[Emanuelle’s Revenge – Foltergarten der Sinlichkeit] a.k.a Emanuelle e Françoise "le sorelline" / Blood Vengeance / Die Lady mit der Pussycat
Review By-Kit Gavin Directed by Joe D’Amato [Aristide Masseccesi] Starring George Eastman [Luigi Montefiore], Rosemarie Lindt, Annie Carole Edel and Patrizia Gori. Source: Neues Kontrastprogramm / Kult X-Rated (DVD PAL Region 2)
Françoise [Gori], a sweet, pretty and somewhat naVve photographer’s and sometime glamour model, returns home to find her boyfriend Carlo [Eastman] in bed with another woman, Mira [Edel]. This turns out to be the latest in a long line of abuse of their relationship where the devoted Françoise has sacrificed her dignity to help her philandering boyfriend with his debts. These include Carlo allowing his friends to watch him take advantage of her in payment for gambling debts, pimping her to a film producer to get a role in a movie, and even forcing Françoise to appear in a black and white porno loop to pay off his debts. However, Françoise hoped that despite all Carlo still loved her. Discovering him in flagrante with another woman proves to be the last straw, and then Carlo packing her bags and throwing her out, into street. Françoise finds herself unable to cope anymore with his behavior and his attitude towards her, she commits suicide by throwing herself in front of a passing train, after unsuccessfully trying to call her sister, Emanuelle, in desperation.
Later, Emanuelle is called in to the police station to identify the body of her sister, who has left a suicide note telling her sister her sad tale. The police tell Emanuelle that despite trying, their investigations have proved fruitless. Later, Emanuelle encounters Carlo at a racetrack where she keeps a horse where her friend tells her to avoid him as he is a small time crook. Carlo however catches Emanuelle’s eye but she seems disinterested and leaves him at the track. Not to be undone, Carlo persues her and follows her home, leading Emanuelle to believe it was indeed Carlo who caused her sister’s death. The film flashes back to when Carlo took advantage of Françoise in return for money, to pay off his gambling debts, whilst in front of two of his gambling pals. Later, at the tennis club, Carlo again tries his luck with Emanuelle, leaving his girlfriend Mira behind. Emanuelle and Carlo drive to the beach and frolic in the water, before Emanuelle ups and abandons Carlo.
By chance Carlo and Mira are at a disco, and Emanuelle arrives with her companion, and flirts further with Carlo. She invites him back to her place the following evening, however in the morning she pays a visit to a drug pusher for some undisclosed substance. Carlo arrives, finding Emanuelle covered only in a see-through shawl, painting herself nude. She runs upstairs, promising a big surprise. Meanwhile he helps himself to a glass of (drugged) J&B (what else?!?) and passes out from the drugs. Emanuelle drags him into a small soundproof room (every good house comes with one, surely?!?) behind her living room where she chains him up and proceeds to torture him by making him watch her (through a one-way mirror) perform a provocative strip tease. She invites back a mechanic after having flashed her private parts at him, and seduces him naked in front of her captor. Later she invites back Carlo’s girlfriend, having seduced her by the poolside, who is disinterested in Carlo’s fate, to a lesbian threesome under the auspices of wanting to paint her and her female companion Pamela.
Carlo, half starved, half drugged, starts to hallucinate. He starts to crack and imagines seeing Emanuelle and her friends feasting on dismembered body parts before engaging in a wild orgy. Emanuelle, haunted by the past, and a nightmare of Carlo dismembering her with a hatchet, decides enough is enough. She decides that she is going to release Carlo, but before she does, she will castrate him. However Carlo manages to break free…
At one point in the story, the sleazy producer turns to the character played by the Eastman character and says "We aren’t making arty-fart movies for intellectual faggots here". This line seems to fit the mood of the film perfectly having been scripted by two of the most entertainingly warped minds in low budget 70’s/80’s Italian exploitation movies, namely Aristide Massaccessi [under his Joe D’Amato nom de plume] and Bruno Mattei. The story of revenge is quite simplistic yet there are some wonderfully trashy moments that punctuate and liven up what could have been rather banal to say the least. EMANUELLE’S REVENGE was Masseccesi’s (officially, anyway) first foray into the erotic/porno arena – and use of the "Emanuelle" character, however rather than playing as an erotic or porno film, it plays as more of an erotic thriller.
