THE INTRUSION is not my cup of tea, but is worthwhile as an example of single-minded, riveting hardcore porn devoted to a subject that cannot really be treated adequately by mainstream cinema. Like Oshima's groundbreaking IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES (same vintage as this American film), it is spellbinding but repulsive.
The secret is to take one's work seriously, which is what the anonymous filmmaker hiding behind the moniker "Arthur Nouveau" did. He painstakingly sets up an all-to-real situation, forces the viewer to live through it, and finally releases us at the end in the manner of porn's stablemate genre in morbidity, horror.
Kim Pope is ideally cast as an attractive but mousy housewife living somewhere in NY State (film's setting is not given, but it could be Westchester, for example). Her loving husband Levi Richards is quite protective, and opening reel depicts a kind of blissful Eisenhower-era suburbia, except this is the '70s so we begin with XXX-footage of them making love on the kitchen floor.
But as soon as hubby leaves, a creep posing as an insurance salesman gets his foot in the proverbial door. Instead of haranguing Kim with annuity proposals, he knocks her for a loop and the rest of the hour-long feature is torture-porn designed to arouse the male viewer. Only variation is that kindly neighbor Lynn Bishop shows up midway on schedule and is forced to partake in being raped alongside Kim.
This is the outline for a thousand porn or more recently bondage epics, but THE INTRUSION makes it work by carefully taking care of business and not diverting with filler or comic relief. Michael Gaunt is so matter-of-fact a pervert as "the intruder" that he disarms the viewer -we can't take him for anything more than a force of nature, and an all-too-real danger that keeps most of us (especially us New Yorkers) carefully tucked away in our apartments late at night. The banality of evil is a familiar theme, well-executed here.
Pope, who is one of the great porn genre actresses, and who had already made the history books co-starring in Damiano's brilliant MEMORIES WITHIN MISS AGGIE, is utterly convincing, resisting Gaunt to the bitter end. He has to resort to whipping out a vicious looking knife to get her to cooperate at all, and the film's most chilling, overly realistic sequence has him inserting it (handle first thank God) into Kim's vagina. Of course, the knife is the instrument of the film's shock ending.
After that effective climax finally provides release from an hour of tension, film ends artfully on peaceful shots of the house's exterior as we listen to pleasant sounds of nature outside. What horrors are lying inside, repressed; just as we see nightly on the 11:00 news the latest tale of what went on today behind closed doors, with the de rigeur interviews with shocked "they seemed so normal" neighbors' reactions.
The two leads are terrific, and both Bishop and Richards as Kim's husband are okay in more functional assignments. Electronic music score is used jarringly to maintain a sense of unease throughout.
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