February 28th, 2012

IT CAME FROM THE THRIFT STORE: THE DIRTY SEVEN (1983) ** ½

Today’s It Came from the Thrift Store column will be less of a movie review and more of an exploration of how home video companies used deceiving marketing to lure unsuspecting customers into renting the same movie under different titles. This was common practice in the 80’s. Back before IMDB, VHS lovers like myself had only a few resources to turn to like Psychotronic magazine and Video Watchdog to keep track of ever-changing exploitation titles. Getting duped into buying The Dirty Seven at the Thrift Store was like taking a time machine back to the 80’s.

The Dirty Seven by its cover makes the movie look and sound like a cheap Dirty Dozen rip-off. The only reason I spent 50 cents on it was the fact that Laura Gemser was in it. Gemser of course was famous for playing Emanuelle and since she is one of my favorite actresses, I figured I’d pick it up.



Flash forward to today when I finally popped the tape on. Right from the get-go, I knew it kinda looked familiar. As it turns out, The Dirty Seven is actually an alternate cut of Emanuelle, Queen of the Desert, a movie I’ve owned on DVD for the past decade or so!

Now I’ve accidentally bought the same movie twice on a couple of occasions and like any consumer, I felt burned when it happened. What takes the sting out of The Dirty Seven (aside from only paying 50 cents that is) is the fact that this is the ORIGINAL cut of the film. In this version, the story is told in a straightforward fashion. The version under the Emanuelle moniker severely re-cuts and re-edits the film so that Gemser appears more or less throughout the movie. In this version, she sadly doesn’t show up until about the forty minute mark.

I guess I should talk about the plot a bit, since it’s slightly different in this version. A group of soldiers get double crossed and are forced to wander through the desert carrying their wounded captain. When he dies, the men turn into savages and rape an innocent farm girl. Tired and thirsty, they press on through the desert where they encounter a mysterious woman named Shiela (Gemser) who systematically seduces and kills them.

While it’s fascinating seeing this film in its original form, I have to say that the flick plays a lot better as an Emanuelle movie. That’s mostly because Gemser is more or less front and center (there’s even a great title sequence where she runs around naked). Still, in this form the soldier’s brutality and subsequent comeuppance plays a little stronger, so it has that going for it.

As a movie, The Dirty Seven is about middle of the road. As a curiosity piece, it’s at least worth a look; especially if you’re a fan of Emanuelle, Queen of the Desert. Besides any exploitation movie fan should never pass up an opportunity to see Laura Gemser naked.

Best line: “’Murderer’ is tattooed on your bloody soul!”

AKA: Emanuelle, Queen of the Desert.

Next week’s Thrift Store movie: Deathgames.