One of the major pluses of the film is the lively and spirited performances by the three leads. They are well above average for this sort of picture. Rosemarie Lindt, a German ballerina who appeared from time to time in exploitation movies (such as WHO SAW HER DIE? and a memorable performance in SALON KITTY), plays the eponymous heroine of the film, before Laura Gemser took the reins of being Masseccesi’s [and Mattei’s] definitive Emanuelle. Lindt’s frosty yet very attractive Teutonic looks are perfect for the role of the seductive avenging angel. Lindt’s roots as a hoofer show however, in her teasing strip tease performance in front of Eastman, and also in the more chaste disco scene where Lindt is the only cast member who can dance in another one of the [more memorable] disco scenes; always a true guilty pleasure whenever they turn up in Italian exploitation films of this era. Her performance is powerful because she can appear playful and seductive, yet her ulterior motives are to destroy the man who caused the suicide of her sister. The subject of Emanuelle’s revenge is Carlo, played very well by Eastman, who equally plays his role of (in the words of his squeeze after abandoning Françoise) "such a shit". Indeed his character, although fairly two-dimensional, is totally unsympathetic, and will have even the most chauvinist of viewers believing he deserves his fate. Most of Eastman’s roles for D’Amato (and others) did not require diverse amounts of dialog nor diversity of acting yet here Eastman holds his own.
The best performance, however, is delivered by Patrizia Gori as the doomed younger sister Françoise. Gori plays the wide-eyed and wholly sympathetic character with an endearing innocence of a girl so much in love, she participates in such scenes of degradation in the vain hope that it will make Carlo love her more. The opening scenes of the movie are a showcase to the cute actress, and her range in terms of performance here as a vulnerable victim of circumstance is impressive for this sort of film. Her face and expressions radiate her hope and disappointment, from her lovelorn looks at Carlo believing things will get better, her tears as she is raped by a producer to help Carlo get a role, and her (almost tragi-comic expressions) when making the porno loop. Gori would soon after marry Franco Lo Cascio (now an established porno director) and her career would fade out by the early 80’s. A shame as she had the looks and a face would have made her an endearing comic actress. Other performances are almost incidental and mainly to bring spice and always welcome flesh to the film. Carlo’s girlfriend, Mira, is played by Annie Carol Edel who appeared in numerous exploitation pictures from the time and is welcome here is a torrid lesbian threesome between Lindt and Mary Kristal. Viewers will probably be familiar with Edel from her brief but memorable scene with Rosita Torosh as one of the hostages in ALMOST HUMAN. Mary Kristal appeared in brief role as one of the girls in SALON KITTY. There is a brief appearance by Castellari regular Massimo Vanni (as a gay guy by the swimming pool), and brief uncredited apparances by Luciano Rossi (as one of the scumbag card players) who had appeared in D’Amato’s DEATH SMILES AT MURDER, and Maria Rosaria Riuzzi (as a blonde disco chick) from MANDINGA and one of the best nunsploitation flicks, IMAGES IN A CONVENT.
D’Amato here shows that he is more than capable as a director of this sort of material, delivering a well directed and at times quite stylishly shot little film. The porno loop featuring Gori has a similar "mood" to the "snuff footage" that was present in EMANUELLE IN AMERICA, where D’Amato deliberately damaged film stock in order to give it a slightly more grainy and squalid look. Here however, because the print is so clean, it doesn’t quite succeed. Despite the films low budget origins, and no doubt an imperative to work quickly, the film is directed with panache and well edited. Also, to be admired, is D’Amato’s pushing down of barriers and bounderies, almost paving the way for his most extreme and notorious EMANUELLE IN AMERICA, made the year after. Indeed, the film even had problems for the Italian domestic market upon it’s original release, losing some of the Sapphic scenes and also when Gori is sodomized in the black and white sequences. However, simple scenes such as Emanuelle remembering a time when she and Françoise were at a racing track, which rather than slowing down the pace of the film (and to some might seem banal) conveys some of the sense of hurt and loss that Emanuelle is feeling for her sister. The film also has some moments of bloody horror which should satisfy gorehounds, such as the hallucinatory dinner party where Eastman (later the Anthropophagus Beast himself, after all) watches the guests feast on human flesh and a shocking nightmare where he attacks Lindt with a giant meat cleaver. The film was also shot soft, without hard inserts for export markets, by D’Amato. This would come soon after, later down the road in his career as director.
Picture, and sound, quality are not the best for this release. The picture is at times presented as being somewhat soft, such as in the opening sequence of the photoshoot with Gori, then at other times it is quite crisp and clear. It is also non-anamorphic widescreen. There is also occasionally speckling here and there on the print but this certainly doesn’t detract from the perverse pleasure to be derived from this viewing experience. Colors however are bright and vibrant, flesh tones look natural, and the film is definitely a marked improvement from bootlegs in circulation. Given that most of the releases of this film are pretty much censored in some form or another, it is refreshing to see a pretty much uncut presentation of this film (the only trimmed scene – for dialogue not violence, and not lasting long) is included as part of the extras for completeness sake. The scenes which tend to have been removed or cut from most prints are the majority of the black and white porno loop featuring Gori, some of Lindt’s bloody nightmare of being butchered by Eastman whilst in her panties, and the party scene/hallucination where Lindt is violated by a wine bottle by her guests. Given the age of the film, and it’s comparitive scarcity, the print is perfectly servicable and watchable, perfectionists will probably be disappointed. Audio quality is not bad, mono and unremarkable but again, perfectly acceptable. The English dub features a host of familiar voices to Euro-trash hound, which is more than adequate given it’s age. Also the English dialogue is pretty much faithful to the Italian an in spots includes some improvised spots which adds to the trashy allure of the film under review. There is also an Italian option (as the DVD release is taken from an Italian source print) with German subtitles (an English option would have been nice!) and also in German language.
