Friday, April 03, 2015

A Sexploitation Double Bill

I saw in the long Easter weekend crashed out on my sofa, following a few pints at my local, watching a double bill of sexploitation films I'd recorded from the Horror Channel, (which has recently gone free-to-air on Freeview).  The marvellously titled, Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks, was a follow up to Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, one of the most unpleasant sexploitation films I've ever tried to watch.  Maybe I'm getting old and reactionary, but I can't help but feel that a movie which uses the atrocities committed in Nazi concentration camps as a basis for sexual titillation is crossing some sort of line.  It's also a dismally ugly film, to boot.  The sequel, however, opts for a more comic book approach, with the titular character now running a harem for an evil Arab Sheik - which involves kidnapping new concubines, overseeing their 'training' and punishing and torturing any who try to escape or act as spies for her employer's enemies.  All of which provides plenty of opportunities for scenes of lesbianism and BDSM to keep the dirty rain coat brigade happy.  Being a seventies movie, the naughty Sheik is naturally involved in hiking up oil prices, thereby providing a sub-plot involving a Kissinger-type US diplomat and his military aide being sent to negotiate with the Sheik in order to reduce oil prices. The aide (actually a CIA agent) is simultaneously involved plotting to have the Sheik overthrown.

Ultimately, the film is about the triumph of American cock, as the aide's sexual prowess naturally 'turns' Ilsa, with her becoming pivotal to the Sheik's overthrow.  I say 'American' cock as the aide wears a US Navy uniform but, to be perfectly fair, his accent is mid-Atlantic and his acting so wooden, he could have come from anywhere.  Like its predecessor, the film is full of tasteless sequences (exploding concubines, for instance), but somehow, when placed in a more obviously fantasy context, they seem more laughable than reprehensible.  Bare Behind Bars, the second part of my double bill, is a 1980 Brazilian sexploiter which was once banned in the UK.  Presumably on the grounds that no audience should ever be subjected to such sustained bad acting, (and even worse dubbing in this English language version), and threadbare productions values.  Apparently made as a parody of the 'Women in Prison' sexploitation sub-genre which had been popular (with some audiences) during the late sixties and seventies, comes over as far, far worse.  An endless parade of nudity, lesbian sex and brutality, with interchangeable characters and next to no plot, it quickly becomes tedious.  Culminating in a prison break, during the aftermath of which the escapees brutally murder a husband wife in a home invasion (in the original print, the husband is castrated and his genitals fed to the family to dog, in the version shown by the Horror Channel, this sequence is edited, with the castration only alluded to when the police find the husband's mutilated body), the film finally judders to a halt, with one escapee killed by her pimp and the others recaptured.  There's probably a moral there, but the time I'd sat through both of these films, I'm damned if I could figure out what it was.    

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Blogger gavcrimson said...

As someone who grew up in the 1980s and 90s, I do have to pinch myself that these days we can now freely watch films like these on TV. The very idea of that ever happening would have seemed like a wildly optimistic flight of fancy back then, when the only way you'd be able to see these sort of films is if you knew some dodgy video stall owner who trusted you enough to invite you round the back of the stall in order to sell you three or fourth generation copies of these or Faces of Death, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc, etc. I still remember receiving an apologetic letter from Redemption video informing me that they couldn’t honour my pre-order of Bare Behind Bars and Demoniac because the BBFC had nixed their video releases of those two.

8:49 am  

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