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August 25, 2015

Play Motel

play-motel poster.jpg

Mario Gariazzo - 1979
Raro Video BD Region A

I was totally unfamiliar with Mario Gariazzo until almost a year ago. Another DVD company, one that specializes in relatively obscure European films, sent me a copy of L'attrazione, retitled Top Model. Something of a thriller with erotic moments, neither very thrilling or erotic. The most I could find about Gariazzo is this interview about his favorite topic, UFOs. Play Motel is an attempt to meld the giallo with eroticism. The eroticism in question reminded me of photo spreads from Penthouse magazine. Neither the giallo elements nor the erotic scenes are very effective, with the film coming off as a bad hybrid of Dario Argento and Tinto Brass as imagined by Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione.

People are having rendezvous at Room Three of the Play Motel, cosplay with sex. Afterwards, some get murdered by an unseen killer with the required pair of black leather gloves. In Room Four, photos are taken of the action in Room Three, for purposes of blackmail. A young couple that discover the corpse of a woman placed in the trunk of their car do their own investigation on behalf of the police. Figuring out who the killer is was no mystery. What is a mystery is how he seems to be at two places at once in one scene? Another mystery is how the photographer of the blackmail photos is using a Fuji AZ-1 camera, which uses 35 mm film, but when a snooping model checks out his dark room, the negatives are from medium format film? Even more illogical is the killer appearing from the back seat of a car, and bonking his victim on the head with a large wrench while she's driving.

Younger audiences might find it of interest to see a movie that takes place in olden times, in the days before home computers and online streaming, when people took photographs with film, and porn was something available in printed magazines. The one part of the film that almost passes as contemporary would be the Fiat 500s some of the characters drive.

The supplements offer the biggest mystery - who made parts of this movie? The movie is signed by Roy Garrett, Gariazzo's occasional pseudonym. There's plenty of nudity, tongue wrestling, simulated sex. In the blu-ray supplements, there is discussion of the hard core inserts that Gariazzo denies filming, though in at least one instance, the same actors are clearly used rather than doubles in graphic close-ups. The hard core scenes were added to Play Motel for certain markets, distributed simultaneously with the version that received mainstream release. What is certain is that star Ray Lovelock found himself in a movie that strayed from the more conventional mystery he had signed up for.

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at August 25, 2015 06:22 PM