EMANUELLE’S REVENGE has been released by with two different covers, both of which use original poster artwork from the film’s theatrical release. One uses artwork (in a somewhat deeper shade of red) from the Italian theatrical poster, and the other uses artwork from the German release, which was supervised by Dietrich. The lurid screengrabs on the back of the cover show some of the movies more bloody and extreme moments, making the film look more like a predominantly blood soaked cannibal movie.
There is a "bonus scene" (culled from a poor quality US video release) which lasts a few seconds of Lindt watching Carlo discussing with his debt collectors whether a horse will or won’t win a race. There is a ten minutes stills gallery over some contemporary (not taken from the film) lounge music. In fact to call the images a stills gallery is something of an exaggeration, as they seem to be merely a series of screen grabs highlighting some of the films more nasty or sexy moments. From (presumably) the same video, there are the English language credits, taken from the Jef Video release, of the film. This is included for completists sake I guess, and includes a few seconds of alternative footage of Gori in her little 1920’s dress, as opposed to the beachwear she donned in the original Italian version.
There is also an interview with director D’Amato talking about his work, commencing with his childhood and what he found erotic in his formative years. He then discusses the genesis of EMANUELLE’S REVENGE and his collaboration with Bruno Mattei on the storyline, as well as his workings with Luigi Montefiore [Eastman]. Most of this footage is taken from the Roger Fratter documentary, Joe D’Amato: Uncut, and is livened up mostly with footage from the film and a few bits and pieces here and there from D’Amato’s porno films from the 1990’s. The interview is presented in Italian with German subtitles [no English options]. Yet it is easy to follow and understand. There is also a newly created trailer which glorifies the more racy as well as some of the more splashy, bloody moments.
Most entertaining of the extras comes in the form of the additional scenes which were created in a vain attempt to spice up the film by the German distributor of the film, the Swiss producer Erwin C. Dietrich, who was producing some of Jess Franco’s films and shooting borderline hardcore films featuring either Lina Romay or Brigitte Lahaie and/or Karine Gambier. The scenes are taken from a videocassette of the German release entitled Der Lady mit der Pussycat, and includes scenes of the nude or scantily clad hardcore porno actress Brigitte Lahaie and other unknown porno players in largely unrelated inserts. The inserts, credit where credit is due, endeavor to follow the film to an extent, but it seems ridiculous to see players who don’t even resemble the Italian actors engaged in sexual activity. Which results in the scenes playing as more amusing and ludicrous more so than erotic, and are completely jarring to the flow of the film. Additionally, the inserts are not, generally, especially well done. Dietrich trashed the original opening credits and soundtrack replacing them with German title cards and an unexceptional and banal
beat. The source, once again, appears to be from a videocasette, however here the condition seems to an over and above improvement from the US tape used for the English language sourced extras.
Rounding off the extras are five of gloriously trashy tracks from the film, by "Joe Dynamo" and Gianni Marchetti, including two of the more, umm "catchy" songs – being the title song and the music which plays at the disco where Carlo re-encounters Emanuelle. Sung with a thick Italian accent and with suitably banal nonsense lyrics, both songs are a guilty pleasure to listen to and enjoy. Each of the songs can be accessed separately and plays over different artwork for the films release around the world, including the marvellous un-PC video artwork from the UK showing Eastman bearing down on Lindt in a red g-string with an enormous meat cleaver. All in all, a satisfying selection of extras. One day, one can dream that there might be a definitive release of this sleazy little classic, a print taken from the negative, and which also includes interviews with the three stars of the film as well; as Eastman still regularly gives interviews for DVD releases, Lindt is resident in the United States, and Gori lives in Rome where she currently works for a publishing house. However best not to hold your breath awaiting that release, so for now, this German release is the way to go.
Story \ Film: 3.5 / 5 BITCH SLAPS Picture: 3 / 5 BITCH SLAPS Audio: 3 / 5 BITCH SLAPS Extras: 3.5/ 5 BITCH SLAPS Overall: 3.5 BITCH SLAPS
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