You have to hand it to Joe D’Amato. Most people would just make one ripoff of 9 and 1/2 Weeks. Instead, Joe stretches his series of three films out to 33 days, which is a little under 5 weeks or around half as much time as its inspiration and there’s some goofy logic to that.
Actually it’s seven movies I learned after writing this, so that means that Joe hit 77 days, or 11 more than the 66 days of 9 1/2 weeks, so the numerology all works out, right?
While Adrian Lyne had Sarah Kernochan, Zalman King and Patricia Louisianna Knop to write his screenplay, Joe makes due with the team of Rossella Drudi and Claudio Fragasso for the first film. And what a film it is.
Eleven Days, Eleven Nights (1988): Sarah Asproon (Jessica Moore AKA Luciana Ottaviani AKA Gilda Germano, who also appears in Sodoma’s Ghost, Convent of Sinners and Top Model) is writing a book about her last one hundred lovers, but she’s only had ninety-nine. Then she meets Michael on a boat and despite the fact that he’s about to get married (Mary Sellers plays his fiancee Helen and you’ve seen her in Stagefright, Ghosthouse and The Crawlers), she makes him agree that they will be lovers for — everybody yell out the title — eleven days and eleven nights.
There’s an actual budget to this film and it was shot in New Orleans, so it has an American feel, which is exactly what late 80s Italian movies were shooting for. There’s even a moment where the couple go see Stagefright in a theater and Michael falls asleep, waking up to Helen remarking, “What a beautiful film. So touching! So romantic!”
So yeah, this movie has a honey scene just like the film that inspired it, but I kind of like this one better. D’Amato is at his best when he’s shooting gorgeous women being gorgeous and Moore is, well, one of those reminders that there just might be a God somewhere. A reminder that there may not be is the acting by her co-star Joshua McDonald and the horrible ending where she tells him that he was just being used to be in her book but fell in love, so he bends her over, takes her roughly from behind and leaves her for his boring fiancee. For a film that spent most of its running time with a heroine in charge of her sexuality, this was massively upsetting.
The moral: Don’t look for Italian sexploitation movies to have good messages.
Eleven Days, Eleven Nights 2 (1991): D’Amato and Drudi reteamed for this sequel in name only, even though the character of Sarah comes back. Now she’s played by Kristine Rose and has been married and separated and given the new job of the executor of the estate of Lionel Durrington, one of her past lovers and the richest man in Louisiana.
Guess what? This is actually the third film in the series because Sarah was the lead character in Top Model, which is also listed in plenty of places as Eleven Days, Eleven Nights 2. Look — it wouldn’t be Italian movies if it wasn’t confusing.
There are four heirs and one after another, they all get with our heroine, who will determine which one is worthy of the money based on how good they are in bed, one supposes. Sonny is the only one with no interest in Sarah, even when she danced for him at a strip club, but that’s because his last girlfriend was abused in front of him by friend of the family Alfred, who is also trying to get the money.
Because Italian films really don’t care about how insane or twisted — actually, this is what they run toward not from — things get, Sarah disguises herself as Sonny’s old lover and goes to the impotence institute and gets a rise out of him.
By the end, she realizes that no one deserves the money, so she comes up with a plan. She’ll write a book about the family and its secrets while they split the $500 million with a mystery person. They quickly sign and yeah, the mystery guy is the man who was supposed to be dead and we have a happy ending. We also have Laura Gemser in the blink and you’ll miss it role of Sarah’s jogging publisher and Ruth Collins from Lurkers, Doom Asylum and Prime Evil show up.
For a movie about people getting naked, D’Amato has plenty of women in sweaters show up. I’m all for this.
Also: This has also been listed as The Web of Desire and Eleven Days, Eleven Nights Part 4 because Italian movies are wonderful and confusing.
Eleven Days, Eleven Nights 3 (1989): Also known as Pomeriggio caldo (Hot Afternoon), this film points to the genius that is D’Amato. Instead of just making a sexual thriller — trust me, it still has plenty of sex — he worked with writer David Resseguier — who has to be a pen name for someone — to create this downright weird story of heading to New Orleans and just fading into it.
Someone says, “This is a place that paralyzes you. You don’t fall in love with a person here, but rather you become grossly obsessed with the environment. It’s not like our world.”
That’s what this movie is about, as well as the fact that a young reporter has come to the French Quarter to write about Nora, a woman who just lost her husband to voodoo. He takes along his wife, who plays a game with him where he encourages men to try to bed her while having no real interest in her. This predictably backfires and she leaves him for a muscular voodoo man — I am not making this up — and he starts going insane realizing what he’s lost. And oh yeah — he also gets to bed Nora, which seems like a way better thing than pining for someone he never really cared about.
