Reviews written by registered user
|33 reviews in total|
Yeah, what a great representation of the spectrum of love this film was...
if your idea of "love" only applies to rich, middle class, heterosexual
bumbling stereotypes of Britishness. Toss in a side-salad of nationalism
and a few co-opted "minority" characters to attempt to redress the
predominantly white balance, and you've got a picture of England that
Michael Portillo would be proud of.
This film offended me. But what offended me the most was that all the other people in the cinema seemed to merrily buy this nonsense as being a shining example of an existence to aspire to. Hate it hate it hate it!
In theory, the Nazi-sex cycle of exploitation cinema should be an absolute
winner. Not only are all these films based on spectacularly non-PC and
offensive plot premises, but by their very nature they give plenty of
opportunity for the film-makers to work in scene after scene of gore,
nudity, sex, and combinations of the three. Of course, as any seasoned
Euro-exploitation fan knows, it is very rare that ANY so-called "video
nasty" lives up to the promise of its garish title and plot outline, and in
practice, there is nothing that displays this more succinctly than this
genre. The Nazi-sex films are ineptly made, dull, boring, and not nearly as
offensive as they should be.
Saying that though, THE BEAST IN HEAT does at least enough to raise itself above other dross such as SS EXPERIMENT CAMP. Badly made and boring it might be, but the comedy of the caged "beast" is enough to keep you watching (even though its appearances are few and far between). The nastiest gore surfaces at the very end, and although it's all quite unpleasant in theory (particularly the moment where the "beast" tears chunks out of an unfortunate victim's mons pubis and gobbles them up), the absolutely dire standard of special effects leaves this whole affair more in the niche of BLOODSUCKING FREAKS than MEN BEHIND THE SUN...
Not really worth bothering with unless you are an enthusiast of this sort of thing. "Fans" of this particularly surreal thread of exploitation would be well advised to dabble in the seedy climes of the closely-related "Women In Prison" cycle, because the best of that genre beats this type of gubbins hands down.
SWEET AND SAVAGE represents Climati and Morra's final attempt at Mondo
cinema. Having been seriously stung by previous criticisms of their
film-making and of the genre itself in the past, it's surprising to see
once again they happily exhibit scene after scene of almost unwatchable
SWEET AND SAVAGE contains a large bulk of out-takes and reused footage from Climati and Morra's previous mid-70s Mondo efforts, and predictably follows the same format. Accompanied by a pretentiously epic sound-track, the beauty and the savageness of nature are juxtaposed in a vain attempt to justify the violence on display. However, the more pleasant scenes just come across as twee and make the disturbing footage even more distasteful. As usual, scenes of animal slaughter make up the majority of the movie, but there are also a few faked and unfaked sequences involving humans. Tightrope walkers and stunt-men fall to their deaths; a corpse of a Tibetan monk is hacked up and eaten by vultures atop a mountain (surprisingly, this footage looks genuine); and in the "stand out" scene, a man is tied to two trucks and has his arm torn away. The final scene is clearly fake but that didn't stop it (as well as much of the other footage in this movie) turning up in Damon Fox's appalling TRACES OF DEATH series...
For me, the aspect of the Mondo genre that is so fascinating yet also indefensible is the misrepresentation and misinformation that these supposed "documentaries" push on the viewer. SWEET AND SAVAGE is no exception. For instance, many of the scenes have been clearly over-dubbed using actors voices in hilariously un-PC ways. In one scene, Africans are shown snapping the necks of ostriches, but these men have been over-dubbed with ebonics-laden, deep South accents. I can't help but laugh at such moments, but it is one of the aspects of these movies that is the most distasteful.
So all in all, this is the close of a fascinating and controversial chapter in Italian exploitation cinema. Saying that, I doubt it is for everyone.
At the end of the 70s, Ruggero Deodato was rapidly becoming one of the most
dynamic and controversial horror directors in Italy. However, with two of
his most spectacular efforts (CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and HOUSE BY THE EDGE OF
THE PARK) widely criticised and persecuted for their violent content, he
found himself in a limbo where producers were simply not prepared to tarnish
the reputation of their films by hiring him. Sadly, this reduced the
majority of his subsequent work to a level of utter pap, ranging from a "kid
dying of cancer" tear-jerker to a ridiculous CONAN THE BARBARIAN rip-off
starring a pair of identical twin body-builders.
