I got a package in the mail the other day from One 7 Movies and man, I’m glad I’m the one that opened it and not my wife, as it contained two bursts of scummy cinema that I’d be explaining for weeks. I didn’t ask for this but when someone sends me something, I feel compelled to review it.
Who are One 7? According to Mya DVD, the label’s press release states “It is our privilege to introduce a new label to the U.S. marketplace. One that builds upon the best traditions of Italian and European cinema, and is certain to gain cult status in the states quickly.
One 7 Movies was founded by one of the original partners of Mya Communications and No Shame Films. Expect the most classic, the most cutting edge, and the most sought after comedies, thrillers, science fiction epics, erotica, and much more…
All films have been beautifully transferred from original vault materials, and sleeve art design is eye-catching to say the least.”
They’re also making their disks with CAV, who handle some level of distribution for Mondo Macabro, New Concorde, Massacre Video, Grindhouse Releasing, Severin and others. I have no idea how they got my info, but they also sent me Redemptio, which solves that mystery of how that ended up in my mailbox.
The big selling point of this film — for me at least, beyond the fact that it’s The Thorn Birds six years before the book that inspired that mini-series was written — is that it has an Ennio Morricone soundtrack, with two of the songs, “Come Maddalena” and “Chi Mai,” being re-released as the song “Disco 78” in a different key and with louder and harder drums.
Polish director Jerzy Kawalerowicz (Mother Joan of the Angels) made this modern Mary Magdalene story in which the titular character (Lisa Gastoni, The Wild Wild Planet) is on the outs with her husband — who won’t divorce her — so she attends erotic parties. At one of them, a priest is blindfolded and led before her and she decides to try to seduce him, all the whole seeing him as perhaps her salvation. It’s complicated, just like this movie, which can’t decide what genre it is and honestly doesn’t care.
It’s an interesting movie that seems to want to spend as much time being titillating as it does wanting to explore religious mores and themes, which might make it a hard sell to some audiences. It also doesn’t have the cachet of a more well-known auteur for audiences to latch on to either. That said — I’m not upset with the time I spent with this film.
One 7 Movies also sent Os Violentadores De Meninas Virgens, a movie that I can’t justify, unlike The Devil in Maddalena. In that movie, a group of wealthy men hires a pimp to provide them with a continual supply of women to assault and deflower. While they get theirs in the end, getting there means endless scenes of simulated rough antics which aren’t my idea of entertainment. Your mileage may vary and I also hope that your mileage — if so — keeps you far away from me.
I wish I could tell you where to get more info on One 7, but they don’t have a website. I can send you to Diabolik DVD if you want to purchase Maddalena however.
Can you get anymore “grindhouse” in the alternative titles department as Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler?
Was this re-released in the U.K. after it’s initial “Section 1” banning?
Italian writer and director Cesare Canevari gave us a mere nine films across 20 years, beginning in 1969. It was his final three films that received the widest distribution outside of his homeland and Europe: a piece of erotic-drama, The Nude Princess (1976), the psuedo-giallo-cum porn Killing of the Flesh (1983), and this Nazisploitation entry.
A Jewish WWII survivor revisits the ruins of a hellish concentration camp, and the memories are still vivid. How did she escape the humiliation, the tortures, and the destruction of human flesh? How did she flee from the Gestapo’s last orgy? are the questions asked in this film’s promotional materials.
That survivor, Lise Cohen, was an inmate at a special prisoner-of-war camp for female Jews, a camp run as a bordello to entertain the German officers and troops going in to battle. Commandant Conrad von Starker (Adriano Micantoni, credited here as “Marc Loud,” also of the notable 1962 Italian space slop Planets Around Us and the 1963 Goth-horror Tomb of Torture), as do all Commandants, runs the camp with iron fist — through the assistance of Alma (one of Maristella Greco’s six films; the other notable renter is the similar, 1980 Italian-Spanish women-in-prison flick Hotel Paradise). Starker’s game is instilling fear in his charges — but Lise proves to be tougher than any before her, so Straker devises even crueler experiments to make Lise yield to his desires, while Alma’s jealousy serves to increase Lise’s pain. Lise instead turns the tables and plays along with Straker’s twisted, insane atrocities, which results in her earning privileges others prisoners do not, to the chagrin of Alma, once Straker’s favorite.
