana can be seen a little longer.
Lorna runs with her shotgun through high reed grass. She lights a cigarette when she sees the naked man on the horse. The two make long eye contact, then the man rides off.
During dinner, Lorna pokes around in her food. Triana asks if everything is okay with it. Lorna says that she is not hungry and Triana should eat before it gets cold. Triana asks if she can join her for a trip to the city the next day. Triana wants to get the wine but Lorna holds her back. She says she saw the man today while hunting. He was right in front of her. Triana says she has nothing to fear. Lorna says that the man's sudden appearance frightens her more. She says he stared at her the whole time until he rode away. Triana warns Lorna that the man is dangerous. Lorna thinks what a beautiful couple the man and Triana would make. She says she wants to paint Triana.
Triana and Lorna are in town shopping. They run back to the car. Triana says thank you for the necklace Lorna bought her.
The two of them are in the museum and look at various paintings. Lorna keeps looking at Triana.
Lorna and Triana are in a bar watching a group of flamenco musicians and dancers. Lorna's gaze wanders back to Triana.
The next shot with the rain starts a little earlier.
BD: 9:26 min.
The horse can be seen getting up longer.
BD: 4 sec.
After Triana's dream, Lorna is seen taking a riding lesson with the man. She is obviously having fun and is being watched by Triana. The man helps her to dismount, which brings him very close to Lorna. Triana seems jealous.
BD: 1:22 min.
Lorna's seen longer in bed. In the next shot, she gets undressed earlier.
BD: 10 sec.
From Lorna there is a fade-in to various paintings. Triana and the man talk about how it would be better to tie Lorna to the bed. They tie her arms and legs to the bedpost. The man undresses to make love to Lorna. Triana is also involved in the lovemaking.
BD: 1:32 min.
At the family party, you only see the end in the VHS. It is missing how a girl gets on the table and starts dancing. Lorna and the man are close. He hints at going into the house. Triana watches jealously.
BD: 1:40 min.
The man rides through the reeds to his hut.
Lorna is by the pool.
Lorna goes in to get a drink. Triana is cleaning the floor.
Lorna is lying on the bed when Triana brings her food. Annoyed, she says she didn't want any food. Triana asks if Lorna knows if the man is coming back. She insinuates that he's just squandering the money Lorna gave her and will turn up when he's broke. Lorna says she doesn't expect or need anyone. She knows where to find him. Lorna asks Triana if she is the one expecting the man, after all she had the dreams with the horse. Triana leaves the room.
BD: 2:52 min.
The VHS ends with a "The End" fade-in.
In the BD, "Fin" is displayed instead.
VHS: 4 sec.
BD: 7 sec.