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    The Ruins (Unrated Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 12th, 2008

    When The Ruins opens, it doesn’t look quite so promising. We’ve got two American couples sharing a vacation in Mexico. They’re reaching the end of their stay and are getting a tad bored with the sun and surf. Enter the foreign stranger who happens to have access to a secret archeological dig and invites the foursome along. Immediately I begin to suspect I’ve seen it all before. I figure the guy’s going to lead them to some isolated torture garden where sadistic maniacs will have their way with the tourists.
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    The Beast in Space

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on May 19th, 2008

    There really was nothing like the Italian film industry in full exploitative steam. The Beast in Space is a perfect example of what I mean. From where else but Italy in 1980 could there emerge a low-rent rip-off of both Walerian Borowczyk’s high-end erotic epic The Beast and Star Wars? Even the poster somehow manages to conjure thoughts of both films. And the title shamelessly implies that it is some sort of sequel to the former. So what kind of alchemy do these elements produce?
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    The Sister of Ursula

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on April 15th, 2008

    Still grieving over their father’s death, two sisters – the outgoing Dagmar (Stefania D’Amario) and the neurotic, antisocial Ursula (Barbara Magnolfi) – check into an out-of-season hotel. They are almost immediately immersed in a tangled web of relationships and betrayals involving the hotel manager, his estranged wife, a lounge singer and a drug-addicted patron. At the same time, a series of gruesome sex slayings gets underway.
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    Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Special Collector’s Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 1st, 2008

    Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Helena Bohnam Carter, and a 1970’s Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim about a barber with a penchant for truly close, and rather bloody, shaves. With these kinds of ingredients you have a can’t miss recipe for Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street. The finished product is a wickedly clever and most unusual movie experience. Tim Burton’s style blends so seamlessly with the dark humor of the original production.
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    Jerry Springer – Undressed Unleashed Uncensored Volume 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on March 14th, 2008

    I’m not sure what we will consider the fall of man. Perhaps it will be dangerous emissions into the air; perhaps it will be what happens when we don’t recycle enough. It could just be when I don’t win a freaking Nobel Peace Prize for my work in the field of gaming and dvd collecting. But perhaps the true fall of man will actually be rested upon the shoulders of one man and that man is Jerry Springer. For years, his brash trailer trash tv show has done more to destroy mankind than the rubber chicken (trust me, you just don’t know). Within the last few years, Jerry has had to take his shtick elsewhere. In college campuses, in shopping malls, on PPV. Yes Pay Per View. This first volume of Jerry explores the first three Pay Per View specials and wow. That is simply all I can say.
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    Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation (Unrated)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on February 12th, 2008

    The original Bachelor’s Party was produced roughly 25 years ago in the 80′s. Drugs, Sex, Tom Hanks and a donkey with a taste for belly dancing and cocaine all highlighted this cult favorite film that actually did very well for it’s time and genre. However, 2008 decided to release a sequel to this movie. Naturally, they could not get Tom Hanks to even do a cameo since he’s busy doing important films that involve him walking around an airport or naming inanimate objects “Wilson”. However, throw in some hot comics and even hotter females with some solid writing and you might just have a really fun and racucous time.
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    Jake’s Booty Call

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on February 11th, 2008

    The web has a way of delivering some of the most interesting material. Flash animation in particular can produce some very funny shorts. Furthermore, these shorts are unedited and can be downloaded by millions of people on a whim. These viral episodes can be played over and over again, with little care to the quality or the content. But what happens when they take that idea and decide to make into a feature length film? In this case, proof that people will download anything.
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    Spiritual Excercises

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 7th, 2007

    Olivier Smolders is a Belgian filmmaker with a sensibility as distinctive and challenging as his artistry is developed. Cult Epics has done North American audiences a huge service by bringing his films to Region 1 DVD release. This disc has ten short films. Each piece has its own distinct identity, yet they are all very clearly the work of a singular creative talent. The frequently disturbing shorts range from a tale of murder and cannibalism in “Adoration” (previously available on the Cinema of Death collection), to the heartbreaking “Mort à Vignole” (where Smolders narrates a family tragedy filtered through home movies made by his and his wife’s parents, along with his own family footage), to an extended yet elegantly filmed practical joke (“Point de Fuite”) to a most unusual adaptation of Sade with “La Philosophie dans le Boudoir.” The films are invariably gorgeous and clinical in the precision of their observations. The blurbs on the case invoke Lynch, Greenaway and Bergman, and the comparisons are apt, though Smolders is also very much his own man.
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    Black Emanuelle’s Box — Volume 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 22nd, 2007

    Severin unleashes three more entries from Italy’s long-running sexploitation saga, and the result is another fascinating collection. The quality of the movies themselves up and down, but the good stuff is very good, and the collective result is something that is completely fascinating. Exploitation fans should be over the moon.
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    Vintage Erotica Anno 1960