Saying this, it's strange to find CUT AND RUN amongst these films. This little seen (at least in its uncut form) violent adventure can be viewed as Deodato's final trip to the jungle, completing the "trilogy" began by ULTIMO MONDO CANNIBALE and CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. Originally slated to be directed by Wes Craven, Deodato was drafted in at the last moment, and managed to piece together a tight and exciting action movie containing plenty of stand-out scenes of carnage. Whilst the "cannibal" theme isn't really present here, there are numerous links to the genre, from the "Jim Jones" story-line a la Umberto Lenzi's infamous genre efforts, to Deodato's cinematography and handling of the travelogue aspect of the movie. There is also a (relatively) high-budget shine to the film, reflected by the semi-quality cast on display.
However, after his previous problems, Deodato wasn't to be stung again. He produced two different versions of the film, one far more graphic than the other. To my knowledge the unabridged "shock version" has only been officially released in Asia and Japan, but is definitely the one worth seeking out.
Despite the fact this is a fun and watchable film, it doesn't really have the fingerprints and style of Deodato's earlier work. It seems that the genuine creative spirit of this man was crushed by censorship and the widespread criticism he was, and still is, a victim to. Still worth a look though, just for those moments where the "real Deodato" grins through.
This is nasty stuff. Surprisingly strong for a 1972 movie, Polselli's
over-complex and contrived giallo happily depicts what other people would
only dare hint to in a number of jaw-droppingly misogynistic scenes of
sexual violence. In one remarkably unpleasant scene, a black gloved
masturbates a female victim as he strangles her. I find it surprising
movies like NEW YORK RIPPER are so infamous when extreme stuff like this
GIALLO A VENEZIA exist. It's quite amazing that these films were made at
all, let alone had a cinema release!
Focusing away from the violence, this is actually a pretty well made and tight giallo. Whilst a lot more sleazy than some of the classy entries into the genre, Polselli hits the viewer with some relatively innovative scenes and camera-work. The plot is hilariously winding- I won't give too much away, but fans of the more ridiculous giallos will not be disappointed. There is also a definite undercurrent of black humour, particularly in some of the scenes of violence. I think it is safe to say that the misogynistic humour will be left misunderstood by most.
Unfortunately, DELIRIUM fell victim to distributor re-cutting in a big way. The American version is hugely different to the original Italian release, losing a lot of violence, gaining some new footage, and asa result suffering quite marked changes to the plot itself! The different versions are really quite different, and I'd advise any giallo collector to check out both. By all accounts, the French print of the movie is the most complete "uncut" form. Definitely worth a look for fans of giallos and of good, honest cinematic scum.
Antonio Climati is a man who will be remembered for one thing and one
only: spectacularly contentious mondo films. During the 70s and early
Climati produced a handful of some of the most unpleasant movies ever
committed to celluloid, all in the name of "documentary". It was his 1976
film THIS VIOLENT WORLD that directly inspired some of the scenes in
Deodato's exploitation classic CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, a film which dealt a
critical blow to the mondo genre. With the similarities between mondo and
the violent jungle travelogue approach of the classic cannibal movie, it
seems only fitting that Climati would finally try his hand at it too.
Ironically, his film has clearly been strongly influenced by CANNIBAL
HOLOCAUST, right down to the title...
Cannibal movie fans will immediately recognise the plot devices used in THE GREEN INFERNO from Deodato and Lenzi's past frolics in the jungle. However, it had one main difference- it was made ten years after the "golden era" of the genre. This is greatly reflected in the violence of the movie, which is enormously toned down. Whilst the "westerners captured by natives" plot remains perfectly in line with the most generic cannibal movie, there is no actual cannibalism in the picture and gore is kept to an absolute minimum. Similar to Deodato's CUT AND RUN, THE GREEN INFERNO treads the boards of a cannibal pictures whilst carefully avoiding cannibalism.
This isn't the only cannibal convention that has been sacrificed here. One of the most controversial aspects of the genre is the depiction of cruelty against and the killing of animals. Amazingly in THE GREEN INFERNO, these are replaced with scenes of COMPASSION towards animals! In one scene, a monkey is revived by the exploring party... and in total shades of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, at another point, a turtle is pulled out of a water tank, only to be replaced unharmed.
One has to wonder what Climati's intentions were. The awkward "anti-animal cruelty" stance that the movie seems to adopt would be easier to appreciate if one hadn't seen Climati's previous work. Movies such as SAVAGE MAN... SAVAGE BEAST positively reveled in horrifically drawn-out scenes of animal killing, so what could have changed in the meantime? In honesty, many of the animal scenes are still clearly cruel and putting the subjects under distress. This makes Climati's stance quite transparent. I honestly believe he was attempting to criticise the cannibal genre just as Deodato had damningly and directly criticised him in the past. This was also coupled with the chronological fact that audiences were simply less willing to watch animals being butchered with machetes by the time this flick was made.
