If there’s one thing in life that is still as true as it ever was, it’s that sex sells. And there’s a reason for that, too: we like it. We’ve always liked it — all one has to do is to take a look at some of the classic artwork that adorns the walls of European museums or log onto the Internet to verify it. Sure, some people may claim that sex is an evil, sinful act — and that anyone who indulges in the act of “love-making” outside the bounds of holy matrimony will burn for all eternity in the fiery bowels of Hell. And maybe some of us will — but hey, look on the bright side: at least all the other people that like sex will be there, too!
Speaking of sin, Europeans, and Hell, I decided to give in to my lustful cravings this week by checking out six recent home video releases that focus on one thing and one thing alone: sex. The result? Well, aside from one pretty hellish entry, the entries in this chapter of “Catching Up At The Video Store” succeeded in making my shameless and lascivious self a very, very happy camper.
Monamour (2005) (Cult Epics) – We begin with the latest outing from Italy’s own Tinto Brass. Honestly, is there another filmmaker out there with an ass fetish as grand as Tinto? OK, so maybe some of those guys in the porn industry, but I’m talking about non-pornographic films here. Of course, some might argue that Tinto’s 2005 massterpiece, Monamour is several millimeters away from being porn, but — just like he always manages to do — Signori Brass still manages to instill this wild tale of sex with the right amount of class. And ass. Starlet Anna Jimskaia is a delight to watch here as Marta, the sexually-discontented wife of a book publisher (Max Parodi) who soon hooks up with a handsome stud (Riccardo Marino) while her hubby attends the Mantova Literature Festival. Will the constant, wanton sex destroy Marta’s marriage? Honestly, I could care less, because Monamour is a magnum opus of erotica even without its plot!
Joy (1983) (Severin Films) – While Tinto Brass and his fellow Italians have definitely turned out their fair share of sensual cinematic sagas, I have to say that the men and women of France alone could probably give the entire “European Cinema of Flesh” a run for its money. When Emmanuelle first hit theaters in 1974, it caused a tidal wave of sequels, prequels, knock-offs and rip-offs to be rushed into production. One such knock-off is Joy: a film that follows the sexual exploits of our titular liberated-supermodel-heroine (Claudia Udy) as she searches for the perfect man. Or something like that. Sergio Bergonzelli (the man that made the extremely wacko giallo In The Folds Of The Flesh directs this “stream-of-consciousness feature with a dash of plot.”
Joy & Joan (1985) (Severin Films) – Well, what would an Emmanuelle knock-off be without its own illegitimate sequel? Joy & Joan centers on fashion model Joy (Brigitte Lahaie, the quintessential French sex goddess) and her girlfriend Joan (Isabelle Solar), whom she meets in Singapore whilst gallivanting about with some rich guy after the man she’s been pursuing tells her to kick rocks. Pierre Londiche and Jean-Marc Maurel are the male co-stars in this decadent follow-up film.
Screwballs II: Loose Screws (1985) (Severin Films) – Remember that “hellish entry” I mentioned earlier? Well, this is it, ladies and gentlemen. Like the first Screwballs (1983), this is one of those many god-awful sex comedies made in the ’80s that concern a a group of high school boys (complete with a set of raging hormones) that want nothing more than to nail their new French teacher. Sure, the first Screwballs film was pretty dumb, but this turkey is definitely the low-brow low point of this whole feature. And to think Severin Films decided to release it on both DVD and Blu-ray! Oh, well, I shall continue to salute the efforts of John Severin and his crew regardless.
Radley Metzger’s Score (1972) (Cult Epics) – From Radley Metzger, the director of the porn classic The Opening Of Misty Beethoven comes Score, which has at long last been restored to its original uncut form. Based on Jerry Douglas’ play, Score tells the story of two liberated couples who like to experiment with bi-sexuality and group sex. Made at a time when AIDS was nowhere to be found, the film is a wonderful trip into the glitzy swinging lifestyles of the ‘70s, and is quite capable of (ahem) holding its own amongst the many other films that have (ahem) come and gone since then. Plus, classic horror aficionados get a chance to see the great Lynn Lowry (I Drink Your Blood, George A. Romero’s The Crazies) in action. How can you go wrong with a classic like this? Available on DVD and Blu-ray (yes!).
Nikkatsu Roman Porno Trailer Collection (2010) (Impulse Pictures) – And finally, we journey to the perverted world of Japanese sex cinema. The Nikkatsu Roman Porno Trailer Collection is a collection of 25 bizarre and wacky previews for the equally bizarre and wacky “Roman Porno” films that were cranked out by Japan’s Nikkatsu Studios in the ‘70s and ‘80s. From playful sex comedies to out-right roughies, this compilation offers an abundant amount of decadent goodies. The DVD also includes a bonus short film from the shot-on-video “Pink” genre, entitled Ryoko’s Lesbian Flight.
Well, there you have it: another fine assortment (with the exception of Screwballs II, that is) of sleazy, trashy, and morally-objectionable home video releases that you and your whole family can enjoy.
Happy viewing, kids!