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 12th, 2007

    After going all the way back to the 20s with the last entry in this series, now Cult Epics gives us a collection from 1960s, a period that marks the beginning of the end for this kind of pornographic short. Theatrical hardcore is just around the corner, and things will never be the same. In the meantime, though, things are remarkably the same. Other than some clothing styles (in those brief moments when clothes are actually on), it’s interesting to note that there is very little to distinguish these twelve entries from those of any other decade, a point driven home by the bonus short from the 1940s, which doesn’t feel very different from the rest of the offerings. Artistically, there is not much going on here (surprise, surprise), but the star rating indicates the fact that, despite this, there is some clear archival value here.
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    The Lair – Season One

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on October 28th, 2007

    What happens when the reviewer who did Dante’s Cove decides to tackle its vampiresque cousin, The Lair? (Besides scheduling more sessions with his psychiatrist) You get somebody who starts understanding what makes up the Here! network. We’re homies, we break bread together. Just don’t expect me to wear my pants that low nor participate in your late night parties. I got an image to uphold. Season one of the Lair provides something that no other show on the Here! network has proved to this point. A show where there is actual dialog and something more than a cheap excuse to show lots and lots of male on male action. Welcome to the Fang Bang.
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    Satan’s Baby Doll

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on October 26th, 2007

    Mario Bianchi’s film is a 1982 remake of the recently reviewed Malabimba. The spirit of a newly deceased woman possesses her daughter, and proceeds to wreak havoc in the gothic castle that is the family’s domicile. Of course, given that the father is a murderous drug-addict, there isn’t that much for the possessed teen to do, as far as the plot itself is concerned. Curiously, this effort is less lurid than its predecessor (barring a couple of insanely OTT performances), with less nudity and taboo-busting, and also a rather less interesting deconstruction of respectable society. Plotting and motivation are haphazard at best. Still, it’s a not-unentertaining late-period Italian gothic, blessed with handsome sets.
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    Malabimba

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on October 19th, 2007

    Connoisseurs of Eurosleaze will be pleased with this nasty little variation on the gothic. In an isolated castle, a fractious, failing aristocratic family has gathered. There is no more money in the family, except indirectly: one brother, now in a vegetative state, is married to a rather wanton woman, who now holds the purse strings. The matriarch suggests that her other son marry her, even though his brother is still alive. The man is properly horrified by the suggestion, and he is also still in mourning for his wife. But then something – the spirit of his wife? a demon? – invades his teenage daughter, who then starts acting out sexually and recreating scenes from The Exorcist.
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    Emanuelle Around the World — XXX European Edition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on September 27th, 2007

    This is a second release of the film already available in Severin’s fine Black Emanuelle’s Box collection. What I said about the film in that review still holds, to whit: “Emanuelle Around the World (1977) has a bit more of a storyline, though it is still very picaresque in nature. Picturesque as well. Our heroine becomes outraged by the sex traffic of women, and so travels from location to location, exposing the evildoers. D’Amato (who also directed the previous entry) here rather unconvincingly dons a pseudo-feminist stance, but there are moments actually approaching suspense. The sex scenes of both these films are, for the most part, laughable, though occasionally well shot. Any sense of eroticism is thanks to Laura Gemser, whose ethereal beauty and grace are such that she moves through the film as an almost divine presence, above and untouched by the events around her.”
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    Vanessa

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on September 20th, 2007

    If it’s 1977, this must be softcore, and so it is. Vanessa is a another lush sexual travelogue, dug up from the archives and given a rather spiffy release from Severin. Yet another product cast in the Emmanuelle mould, Vanessa has its titular heroine leave her convent home (gee, what sort of nonsense do you think we find out happened there?) after she comes into a large inheritance. Flying to Hong Kong, she finds out that this inheritance consists of a chain of high-end brothels. Cue the exotic locations and varied sexual encounters. There’s nothing hugely striking or original about any of this, but as an example its type, it’s quite handsomely mounted, makes some eyebrow-raising use of classical music, and has a couple of scenes that (almost) reach a (kind of) frenzy (all proportions maintained).
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    Lesbian Sex & Sexuality

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on September 4th, 2007

    Sometimes when you sit down to review a dvd, you are treated to a fantasy. However, sometimes that fantasy isn’t all it seems and leaves you with a blank expression and curious feelings of being unfulfilled (kinda like that marriage I had). Anyhow, I took the dubious task of reviewing Lesbian Sex & Sexuality, a television show that is on the here! network who also bring you such fine shows such as Dante’s Cove. (okay; so I gave Season 2 a 2 out of 5, who’s counting?) The show is very simple and has a very provocative premise. That premise is to take a mostly uncensored (I’ll explain later) look at the secret and rarely explained world of lesbian sex. All kinds of subjects would be explored from fantasies to erotic dancers to the ever popular porn films. No stone and no position would be left untouched. No girl either. Men, well…anyhow the show is broken down into six half-hour episodes across two discs.
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    Dante’s Cove – The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on June 2nd, 2007

