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Thread: The Eurocult Film Thread

  1. #151

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    THE DEPORTED WOMEN OF THE SS SPECIAL SECTION:

    ***** 5 Out Of 5 *****

    Well, as I continue to barrel onward with the reviews of the great nastiness that is the Nazisploitation genre, I must stress that this is only a phase that I am going through, and that I enjoy writing about these films as much as I do watching them. It's a relatively harmless interest in a relatively sleaze-filled genre, is all. No more, no less.

    As we continue on towards my much anticipated list of top ten, this film comes second or third to the last (which will be SALON KITTY) in my slightly humorous reviews of the genre, at least temporarily. I'll continue to add my thoughts on the films as I see them, since the genre is so hit and miss for most people. And as many of you have messaged and posted, I'll attempt to give you the list of not-to-miss sleaze gems you've been so eager to see, courtesy your Sultan Of Sleaze.

    DEPORTED WOMEN takes it subject matter very seriously, much like GESTAPO'S LAST ORGY, and worked out to be quite the effective little film, with both a haunting score and imagery. It was extremely well acted, scripted, and plotted through-out, and is probably one of the best films of the genre, with plenty of sleaze and grodiness. The film centers on a Nazi commander seeking to exploit a young prisoner into falling in love with him, and the role, portrayed by John Steiner (CALIGULA, SALON KITTY), is played with a ruthlessness and over-the-top ferocity that was at once startling as it was hilarious. Many, many sequences in this film are stand-outs, including the infamous "razor-in-the-pussy-to-avoid-being-raped" scene.

    A milky, wet and frothy chunkblower. I hope to see this get a proper DVD release sometime soon.

    Aaron C Stamp Of Approval

    HELGA: THE SHE-WOLF OF SPILBERG:
    ** 2.5 Out Of 5 *****

    This incredibly rare Eurocine film from 1977 directed by Alain Garnier, is a somewhat below average WIP film that goes heavy on the sexual atrocities but light in about every other department. Helga doesn't get to whip as many prisoners as one might of liked, and while there is an over-abundance of flesh, sleaze, decadence and depravity, the film meanders somewhat based upon it's extremely loose narrative and shoddy "performances."

    Also lacking from the film is the biting dialogue persistant in literally all of the Nazisploitation films, which is also one thing this film isn't. It might have benefited more had there been something else behind it rather than just a generic army housing prisoners for a generic government.

    Collector's might want to seek this one out for it's sentimental value (if it has any), as I'm sure one is well aware at how highly sought after films like these tend to be. The film also makes light attempts to cash in on the success of the ILSA films, but it's pretty tame in comparison. All in all, a pretty mediocre effort in the WIP genre, and probably more for the hardcore completist only.

    SALON KITTY:
    ***** 5 Out Of 5 *****

    Aaron C Stamp Of Approval

    Tinto Brass' 1976 effort SALON KITTY is a masterpiece of exploitation cinema filmmaking, and he directs with such a visual and artistic flair so unexpected in a genre such as this that I was left jaw to the floor. Helmut Berger and Ingrid Thulin truly shine in this, and the performances by the ruthless John Steiner and the way-too-fuckable Teresa Ann Savoy were remarkable.

    The film is literally The Godfather of the Nazisploitation cycle, and centers primarily on the exploits of a young girl named Margherita, who seduces men for espionage purposes, and ends up falling in love with one of them.

    The film, full of atmosphere, fantastic set and costume design, as well as one hell of a remarkable score, gets hesitant recommendations from reviewers online, which leaves me left to wonder why. The film is long, but I never felt it dragged. I thought the film mixed the perfect elements of plot, charachter development and sleaze into a near perfect balancing act, making the film rise above almost all that came before or after.

    Here, we are treated to an orgy of ghastly debauchery, such as pigs (yes, real, squealing piggies), whippings, trannies, dominatrixes, migits, treason, nazi's, musical numbers, foaming at the mouth, singing, leud and lavicious conduct, sexual happenings and awakenings, nazi propaganda, and your usual sleaze and filth.

    Plenty of scuzz and scurve to be had here, this film featured more groadiness than I thought it was capable of mustering, but little did I know the film would have so much style...and class.

    Many may find the film slow, as I must say that it is indeed an acquired taste, but lo and behold, this reviewer found the film to be flawless on almost every level, and will fondly remember having seen it for the first time on my many, many planned repeat viewings of this 70's sleaze gem masterpiece.

    I, personally, could not recommend this film highly enough

  2. #152

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    And then...he was gone. To maturity, or jail.

