Isabel Peppard and Josie Hess’s “Morgana” is a documentary begging to be turned in to a feature film. It’s a wonderful and heartbreaking account of sexual repression, forced domesticity and using pornography as a means of re-claiming individuality. “Morgana” is short, but it’s an engaging journey in to the life of Morgana Muses, who suddenly found herself without the demands of a marriage that offered zero fullfilment. When she’s finally free she has no idea what to do with herself. That is until she realizes sex is a big part of what kept her from blossoming as a woman and adult.
One of the most bizarre pieces of Mondo exploitation, “The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield” is archival footage of the model traveling the world that was intended to be cute for the sake of a weird travel documentary focusing on Manfield. Sadly though when Mansfield died she was further exploited by the trio of directors Charles W. Broun, Jr., Joel Holt, Arthur Knight all of whom used stand ins (the movie shifts awkwardly from black and white to a color shot of her stand in), old footage of her frolicking, and a voice over actress who came on board to narrate as Ms. Mansfield.
The nineties had a weird trend where studios took classic films and attempted to rework them in to contemporary trash films. Pamela Anderson starred in a “Casablanca” remake with “Barb Wire,” Vanilla Ice tried for his own “Rebel Without a Cause” remake with “Cool as Ice,” and oddly enough Paul Verhoeven aims for a remake of “All About Eve” with the cult Joe Esterhas anomaly known as “Showgirls.” Simultaneously lambasted and praised for being so unabashedly stupid and sleazy, Verhoeven attempts to hide a narrative better suited Skinemax than world wide release in theaters beneath thin art house veneers that fool no one.
“Hot Dog… The Movie” is that film right at the end of the “Animal House” spectrum and the beginning of the “Police Academy” phenom, where every single work place or setting had its own wacky, madcap plot and array of cartoon characters. Most of the eighties were all about taking what worked and truing to copy its success. In the decade the followed, “Animal House” gave way to a large library of comedies (often teen based) that borrowed from its formula. Some of the titles were pure dreck and some of them were humongous gems. “Hot Dog… The Movie” is the absolute former.
Once in a while, the stars align and the moon shines bright enough to where a bonafide cult classic of horror cinema is born. Out of the absolute depths abysmal cinema comes one of the most laughable and painfully awful horror movies of the year. From rock icon Glenn Danzig, no less, comes his directorial debut, a live action adaptation of his comic book series “Verotik,” a title that mixes erotica and violence in to one monster. That wouldn’t be such a bad idea for an anthology. But someone forgot to tell Danzig that if you want to direct a movie, you probably should know how to operate a camera, first.
The long running series from Impulse Pictures continues chugging ahead and fans of classic and vintage pornography will enjoy what kind of time capsule these DVD’s bring to the forefront of film appreciation. While the DVD’s can be touted as porno, you can also appreciate these DVD’s as a film lover, film buff, film historian, or historian of pornography. The art of pornography has surely changed since the invention of moving pictures, and this continues the dive in to a great decade.
The explanations I’ve read on online for “Simon, King of the Witches” insist that the obscure Andrew Prine movie is not meant to be taken seriously. It’s strictly dark comedy. But then you watch one of the most nonsensical unnecessary opening monologues ever filmed, and wonder if the writer himself was high while creating this genre confused tedious mess. “I really am one of the few true magicians,” Simon insists in the prologue, while declaring his affinity for magic, and aspirations to be a god. It is then followed by the man being arrested for vagrancy while being hulled away from his home: a sewer.
For all three of you fans of the “Poison Ivy” movie series wondering when we’d finally see all four of the films from the series on Blu-Ray, Shout Factory finally brings it to us with extras and restorations. Truth is I’m eagerly awaiting the “Devil in the Flesh” duology on Blu-Ray (Sidenote: Do you think anyone has the balls to release the entire “Wild Things” saga?), but for now we have this neat box set of some of the best worst erotic trash that’s ever been brought to movie fans from Warner bros. And just in time for Valentine’s Day and Women in Horror Month, too! You can ogle a pre-career renaissance Drew Barrymore, or up and comer Jaime Pressly, or a post-“Degrassi” Miriam McDonald.
There’s no wrong option, is the bullet point of my explanation.