Friends, I might have to do something drastic. There's no point in keeping secrets since it'll just pop up in my Netflix recaps: I've been exploring the soft-core exploitation genre and I might have to abandon this pursuit swiftly and severely. The journey began with a co-worker's recommendation of Emmanuelle in America by Joe d'Amato. I'm sure many of you are familiar with the Emmanuelle series by name, but not sight. Said co-worker posited that d'Amato is one of the greatest cinematographers of all time (and the movie did look good), surely a gambit to get a film-snob (ie, me) to watch such a low-brow movie. Further pushing me to this new cinematic world was reading Sleazoid Express (the book, not the magazine). In between full narrative accounts of films were some interesting anecdotes. I like other exploitation genres, so why not dive into the one that probably has the largest stigma attached (I don't think we could get a repertory series past the theater board on this genre). Plus, these movies are positively innocent by internet standards, and that includes the woman stroking the horse erection in Emanuelle in America.
Probably the most fun part of deciding to delve into this genre was discovering the amazing titles these movies have. A short list:
The Inconfessable Orgies of Emanuelle
She Killed in Ecstacy
Strip Nude for Your Killer
and my personal favorite... Nightmares Come at Night
It's hard not to get excited about this genre.
I'm not deep into the genre by any means. I'm about five films in and another filmmaker, Jesus Franco, is crushing my movie-loving soul. On Facebook, I opined about Emanuelle in America "how can a movie where a woman strokes a horse's penis be so boring?" and that was before I got to Franco. At least d'Amato made a pretty cool horror movie called Beyond the Darkness. Franco made a movie based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade (called Eugenie de Sade) and nothing happens! The most surprising thing about it is that they didn't wax the male lead's hairy butt.
I just got done with She Killed in Ecstacy today and, lord!, it's dull. How can a movie about a woman getting revenge on those she holds responsible for her husband's death by seducing then killing them be boring? I'm just going to take this as a sign that I've grown up and mere titillation isn't enough to hold my interest. Of course, that implies that the titillation is worth while. Because worse than failing on the most basic level possible, the films a boring to look at. For every decent shot, there is some pseudo-arty piece of crap thrown in arbitrarily. Even the seduction scenes lack energy. Everyone is going through the motions.
So here I am, contemplating striking all of these soft-core exploitation movies from my queue. Why don't I just do it? Because there has to be something worthwhile in a movie called Nightmares Come at Night, right? RIGHT? If that movie fails me, Franco is dead to me. I will never watch another of his movies. I suppose I'm willing to give other directors a shot, but I don't know for how long. I don't think I've ever rejected a genre as fully and vigorously as I have this one. I feel like I'm making a mistake going forward. God help me (which, ironically, is probably what many hardcore Christians would say if they found out I was watching this stuff).