Monday , March 4 2024
A look at several home video releases your mother should have warned you about.

Skin. Sin. Win.

Waters may rise and nations fall, but if there’s one constant thing in this universe, it’s sex. Even during Hollywood’s most conservative days, the subject of fornication and the allure of the human physique was still present — whether one was staring leeringly at the sight of Jane Russell’s bosom, or was dropping a few coins into a nickelodeon in order to see more than just a heaving cleavage. As the years went by, however, the censors lightened their death grip on all of the things they deemed icky: four letter words, violence, and lustful communions between unmarried sinners from all walks of life.

Occasionally, dodgy moviemakers just get people together to film ‘em fucking. Other times, film producers who are essentially looking to make a skin flick rely on that timeless tradition of getting young, hopeful wannabe actresses to disrobe and make an impression on the ol’ casting couch (so to speak) — adding what they haphazardly refer to as “plots” in as they go along. They often conceive some of the most outrageous yarns imaginable, only to throw in superfluous scenes of sadism, skin, and sex just to ensure their investors — the sleazy guys in the clean hand-me-down suits — get all of the money coming their way from the patrons: the sleazy guys in the dirty brown raincoats.

The end result? Movies like the flicks represented here — all of which may serve as an “anti-puritant” and leave you in dire need of a shower (although whether that cleansing be hot or cold is entirely up to you). These are the kind of movies that have skin, contain a lot of sin, and combine to make one great big win.

“Skin. Sin. Win.” Enjoy.

· Women In Prison Triple Feature (1983/1984) (Panik House)

The Short Version: Linda Blair finds out the hard way why she should never have made that second Exorcist flick.

The Slightly-Elongated Version: You have to love movies that have the sole, shameless purpose to put beautiful (well, sometimes) women into precarious penitentiaries just so that we can see them in the buff. Rape. Mindless, senseless violence. Lesbian sex scenes. Shower scenes. The odd bit of political commentary. All that and oodles of tits and ass, too make for fine bedfellows in Panik House Entertainment’s release of the Women in Prison Triple Feature. The three sleazy exploitation subgenres included here are one of the grandmammies of WIP flicks, Chained Heat, starring none other than Linda Blair and Sybil Danning; Linda Blair and Sylvia (Emmanuelle) Kristal in Red Heat (which is, sadly, presented in an edited version); and Sybil Danning’s epic Jungle Warriors. The films (two of which were German-made) range from being slightly absurd to absolutely incongruous, with co-stars such as John Vernon, Stella Stevens, Henry Silva, and even Marjoe Gortner. Internet site Mr. Skin co-presents this trilogy of baseness with several special features, and the release was limited to a brief pressing — so, if you see one, get it.

· Sex, Demons and Death (1975) (One 7 Movies)

The Short Version: A much better variant on that old “Death and Taxes” saying.

The Slightly-Elongated Version: Italian actor Gabriele Tinti started off with a promising enough career in European cinema, popping up in a number of peplum features and adventures. Once the ‘70s rolled around, however, Signori Tinti’s résumé started to list a number of wacky sexploitation horror flicks, such as Diabolicamente… Letizia, or Sex, Demons and Death, as its US DVD title reads. Directed and co-written by Salvatore Bugnatelli (who didn’t do anything before this and never really did anything after, either), the story here has Tinti and his onscreen wife, Magda Konopka, discovering they are unable to have children. So, Magda brings home her parentless, barely-legal niece (Franca Gonella) to fill in the gap. Naturally, the hot little honey is of the Devil — and it isn’t long before weird things start to happen. It also isn’t long until young Miss Gonella takes her clothes off and reveals the movie’s true purpose. One 7 Movies, who delight in debuting these bizarro Italian horror/sex movies, bring us this strange l’il gem with a trailer as the only bonus.

· The Lickerish Quartet (1970) (Cult Epics)

The Short Version: Another Radley Metzger masterpiece finds its way to DVD and Blu-ray.

