Since the dawn of the motion picture industry, there have been a number of surefire methods that filmmakers and distributors have used in order to draw certain types of people in. One guaranteed technique is religion. Whether a film depicts the final days of Jesus of Nazareth in a entirely brutal-but-all-too-realistic matter (see that one Mel Gibson piece), or it offers an alternative and entirely-sacrilegious view of Jesus’ last few hours on Earth (a specific Martin Scorsese title comes to mind), you can bet your bottom dollar that the religious community is going to take note — and thus, pay. Controversy usually follows, which, in-turn, makes more people (even those who are not religious) pay as well.
Another scheme to fulfill the ol’ “a fool and his money” adage has also been used by many since the moving pictures first came about: the sex. While it sometimes succeeds in being just as controversial as its religious genre counterpart on occasion, the sex has the extra-added benefit of pulling in just about every type of person imaginable — from the interested, the affronted, and the perverted. And, while the prospect of watching a man die a slow agonizing death for two-and-a-half hours whilst nailed to a piece of wood is all-too tempting at times, the likelihood of getting turned on by bearing witness to some of mankind’s more-desirable creatures baring all seems like a win-win to me.
Plus, if you opt for a nudie flick and feel guilty afterwards, you can always go to church and confess. Whereas if you feel a bit accountable after watching Jesus be bludgeoned and pinned-up until he croaks, it’s because you are accountable: he did it for you, you know. Sinners!
Now then: with your minds and bodies free to sin away, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you “Sex, er Six Features Jesus Wouldn’t Approve Of.”
Oh, and don’t go frettin’ about this none, neither: Jesus said he’ll forgive and still love you for picking these titles up, just as He told me when I exited the video store.
· The Image (1975) (Synapse Films)
The Short Version: Radley Metzger, I love you.
The Slightly-Elongated Version: The one and only Radley Metzger went from the swingin’ couples of Score (featured in this previous “Catching Up” article) to the world of S&M, bondage, humiliation, and all that other great stuff we tend to look up on the Internet when no one’s looking. The multi-chaptered story here centers on Jean (Carl Parker, Score), who becomes involved with an old acquaintance of his named Claire (Marilyn Roberts) and her younger sex slave, Anne (Joe Sarno regular Rebecca Brooke, using the alias Mary Mendum). A masterpiece of adult art, The Image has been remastered in HD for a marvelous 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC Blu-ray release from Synapse Films and is presented in its original uncut, often sexually-explicit glory. The disc includes 5.1 DTS-HD MA and 2.0 soundtracks, an isolated music/effects track, optional English (SDH) subtitles and some notes on the film and its director. A great Father’s Day gift if I ever saw one. Also available on DVD.
· The Sins Of Madame Bovary (1969) (One 7 Movies)
The Short Version: Edwige Fenech, I love you.
The Slightly-Elongated Version: There are few actresses in all of Europe — nay, make that all the world — that are as beautifully fetching as the lovely Edwige Fenech. No matter how trite a motion picture may tend to get, you can rest assured that as soon as Edwige appears onscreen, the heat will turn up. (The Sins Of) Madame Bovary, one of many adaptations of the Gustave Flaubert novel, is a great example of how a simple dark-haired beauty can brighten up a movie that would otherwise put me to sleep. Emma Bovary (Fenech) is bored over the fact that her country doctor husband’s always working, so she begins to have a few infidelities with a couple of handsome strangers. Gerhard Riedmann plays Fenech’s oblivious hubby, while actors like Franco Ressel and Peter Carsten get to have all the fun with her. One 7 Movies brings this previously-unreleased German/Italian film to the US in an anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1, Italian mono sound with optional English subtitles, and a gallery of artwork.
· Sripperland! (2011) (IMDFilms)
The Short Version: Sean Skelding, I hate you. And so does Jesus.