    I must really love this job. That’s the only explanation as to why I keep reviewing for this site. Then I get across my desk a copy of Dante’s Cove – The Complete Second Season. (I guessed I missed the first one). On the cover they show three quite buff men (in the background two women, hey that’s Tracy Scoggins), all with pants being a little too low. Uh-oh. *flips to the back*; oh geez is that two men kissing, *sigh*, it is. From the here! network for openly gays and lesbians comes the guilty pleasure show; Dante’s Cove, a soap opera that let’s just say really pushes the envelope.
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    Cinema of Death

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 19th, 2007

    Cupt Epics here presents five films identified as “underground” (a fluid term at the best of times). Certainly, they are all deliberately transgressive, though not all are equally successful. Two are by Nico B. – the perviously released “Pig” and “Hollywood Babylon.” The former has been reviewed here before, but briefly, its catalogue of murder and S&M horrors, working out a killer’s fantasies, is rather too self-conscious about its own transgression. The latter is a 4-minute tribute to Kenneth Anger, taking in exhibits at the Museum of Death.
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    Shortbus

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 9th, 2007

    In a New York forever conscious of the shadow of 9/11, we follow the sex lives and tribulations of a group of gay and straight characters. There’s the gay couple whose relationship is hitting a rocky patch. There’s the professional dominatrix who is finding it more and more difficult to face her work. And there’s the sex therapist who’s never had an orgasm. Her quest for same brings her into contact with the other characters, and to Shortbus, an eccentric sex club.


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    Love Circles

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 12th, 2006

    Nervy enough to claim to be an updating of the classic 1950 film La Ronde, this late-night-cable-fodder does borrow that film’s structure as we move from one erotic anecdote to another, with a character from one story taking us into another, and so on, creating a chain of narratives involving rich people gettin’ it on. I used the word “erotic” because everybody gets nekkid, but the charge the film carries is negligible. Thinks of it as a bad Robert Altman film with worse dubbing.
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    Christina

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 12th, 2006

    Jewel Shepard is Christina Von Belle, “The Playgirl of the Western World,” which means she takes her clothes off a lot and has plenty of sex. She jets around from one European location to another, engaging in the previously mentioned activities. Something of an adventure plot kicks in when she is kidnapped by guerilla lesbians, and is subjected to rather odd bondage games (what’s with the toy cars and trucks being driven over her body?).The plot isn’t enough to actually make the film interesting, though, and Shepard might be willing to take her clothes off, but isn’t so willing to act. I’ve seen planks of wood deliver more passionate love scenes.
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    Once Upon a Girl

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 7th, 2006

    In a live action sequence, Mother Goose (Hal Smith in drag) is hauled before the court to account for herself. She proceeds to inflame the passions of those present with a series of raunchy tales. These are animated, and we find out what Jack really found up on that beanstalk, how Cinderella really impressed the Prince, and what sort of, er, encounters a not-so-Little Red Riding Hood had on her way to Grandma’s house.There is some wit here (see the coda to Cinderella’s story, for instance), but for the most part, the film is (surprise, surprise) crude in every sense of the word.
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    Mansion of the Living Dead

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 28th, 2006

    Four young women (including Lina Romay in her Candy Coster persona) arrive at beach resort. They plan to pick up plenty of men for sex, but if none are available, as they’re in a Jess Franco film, they’ll make do with each other. They see no one else around, except for the odd manager (Robert Foster) and the even more bizarre gardener. At first they think nothing of the town’s deserted nature, but gradually they realize something is wrong, and it has to do with the nearby monastery, where undead Cathars vent their frustration with their cursed state by raping and killing our heroines.
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    Macumba Sexual

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 27th, 2006

    Alice (Lina Romay under her blonde pseudonym “Candy Coster”) is haunted by erotic nightmares involving the Princess Obongo (the Amazonian Ajita Wilson). She therefore has her misgivings when she is ordered by her boss to travel to a remote island and sell some real estate to that very person. Doubts notwithstanding, off she goes (got up in an outfit I’ve never seen a real estate agent wear before) to play Jonathan Harker to Obongo’s Dracula. On the island, she falls under the Obongo’s spell, and becomes emmeshed in a web of sex, rituals and magic.
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    Lady Libertine

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 2nd, 2006

    Harry Alan Towers, that prolific producer of cheap but handsome exploitation (and the man behind many Jess Franco films back in the day) backed this 1983 effort which attracted some interest (from somewhere, apparently) for featuring French game show hostess Sophie Favier showing off her prizes, as it were. She isn’t the lead, though. That happens to be one Jennifer Inch (?!), who plays a young woman dressing as a young boy. She is adopted by a nobleman, who wonders why he’s so excited around his young charge.
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