Welcome To The Deuce

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Black Emanuelle: Beautiful Decadence

The seventies would not have been the same had the exploits of one globe-trotting, not to mention bed-hopping, journalist Emanuelle not had taken place. Imagine it, if you dare. It's like trying to imagine a world where the Germans won World War II and Elvis hadn't got fat. There’s something timeless, not unlike fat-period Elvis, which brings legions of sleaze-hounds back to the lovely image of Laura Gemser's exquisite breas… looks, time and time again... And lets us not forget D'Amato's fine cinematography, of course.

I'm going to shoot-the-shit over two of the harsher entries in the Black Emanuelle franchise, Emanuelle Around the World and the infamous Emanuelle in America! So, lock the missus/fella under the stairs (or don't), close the curtains and get ready for pubic hair, I mean, exploitation overload!Emanuelle Around the World:
Emanuelle's back to take you places you've never been before!
D'Amato wastes no time in getting Gemser in the buff, in fact the opening shot sees our spunky lass doing a trucker (porn legend Paul Thomas) in the back of his wagon; a little 'thank you' for the lift – lucky, lucky man! Moving swiftly on, Emanuelle is wooed by the suave Dr. Malcolm Robertson (Ivan Rassimov) who, unlike Emanuelle, won't jump into the sack with any ol' skank and before she has time to set her hooks in she is whisked away on assignment too India to interview a 'love guru' by the name of Shanti (George Eastman).

While in India she learns of an 'out of sight' ring that specializes in white slaves. The young lady who whets Emanuelle's whistle talks of a near fatal rape by the hands of five goons, upon hearing this Emanuelle takes it upon herself to smash this ring... that is until she learns of the fellow journalist Cora Norman (porn queen Karin Shubert) is following the same leads and shares the same goal. Joining forces they set out to bring these filthy pigs down. One sex scene at a time.

Although not on the levels of depravity as the film discussed later, Emanuelle Around the World contains some thoroughly questionable material. The XXX European version will have many sleaze-hounds trying to pick their jaws up from off the floor as Joe D'Amato serves up one shock piece after another. Scenes such as the disfigured crime boss (sporting a ugly-ass fake yellow, eye!) raping a poor woman who, you guessed it, starts to enjoy the experience halfway through really pushes the limits of taste and decency... and D'Amato is just getting started! What follows can only be described as sick, wrong, perverted and something your parents should never know you've witnessed.
When we aren't graced with obscenity, the film still remains engaging and very entertaining. Nico Fidenco has created one of the finest soundtracks in the Black Emanuelle canon, each track is a guilty pleasure for fans of Italian exploitation and will have your head continuously bobbing. It also remains the most ambitious of all Emanuelle films, with filming taking place on location in the US, Rome, India, Tehran and Hong Kong, it's a film that really does live up to its title. It may also feature the biggest T&A count out of all the Emanuelle films – which is no small feat, I can assure you.

As shocking, entertaining and funktastic as Emanuelle Around the World is, it still remains an intriguing runner-up to exploitations Holy-grail – Emanuelle in America. A film that reviles and attracts as many unsuspecting fans now as it did way back when. Just when you had thought you'd seen it all, along comes...

Emanuelle in America:
No one is ever the same after . . . Emanuelle.

This is the one you've read about over and over, heard all the rumors about the graphic material contained within it, but is it really as down and dirty as you've heard? Well... Yes, it is. Very much so. This is the film that dares to go where only D'Amato would dare to go; which means pretty much anywhere he wants to... and he's dragging you with him. Whether or not you’ll be kicking and screaming is strictly down to your threshold for the wrong, vile and perverted.