The Slightly-Elongated Version: Anyone who has ever seen an “adult” movie has probably daydreamed (or wet-dreamed, perhaps) about a brief encounter with a performer from said title. In the case of the slightly perverted (read: aristocratic) family in The Lickerish Quartet, the whole damn clan becomes obsessed with an actress they see in a stag film. Their fantasies soon come true as the family meets the girl — in the flesh — at a local carnival and invite her back to their spacious seaside manor, to wit she seduces each one of the noblepeople in turn. Silvano Ventrally (also in Metzger’s Camille 2000), Frank Wolff, and Erika Remberg star. Strangely tame by today’s standards, Radley Metzger’s The Lickerish Quartet was highly controversial and spicy when released in 1970, and has returned to make new fans the world over in Cult Epics’ lush new transfer with a several exclusive bonus features. Also available on Blu-ray.

· Erotic Escape (1985) (One 7 Movies)

The Short Version: Who’s up for more Italian sleaze?

The Slightly-Elongated Version: Americans and Germans weren’t the only industry professionals (cough) that could churn out a tale of women being captured, humiliated, and hired for no better reason than to exploit — as the little-known director Nello Rossati (The Sensuous Nurse, Django Strikes Again) proves in Fuga Scabrosamente Pericolosa, which One 7 Movies has re-titled Erotic Escape for its US DVD debut. Boasting one of the most illusory covers I have ever seen, the tale here finds a political prisoner (Rodrigo Obregón) escaping his confines and wind up kidnapping the beautiful daughter (Eleonora Vallone, the offspring of Italian movie legend, Raf Vallone) of a wealthy nearby resident, taking her with him on the lam, and having his way with her when she refuses to eat (must be an Italian thing). A rather rough one, really; thankfully, One 7 Movies didn’t have any extra materials to tack on in order to make you watch any longer than you have (or want) to.

· Wide Open (1974) (Impulse Pictures)

The Short Version: Christina Lindberg? Nude? I’m in.

The Slightly-Elongated Version: Swedish sexpot Christina Lindberg definitely made an impression on the world of international cinema, particularly the ones featuring numerous nubile nudes. Four years after her debut in moving pictures in Rötmånad, Ms. Lindberg bid starring roles “adieu” (or “farväl,” as the case were) in Sängkamrater, where she once was again teamed up with her Swedish Wildcats/Thriller: A Cruel Picture co-star, Solveig Andersson. Trying to pinpoint the plot with this one is likely to cause a migraine, so let’s just state that it has a lot of sex, a taxi driver, nudity, drugs, more sex, Swedes, even more nudity, and a strange stag party of a finale and leave it at that. Gustav Wiklund directs and writes this psychedelic 1974 wonder, which gets a first-rate release from Impulse Pictures, who include the original English-dubbed soundtrack as well as several bonus materials — including interviews with Lindberg and Wiklund themselves. Break out the salvia and enjoy.

· Exotic Malice (1980) (One 7 Movies)

The Short Version: Joe D’Amato. Hardcore. Need I say more?

The Slightly-Elongated Version: I have very few issues with One 7 Movies’ habit of changing the titles of otherwise obscure Italian sexploitation flicks, but in the instance of the film they have saw fit to re-christen Exotic Malice. In actuality, this is one of the many, many movies brought to us by legendary sleazemeister Joe D’Amato, better known to audiences and trash cinema scholars as Sesso Nero and Black Orgasm. One of several entries in D’Amato’s “Caribbean” period of horror and hardcore quickies, this one features Mark Shannon (a regular in these movies) as a lad haunted by the suicide of his lover and whom has prostate cancer to boot. Determined to get the most out of his junk before it becomes junk itself, he heads off to the Caribbean to get down and dirty, but soon gets lost in an orgy of nightmares, sex, ghostly sightings, and a dead-ringer for his dead girlfriend. This one was written by co-star George Eastman (Luigi Montefiori) and contains explicit sex, kids, so I naturally recommend it.

Happy viewing, kids.

About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the alter-ego of a feller who loves an eclectic variety of classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) film and television. He currently lives in Northern California with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.

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