  3. #153
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    "When you've got a film featuring a five minute long dream sequence of a girl running from her horny father with the two of them moving in faux slow-mo, you know you've gotten yourself into a mess."
    If I remember rightly Jess Franco chose himself to play the father in that scene. I think that bears mentioning. Thought that the film was fairly boring though overall.
    Salon Kitty on the other hand is great.
    What's groadiness?

  4. #154

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    I have no idea. The guy was all over the place. I do, seriously, wonder what became of him. At one time, he seemed to exclusively watch Nazisploitation films. That can't be good for the mind, or body, or moral structure. I've only ever watched one of these films, SS Girls. That was enough. It had a definitive impact. I had to reassess my whole life. I had to ask myself, "what journey are you on here, Craner?" "How much damage have you already done to your soul?" Then I violently altered everything. SS Girls is probably the source of all my current troubles. Or was it a symptom? Either way, it did me a favour. It was cathartic. It cleansed me.

  5. #155
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    Salon Kitty is comparatively classy though, isn't it? I mean, it's still basically porn, but it's nowhere near as nasty and trashy as the full on SS Torture Camp type stuff...

  6. #156
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    Salon Kitty is Tinto Brass so it can hardly be classy - also it depends on what version you've seen - if you've seen the one that didn't have all the removed stuff (where they test the girls' resolve by having them fuck all these disabled and deformed people - but definitely no Jews) put back in then it's not so bad I guess.

  7. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    Salon Kitty is Tinto Brass so it can hardly be classy - also it depends on what version you've seen - if you've seen the one that didn't have all the removed stuff (where they test the girls' resolve by having them fuck all these disabled and deformed people - but definitely no Jews) put back in then it's not so bad I guess.
    No, that was definitely in there.

    I'm not saying it's a great cultural highlight or anything, but it didn't seem like quite such a compelling argument for global thermonuclear war as I'd imagine, say, SS Experiment Love Camp to be...

  8. #158
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    Yeah, you're probably right. Never really checked out any of that Nazi stuff to be honest. Caligula goes further than Salon Kitty anyway and it has nothing to do with Nazis although the comparison is obvious between the empires.

  9. #159

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    Beatrice Cenci (Lucio Fulci, 1969)

    Sometime in 1969, after a semi-successful period of hackery and genre heroism, Lucio Fulci decided to film a serious period drama. At this moment, his films and his prospects were slowly improving; Italian cinema was at its commercial peak and Fulci's budgets were growing in line with his audience. His personal life, however, was falling apart, as it would do over and over again until his lonely death in 1996. Fulci was a pessimistic, dyspeptic character, a tortured Catholic whose best films were fuelled by his hatred of the Church; this drama, the tragedy of Beatrice Cenci, as previously dramatised by his hero Antonin Artuad, would be one of those films.

    Beatrice Cenci took an axe taken to Renaissance Rome and Papal sanctity, prompting walkouts and violence in cinemas during first screenings as well as censure by the Vatican. More than just a punchy and poignant historical drama, then, the film was an assault on a system of order and thought, behaviour and principle that was still, in the late Sixties, rotting the base of Italian society. In this sense, and in this context, the film fully justified and deserved the hostility it aroused -- a fact Fulci was surely proud of.

    He certainly pulled no punches: Cenci is a rancorous, physically violent film, seething beneath decorous finery. The sets and costumes are lush and expensive and Erico Menczer's cinematography subtle and painterly -- but the violence, when it comes, is harsh, graphic, undramatic, an awful routine of institutional torture. In his other anti-Catholic masterpiece of the period, Don’t Torture a Duckling, the rural south is clogged with religious dogma, vice and prejudice: locals are moral hypocrites and prone to irrational mob violence, while city slickers and clergy are perverse imports, sexual and emotional predators. But in Cenci's 16th Century world, violence and depravity are the exclusive preserve of the aristocracy and clergy; the masses are at their mercy, oppressed on all fronts by greed and extortion and the random physical and moral violations of the Church. In this sense, Beatrice’s impulse and sacrifice is cathartic and redemptive. After her death, she is lauded and idolised by an adoring public who lay fresh flowers at her tomb daily: the young girl who struck back at cruelty and turned the logic of authority back on itself is, finally, destroyed.

    So this is Fulci's world, alright -- a domain of power, sexuality and violence. But within these early films, unlike later visual assaults such as The Beyond and The New York Ripper, a human heart is pounding hard. Fulci’s Beatrice is not symbolic – emphatically not Shelley's Romantic sypher or Artaud's abstract repository or the idol she became in Italy. At the required moment she is as hard and cynical as her father; as manipulative and scheming as is necessary to succeed at murder. She lets her vassal and lover (Thomas Milian’s Olimpio) die on the rack to preserve her innocence but, later on, holds firm against her own torturers as the other Cencis succumb to the screws and branding irons. Fulci’s young actress, Adrienne La Russa, plays out these contradictions well: toothy and gauche when needed, but tough and blank as granite at the very end. La Russa plays another Fulci trick, or trope, of this pre-Zombi period: the proximity of tenderness and brutality. (Also, for a man who famously despised actors, this is as close as he ever got to thespian-orientated direction.)

