March 20th, 2014

HOUSE ON STRAW HILL (1976) ***

Udo Kier stars as an author who likes to have kinky sex while wearing Playtex gloves. He moves to a quiet house in the middle of nowhere to work on his next book. Unable to fully express himself, he hires a sexy typist (Linda Hayden) to stay with him and finish his novel. Pretty soon, people start dying.

House on Straw Hill has the distinction of being the only British-made “Video Nasty”. It plays more like an Italian giallo than a British horror film though. The murder sequences are very well done and the rampant sex scenes are kinkier and more explicit than most British films from the era.

Director James Kenelm Clarke establishes an eerie mood right off the bat and is able to sustain it throughout the film’s running time. Next to the nudity and bloodletting, the flick’s atmosphere is its chief asset. And of course, hearing the familiar voice of Udo Kier horribly dubbed over certainly helps the cheese factor. In that respect, House on Straw Hill satisfies on just about every level. Gorehounds will have their share of blood, fans of Ms. Hayden get to see her in various compromising positions, and thriller fans will find a good mystery to be had. I will say the flick never quite kicks into fourth gear, and there are some dull patches here and there. But for the most part, House on Straw Hill is quite a bit of fun.

AKA: Trauma. AKA: Expose.

ANITA (1975) ** ½

Christina Lindberg stars as the title character, Anita. She is a troubled girl who goes around town sleeping with any man she can find. She tells her troubles to a psychology student named Erik (The Avengers’ Stellan Skarsgard) who tries to break her of her bad habits. He concludes the reason behind her nymphomania is her inability to orgasm, so she runs out and tries to find different ways to achieve that goal. Once Anita takes a job as a nude dancer, it cures her of her compulsive nature and she is able to find love with Erik.

On the surface, Anita looks like your typical Swedish sex import from the ‘70s. But there is much more going on underneath the surface. The filmmakers do a good job of conveying that Lindberg’s chronic bed-hopping is due to her compulsive psychological condition and they go through great lengths to show that Lindberg is receiving no sexual gratification from these conquests.

If you have a Psych 101 degree, you may find this fascinating. But if you’re like me and you want to just see Christina Lindberg in action, you’ll be disappointed. I have no doubt that some viewers will be entertained by the psychological aspects of the story. However, since Christina Lindberg isn’t having fun during the sex scenes, you might have a difficult time having fun with them too.

AKA: Anita: Swedish Nymphet. AKA: Anita: Diary of a Nymphomaniac. AKA: Anita: The Shocking Account of a Young Nymphomaniac.