As a movie, THE GREEN INFERNO is competently made yet somewhat forgettable. It has the same atmosphere as the earlier genre entries, but comes across as being rather watered down. The sound-track, photography and dialogue are all utterly perfunctory, and besides the animal issues mentioned already, a genre veteran can quite easily predict the entire plot after a few short minutes. However, in a way it is a fittingly odd end to an extremely strange genre of exploitation cinema- anaemic, bitter, and self-referentially critical.
One of the most interesting consequences of the brief period of "porno chic"
in the early 70s was the resulting effect on the Italian exploitation
industry. Never quick to miss an American cinematic "craze", a lot of
film-makers found themselves curiously crossing genres and stuffing hardcore
porn into other genres, as well as vice versa. The absolute master of this
was the ubiquitous Joe D'Amato, and here he fuses porno with the zombie
movie (which at the time was in the midst of enormous popularity in
THE EROTIC NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD was shot back-to-back with the similar, but more sex-oriented, PORNO HOLOCAUST. In its full uncut form, the scenes of XXX are strangely innocent. There are a few explicit shots here and there, but no actual "penetration" (other than when one of the female characters hilariously opens a bottle of champagne with her genitalia!), plus many of the scenes seem to cut away at strange times. Whether this is due to an incomplete review print (a Midnight Video release, clearly made from two different prints spliced together) isn't clear. What is obvious is that as a sex movie, this fails horribly. Many of the "erotic" scenes also fall victim to Luigi Montefiori and Laura Gemser's obvious unwillingness to perform in hardcore sequences. Many of the sex scenes are made up of Montefiori watching a female character masturbate, before pretending to have sex with her- often without removing his trousers first!
The real benefit for Massacessi is that the sex allows him to pad out a horror movies that, in actuality, has only about 30 minutes of material. Almost all of the first hour revolves around sex, and the "horror" portion of the story really only kicks in after that. Massacessi was the first to admit that horror was not his forte (although after seeing this, it has to be said that porn clearly wasn't either!) and by structuring his film in this way, he can basically cover up his shortcomings whilst still producing a marketable zombie movie.
Still, as ever, this is strangely enjoyable. The final 30 minutes is actually quite atmospheric, and there is some nice gore in there. I hear that this movie is very difficult to get hold of in an uncut form (review print was in unsubtitled Italian), but as far as I can tell from my copy, it is certainly worth seeking out as the "cut" print looks absolutely anaemic in comparison...
Great stuff. The Italian exploitation rip-off bandwagon didn't miss a beat
on any genre, and here we have THE EXORCIST acting as the "inspiration" for
a horror picture. Naturally, the sleaze is turned up enormously and the
result is a truly entertaining piece of cinematic scuzz. I think the other
reviewers have covered the majority of the fun stuff that goes on herein,
but I'd just like to add that the movie is nicely put together and
photographed, and the hilarious dialogue is sufficiently hammed up by the
actors. Plus, it's great to see Arthur Kennedy in ANY
My highlight of the film was when the "possessed" woman seduces a German exchange student- truly hilarious.
I personally found the oft-revered THE EXORCIST to be laughable and ludicrous. L'ANTICRISTO simply goes even further, and if you are equipped with an imagination and a sense of humour, I can think of a lot worse ways to spend an hour and a half.
Although mondo movies were first popularised in the 1960s, they quickly
favour with audiences, partly through lack of material and partly because
the genre reached a logical conclusion of "documentary" violence with
ADDIO in 1969. THIS VIOLENT WORLD was part of the resurgence of mondo
cinema in Italy in the mid-to-late 1970s, which was spear-headed by the
"rival" teams of Climati/Morra and the Castiglioni brothers. Both were
intent on out-doing the other by showing increasingly graphic scenes of
violence and sex, many of them faked but all of them amongst the most
harrowing sequences ever committed to celluloid.
THIS VIOLENT WORLD is actually quite restrained compared with Climati and Morra's preceding mondo, SAVAGE MAN... SAVAGE BEAST. As usual, the majority of the footage is made up with animal killings of various types. We also get to see fakirs cutting off tongues/piercing themselves, tribal rites involving abortion, and other such "curiosities". The movie concludes with a seemingly real firing squad sequence.
Mondo cinema is certainly a weird concept and THIS VIOLENT WORLD maintains the genre standards admirably. Semi-racist commentary and exploitation/misrepresentation of other cultures aside, the photography is actually quite atmospheric and imaginative in places, and the De Angelis soundtrack is a good one. However, nothing can take away from the fact that this, as with most mondos, is inherently an incredibly boring movie. It is far more interesting as a strange example of the direction of the Italian exploitation film industry than as a film in its own right.
