February 1st, 2009

SWEET MOVIE (1975) **

Sweet Movie is anything but sweet.  It often resembles Salo if John Waters had directed it.  Like Salo and Waters’ Pink Flamingos, Sweet Movie is a flick obsessed with bodily fluids.  Whereas Waters was more or less content to show just feces, Dusan Makavejev, the director of Sweet Movie shows us pissing, puking, and lactating breasts, often in the same scene.  This is one weird movie.


The “plot” has a millionaire (John Vernon, the only “name” in the cast) looking for a wife.  The catch is, she’s got to be a virgin, so he holds a “Miss Chastity Belt” pageant where a doctor inspects all the girls’ hymens.  He finally settles on Miss Canada (Carol Laure) and after he fucks her with his golden penis (!) he dumps her.  Afterwards she gets into one misadventure or another (like being forced to watch a naked muscleman jump rope) until she finds her way onto a creepy boat where Captain Anna (Anna Prucnal) holds non-stop orgies.  After Captain Ann fucks a sailor on a bed of sugar, she kills him and then the police come and arrest her so that Miss Canada can be free to roll around in chocolate.


Like I said folks, this is one weird movie.


Sweet Movie shows us a lot of shocking and unpleasant images.  (Mostly though, it’s just a lot of dudes pissing.  Seriously, every other scene in this damn movie features some jackass whipping out his cock and pissing on something or someone.)  The problem with the movie is that unlike Salo there is not context to go along with the abnormal behavior.  In Salo, the shit-eating was disgusting, but it showed the brutality of the Nazis.  Here, the shitting, pissing, puking, etc. is just trotted out for mere shock value and nothing more. 


I will say that no matter how gross or disgusted I got during this movie, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.  It must have been my sick pervert mind that prevented me from turning the flick off.  I kept telling myself that this was an “art” movie and I was just broadening my horizons by subjecting myself to all the shitting, pissing, puking, and lactating.  Yeah, that’s the ticket…


It should be noted that Criterion released this movie on DVD.  For those who don’t know, Criterion is a DVD company that prides themselves on preserving only the “best” in world cinema (The Seventh Seal, The Third Man, The Seven Samurai, etc.).  Since Criterion was also responsible for releasing Salo, it seems to me that they are trying to corner the market on all the “arty” movies in which people are shown taking a dump.  It makes me confident that if I ever make a movie, all I need to do is show somebody taking a shit and add a few subtitles and it'll get picked up by Criterion.

BLOODY MOON (1981) ** ½

A scarred killer (who resembles a svelte Klaus Kinski) returns to his aunt’s boarding school for girls after five years in the loony bin and tries to rekindle his incestuous relationship with his hot sister.  When she spurns him for another lover, the girls at the school start dying in increasingly gory ways.  Is old Scarface the killer?  Or is somebody else trying to pin the murders on him?


We all know that director Jess (Succubus) Franco can do mad scientist movies, women in prison pictures, and softcore skin flicks.  Now we know he can make an American style slasher film.  And it’s a pretty good one too.  It’s not great.  The pacing is erratic, the dubbed acting is awful, and the red herrings are predictable.  The thing that makes Bloody Moon a notch or two better than most slashers (and Franco movies) of the day is the fact that the murders are all memorably done and are quite juicy to boot.  There’s scissors to the stomach, decapitation via oversized buzz saw and a great scene where the old bag gets burned alive.  Although the buzz saw scene gets all the press, my favorite kill was when the murderer plunged a knife through the back of his victim and the blade went all the way through her body and came out her nipple!


Even though Franco was aping the American made slasher movies like Friday the 13th (the most obvious tip-off is the scene where the killer dons a Mickey Mouse mask), he gives the flick a sleazy European feel that is well suited to the material.  (A lot of girls get nekkid).  The flick is also one of ol’ Jess’s more polished films and lacks the sloppy, unfocused look that mars most of his work.  Bloody Moon doesn’t quite have what it takes for me to give it ***, but people who have sat through enough Jess Franco movies will know that a ** ½ Franco movie is like most directors’ *** ½ movies.  (Let’s use Martin Scorsese as an example.  The Departed is to Taxi Driver what Bloody Moon is to Sadomania.)