While Gestapo’s Last Orgy well earns its “X” rating, it’s also a very well-made film (of the squeamish-intellectually quality of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom) and the flashback framing device of the now reformed and society-integrated Straker and Lise reuniting at the camp (the same seaside fortress seen in the 1970 Giallo In the Folds of the Flesh) to unfold the past as they explore the ruins, gives it a quality (and reminds of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard) — and deeper meaning — that rises it above most films in the genre. Yeah, and Spain’s Eloy de la Iglesia claimed a “deeper meaning” into the terror rout by President Richard M. Nixon’s buddy, Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, in the frames of The Cannibal Man (1972; itself a “U.K. Video Nasty”) . . . so your opinions on Cesare Canevari’s social commentary and subtext via his Nazisploitation narrative delivery device, may vary.
“Bleeding women. No wonder there are so many queers.” — Steve “the Mancunian” Donovan
I’ll forever program this British-made ’80s SOV’er (titled with and without the periods) alongside the American-made Spine as result their analogous porn roots. It’s even possible that the porn-backed production of G.B.H influenced the later, 1984-begun and 1986-released production of Spine. Produced, written, and directed by John Howard and Justin Simonds, the horror/slasher-based Spine came together with financing from porn purveyors 4-Play Video, Inc. and producers Xeon, Ltd., who created the SS “Sterling Silver” Video imprint for the sole purpose of distributing Spine — and other planned horror flicks that were, sadly, never made — without the nasty porn aftertaste.
Meanwhile, over in England, pornographer David Grant jumped on the stag film bandwagon along the yellow brick road to the “Golden Age of Porn” halcyon days initiated by Gerard Damiano’s box office bonanza known as Deep Throat (1972). Grant’s first film — Love Variations (1969) — masqueraded as a “sex education” film. So successful, Grant’s first film lead to his porn-pire expanding to include the incorporation of a chain of adult cinemas — the first being The Pigalle (named after the rue Pigalle section of Paris where Oscar Méténier’s famed horror-based Grand Guignol theatre was located) — and a film distribution company, Oppidan (read: Oedipus complex) — to distribute, not only foreign sex film acquisitions, but his own feature-length “sex comedies,” such as Girls Come First, The Office Party, and Under the Bed. He rose through the Golden Age-ranks to rake in the green with Snow White and the Seven Perverts (1973) and Pussy Talk (1975). Using a British taxation loophole, his films became wildly known for their inclusion as the undercard on numerous drive-in and grindhouse theater double bills. He also came to distribute the films of others — and break box office records — such as his 1977 reissue of Emmanuelle (1974).
Then the home video market exploded and grinded the grindhouse circuit into dust: it was time to break into the VHS-based marketplace. His new company, World Video 2000, started with the production and distribution of “soft sex” films in 1981. And it was a racket, to say the least. You may recall our Mill Creek “Pure Terror” box set review of Night Fright (1967) and its later home video title of E.T.N – The Extra Terrestrial Nastie (1983). Well, that’s was all Grant’s idea — to capitalize on the fact that Steven Spielberg’s E.T the Extra Terrestrial had not yet been released in the U.K. on home video.
As we say here often at B&S About Movies: the lawsuits from Universal, ensued.
Then — prior to GBH earning an entry on the U.K.’s Section 3 “video nasty” list, Grant’s World Video 2000 ended up on the Section 1 list with their “mainstream” follow up to their Spielberg boondoggle, Nightmares in a Damaged Brain, aka Nightmare. Again, more legal troubles, ensued (insert your “eye roll,” here). Only, this time, instead of just a pesky ol’ cease and desist lawsuit, he was imprisoned in the U.K. for distributing the film.
