Monday, October 7, 2013

Il pavone nero (1975)

... aka: Black Peacock, The
... aka: Pavo real negro
... aka: Voodoo Sexy

Directed by:
Osvaldo Civirani

Kluger (Franco Ressel), an engineer, has disappeared in Haiti while scouting areas to build a resort. Marco (Chris Avram) flies in to take his place. When he arrives, his wife Laura (Karin Schubert) is there waiting on him and the two - along with their guide Romero (Luigi Angelillo) - go to the small, isolated jungle shack where Kluger was staying before he vanished. Seeing how the tiny house has some primitive charm to it and it's closer to where Marco will be working, Laura insists they stay there instead of at the hotel back in the city. He reluctantly agrees, especially considering the rumors that there are practitioners of black magic living nearby and voodoo dolls are found in the house. The couple go to the beach so Laura can sunbathe topless and take photos and Marco can break in his spear gun. While snorkeling, she finds another voodoo doll underwater in a cloud of blood. Her flipper gets caught in some coral, but she's miraculously saved when a native man rescues her, pulls her ashore and then administers mouth to mouth. By the time her husband gets to her, the mysterious native has disappeared.

The rumors of voodoo turn out be accurate and the local sect don't want Marco nosing around and threatening their land. While out snapping photos, the cult's powerful high priest - Balaga (Don Powell) - makes his presence known by starting a fire. He's also able to superimpose his image in every photo Marco attempts to take to render them useless. Since Marco refuses to head back to Italy, Balaga then decides to hit him where it really hurts: by targeting his wife. Using voodoo dolls, he lures Laura into the jungle to one of their voodoo ceremonies where she watches from behind a tree as people have sex, a chicken's head gets cut off and everybody drinks its blood. One of the native girls gets her black flesh ripped off to reveal white Laura underneath and then Balaga has sex with her. Now under his spell, she has frequent dreams - either sexual in nature or ones of her running through the jungles tinted green, blue or with some swirl effect - and seems to be turning into a nymphomaniac. After she unsuccessfully tries to seduce their guide, Marco decides to try to break the curse. Well, after having sex with their voluptuous native maid Youma (Samantha Star) on the kitchen table first. Laura also gets a go at Youma herself to fill the obligatory lesbian scene.

Voodoo Sexy (filmed as Il pavone nero or "The Black Peacock") predates a handful of better-known but very similar titles made by Joe D'Amato by a number of years. That cycle included Erotic Night of the Living Dead, Orgasmo nero (aka Sex and Black Magic), Porno Holocaust, Voodoo Baby (all from 1980) and several others. These films weren't so much about their horror plots and utilizing their exotic filming locations so much as they were about insuring there'd be lots of interracial sex scenes. Many of them had slight voodoo themes simply because they probably didn't know what else to do, and that seems to be the case here. The plot is minimal and the voodoo cult pretty much just gyrate around and have sex a lot. Just like D'Amato's efforts this was also filmed in the Dominican Republic (though set in Haiti the "Dominicana" airplane is a dead giveaway) and the bulk of the time is set aside for various sex scenes. While it appears to have been shot as a soft-core, the version I watched had numerous hardcore inserts spliced in using obvious doubles. Schubert herself has a double for the more explicit stuff though she'd make the plunge into hardcore herself a decade later when she was well into her 40s.

I don't think this was ever released here in America and it's really all just dull. The full run-time of the version I watched was 87 minutes (though IMDb says 90).


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