The most interesting aspect of this flick remains the obvious influence it had over Deodato's CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. HOLOCAUST was always intended to be a critique of the mondo school of film-making, but there are specific sequences here that are so close to Deodato's classic that it is obviously more than coincidence. The abortion sequence (where a woman is pushed out of a tree to induce miscarriage, and then a fetus is pulled from her and buried in the mud) clearly was an enormous inspiration to the similar scene in HOLOCAUST. In another scene, a group of native women bathe with a white man and fiddle around with his penis in curiosity- again, a scene that was included in Deodato's epic! It's interesting to see precisely where Deodato took inspiration for his critique, yet managed to work it into a narrative.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Every so often you'll get to see a film so demented, so sleazy and so OUT
THERE that it really leaves an indelible mark on your psyche. Films like
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and GIALLO A VENEZIA have done it for me in the past,
to be honest I don't think anything lives up to this one. Deodato has
absolutely surpassed himself here, creating one of the most horrendous
sexually violent films I've ever seen. It seems so alien watching it,
especially in these "enlightened" PC times- a truly strange
It's not so much the subject of the film that is the problem, but the way it is presented. The frequent scenes of sexual violence are filmed and presented as pornography, and there is no doubt about that. Far more of a problem is the behaviour of the victims throughout the film. The women are permissive to the extent that they allow rape and attacks to occur with little or no resistance, and even worse is that in almost every case the woman begins to ENJOY her assault half way through. There are some deeply surreal and glaring examples of this throughout the film, and it is exactly this kind of worrying message that has earned the film the reputation it deserves. Another movie that employed similar tactics (of so-called "porno rape") was Aldo Lado's LATE NIGHT TRAINS, but in this case the technical merit and overall level of acting is high enough to ensure that the images truly are shocking.
The movie descends way further though, providing one sequence that on so many levels is by far the most shocking and deplorable depiction of on-screen sexual violence that I've ever seen within the genre. One of the protagonists, Ricky, had been constantly attempting to assault one of the female guests throughout the film, but every time had bailed out. Finally, she leads him into the garden of the house and has consensual sex with him- almost in sympathy. Meanwhile, inside, a young babysitter has called at the house and David Hess's character, Alex, has begun to terrorise her. She is forced to strip and is humiliated not only by Alex but by the camera of Deodato itself. She looks very, VERY young and the scene is shot in such a way that she is in middle-frame, totally on display for the audience. Alex gropes her before proudly announcing that she is a virgin- a fact that leads to further humiliation. Finally, after telling her that she'll "never forget the first time", he takes his razor to her breasts and slices them repeatedly. His obvious sexual satisfaction from this act is juxtaposed with the sexual encounter that his friend is enjoying in the garden, whilst the camera voyeuristically lingers on the young girl's wounds. There are very few ways that this passage can be read- this is flat out sexual sadism presented in a deeply unambiguous way. The very depths of exploitation are plumbed at this point, and this sequence is truly disturbing.
There was a rumour that at some point in this scene in the "uncut" print of the film, Hess pulls a bloody tampon from the young girl's vagina and dangles it in front of the camera. However, this seems very unlikely due to the tight construction and editing of the sequence. It seems likely that just like the "pirhana scene" from CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, this supposed cut is an urban legend.
Throughout the film, Hess's performance as Alex is superb. He is totally believable as a sleazeball psycho and for me, this particular movie was his greatest performance. Italian horror's favourite victim, John Morghen, hams up his role as Hess's simple side-kick quite effectively. The sound-track is hilariously inappropriate as one would hope, mainly consisting of appalling disco music (which the characters take great pleasure in "boogying" to!), and the main theme is an outlandishly out-of-place sickly sweet ballad. It seems to be a requisite of this type of movie to have such an absurdly sentimental theme and this one delivers!
Deodato himself claimed that the film was a comment on classism, with the "proletarian" protagonists terrorising bourgeious society represented by the guests at the party. I feel that this is dishonest. The movie is sleaze and exploitation from start to finish. With CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, Deodato was widely criticised for condemning what he exploits, but in this case he just took it too far to use that excuse. The eagerness with which the scenes of sexual violence are filmed, to the point of being RELISHED within the context of the movie, is more telling of what the agenda was when this was made. In saying that, this film is most definitely worth seeing for any fan of exploitation. It's hard going in places but it really is well put together, and if you can stand the ultra-dubious sub-texts that run throughout it is totally worth getting hold of. One of the hardest aspects to stomach, which at the same time is a testament to the acting and production on display, is that you will find yourself cheering on Alex and Ricky on a lot of occasions. The cinematography is good, and Riz Ortolani's score is excellent. Deodato was a man of vision but he let excess and bad choices destroy his career before it even really began.
|Page 1 of 4:||   |