JOE D’AMATO WEEK: The Hyena (1997)

When an ex-model named Emy (Cinzia Roccaforte) is left alone by her husband (Jason Saucier, who ends up in a lot of late D’Amato movies like Top Model and The Crawlers, as well as Lenzi’s Hitcher in the Dark), she decides to make a cocktail and watch Antropophagus because, look, this movie is based in the reality of a Joe D’Amato movie where gorgeous women wear incredibly expensive lingeries while watching George Eastman eat people.

That’s when Roy (David D’Ingeo, who is also in the scummiest giallo there may be, Angel: Black Angel, and Argento’s Phantom of the Opera) comes in and kidnaps her at gunpoint.

Of course, beyond also kidnapping her sister Francesca, he also decides to take advantage of our heroine, but this is an Italian movie and she’s going to end up falling for the guy because, look, you don’t watch D’Amato movies and think, “How progressive.*”

So anyways — Roy needs fifty thousand for Emy and her sister, but the banks are closed for the weekend, and a housekeeper just got shot in the head, and then they decide to throw a party for reasons that I can’t figure out other than it allows Roy to sleep with Emy’s friend Dana, as all adult films demand multiple couplings even if they are softcore. And oh yes, Roy has the same lover as Emy’s husband, the mysterious Angela (Lisa Comshaw, who was in two hundred plus movies, most of them in the BDSM space) and also her sister has been stalking everyone and taking photos.

This movie is absolutely crazy because yeah, it’s shot incredibly cheaply and came about in the midst of the 1994 to death period where D’Amato made hundreds of adult films, yet it has so many strange moments that you can’t help but shake your head and admire it. I mean, at one point Roy climbs a ladder and starts making out with a statue. And things just happen at the most laconic pace when things aren’t getting progressively more nihilistic, because as always, D’Amato equally serves out lovemaking with loss of life.

Five people wrote this movie.

Five of them.

Remo Angioli: Using the name Harry J. Ball, which at least made me laugh. He also produced Nude for Satan and wrote and directed Fatal Temptation and Intimacy.

Andrea Angioli: Using the name Dennis J. Ball and also the Italian distributor for Can I Do It ‘Till I Need Glasses?

David D’Ingeo: The actor mentioned above, so perhaps that scene with the statue was all his writing.

Rosanna Coggiola: I guess it helps to have a woman’s point of view. She also wrote Pazzo d’amore and Vacanze Sulla Neve with Daniele Stroppa, another writer often inthe orbit of D’Amato.

Mark Thompson-Ashworth: The dialogue coach, film subtitler, dubber and screenplay translator/adapter who presented a 2002 D’Amato film festival.

It doesn’t look all that great, but for some reason, D’Amato’s soft core films put me in the same druggy haze that I get from murderdrone movies. It’s like when scientists stimulated the pineal gland with the Resonator in From Beyond. Here’s hoping that a snake doesn’t push its way out of my skull.

*That’s not entirely true. There are moments in his films where women show true agency and destroy the men who are hurting them. But generally, these movies live up to the Sam Spade quote, “When you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it.”

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