And, with that, Grant’s attempts to “go legit/mainstream” with the World of Video 2000 imprint was over: the company — and his parent company, April Electronics — were liquidated. Upon his release and those legal issues resolved, Grant issued one more film: Who Bears Sins (1987), which, if you know your Al Adamson schlock, was a piecemeal effort made from clips of Grant’s previous productions: Girls Come First, You’re Driving Me Crazy, Pink Orgasm, Miss Deep Fantasy, and A Woman’s Best Friend. Some of his other, 24 box office hits — which he either produced, wrote, or directed during the ’70s “porn chic” era — were the notable Au Pair Girls (1972), Secrets of a Door-to-Door Salesman (1973), The Over-Amorous Artist (1974), and The Great McGonagall (1974). Grant’s 50-plus distributed titles — in addition to the usual porn titles — included legit-mainstream films you’ve seen: Last House on the Left (1974), Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975), Cathy’s Curse (1977), John Water’s Desperate Living (1977), John Carpenter and Dan O’Bannon’s Dark Star (1978), and the Peter Cushing-starring Nazi-Zom’er, Shock Waves (1978).
Retiring to the Turkish island of Cyprus — then being kicked out of that country for an array of alleged, questionable social and relationship issues — he returned to England, only to end up in a hot mess of (more) love triangles and violence, (unproven) drug-distribution accusations, as well as being suspected of — but never charged — with producing child pornography. So the fact that Grant was allegedly murdered — but never proven — as result of a “contract killing” in 1991, really doesn’t come as much of a shock.
If there was ever a life that deserves a hard cover biography or dramatic film, it’s the life of David Grant. (And yes, I have seen most of Grant’s notable adult titles listed this article. (More so than Twemlow’s!) That doesn’t make me weird. It just means I am SOV-VHS inquisitive.)
So, anyway . . . back to GBH . . . one and two.
“When they put teeth in your mouth they ruined a good arse.” — Steve “the Mancunian” Donovan
So, you’ll notice Grant took it upon himself to name-drop The Long Good Friday, a critically acclaimed 1980 British gangster film starring Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren that appears at #19 on the BFI – British Film Institute’s “Top 100 British Films.”
Grant — no pun intended — had a set of them, and then some.
Shot-on-Video with amateur actors — and like Spine before it — GBH is shaky across all of its respective disciplines as it tells its definitely, more brutal story than its mainstream, runyonesque inspiration (but fails). The man issuing the Jason Vorhees-without-the-mask grievous bodily arm is Steve Donovan, aka “The Mancunian” (a native or resident of Manchester/played by writer/director Cliff Twemlow): a gangster released from prison hired as a bouncer-body guard to stand down the brutal Keller (Jerry Harris), nightclub-owning mobster hellbent on controlling the city’s criminal enterprises — local gangster Murray in particular, who becomes Donovan’s new boss.
GBH is everything you expect in an SOV: it’s scuzzy, it’s brutal, it’s sexually gratuitous and stupidly lurid. After watching, you’ll know where Jim Van Bebber found his inspiration for this Death Wish-inspired street violence in his overly brutal SOV’er, Deadbeat at Dawn (1988). Van Bebber’s film may be — slightly — better made, but GBH, for moi, is still the more gritty, brutal of the pair. And it has all of the car chases and beat downs, and heartless brutal kills, white Bond-ish sportcoats splattered in blood, and strippers. And Donovan, like a low-budget Schwarzenegger, simply will not stop until no one is left standing.
Played by Cliff Twemlow — in the only notable film of his eleven-film acting career — he wrote eight films, including GBH (which is co-directed with David Kent-Watson). Known primarily as a music composer, his mostly notable film scores are Deathdream (1974) and Dawn of the Dead (1978), along with the long-running British TV series, Crown Court. His other, hard-to-find written/directed films (with David Kent-Watson) are his debut, Tuxedo Warrior (1982), The Ibiza Connection (1984), Predator: The Queitus (1988), Firestar (1991), and The Eye of Satan (1992). If you Google around, you’ll find uploaded clips and beat-to-hell VHS tapes for most of them (I’ve seen Firestar and Eye of Satan, but not the others).
“The booze tastes almost as bad as you look, Keller.” — Steve “the Mancunian” Donovan
In 1991 Cliff Twemlow and Jerry Harris returned as Donovan and Keller in a sequel: Lethal Impact, aka GBH 2: Lethal Impact, aka GBH 2: Beyond Vengeance, which was also written and directed by Twemlow. Sadly, Lethal Impact, as did the rest of his SOV resume of action and horror films, did not live up to the infamy of the original. But Lethal Impact is even more of everything than the first film, with Donovan cutting a swath across Manchester as a low-budget Paul Kersey to avenge the forced-into-porn death of his schoolgirl niece.
