Friday, July 16, 2021

Introductions (1976)

The original French title that translates to The Weekends of a Perverse Couple is plenty blunt. I wonder if "perverse" (or, pervers, I guess) has a bit more nuance in French than English. Regardless, I prefer the classier ambiguity of title Introductions.

There's no time wasted letting the viewer know what's up: it's sexy summertime in France, and while Mitch (Jacques Insermini) spends the week working in Paris, it's up to his wife Ann (Emmanuelle Pareze) to locate and seduce a sweet young thing that they can share when he's back for the weekend. For our voyeuristic pleasure, the target is Beatrice (Chantal Nora).

Friday, July 9, 2021

House of Strange Desires (1985)

If there's something strange in Jason (Mike Horner) and Terry's (Tamara Longley) new house, who are they gonna call? Gina (Cindy Carver), Krensky (John Seeman), and Abigail (Jill Ferari)! Unfortunately for the haunted homeowners in House of Strange Desires, the ghosts decidedly do not get busted.

While there are some "first draft" shortcomings of the script (mostly that there's no clear origin, reason, or motivation for the malevolent spirits, almost certainly misidentified as paranormal/occult expert Krensky as a succubus), to the movie's benefit, (co)writer, director, producer Lawrence T Cole resisted the urge to lean on camp or comedy and kept the tone earnest, which made for some charming laugh-out-loud moments that can only come from movies like The Room or Miami Connection that don't come at the viewer with any winks or nods. There were also a few great details, like the spirit(s) only manifesting in physical form after being drawn by Jason's semi-possessed hand and the use of sheer fabric to denote the barrier between the tangible and spectral realms.

About halfway through the movie, something about the setting and interaction between Jason and Terry reminded me of Dangerous Desires which, turns out, was also a Cole picture. [Writing this now also brought to attention Cole's apparent passion for putting "desire" in titles: Challenge of Desire (1982), Forbidden Desire (1983), House of Strange Desires (1985), and Dangerous Desires (1982).] Both films have an undercurrent of melodrama (though in Dangerous Desires, that shit's turned up to 11). I wonder if Cole started making more serious porn explicitly or implicitly to atone for his early, much sleazier career. Either way, movies like this sort of explain how he segued into the writer's room on the final season of Dynasty.