The film starts off innocently enough, with the attempted rape of our heroine by some bible bashing nut-job! Once Emanuelle has turned him on to the ways of free love, he flees with a new found appreciation of ‘loose’ women; whom he previously held in contempt. Once the story starts proper, Emanuelle is investigating a hot lead regarding a possible harem of women which turns out is funded by a gun smuggling operation which in turn has connections to a ring in the Caribbean that offers rich women the chance to live out sexual fantasies with buff men, which finally leads our journalist to stumble upon a brutal South American snuff ring with connections to high-powered diplomats! Phew, all in a days work aye?
So, is Emanuelle in America the ‘ultimate’ exploitation movie? It’s certainly a contender and depending on your acceptance levels for bad taste then this might very well top the list. The hardcore sex won’t shock anyone, its standard 70’s smut; so be prepared for plenty of body hair and flabby bellies! Come to think of it, that might be shocking enough for some viewers, but the real meat and veg of the shocks is found in the final third of the movie, once Emanuelle has stumbled onto the evil South American snuff cartel.
To say the material is shocking, even by today’s hardened standards, is an insult to the legacy of Joe D’Amato. Without this film it’s impossible to imagine what the general consensus on the snuff ‘look’ would be. Here we have grainy 8mm footage, no sound, and lots of horrible, horrible acts being performed in front of the camera. It’s revolting in its depiction, but it’s also extremely realistic in its execution. I won’t go into details as to the content, but for those who believe they’ve ‘seen it all’ and haven’t witnessed this cinematic atrocity may want to track this down and prepare to feel violated.
These ambitious little adventures are two down and dirty movies that are required viewing for anyone interested in furthering their exploitation knowledge, or even thinking of treading that dangerous ground that is 70’s Grindhouse roughies. They’re grimy and skuzzy, but also oddly gripping and engaging: mostly down to Gemser and her willingness to un-robe at every given chance and/or requests from D’Amato; who clearly enjoys seeing his lead in next to nothing – constantly! Another reason why these films are so endearing is their soundtracks, Nico Fidenco has done stellar work on the franchise and these two classicks contain some of his catchiest music. Those with a fondness for 70’s funk will no doubt want to purchase both Black Emanuelle boxsets available from Severin Films as they come with the music contained within the films.

The Black Emanuelle series is a true classic for the Exploitation genre and remains a treasure trove for enthusiasts; those who haven’t taken the plunge yet really owe it to themselves to check out a truly legendary series of movies. D’Amato may not have started the franchise, but sure-as-shit claimed it for himself!
The Black Emanuelle films are:

Black Emanuelle (aka, Emanuelle Nera, dir: Bitto Albertini, 1975)

Black Emanuelle 2 (aka, Emanuelle Nera No. 2, dir: Bitto Albertini 1976)

Emanuelle in Bangkok (aka, Emanuelle nera: Orient reportage, dir: Joe D’Amato, 1976)

Emanuelle in America (dir: Joe D’Amato, 1977)

Emanuelle Around the World (aka, Emanuelle - Perché violenza alle donne? dir: Joe D’Amato, 1977)

Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (aka, Emanuelle e gli ultimi cannibali, dir: Joe D’Amato, 1977)

Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade (aka, La via della prostituzione, dir: Joe D’Amato, 1978)

Other films have been released in English speaking territories with Gemser playing the Emanuelle character, which was added to the dub and was not intended to be part of the series, these films are:

Emmanuelle on Taboo Island (aka. La Spiaggia del desiderio, dir: Enzo D'Ambrosio & Humberto Morales, 1976)

Black Emmanuelle, White Emmanuelle (aka. Velluto nero, dir: Brunello Rondi, 1976)

Sister Emanuelle (dir: Giuseppe Vari, 1977)

Emanuelle and the Porno Nights (aka. Emanuelle, Erotic Nights, aka, Emanuelle E Le Porno Notti, aka, Emanuelle E Le Pornonotti Nel Mondo, aka, Emmanuelle the Seductress, aka, Porno Exotic Love, aka, Sexy Night Report, aka, Emanuelle e le porno Notti Nel Mondo no. 2. dir: Joe D’Amato & Bruno Mattei, 1977)

Emanuelle in the Country (aka. L'Infermiera di campagna, dir: Mario Bianchi, 1978)

Emanuelle: Queen of Sados (aka. Mavri Emmanouella, dir: Elia Milonakos, 1979)

Divine Emanuelle (aka. Die Todesgöttin des Liebescamps, dir: Christian Anders, 1981)

Emanuelle: Queen of the Desert (aka. La Belva dalle calda pelle, dir: Bruno Fontana, 1982)

Emanuelle Escapes from Hell (aka. Emanuelle fuga dall'inferno, dir: Bruno Mattei, 1983)

Violence in a Women's Prison (aka. Violenza in un carcere femminile, aka, Caged Women, aka. Violence in a Women's Prison, aka. Emanuelle in Hell, aka. Emanuelle Reports from a Women's Prison, dir: Bruno Mattei, 1982)

Severin Films have released two great boxsets that any cult film fan should own: Here and Here.

No comments:

Post a Comment