Also known as Drop Dead Dearest and Left for Dead, this Canadian movie is based on the case of Peter Demeter, a Hungarian-born, Toronto-based real estate developer convicted in 1974 of hiring a hitman named “The Duck” to murder his wife in what may be the longest trial in Canadian history. It was also one of the more sensational ones, as Demeter’s wife Christine was a much young and more attractive person than her husband.
Even better, both Peter and Christine were trying to kill one another to collect a $1 million dollar insurance policy. While Peter claimed he was innocent, he was later charged with trying to arrange the kidnapping and murder of the son of his cousin, who was managing his affairs.
Elke Sommer plays Christine, here known as Magdalene Kruschen, in the fictionalized retelling of the real tale. Compared to the other section 2 video nasties, this doesn’t really seem up to the gory label, but there you go. It was eventually released in the UK as Drop Dead Dearest in 1986 by Heron Video after 66 seconds of head blows, clubbings and a scene where a woman’s dead body being sexually caressed was all cut from the film.
More courtroom drama than vile exploitation — and therefore not a video nasty that anyone but the completists track down — this was the last movie by writer, director and producer Murray Markowitz.
La Semana del asesino (Week of the Killer) has no scenes of cannibalism in it, but hey, that title was catchy enough for international distribution. Now that the full version of this film is available from Severin*, people may see it beyond its lurid title and appearance on the section one video nasty list.
Instead, The Cannibal Man presents a journey into a place that few of us have experienced: the oppressive rule of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Estimates are difficult to put together, but Franco killed between 15,000 and 50,000 of his political opponents. His oppression also led to how the arts were treated, with a unitary national identity created at the expense of Spain’s cultural diversity. Women could not manage money, hold certain jobs or even open a bank account. And yet, in the words of geopolitics, Nixon referred to Franco as, “a loyal friend and ally of the United States” when the general died.
Basically, Spain was a real-life horror show and this film attempts to explain that pain through the life of a young butcher named Marcos who accidentally kills a cab driver. That murder sends him on a spiral as he has to start removing anyone who could potentially turn him in, from his girlfriend to eventually his family members, using his butcher shop to remove the evidence. Then the dogs come searching for the rotting human meat hidden in his bedroom.
Even the potential relationship that the protagonist discovers with another man who lives in the high caste high rises above the city won’t be enough to stop the drain at the bottom of this downward spiral. Franco’s censors saw to that.
*Yes, I realize Anchor Bay and Blue Underground also released the full cut, but the Severin one has “both the International and extended Spanish Version newly scanned from the original negatives for the first time ever.”
A section 3 video nasty, this movie was made by Rino Di Silvestro, who claimed that he wanted to make a serious werewolf movie. We should take the director of Deported Women of the SS Special Section at his word, I guess.
Daniella Neseri (Annik Borel, Weekend with the Babysitter, Truck Turner, Blood Orgy of the She-Devils) was assaulted when she was just a child, which has made her emotionally and sexually stunted and unable to have any relationships with men. Then she learns that she comes from a lineage of werewolf women, at which point she begins to have very involved dreams about being a wolf woman that manifest themselves when she gets all bothered watching her sister Elena (Dagmar Lassander, The House by the Cemetery, Hatchet for the Honeymoon) making sweet love to her man, so she responds by killing the dude, then throwing his body off a cliff because that’s how they did therapy in 1976.
Found near the body, Daniella is institutionalized before breaking away and continuing her murder spree before she finds love and respect — after killing a potential rapist — in the arms of Luca (Howard Ross, whose real name is Renato Rossini, and whose career stretched through nearly every genre of Italian exploitation, from Hercules Against the Mongols and The Man Called Noon to Marta, Naked Girl Killed in the Park and The Pyjama Girl Case to The New York Ripperand Warriors of the Year 2072).
