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April 01, 2013

Sexcula

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Bob Hollowich - 1974
Impulse Pictures Region 0 DVD

For April Fool's Day, one very appropriate movie.

The history of Sexcula may or may not be apocryphal, but it's a lot more entertaining than what actually appears on screen. Canadian filmmaker Bob Hollowich intended to make an erotic spoof of horror movies, but not simply erotic, but with hard core sex. The two most glaring problems were that in 1974, hard core films were not given theatrical release at the time, and those who did see the film at a one time private screening were duly appalled by what they saw. Life and art came together as the story is about Dr. Fallatingstien (that's how the credits read) and her impotent lover, Frank. Apparently, the only thing stiff about the actor portraying Frank was his acting ability. The doctor's cousin, Sexcula, is called to help. There's also a hunchback named Orgie, a gorilla, and an assortment of scantily clad or naked women. Somewhere along the line, the narrative gets lost to a story about the making of a porno movie that climaxes with four way sex in a church where they all, ahem, kiss the bride.

According to the supplemental notes of "Porn Archaeogist" Dimitrious Otis, a print of Sexcula was deposited at the National Archives of Canada. The film became something of a legend, I would think mostly because almost no one had seen it. And some may also argue that Sexcula is proof that some "lost" movies should remain lost.

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Rather than complain that the glass is half empty, and the water is probably from a questionable tap, let us look at why appreciation should be made to the folks at Impulse Pictures for releasing this movie on DVD.

First, Sexcula is every bit as awkward as its title. The actors aren't that good looking and what passes for humor is just plain stupid. Add to this more than enough shots of bare thrusting male and female buttocks. There is also a scene where the gorilla makes out with the hunchback but I can't be sure because the action takes place in a large, black shadow. Anyways, what I did see makes me appreciate the craft of those journeymen makers of porn whose films are at least well lit, with tenuous semblances of a story.

Second, more proof that Ed Wood, Jr. was never the world's worst filmmaker, and that Plan Nine from Outer Space is not the worst film ever made. Sure, Eddie was a sloppy filmmaker, but most of his films are truly entertaining. Until I saw Sexcula I never thought I would miss the thespian talents of Dudley Manlove. I'm also pretty sure that any of those snobs who sneer at the likes of Jesus Franco or Jean Rollin will revise their opinions in short order. And Pierre Chevalier, where ever the hell you may be, I take back my snide comments about Orloff and the Invisible Man.

Third, the recovery of any "lost" movie always gives the serous cinephile hope. In the past few years, more footage of Fritz Lang's Metropolis was discovered. There were also a slew of silent movies found in New Zealand. The surviving first half of Alfred Hitchock's first major screen credit was made available for online viewing. Who knows, maybe there still is a print of Orson Welles' cut of The Magnificent Ambersons somewhere? Some film scholars are hoping for the eight hour version of Greed. Me, I'd love to see the Dutch thriller, Obsessions from 1969, music by Bernard Herrmann, and a screenplay by some guy named Martin Scorsese.

One is also reminded of the old gag applied to several better works: "This movie wasn't released. It escaped."

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Posted by peter at April 1, 2013 07:44 AM