Porno Holocaust (Joe D'Amato / Italy, 1981):

The title, a study in itself, positions the proceedings in Lenzi-Deodato territory, only this is a curious and relaxed affair, designed as an easygoing pendant to Erotic Nights of the Living Dead, likewise shot by Joe D’Amato to occupy himself during a tropical vacation. Views of Santo Domingo streets are stolen via traveling shots out of a speeding jeep, which drives up to D’Amato’s first joke: Mark Shannon, the skipper hired to chaperone a group of scientists, is introduced to his charges (Lucia Ramirez, Annj Goren, Dirce Funari) in tiny bikinis by the swimming pool ("nuclear physics are my specialty"). There are rumors of a monster, the Minister dismisses them as superstition but anthropologist (and screenwriter, and token non-porn guy) George Eastman pauses his colleagues’ boinking long enough to steer the ship to a nearby island, the site of atomic testing some decades earlier; handheld lurking welcomes them ashore, the film begins anew as Corman's Day the World Ended, with a radiation-misshapen Man Friday toting a ravenous, eggplant-sized cock. Funari chokes on it, Goren is left with a bloodied cooch, Ramirez is whisked off to his lair, where he treats her to fruit, flowers, and the silent outrage of oppression. A zoom from a bloodily slain local segues into a romping couple in their hotel room, but gore and sex here are not so much connected as contrasted, the director mediating the tension between simulated killing and vérité fucking by doing both badly -- D’Amato boils horror down to red chunks dumped on somebody’s forehead after a rock is smashed against the lens, and ignores all common sense about sixty-nining on the beach being both easier and more photogenic with the guy on the bottom. A forthright, airily artless lark, and maybe not so frivolous: Goren pays to be tag-teamed by a pair of natives, and the awkward, untitillating passage that follows lays out sexual tourism for Houellebecq, et al. (Wasn’t Heading South a horror film, after all?)

--- Fernando F. Croce

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