Of course, this is an Italian horror movie and there’s no way that Luca and the werewolf woman can be happy just making love on the beach. Three men break in and assault her before killing him, so she hunts them all down before the cops arrest her. To ensure that no one learns any lessons, she’s institutionalized and dies, then her dad kills herself, then her sister, who has lost everything, just lives whatever life is left after all this.
Man, I don’t know if they knew what they had with this movie, a film that shows the institutions of men failing women on every level, including the male-directed movie that tells this story. That said, a movie where a woman equates sexual desire to being a werewolf and also she maybe is a werewolf and the knowledge that I’ve spent more time considering the psychosexual implications of this movie than the people who made it? That’s why I keep writing about films like this.
Also known as Daughter of a Werewolf, Naked Werewolf Woman, She-Wolf, Terror of the She-Wolf and Legend of the Wolf Woman, this film is something else. You can get it from Raro Video.
Also known as Day of the Woman, this film was prosecuted in the U.K. — placed on their Section 1 list — while being outright banned in countries like Ireland, Norway, Iceland and West Germany. A 2001 re-release saw seven minutes of the film being cut, mostly the lengthy rape sequence that has earned this film its misogynistic label.
I Spit on Your Grave is easily found across VOD and PPV platforms as well as DVDs and Blu-rays across various imprints.
But somehow, I’ve never seen it. Maybe the giant clamshell with the handwritten must be 18 to rent note frightened me. I mean, I was certainly aware of it, but while most slashers allowed enough voyeuristic fun for teenagers in my small hometown, I Spit On Your Grave just seemed like a bummer trip. And yeah, it is, but I’m glad I’ve finally watched it.
Short story writer Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton, the Solange of What Have You Done to Solange?) is tough and independent enough to live in Manhattan, but when she rents an isolated cottage in Connecticut, her very presence makes the men of the town wary. Even the mentally challenged man she has been kind of, Matthew, is a party as they abduct and assault her. Johnny, Stanley and Andy then tell the young man to kill her, but he fakes the job and she survives.
They took not just everything from her, but even tore apart the book that she came to this quiet place to complete. Now, as she reassembles the manuscript, she begins destroying the men, starting by making love to Matthew before hanging him and dumping his body in the lake.
By the end of the film, she has become a destroyer, giving Johnny the mother of all ruined orgasms, slamming an axe into Andy and ordering Stanley just as he told her to “suck it” by forcing him into the outboard motor of her boat.
Is the revenge catharsis enough? I’ve always wondered.
Writer-director Meir Zarchi came up with this movie — his wife typed the script on the very typewriter that Jennifer uses in the film — when he met the survivor of an assault in the mid 70s. He couldn’t sell the idea to anyone, so he made it himself before losing money each time he played it as Day of the Woman, I Hate Your Guts and The Rape and Revenge of Jennifer Hill. He got the Jerry Gross Organization to distribute it and the deal was that they could change the title to anything they wished. Look, no one could rename a movie like Jerry Gross and that’s where we get the best part of this movie, its title: I Spit on Your Grave.
This film was universally hated by critics, but Zarchi had no time for them, saying “”Frankly, I’m not concerned whether it receives bad press or not. It doesn’t touch me one way or the other whatsoever. If you told me that the public does not like it and the critics like it, then there is something very, very bad about that. Who am I reaching? Three-hundred critics around the United States, or 2,000 around the world? It’s really the public that counts, the 20 million who have seen the film around the globe.”
Keaton married Zarchi in 1979 and they divorced in 1982, which is pretty wild considering what she was put through in this film. She was also the fifth wife of Sidney Luft, who was once married to Judy Garland. As for her and Zarci, they’d work together again in 2019 when he made I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu.
This is a film about Nazis. It’s also about a testicular transplant. It’s also known as SS Experiment Love Camp. It’s a film about prisoners of war used in experiments to perfect the Aryan race, while Colonel von Kleiben receives an oral testicle castration by a Russian girl. Its advertising campaign featured a naked woman handing upside down on a crucifix — which gave this film its infamy.
Courtesy of the cover, SS Experiment Camp easily found a slot on the U.K.’s “Section 1” list — but the British Board of Film Classification passed it with no cuts. The BBFC claimed that “. . . despite the questionable taste of basing an exploitation film in a concentration camp, the sexual activity itself was consensual and the level of potentially eroticized violence is sufficiently limited.”