The Slightly-Elongated Version: Have you had it up to your brains with zombie movies? No? Well, never fear: Portland’s own Sean Skelding, the feller that brought us I Am Virgin, returns to stultify our ability to enjoy life with this softcore parody of the highly-overrated Zombieland and the highly-contemptible Zombie Strippers!. Although I can’t see the need to spoof either of the aforementioned comedies (really, how do you parody parodies?), Skelding shows us a sleazier side of his Northern Oregon stomping grounds by pitting man against undead exotic dancers. If that weren’t enough to warrant your immediate and total surrender to the front end of an oncoming semi, Skelding’s latest feature includes a bit part by Daniel Baldwin. Former scream queen Linnea Quigley and Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman also make appearances. The DVD includes a number of bonus materials, such as two audio commentaries, several featurettes, deleted scenes, and more.
· Sex And Black Magic (1982) (One 7 Movies)
The Short Version: Joe D’Amato, you were a weird fellow. But I love you just the same.
The Slightly-Elongated Version: Since we already touched upon the “sleazy horror” trend, we now find ourselves at the oft-unmerciful doorstep of the late Joe D’Amato. Well, the “horror” part is a matter of opinion here: some might find the two moments featuring cannibalism to be shocking, while the rest of humanity will no doubt find the entire movie to be appalling. The “plot” for Sex And Black Magic (aka Orgasmo Nero) has a middle-aged couple (Nieves Navarro and b-movie legend Richard Harrison) traveling to an exotic tropical island in hopes that the change of scenery will improve their love life. It does…though they just cheat on each other with the natives more than anything. An island girl (Lucia Ramirez) that is (naturally) into black magic seduces both of them, giving Joe the opportunity to not only show flesh, but to consume it as well. One 7’s release of the movie is in an anamorphic widescreen ratio, and in Italian mono with English subtitles. Bonus materials feature a still gallery and a number of unused/alternate scenes — including some hardcore shots.
· Sexy Pirates (1999) (One 7 Movies)
The Short Version: Argh, it’s another Joe D’Amato flick, me mateys.
The Slightly-Elongated Version: After King Charles II’s ambassador Lord Hamilton (stuntman extraordinaire Menyhért René Balog-Dutombé) is kidnapped by a group of pirates whilst en route to sign a peace treaty, his wife (Anita Rinaldi) assembles her own group of pirates — featuring everything from explosives experts, big strong dudes, and even an Asian martial arts fellow (Whutang Tung — oh, come on, that can’t be a real name!). During the latter part of his career, Joe D’Amato made a number of costume porn dramas. Oddly enough, this retitled, low-budget swashbuckler calling itself Sexy Pirates (originally released as I Predatori Delle Antille) isn’t one of them — despite boasting a major European porn star like Rinaldi. That isn’t to say there’s no nudity in the flick, though. There is. Quite a bit, actually. There’s also a fair amount of b-movie “action” going on here that should keep D’Amato’s non-XXX fan base happy. One 7 Movies releases this one in a Full Frame format with an Italian Dolby Digital stereo soundtrack and (optional) English subtitles (which have a couple of grammatical errors). No special features are included with this release.
· Aphrodisiac! The Sexual Secret Of Marijuana (1971) (Impulse Pictures)
The Short Version: Now this is my kind of sleaze!
The Slightly-Elongated Version: After a “reporter” (played by porn legend Sandy Dempsey) audaciously avows that “Marijuana is the greatest sexual stimulant since they invented the twelve-inch penis — and a hell of a lot easier to find!,” we begin a delightfully cheesy (not to mention sleazy) exploit into a previously undocumented side of the allegedly-dangerous titular drug (one which I‘ve never experienced, sadly), complete with a number of hardcore vignettes interjected into its otherwise (ahem) “straight-laced” presentation — one of which includes the late, great John Holmes (proving that a twelve-inch cock wasn’t that far out of reach after all!). Additional hardcore performers include Andy Bellamy, Maria Arnold and Suzanne Fields. Midget actor Billy Curtis (from The Wizard Of Oz) pops up in one of the non-explicit moment (thank Christ!) when the filmmakers set out to interview people on Hollywood Boulevard. Cut and re-cut over the years, Impulse Pictures proudly releases this as-uncut-as-it-will-probably-ever-get oddity in all its grindhouse-grade glory — with scratchy full frame video and 2.0 mono sound. Recommended.
Happy sinning, kids!