Every actor in this movie is horrible and wonderful, often within the same scene, and it has an odd pace and overall sadness that keeps it from being fully erotic, which is awesome when you think about it. The scenery is great and then Laura Gemser shows up just to dance at a voodoo ritual and all movies should have her show up and dance and then get back to the story. Every one of the Disney Star Wars movies would be incredible if the woman who is forever Black Emanuelle would show up and writhe in a sweaty frenzy and then wave goodbye.
Seriously, I fell in love with this movie, which is kind of like a sexier — well, is that movie even sexy? — The Beyond with no house but a much more erotic bathtub scene.
Top Model (1988): Remember when I said there was another Eleven Days, Eleven Nights 2?
This time around, Sarah (Jessica Moore from the first movie) is still writing, but she’s gone undercover as a call girl, which was suggested by her publisher Dorothy (Laura Gemser). Using the name Gloria, she quickly becomes the top girl — some would say the top model — until someone figures out her secret and begins blackmailing her, which makes no sense as she’s already famous for a book where she slept with a hundred men.
She’s also got a crush on an IT guy named Cliff who thinks that he might be gay. I mean, if Jessica Moore is all over you and you need to question it, I’m not stepping on any LGBTQ landmines by saying that yes, you are gay. It’s fine, it’s a great choice and it’s probably what Cliff ends up choosing as the couple is divorced by the time the second part two in this series comes around.
But hey — how about that theme song?
To prove that America is the most puritanical country there is, there was an R-rated Top Model version made just for U.S. cable with still scenes replacing the lovemaking in motion and any reference to Cliff perhaps being gay cut from the film.
Eleven Days, Eleven Nights 5: Dirty Love (1988): I mean, this movie is totally Joe D’Amarto making Dirty Dancing and casting Jeff Stryker and Valentine Demy, who went from waitressing to lingerie model to D’Amato star while she was 17.
D’Amato also throws Fame and Flashdance into the ripoff magic blender and emerges with a movie that has the sex those movies were missing and so much more to spare. Demy plays Terry, who leaves behind a small town where her father wants to pick out her husband and doesn’t want her to dance, so Footloose too?
This movie packs in all the sleaze you imagine that a Joe D’Amato movie called Dirty Love should have. In a world where movies don’t live up to their names or posters, for the most part Joe outdid himself every time.
If you’re watching this and wondering, “Where have I seen Robert before?” He’s Aimee Mann’s jerk of a boyfriend in the ‘Til Tuesday video for “Voices Carry.”
Bonus points for Laura Gemser showing up as a masseuse (and the costume designer).
Eleven Days, Eleven Nights 6: The Labyrinth of Love (1993): Valerie (Monica Seller, Dangerous Attraction, Madness, Legittima Vendetta) travels to Saigon to work for a family that she soon seduces. I mean, the whole family. The matriarch. The widower. The grandfather. The gay college student? All of them.
I have no idea why a movie set in the 1930s is in the Eleven Days, Eleven Nights series, but you know, I tend to forgive Joe D’Amato all manner of things. Even when a movie is slow when it should be red hot eroticism, I say things like, “That’s a nice shot” or “I mean, Joe did make Buio Omega.”
Eleven Days, Eleven Nights 7: The House of Pleasure (1994): Lord Gregory Hutton (Nick Nicholson, who somehow was in both Apocalypse Now, Platoon, The Firebird Conspiracy, War Without End, SFX Retaliator, Born on the Fourth of July and Beyond the Call of Duty, which means he either made up his IMDB listing or man, he’s been in the highest of the war movie highs and the lowest of the low) goes to the Far East on his honeymoon with his wife Eleanore. They stay on a silk farm and Eleanore falls for Lin, the young man of the house (Marc Gosálve, who is also in D’Amato’s China and Sex and Chinese Kamasutra).
This is one of those movies like Emmanuelle where a young wife finds her sexuality while her husband watches, but this has the technology of 1994, which means video cameras. And hey — Joe went to Asia to shoot this (along wih Tales of Red Chamber, China and Sex, The Labyrinth of Love and Chinese Kamasutra), so there’s some production value.
For all the negativity heaped on the films of D’Amato, when he’s getting the opportunity to tell these simple stories and shoot beautiful women to some sexy sax, he always delivers. Are these movies essential watching? Or course not. Are they better than they should be? Definitely.
Thanks to Adrian on Letterboxd for transcribing the Eleven Days, Eleven Nights 3 quote above.