• Play Motel



    Released by: Raro Video
    Released on: August 25th, 2015.
    Director: Mario Gariazzo
    Cast: Ray Lovelock, Anna Maria Rizzoli, Mario Cutini
    Year: 1979
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    The Movie:

    Play Motel, directed by Mario Gariazzo in 1979, is far from a text book example of just how good giallo cinema can be and more an exercise in gratuitous sex and nudity. Is that a bad thing? No, not necessarily, but those looking for suspense and terror aren’t going to find it here.

    The movie starts off with a pretty interesting scene in which a man named Rinaldo Cortesi (Enzo Fisichella) arrives at our titular hotel for a little hanky-panky with his favorite whore, Loredana (Marina Hedman). Not content just to screw the lovely blonde lass, he has he dress as a nun while he puts on a devil costume. Not too long after their encounter, he finds himself the subject of blackmail! It seems that someone was savvy enough to take pictures of he and she in the act and if he doesn’t pay up, those pictures are going to fall into the wrong hands.

    Those hands belong to Louisa (Patrizia Behn), Rinaldo’s wife, who just so happens to be screwing around with his lawyer behind the guy’s back. As she wants a divorce anyway, it doesn’t seem to matter so much. She gets ahold of the pictures and takes them to a cop, De Santis (Antony Steffen), so that he can start digging around. He figures out that Loredana used to spread’em for dirty magazines published by a sleaze-bag named Mario Liguori (Marino Masé) but when Loredana turns up dead before he can investigate further, De Santis runs into a snag. This inspires Louisa to do some digging of her own, but that gets her murdered, her body stuffed inside the trunk of a car belonging to an actor named Roberto (Ray Lovelock) and his wife Patrizia (Anna Maria Rizzoli) outside the very hotel where all of this started in the first place.

    As the bodies start to pile up, De Santis is able to draw a connection between all of the killings – everyone murdered has stayed at the Play Motel at one point. It ties into Liguori’s porno magazine empire, but how? And why? Patrizia goes undercover as a model in need of a job to help her husband and De Santis sort all of this out…

    Short on suspense but loaded with sleazy set pieces, this one has a lot more going on in the graphic sex department than it does in the graphic murder department, so set your expectations accordingly. It does, however, feature a pretty fantastic (and seemingly unreleased) soundtrack and an interesting cast. Lovelock is probably the biggest name attached to the picture and it’s amusing to see him here, starring a in film far sleazier than you’d expect (it was released in a hardcore version as well as the not so hardcore version included on this disc… but for more on that see the extras!). The rest of the cast are interesting as well, particularly the ladies as they seem to be more than willing to get down to their birthday suits at the drop of a hat.

    There are a few spots, though, where the movie slows down a fair bit. Sex and violence is awesome, we all know that, but the mystery that the plot actually revolves around does seem to play second fiddle to the more sensationalist aspect of the picture. It’s nicely shot though, with some cool locations and a lot of wild colors on display throughout the movie. A top tier giallo it most certainly is not but fans of the genre who need to seek out as many as they can (an understandable and even admirable obsession) will want it regardless.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Play Motel debuts on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.66.1 and it looks okay. Not amazing, mind you, but okay. There is some obvious noise reduction applied here, as is the case with pretty much every Raro Blu-ray release these days, but it’s not a complete wax blasting the way that some of their recent titles have been. Skin does look a little smooth and grain is suspiciously absent in most of the movie, but the colors are reasonably well defined here and there are some shots that do exhibit decent detail and texture.

    Audio options are provided in both English and Italian language LPCM Mono options with removable subtitles available in English only. Clarity of both tracks is just fine, there aren’t any problems here. Balance is good and there are no issues with any hiss or distortion to note.

    Extras include a nineteen minute featurette called The Midia's Touch that covers how the studio that produced this particular film and quite a few other cult classics was formed. We get the chance to hear from various participants about their involvement in different Midia productions, including Ray Lovelock who was none too happy find out that hardcore footage had been added to this particular film. Speaking of which, seven minutes of that aforementioned footage is included here, separate from the feature itself (meaning you don’t get the option to watch the movie with that footage included). Menus and chapter stops are also included. Inside the Blu-ray case is an insert booklet of liner notes that detail the different versions of the movie. The Blu-ray case fits inside a cardboard slipcover.

    The Final Word:

    Play Motel suffers from some pacing problems here and there but it’s got an interesting cast, a few unforgettable set pieces, plenty of nudity and sleaze and a killer soundtrack. Raro’s Blu-ray presents the movie in decent shape with a few extras of note. Maybe not essential Italian cult cinema, but close enough that those with an interest should get a kick out of it.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!