Okay then, BBFC. But why didn’t you mention the film behind the VHS sleeve was boring.
Honestly, even being a Sergio Garrone fan — and aficionado of all things VHS taboo — the hoopla over this Nazisplotation film, while certainly worthy of its suffix, Garrone’s dip (one of two!) into the Nazi pool isn’t — as most “Video Nasties” — as shocking or offense as its reputation.
In addition to the boredom of it all, the production values, frankly, stink; as result, the entertainment value of the crowded jewel of the genre, Isla, She Wolf of the SS (1975), and the deeper, psychological study of — and superior scripting of — The Gestapo’s Last Orgy (1977) is utterly void from SS Experiment Camp.
It’s hard to believe Sergio Garrone made this, the writer-director who gave us spaghetti western buffs Django the Bastard (1969), Kill Django . . . First Kill (1971), and Bastard, Go and Kill (1971). Then, of course, there’s his superior work with Klaus Kinski in the pseudo-Frankenstein romp, The Hand That Feeds the Dead (1974), that we love amid the B&S About Movies’ cubicle farm.
The “experiment camp” of this tale is just that: a medical facility experimenting in perfecting the Aryan race with German soldiers copulating with female prisoners. When one of the soldiers makes the mistake of falling in love with his prisoner-mate — he becomes Colonel von Kleiben’s testicle donor.
And that’s pretty much it, for this film is all about the genre hopping: It’s just a whole lot of lesbian wardens, sadistic guards, and softcore sex punctuated by (and not as graphic as you’d think) torture scenes (a water tank that both boils and freezes prisoners into submission), and lots of “superiority of the” Third Reich babbling. Oh, and lots of full frontal female nudity. Lots. But hey, when you’re an overweight and acne-covered kid berated for wearing a Misfits tee-shirt — and even the girl wearing a Clash tee-shirt turns you down — you get your naked girls where you can. That’s how it was in the video ’80s.
Oh, and the caveat here is that Garrone — to maximize his Lira (before the Euro) — shot this back-to-back with the even more abysmal SS Women’s Camp, aka SS Camp 5: Women’s Hell (1977) — which is not to be confused with the even more awful Women’s Camp 119 (1977) by Bruno Mattei. Both of Garrone’s Nazi romps are rife with sloppy camera work, worse acting, and dubbing that makes a Godfrey Ho flick seem in-sync. Don’t get us started on Mattei’s flick!
You can purchase a copy of SS Experiment Camp as part of the “SS Hell Pack Triple Feature” disc set, which also features SS Girls, aka Private House of the SS by Bruno Mattei (1977), and Garrone’s SS Camp Women’s Hell (another of that film’s alt-titles) from Exploitation Digital on Amazon.
The racist language used by William Sanderson — yes the guy from TV’s Newhart — as he attacks a black family is probably why this movie ended up as a section 1 video nasty. I first discovered this movie thanks to Cinema Sewer, which is where I learned of many a disreputable film.
Sanderson plays Kane, a hate-fuelled racist who somehow has found it in his heart to break out with an Asian man and a Mexican fellow, so there’s that. They break into the home of kindly Ted Turner (Robert Judd, who was Scratch in the non-Britney Crossroads) and proceed to use every racist term in the book when they aren’t beating down the black family.
Director Robert A. Edelson refused to do a commentary track when this was re-released by Blue Underground but he was kind enough (I guess) to an interview in Steven Thrower’s Nightmare USA in which he re-watched the film with his maid Dorothy. So…yeah. He only made one other movie, The Filthiest Show in Town.
Much like how the old Mom and Dad theatrical showings used to divide up audiences, the marketing of this film had black and white versions, including the title Staying Alive that was just for black audiences and unique trailers for each race. There’s also a trailer that’s just a still photo with no sound at all for thirty seconds, then the title and rating. Wild.
Many of the video nasties seem quaint today, as you ask yourself, “Why did they ban this?” This is the kind of virulent piece of hate that wouldn’t even get near a screen these days. Sure, it ends up with the catharsis of seeing the criminals pay for all of the verbal and physical terror that they unleash, but man…getting there is none of the fun.