Sadomania (1981)

Director: Jess Franco

If 99 Women was relatively mild, you could never accuse Sadomania of being that; if there’s nothing else you can say for it, it unquestionably delivers in spades on the trailer’s promise of naked flesh. Sadomania is overflowing with tits. Tits everywhere. Maybe not always big enough to keep Russ Meyer happy, but so numerous he still couldn’t complain. Franco spends bugger all time on the narrative set-up—nice young couple on their honeymoon trespass near a women’s penitentiary in a scabby desert location, girl gets retained while man gets sent away by lesbian warden as if she thinks he actually won’t try and rescue his girl—to get straight down to the brass tacks of just being trashy as fuck. I’ve no idea what this film’s Australian censorship history is—Refused Classification have no record for it that I can see—but I imagine the OFLC having… difficulties with it; there’s at least one scene involving an Alsatian and a young girl chained to a chair that would need to be hacked to bits if not hacked out entirely before they’d even think about watching the rest of it. (I said it was trashy as fuck.) As with 99 Women, the warden has an unhealthy relationship with the local governor—Franco regular Antonio Mayans, sporting some of the most ludicrous facial hair since Chaplin’s Mutual two-reelers—and his perverted wife, the latter of whom really wants to bear her impotent husband a child but can only get him up with that aforementioned dog business (trashy as fuck), while Franco himself plays an absurdly gay white slaver and indulges himself in a sex scene with Ajita Wilson, the transsexual performer who plays a man in that scene and the obviously female lesbian warden. (Trashy as fuck.) And don’t forget the tits either (I mean, really, after the man rescues his wife from the prison you’d think he might at least have found a t-shirt or something for her rather than expect her to keep running around naked for the rest of the film).

Of course, just as you can’t accuse Sadomania of being mild, you also can’t really accuse it of being much good; the dubbing is abnormally bad even for this sort of Euro-exploitation—to the point where I can’t tell if the acting on screen is bad or if it’s just the voices (probably both; Franco confesses on the Blue Underground DVD that Wilson wasn’t really mean enough for her role)—plus characters are poorly drawn enough that it’s hard to tell quite a few of them apart, and there’s quite some Idiot Plot going on, as referenced earlier. Let’s not forget the fake alligator. Still, for all that, there’s something about the film that makes it watchable, even if I’m not sure what. Maybe it’s the tits (you must admit, whatever Franco had to do to get quite so many girls game enough to be in a film like this, he got the necessary results). And did I mention that Sadomania is trashy as fuck?

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