The Inexplicable and Unexplainable Worlds of Erotica and Exploitation

Existing in strange little worlds all their own, these four bizarre ventures into filmmaking prove sex doesn't always sell.
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Some movies seem to exist solely to defy a simple explanation. Others simply seem to exist in worlds of their own, immune to laws of gravity, gravitas, and ‒ in the instance of the movies mentioned in this piece ‒ good taste. And it is here that we shall take a peek into four very unique Blu-ray releases. Featuring titles from two of Europe's most hailed cult filmmakers ‒ Jess Franco and Lucio Fulci ‒ this edition also finds room for a rogue Latvian sex-horror manifestory metaphor and a sleazily sinful "softie" from the '70s which is nothing more than a manifestation of pure horror itself.

two female spies with flowered panties 1980 blu ray review cinema sentries severin films.jpgTwo Female Spies with Flowered Panties (Ópalo de fuego: Mercaderes del sexo, 1980, Severin Films)

When Jesús "Jess" Franco departed from this world in 2013, he left behind an entire universe of film which I firmly believe could institutionalize many film scholars if they to try to examine and explain them to others. And surely, his 1980 Spanish-Portuguese outing Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties presents prospective psychiatric in-patients with just such an opportunity. Presenting perplexed viewers with equal portions of lighthearted erotica mixed with brutal sadism, the nudity/sex-laden tale of two ditzy strippers (Franco's late muse, the great Lina Romay, paired with Nadine Pascal) being pardoned from prison if they agree to go on a spy mission.

Hailing hails from that illustrious period of Franco weirdness many wouldbe fans experience the most amount of difficulty adjusting to, this nutty, genre-bending effort features some truly terrible Eurociné English dubbing and various outrageous onscreen antics (such as that hilarious offscreen helicopter crash). This amazing release from Severin Films also includes a French dubbed audio track (with subtitles for both languages); new and old interviews alike with Franco, composer Daniel White, author Stephen Thrower; a series of silent outtakes; and a trailer with a narrator who surely graduated from the Ricardo Montalban School of Fine Acting with honors.

A special DVD bonus included with Limited Edition copies of the title (of which there are only 3,000 copies) is the alternate, Spanish-language version of the film (reportedly Franco's original cut), Ópalo de fuego: Mercaderes del sexo. But don't worry: it's just as wild and confusing as the other version.

the devils honey 1986 blu ray review cinema sentries severin films.jpgThe Devil's Honey (Il miele del diavolo Dangerous Obsession, 1986, Severin Films)

While the bulk of Lucio (Don't Torture a Duckling) Fulci's popularity is most commonly associated with gialli and the gory zombie horror epics which followed them, his experience as a filmmaker ventured into many other strange worlds as well. After experiencing several debilitating bouts with friends and illnesses alike, Fulci returned to directing in 1986, bringing us one of his wildest works in the process. Opening with one of the most jaw-dropping sex sequences ever ‒ wherein an oversexed saxophone player stimulates his lover's clitoris with the mouth of his musical instrument as he blows it (!) ‒ The Devil's Honey only gets weirder from there.

After philandering surgeon Brett Halsey accidentally kills the aforementioned musician on the operating table, his despondent and obsessed girlfriend (Blanca Marsillach) abducts the bad doctor. After chaining him up in a remote oceanside shack, she being to humiliates him in various fetishistic fashions (amid many trashy flashbacks, that is), which ‒ as it turns out ‒ he likes. Subtle, it ain't. Former Moonraker co-star Corinne Clery also stars (and bares all) in this mind-blowing Severin Films release, which features another spectacular gathering of cast/crew interviews, critiques by Stephen Thrower and Troy Howarth, an alternate opening, and trailer.

spider 1991 blu ray review cinema sentries mondo macabro.jpgSpider (Zirneklis, 1991, Mondo Macabro)

Following the fall of the former Soviet Union, filmmakers behind the Iron Curtain discovered they were free to make movies just as weird as their European counterparts. And though this atmospheric Latvian horror fantasy may have arrived a few years too late to compete with some of the bizarre sexual-horror oddities Italy alone cranked out throughout most of the '80s, writer Vladimir Kaijaks and director Vasili Mass nevertheless managed to outdo the competition with this extremely Freudian thriller featuring a gorgeous young model (Aurelija Anuzhite) who agrees to pose as the Virgin Mary for a strange artist who literally lives in a world of his own.

Were the notion his paintings could come alive to attack the young inexperienced model not enough to creep a girl out, the fact he is able to visit her in her sleep as a giant horny spider could definitely seal the deal. And that's just a fraction of the weirdness which awaits you in this atmospherically freaky gem, now available on Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro. Accompanying the 1.33:1 image of this low-budget obscurity is an LPCM 2.0 Latvian soundtrack with removable English subtitles. Special features include a half-hour interview with director Mass, a vintage three-minute newsreel clip captured during the making of the film, and previews for other Mondo Macabro titles.

bat pussy 1970s blu ray review swv agfa cinema sentries.jpgBat Pussy (197?, AGFA/Something Weird Video)

Even if you have sat through the other films in this article without cringing, you still may not be ready for Bat Pussy. Forget everything you think you know about rhyme or reason, for this is undoubtedly one of the strangest things ever captured on celluloid. Once again, the twisted minds at the AGFA and SWV have pooled their resources in order to pull our legs with the worst adult parody ever. Crafted without so much as an inkling of care by parties unknown during the early '70s in the South somewhere, Bat Pussy is a hideously hilarious, brain-melting shitfest which ‒ as much as I hate to say it ‒ must truly be seen to be believed.

Presented without a cast, crew, credits, or even an actual title (Mike Vraney, the late great genius behind Something Weird Video itself, is credited with giving the sleazy softie the nickname we know it by today), Bat Pussy focuses on nothing more than the dysfunctional (in every sense) bedroom struggle of married couple Buddy and Sam, who insult each other throughout the film's seemingly eternal 50-minute runtime. Meanwhile, Dora Dildo (aka Bat Pussy) ‒ realizing someone is making a smut film in town without her ‒ dons her gym-clothes costume and rides her Hippity-Hop to the scene of the (very major) crime in process.

Originally discovered (in a box of discarded porn reels from a Memphis theater) by Mike McCarthy before being sold to and released by SWV in the '90s, this softcore monstrosity returns in a 2K scan from the only known print. A vast improvement over what I saw on VHS over 20 years ago, this Blu-ray includes a lively (and downright funny) audio commentary from SWV's Lisa Petrucci & Tim Lewis, and a trio of uncredited fans from the AGFA. In classic SWV fashion, a bonus softie flick (the much "sexier" Robot Love Slaves) is also included, several classic educational shorts, and an incredible assortment of trailers for other fine smutty crime pictures.

No matter which worlds these titles came from or appear to exist in, they're all available to own on Blu-ray now in your own world. If you dare, that is. Enjoy!

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