, 25 Jul 2010
They say that sex sells, and this is the line that Shameless Screen Entertainment have taken for its second batch of releases. Its been the best part of a year since Shameless have bought us some unadulterated Italian cinema, and now they are back. Last time round they bought us some classic thrillers or Giallo for those in the know, this time round they are focusing all about the sex, with some spicy genre bending titles. The first releases are Satans Baby Doll and Love Goddess Of The Cannibals, two movies that are available for the first time in the UK, and in versions that have longer prints than other countries.
Love Goddess Of The Cannibals is a 1978 offering from notorious director Joe DAmato whose movies include the highly controversial Porno Holocaust and Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead. DAmatos output mainly focused on the sex and death category a monopoly that he himself dominated, the director made over 190 movies that centered on either or both categories. Both of the aforementioned titles were more over the top on what I prefer to refer as knobs and knockers features, being more like pornographic movies than anything else. And while being amusing in different ways, were both lacking a great deal in anything with real structure, seeing as Love Goddess Of The Cannibals comes from this era I settled down with some hesitation to watch the movie.
The movie starts in typical DAmato fashion straight into the sex, a seduction at the hands of the beautiful Papaya (Melissa Chementi) that leads to a mouthful not easily forgotten, either for the viewer or the unlucky man in question. What follows from this is something a little edgy, and for the first time I got a little excited about a DAmato movie, although obviously not in a way the director intended.
The story circles around an Atomic plant that has caused native inhabitants of a tropical paradise to become evicted from their homes. Papaya is a tool used by the locals for seducing the scientists and developers rendering them too weak to fight off whatever atrocity awaits them. For reporter Sara (Sirpa Lane) and plant employee Vincent (Maurice Poli) an encounter with Papaya leads them down a dark path of sacred ceremonies, voodoo, and death.
From a subject matter perspective Love Goddess Of The Cannibals (AKA Caribbean Papaya, Papaya Love Goddess Of The Cannibals) has a little more on the bone than the usual DAmato feature, there is some clear story telling there, but its bogged down by boring soft porn sex at such an alarming rate it almost eclipses the story aspect. And as a story its a pretty good one, one that any torture porn director (the likes perhaps of Eli Roth) might embrace with open arms. When the story gets dark, it gets really dark and the movie is certainly full of bloody punches. Sadly at some points however the bloody punches are met by hollow after effects, when a key characters life is ended around an hour in after the oh my God aspect their very existence is completely eradicated from the movie, like a nasty editing accident. Im not a DAmato fan (or of you prefer Aristide Massaccesi) but this is certainly far better than his usual output.
Sadly the characters are all fairly one dimensional, the only character with any clarity played by the late Sirpa Lane (who rather interestingly died of Aids at the end of the 90s) spends much of the movie sleeping with animal, vegetable or mineral for no apparent reason thus unbalancing any actual performance.
One thing that is of interest is the title of the movie, its a little on the deceptive side, anyone looking for a cannibal feast would be sadly upset by a movie that contains one heart eating scene, but otherwise features no cannibal activity at all. A more appropriate title might be Voodoo Love Goddess, but I guess Cannibals out sell Voodoo activity.
If youre a fan of Italian cinema this is certainly one of those movies you will need to see in order to mentally complete a collection of classics, but its a disjointed, and slightly underwhelming entry. Im certainly glad I saw it, and should I ever take up the directors chair Id certainly have gained some story inspiration, but based on the fact I dont and wont Id never watch the film again.
The DVD comes with a scattering of Trailers from the original 20 Shameless releases, a trailer for Satans Baby Doll, as well as some trailers for Love Goddess, and some alternate opening sequences.
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