Genre Benders

December 12, 2011 | By

Not unlike the American exploitation realm during the seventies and eighties, weird genre fusions was also apparently in Italy (perhaps by the truckload), and it’s natural that what remains in the unreleased and neglected realm are often really, really odd films that were either passed over by other larger labels, too obscure, or perhaps regarded as not quite noteworthy.

Critics and collectors have had some issues with the print sources and transfers from One 7 Movies, and while there’s a need for improvement in areas such as subtitling (both accurate translations and proper synchronization) and background notes (the addition of basic text cards providing some filmmaker and production data would be a helpful boost), I get the feeling the sourced prints, in most cases, may be all that’s available, unless a producer happens to have a negative buried in the closet under his adult periodicals and conquest trophies from 1970-1978.

Joe D’Amato made so many films in his career, one suspects the vast lot in his final years were largely cranked out as disposable fodder, never deemed to be worthy of any kind of preservation, whereas Nello Rossati’s output was quite modest, and he didn’t make any breakout works that challenged genres with dramatic directorial touches nor transcended programmatic material.

They may be cult directors – D’Amato excelled in fusing horror + erotica / porn, and Rossati’s main claim-to-fame is The Sensuous Nurse (1975) – but like Jess Franco, their surviving work remains appreciated by connoisseurs  – not a big market, but not a negligible one, either.

Eleonora quickly discovers gathering cocnuts can be an abrasive experience.

The tough part in assessing Rossati’s Erotic Escape [M] (1985) and D’Amato’s Exotic Malice [M] (1980) is seeing beyond the roughed up prints and oddly framed aspect ratios to see both directors making earnest efforts to not make crap.

Exotic Malice is billed (according to the box copywriting) as “the first official hardcore outing of Italian cinema,” but there’s a strangely compelling tale of a self-destructive man amid the interludes of graphic bonking; and the outright wrongness of Rossati’s terribly misogynistic Erotic Escape is nevertheless directed with skill that makes one ponder why he didn’t succeed in bigger & better productions (unless, like Tinto Brass, he was content training his lens on bare bodkins).

Both reviews are up, with a critical eye towards their flaws, conventions, and moments of unexpected skill buried in the remains of surviving 35mm prints.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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