Sunday, February 1, 2015

Der Ruf der blonden Göttin (1977)

... aka: Call of the Blonde Goddess
... aka: La déesse nue (The Naked Goddess)
... aka: Las diosas del porno (The Porn Goddesses)
... aka: Le cri d'amour de la déesse blonde (Love Cry of the Blonde Goddess)
... aka: Porno Shock
... aka: Voodoo Passion

Directed by:
Jesus Franco

During a pointless opening scene, a British narrator denies ties between voodoo and Satanism while we get to see a partially-clothed Haitian dance on a beach accompanied by a flute player and bongo drums. And so begins another Franco sexploiter for Swiss producer Erwin C. Dietrich. This was one of many soft-core films of the 70s set on a Caribbean island featuring voodoo as a flimsy plot device to link together a bunch of sex / nude scenes. One of the first of this type was Osvaldo Civirani's VOODOO SEXY (1975), while the most famous of these are probably the ones made by Joe D'Amato in the Dominican Republic, like Papaya: Love Goddess of the Cannibals (1978) and Sex and Black Magic (1980). As was the case with most of these, the sex was filmed soft but the full frontal nudity was so explicit and rampant the films were never released in the U.S. during the whole 80s / 90s VHS era. And the few that were released often had hardcore insert shots spliced in later simply so they could be sold off as XXX porn.

Voodoo Passion (originally called "Call of the Blonde Goddess") starts with a middle aged woman named Susan Haus (Ada Tauler) arriving in Haiti to meet up with her husband Jack (Jack Taylor), a British consul living there that she hasn't seen in quite some time and doesn't even know very well. Susan's picked up at the harbor by a bizarre-acting Inès ("Vicky Adams" / Nanda Van Bergen), who works as a secretary at her husband's home. She then meets the even stranger Olga (French hardcore actress Karine Gambier), an extremely nosy platinum blonde nymphomaniac who claims to be Jack's sister and won't stop inquiring about their sex life. Olga lounges around in the nude and has lots of creepy things to say about her relationship with her sibling like "He likes me to come sleep with him. I'm his baby doll. I always cuddle up to him for protection but I promise nothing happens between us." Yeah, well that's reassuring.

Worst. Voodoo. Doll. Ever.

Not long after arriving, Susan begins to suspect she's the victim of a voodoo curse. She has numerous long nightmares where she joins in on voodoo rituals, watches a rhythm-deficient tribe do some really awful nude dancing, has chicken blood dribbled all over her body, sees her husband screwing his sister, goes to her husband's colleague to seduce and then murder him and then joins another couple in bed, killing them as well. The star of many of these dreams is the housekeeper, who stashes a voodoo doll in the house and leads all the dances, but is she also the one causing Susan's horrific hallucinations and hypnotizing her to kill? While all that's going on, the slutty Olga pleasures herself with a wine bottle while listening to her brother and Susan and keeps trying to seduce her sister-in-law ("There's only one thing I don't know... have you ever had sex with a woman?")

Jess Franco here. I've often been asked, "Why is your smut considered art by a small legion of fans, while nearly everyone else's smut is just smut?" At first I said "Go ask Jean Rollin!" but then I decided to put together this helpful guide for all you budding smut peddl.. er... artistes out there.

First, find a nice, classy house, particularly in Europe. Castles also work if you can find one!

Always remember: Pointless sideways shots are more artistic than straight-on shots.

As are upside down shots!

Though I don't recall why this woman is actually wearing clothing here, 'mirror shots' are an economical and arty way to capture la mujer desnuda from numerous angles in just one shot.

Strategically-placed plants come in handy when you need to hide an extremely ugly bare male ass.

Gratuitous eyeball close-ups during nearly every scene show you really mean business...

And last but certainly not least, the hallmark of 'true art': subtle imagery!

I watched this back-to-back with Franco's Satanic Sisters (1977) and, truth be told, enjoyed that one a lot more because it had a better plot, some amusing dialogue and a sense of humor to go along with the nearly non-stop nude scenes. This one on the other hand takes itself completely seriously and just comes off as dull in the process. The paper thin plot is uninteresting, slow-moving and barely enough to even string together all of the sex scenes and both the direction, with constant closeups of eyeballs and an almost clinical and detached eye for shooting female anatomy, and editing are pretty terrible. Despite the setting and lots of generic stock footage of some Caribbean island, this was actually filmed in Zurich so it doesn't get any extra points for travelogue footage either. A ridiculous unexpected twist is thrown out at the very end but even that's not enough to pump any life into this snoozer.

The only real positives are what the women bring to the table and thankfully, there are several very attractive actresses in this one cavorting around in the nude nearly the entire time. Gambier is a delight even in something like this, and Van Bergen, who has very piercing hazel eyes to go along with her great body, are both worth a look... just make sure you have the fast-forward button handy for the rest.

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