Friday, August 24, 2012

Le notti erotiche dei morti viventi (1980)

... aka: Demonia
... aka: Erotic Nights of the Living Dead
... aka: Gewalt der Zombies, Der
... aka: Island of the Zombies, The
... aka: Nite of the Zombies
... aka: Queen of the Zombies
... aka: Sexy Nights of the Living Dead

Directed by:
Joe D'Amato

Not released in America until many years after it was made (guess there just wasn't much of a market for a zombie porn flick at the time), back in the day this was often confused with D'Amato's PORNO HOLOCAUST (1981), which was shot around the time on some of the same locations and used much of the same cast. It was written by "Tom Salina," an alias for its star - George Eastman (real name: Luigi Montefiori). Eastman was an imposing, 6'6" actor and writer who made many genre appearances over the years in such films as the fumeti (adult comic) adaptation KISS ME, KISS ME (1973) and Mario Bava's exceptional thriller RABID DOGS (1974). He was at his best playing intense psychos, which probably explains why his best-known role was playing a hulking cannibalistic killer in THE GRIM REAPER (1980) and its equally gory follow-up MONSTER HUNTER (1981), both of which were also made by D'Amato. Indonesian-born beauty Laura Gemser (born: Moira Chen), who'd become internationally famous because of her starring role in D'Amato's Black Emanuelle series, was brought on board to give this a name draw. Eastman later stated in interviews that he and Gemser agreed to take part in this sleaze-fest simply because they wanted a free vacation. Though Erotic Nights has a generous helping of nudity, the hardcore sex isn't as pronounced as some might think going in. There is only one graphic sex scene with a man and two women as well as some graphic solo stuff. That's it. And only one of the billed male stars actually participate in any of it. Neither of the two females do.

At a nuthouse, a patient who can't stop scratching his arm follows a female down into the basement and watches her have sex with another patient. That other patient is Larry O'Hara (Eastman) and the film zips back to a time when Larry was a little more sane and shows us exactly what drove him bonkers in the first place. Mustachioed sleazebag businessman John Wilson (played by Mark Shannon; born: Manlio Cersosimo) shows up somewhere in the Caribbean hoping to open a hotel resort there. But first he decides to sample the, uh, hospitality of the country's women. The two prostitutes he does find are willing to overlook the warts (nasty!) on his balls during their shower / bed sex scene but aren't willing to go along with him as he scouts a certain island as a potential location for his hotel. In fact, they are so freaked out by even the mere suggest that they flee the room in horror and don't even take their very hard-earned money with them. That's because the island is rumored to be bad, bad news. And by the way, the above scene is actually the only X-rated man-woman sex scene in this film, but I doubt most viewers will mind that after seeing what the lead actor has to work with.

Sailor Larry and his girlfriend Liz (Lucia Ramirez) exit their boat and catch a maggot-infested zombie coming toward them in the water. Larry bashes it over the head and it's taken to a hospital for an autopsy, where it quickly comes to life and chews a chunk out of the doctor's neck. After going to a nightclub to watch a stripper fuck a wine bottle, Larry is hired by John to take him to the cursed island. Fiona (Dirce Funari), a woman from the hotel John's been shagging, also decides to come along for the ride. There's more (soft) sex on the boat and then they finally arrive. Looking around they run across a graveyard, as well as the island's only two inhabitants: a old black man with a knot on his head and the alluring and mysterious Luna (Gemser). Neither turn out to be very friendly and seem upset by the intruders. John snaps pictures of the two and when he returns to the boat to develop the film, Luna isn't in any of them. She turns up to seduce Fiona, seduce Larry and behaves rather strangely the entire time. A black cat keeps popping up, the old man gives Larry a charm to help ward off evil and some hooded zombies finally make their presence known during the last 20 or so minutes.

John wanders into a shack and a charm surrounded by candles transforms into the black cat and it attacks him. Then zombies (who bleed green or brown) start filing in one at a time. John rips one's face off, spears another and decapitates one with a machete. When he wanders out to the beach, Luna is waiting for him and bites his dick off. What would compel anyone to whip out their dick out for a strange-acting chick immediately after being almost killed by zombies is something the world may never know, but perhaps the mother who decided it was a good idea to breastfeed her zombie "kid" in BURIAL GROUND (1980) can relate. Luna then lets her zombie followers feast on his corpse. She and the old guy pretty much disappear from the finale as Larry and Fiona run around the island trying to avoid zombies rising up out of the ground and water. They eventually make it to the shack and fight off zombies with a rifle, a torch and the charm. The whole experience turns both into sex-crazed loonies.

Known to let down many viewers, this isn't quite the wall-to-wall mixture of hardcore and gore some people seem to want. While there's a little of both, neither are in abundance. It's slow-moving, overlong, the acting is pretty bad, it drags big time in the middle and the makeups are highly uneven, though sometimes fun. Most of the movie takes place during the day and the cinematography (also by D'Amato), picturesque location work in the Dominican Republic and "Pluto Kennedy" / Marcello Giombini's music score elevate it somewhat. The DVD version (which is now long out of print) was through Shriek Show / Media Blasters.



Unknown said...

mianualivThe warts thing really bothers me. It's an amusing movie, for sure, but you can't help wanting to shake D'Amato and scream, "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!" Unsexy nights of the living dead.

Unknown said...

I was never able to look past the warts. I'm sorry, but you just want to shake Joe D'amato and scream, "YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!" Unsexy Nights of the Living Dead.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

You know, I was gonna watch Porno Holocaust right after this but when I learned "warty" was in all of the sex scenes I got that icky feeling and decided not to. And yep, he managed to single handedly ruin the one real sex scene this film had to distinguish it. I did kind of like the scenery and the zombie cheese scenes (especially the one whose bag-o-grain body got speared), so that helped a little bit.

BW said...

I rather liked this one, think I gave it 6/10 at least. It severely needed more hardcore footage or a swifter run-time though, and some actual bona-fide zombie sex would have been much appreciated. D'Amato really knew his way around the cinematography side of things, and had a good grasp of atmosphere (and grisly schlock tactics), but too many longeurs in his storytelling. Ah well...

Anonymous said...

Guess D'Amato was onto something with this, since in the last decade or so, there's been a veritable avalanche of pornographic zombie films. So many, in fact, that it could probably be considered it's own subgenre by now.

"Enticing" titles like Porn of the Dead, Dawna of the Dead, L.A. Zombie, Grub Girl, Beyond Fucked: A Zombie Odyssey, etc.

Oh, and Porno Holocaust is bad. Really bad. From the warty sex to the lame horror to the laughably anticlimactic finale. Leave it to Joe and George to botch a concept as simple as "XXX slasher/monster film".

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

I had no clue there were so many hardcore zombie flicks on the market but it figures seeing how popular zombies are these days. I'll definitely have to find some of those.

I've had a copy of Porno Holocaust for probably 5 years now and haven't gotten around to watching it yet. Maybe I'll give it a spin later this year at some point and I'll make sure to keep my expectations really, REALLY low.

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