Junesploitation 2022: Nonostante le apparenze… e purchè la nazione non lo sappia… all’onorevole piacciono le donne (1972)

June 17: Junesploitation’s topic of the day — as suggested by F This Movie— is Lucio Fulci! We’re excited to tackle a different genre every day, so check back and see what’s next. 

As you watch the films of Lucio Fulci, it’s important to realize that made comedies, peplum and westerns long before he became known as the Godfather of Gore. Even his first forays into giallo, both before Argento (Perversion Story) and after (A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Don’t Torture a Duckling) may have bursts of violence and disquieting bloodshed, but Fulci was primarily a journeyman when Enzo G. Castellari dropped out of directing Zombi and Fulci stepped in.

An example of commedia sexy all’italiana, or sex comedy Italian style, this film remembers to include the requisite nudity and sexual situations while keeping the social criticism front and center, unlike other films in this subgenre of commedia all’italiana. Sure, so many of those movies are about the rich, but this film takes aim at those in power and how they still have very basic sexual lusts. Or, in the instance of this film’s lead, Senator Gianni Puppis (Lando Buzzanca, who was in a lot of movies much the same as this), abundant and near-insane levels of libido-enraged fervor.

Puppis is next in line to be President of the Senate, yet he starts the film by grasping the rear end of the female president of the Republic of Urania. No one notices, as they were inside a huge crowd, but he’s devastated by the fact that he can’t control his need to touch her.

Someone did notice. Father Lucian (Renzo Palmer) somehow gets photographic evidence and begins to blackmail Puppis, yet he refuses to pay as there’s no way that he could have done this. And then, that night, he dreams of a nude woman (Eva Czamerys, who between this, Our Lady of Lust and The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive had to have really upset the Roman Catholic church)  beckoning him from the circular plaza of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican.

But wait — isn’t Puppis gay — an editor at a TV station confirms this — and dating his personal chauffeur Carmelino (Aldo Puglisi)? Then why is he blacking out and getting back to reality just in time to learn that he has his hands on a keister?

After paying off Father Lucian, Puppis is sent to a German psychologist and a spiritual retreat that will keep his Roman hands away from the culo of the assembled ladies who not vote for him if they know what’s going on inside his head. After an encounter where Puppis rubs the bahootie of a Scottish man in a kilt, he gets so drunk that he must be waited on at the monastery by a series of nurses who are nuns, which trust me as an Italian male is the absolute double whammy of fantasy.

Meanwhile, the other senators are trying to learn just where Puppis has gone off to and the Italian Army is planning a coup because the Days of Lead don’t stop for sex comedies. The Senate is bugging Puppis, but the army is bugging the senate and a secret Vatican cabal — the Masonic P2? — led by Cardinal Maravigili (Lionel Stander) — is bugging everyone.

Puppis owes any political success to he has made deals with both the Vatican and the army and Maravigili has been manipulating him to the most powerful office in the country, tolerating his homosexuality as that is less of a scandal than what’s happening now. The sociopathic holy man then decides that Puppis must be killed.

That night, Puppis has a dream about the nuns and the Garden of Eden where he goes wild, like  Howard Stern in the 1980s or John Stagliano in Brazil. He then tries to assault Father Schirer (Francis Blanche) in his sleep, yet when he awakes he claims he’s cured. He’s not: he really did get to know all of those nuns as Biblically as he could.

All Hell has broken loose. Father Schirer has a heart attack when he’s convinced Maravigili knows that he’s failed. Puppis goes to a party with that very same holy leader and ends up s‘envoyer en l’air — I apologize for my conjugation, I never took the language — with the French ambassador’s wife (Anita Strindberg, who was also in Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key amongst many others) and engaging in an erotic mutual flagellation session with the only nun that he hasn’t yet gone heels to Jesus with, Sister Hildergardt (Laura Antonelli). As the secret church police arrive, they high tail it the hell out of there.

Finally, in a moment much like I imagine all U.S. Presidents go through when they show them who really committed every assassination and get to see inside the real Area 51, Don Gesualdo (Corrado Gaipa) shows Puppis statues of all the future saints — all people who have been killed to get him into a position of power given the kind of treatment that Vincent Price did when he played Professor Henry Jarrod. As the new President kneels in front of a statue of Sister Hildegarde and accepts his new role — his closest competitor dies in a plane crash — someone turns the channel to a game show.

That long title translates to The Senator Likes Women… Despite Appearances and Provided the Nation Doesn’t Know and that’s why The Eroticist was also called The Senator Likes Women. It’s a wild movie — not all of the comedy may translate, but Fulci’s bile against religion sure does. He came up with the story with Sandro Continenza (The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue) and the script was by Ottavio Jemma. Plus, it looks pretty great — Sergio D’Offizi who did Cannibal Holocaust and House at the Edge of the Park, not to mention The Washing Machine and Thunder 2 and 3 was the cinematographer.

Obviously, this movie was banned and censored beyond belief.

Want to see more Fulci? Check out my Ten Fulci films article or the Fulci Letterboxd list.

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