    Don Francesco Cenci (played with flamboyant menace by the French stage actor, Georges Wilson) is the epitome of almost insane patriarchal evil in this production. He is nearly always flanked by a pack of rabid dogs, a key visual theme in Fulci’s early films. These are not wild dogs, but trained dogs let loose on the vulnerable and victimised -- a representation and facilitation of human cruelty. His handsome 1966 Western Massacre Time opens with a pack of hounds chasing down an anonymous innocent and tearing him to pieces, a remorseless and explosive moment. The dogs belong to the son of a local landowner, a demented sadist who wields a long white whip whenever he is on screen. In Duckling, the unfortunate gypsy witch La Magiara is chased through thick forest by police dogs, as the mistaken suspect of a series of gruesome child murders. This scene crystallises her world of persecution, hounded by state and religious officials, gangs of children and male vigilantes. (Also, think of the vivisected dogs in Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, strung up in a laboratory, their little hearts still pumping blood into tubes; a different expression, or example, of human cruelty.)

    In Cenci, the dogs are Don Francesco’s own demons, his own tools. At one moment, they are an instrument of arbitrary, violent justice, ripping apart an unfortunate tenant in raw, gory detail. At another moment, they express his own unnatural, animal depths: on the evening that he is celebrating the death of two of his sons (“two less mouths to feed!”), as he corners his defiant daughter in order to rape her, the hounds start to snarl and howl, in the courtyard and inside his skull. Organised cruelty, the irrational exercise of human power, and the perverse and violent impulse this engenders: the dogs impart this, and are part of it.

    It is ironic – or is it indicative? – that the director of The New York Ripper should depict human cruelty and vulnerability with such graphic and relentless fury in these early films. The overt sympathy for victims (and the fact that his martyrs are both women) preludes and precludes his later, bitter blasts of cynicism and brutality. In both Duckling and Beatrice Cenci, Fulci's outrage had not yet hollowed out; his films still pulse with anger and passion, however cold, stony, ruthless. Later, the slick city sheen of Ripper and glossy latex gore of Zombi will reflect (or deflect?) a profound and uncompromising disillusionment – with the Italian film circuit, and with his own emotional and aesthetic failure. (Cannibal Holocaust could not match that particular horror.) He wouldn’t have said it at the time, of course, and loved Zombi and The Beyond as much as every one else did; but still, it is notable that in a late interview he would finally consider Beatrice Cenci to be his finest work.

  10. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by craner View Post
    a human heart is pounding hard
    terrific review, oliver. powerful stuff. i will have to seek this one out.

    on a side note, the reviews you posted further upthread are completely wrong, the man has no sense. it's the other way around, the best of the lot is the last orgy of the third reich and ilsa is dead last. not that i know a thing about nazi exploitation, mind you.

  11. #161

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    Yes, you should! It's not easy to find, though. I know you don't live in the UK, but I got hold of this version, which is the best available, I gather. It was on my wish list for years, and then one day I saw it being sold for £15, figured I'd never see it that cheap ever again and pounced. It's usually around the £35 mark on Amazon.co.uk and it isn't even sold on .com. The UK site has a couple of good sellers now who specialise in Italian, German, French and Spanish imports, although it can be a bit tricky with language and subtitling options, of course.

  12. #162
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    not quite eurosploitation or as nuts as a lot of what ive seen mentioned in this thread so far, but are there any bigas luna fans on dissensus? i used to love golden balls and jamon jamon, though not seen them in years....

  13. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by craner View Post
    Yes, you should! It's not easy to find, though. I know you don't live in the UK, but I got hold of this version, which is the best available, I gather. It was on my wish list for years, and then one day I saw it being sold for £15, figured I'd never see it that cheap ever again and pounced. It's usually around the £35 mark on Amazon.co.uk and it isn't even sold on .com. The UK site has a couple of good sellers now who specialise in Italian, German, French and Spanish imports, although it can be a bit tricky with language and subtitling options, of course.
    thank you.

  14. #164
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    i just had the weirdest lapse as i looked at the word thanks before posting. it's a very simple word, but i read it more than once and thought: what does this mean? it became completely alien to me. so i wrote thank you instead.

  15. #165

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    A polished draft of above review. Thought I may as well post it, as I polished it.

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