DVD REVIEW: FIFTY SHADES OF EROTICA / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: VARIOUS / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 12TH
With the box office success of the recently released Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation, it’s only understandable that some companies will look to jump on the bandwagon. Which is what Nucleus Films (who brought us the amazing Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide DVDs, but under their ‘Naughty Films’ strand here) have done here. But rather than repackage some forgotten or worthless 9½ Weeks knock-off, what we have is collection of sleazy and saucy trailers, some of which are more well-known than others.
Many of these are for films made by directors well within the STARBURST sandbox; indeed, a lot of the movies themselves are very much cult – some even passing as horror. Filmmakers such as Jess Franco, Joe D’Amato, Ken Russell, Tinto Brass, Walerian Borowczyk, Radley Metzger and stars like Christopher Lee, Udo Kier, Klaus Kinski, and many more make appearances throughout the varied if lurid assembly of erotic and titillating teasers
With the array of films on offer such as Succubus, Venus in Furs, Baba Yaga, The Night Porter, as well as the obvious fare like The Story of O and Emmanuelle, there’s something for every
perversion persuasion. Of course, if you want amusing sights, there’s always the chance to see Rutger Hauer’s mangina without having to sit through Turkish Delight (which is actually quite good, to be honest).
As well as being a rather exhaustive trip through the saucier side of cinema, it actually serves as an interesting historical document on how film trailers have changed. Compare any of the previews featured here with the overblown Fifty Shades promo. Not only were these not afraid to show you flesh – and lots of it – but there’s often narration to ease you into the action. Even Crimes of Passion – the brilliant Ken Russell film - is played down with a sensual and understated ad whereas if it was done these days it would be focusing on the action, violence and bondage – not to mention Anthony Perkins’ psychotic priest.
There’s much more to this collection than an array of boobs, bums and bush (hey, it was the ‘70s – things were simpler and better), it’s actually a wonderful introduction to a much-maligned subgenre which touched on so many other themes than just S and M. It’s also interesting to note the absolutely fantastic music these films often had – soundtracks that stand up on their own, even today, as brilliant works, albeit if the films were generally of a lower quality.
You may not want to run out and track down every single one of the films on display here, but some will certainly raise some interest (if nothing else). Just remember there’s nothing new about BDSM in films – and not all of them are as terrible as the ‘popular’ choice. Beware, though there’s plenty of misogyny, flagellation, Marquis De Sade adaptations and – at one point – John Holmes’ member.
As well as being able to watch the two-hour trailer-fest as-is, you also have the option to watch in the order they were released, which brings up some surprises when you see the quality of the later promos! There’s also a nifty fifty poster gallery, proving the artwork for the films was often as seedy as the adverts. All in all, a fun reminder of a time when every town had a ‘dirty old man’s’ cinema, but with an open mind, one will find that these flicks offer more than a cheap thrill.