Martine returns from an insane asylum where she spent time for castrating a man. Her returns quickly proves that she's no less crazy, and her violent and sexual behaviors continue. Her husband is feeding on her wealth and doesn't want to lose his luxurious life by having her go nuts again. So he introduces Martine to the young, sexy virgin daughter of a rich couple living next door, and suggests they play naughty with her. But the virgin isn't quite as innocent, as is quickly joining their sexual games.
The old familiar Jesús "Jess" Franco is notorious for his lengthy filmography containing mostly exploitation/sexploitation, pornography and horror - emphasis on the two prior. It's no secret that even when he didn't make straight out pornography, his movies were still as dirty as they come, and often stuffed with controversial matter. His interest in the work of Marquis de Sade is given, but he certainly had a special place for the book "Philosophy in the Bedroom" as he came to make three movies based on it - "How to Seduce a Virgin" is one of those.
"How to Seduce a Virgin" might be a confusing title for a movie that is as undeniably dark and bizarre as this one is. Murder, sex, madness and torture being the main themes, and not the innocence that the title suggest. It's a title that sounds more like a Swedish softcore from the same era than the de Sade-inspired sexploitation that it is. It's all about a rich, mad woman and how her husband tries to keep her from going back to the insane asylum so that he can continue to feed on her fortune. The woman, Martine Bressac, was sent to an asylum after castrating a lover, and as soon as she's back out she is out for more. Not to castrate more people, but to bring them to her sex dungeon where she has naked human statues - so that she can build her collection bigger. The husband, Charles, tells her about a young virgin that lives next door, and suggests they try and get her over there for some sexual games. This would be to keep her away from her insane compulsions. Martine is quick to agree after seeing what a stunner this young, fresh meat is, and to their luck the parents are going on a trip and they agree on letting the daughter stay with the friendly neighbors. Thus begins a few days of sex games, but Martine's twisted intentions are still there. Unfortunately for her, the innocent girl is more game than expected.
This is de Sade very much in the way of Franco, but that's okay. It's to be expected. It's very sex heavy and most scenes end up with nudity of some sort. That's also to be expected. Obviously this is the common sex trash that we're used to from the euro-sleaze master, and while it might be earlier than his pornographic career, it's still very graphic and shows a little bit of everything (balls included). But it's hard to get excited when some scenes have dubbed sex sounds and dialogue (the typical "I am coming" - paraphrased) while one is fully dressed and they aren't even doing hump-movement. It's not gonna give a hard-on or make the ladies wet. It might make you laugh though, because it is silly and quite humorous. Not all scenes are handled as careless as this, but this definitely stood out.
It's not a good movie. It's cheap, dirty entertainment that will appeal to the Franco and euro-sleaze fanatics, but won't make their top lists. It's hard for me to hate it, but to call it anything but trash seems wrong. There are scenes worthy of watching for sure, such as most with the slightly wacko character played by Lina Romay, Adèle. Whether she is used by her masters (the Bressacs), or just sitting around painting her face with lipstick, she was the star of the movie for me.
You get plenty of sex, some playful ideas, a truly bizarre and out-there soundtrack, some dark elements and several pretty nude women. It's cheap and trashy, often laughable, but then again it's a Jesús Franco sexploitation. You get what you expect from that. He has done better movies, but also an insane amount of worse. The movie does miss out on some creepy things that it set up, such as the human statues and the weird gardener, and maybe extending on these would have made it a better movie. Still I'd suggest the hardcore euro-sleazers, Franconeers (is that a word?) and Mondo Macabro collectors give this one a shot, and everyone else take a step back and look away. It's bad but in a pretty entertaining way, and covers most of its plot with sex and naughtiness.