• Porno Holocaust (Code Red) Blu-ray Review



    Released by: Code Red
    Released on: October 21st, 2018.
    Director: Joe D’Amato
    Cast: George Eastman, Mark Shannon, Dirce Funari, Annj Goren
    Year: 1981
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    Porno Holocaust – Movie Review:

    Porno Holocaust, despite how it may sound, has no relation whatsoever to Ruggero Deodato's gut-munching masterpiece of nastiness, Cannibal Holocaust. What it is, essentially, is a series of fuck scenes linked together by a shoestring of a plot courtesy of Italian sex and gore master, Joe D'Amato (a.k.a. Arisitde Massaccesi of Beyond The Darkness) and maybe/maybe not with some uncredited assistance from the uber-talented Bruno Mattei (Hell Of The Living Dead).

    The plot? Ha. I'm glad you asked. A few people who are supposedly scientists join up with Captain O’Day (played Mark Shannon from D'Amato's later attempt at a 'gorno', Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead). He’s, duh, the captain of a boat… a boat that gets everyone to a remote island where they have sex with each other and some of the locals. Oh, and they're supposed to be looking into some radioactive mutations as well, but that's pretty much irrelevant. What's important is that they're going to get it on. And get it on they do!

    They arrive, and soon after the copulation begins, a big black guy with a giant cock sporting some truly terrible latex zombie make up starts running around getting up to no good. First he forces his schlong down a poor woman's throat, and then he humps a girl after clocking her outside the head (Mark Shannon later finds her dead, blood oozing from her groin).

    Black mutant zombie cock man kidnaps one of the women scientists, played by the way too cute Annj Goren (the only exceptionally good looking woman in the cast). Seeing as all the male scientists have been killed, it's up to Mr. Shannon to save the day, and get a piece of tail or two while he's at it.

    The first hour or so of the movie is a full on straight ahead porn film. With not a horrific element in sight (unless you count a few of the more unusual looking cast members), we lay witness to a threesome, some medium quality lesbian muff diving and finger bang fun, and a straight scene or two. Once we get to the island, we're more or less numb to it all and the teeny tiny smatterings of bad gore that D'Amato hopes to horrify us with seem tame and rather unnecessary. Once you've seen Shannon’s warty balls slapping against an ass sorely in need of a Brazilian wax, seeing some red paint on someone trying to stand really still with his eyes closed while the camera zooms slowly away to the tune of a rather humorous disco score just isn't all that frightening anymore.

    As a pornographic film, while quite explicit, Porno Holocaust sucks. As a horror film, Porno Holocaust sucks even more. But as a curiosity item, it's interesting and the movie does contain some bizarro moments of unintentional hilarity if you can get past the sex scenes that bombard you every five minutes or so. The explicit content isn't so much arousing as it is… curious. The tepid smatterings of blood and guts here and there make it even more so.

    D'Amato would go on to hone his horror/porn hybrid skills later on with Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead, which actually does have some interesting horror elements to it (as well as the always welcome presence of Laura Gemser), but here he seems to be throwing ideas around and seeing what sticks. The lack of a budget for anything even remotely resembling good make up effects doesn't help matters any (the zombie mutant guy made me laugh every time he came on screen... no pun intended). One has to wonder what the Anthropophagous himself, George Eastman (who also has a small starring role in the film and who co-wrote this thing) was thinking when he put pen to paper for this one.

    In short, this is worth seeing mainly to tell people you've seen it and to giggle at it. Don't expect to be scared, and don't expect to be aroused much either. Expect to snicker behind your hand at bad make up, a plethora of body hair, and a score that sounds like it was culled from a European nightclub dance floor from the era. This is a really bad movie… but it gets points for at least being an interesting and unforgettably screwy bad movie. And as it is with most of D’Amato’s directorial work, it’s nicely shot. The cinematography is polished and it does a nice job of capturing the locales where the movie takes place. Throw in a genuinely cool score from Nico Fidenco and it gets easier to forgive the film’s many and obvious shortcomings.

    Porno Holocaust – Blu-ray Review:

    Code Red’s AVC encoded 1080p high definition 1.66.1 widescreen transfer is quite nice, especially by older exploitation movie standards. There's some mild print damage that appears in the form of some specks on the print and there is some moderate grain in a couple of scenes but the black levels stay strong throughout and the colors look quite good as well. The transfer was taken from a ‘2107 scan of the original film elements with additional color correction done in America’ so there’s that. The original film elements noted are probably a print, but if it was taken from a print it was a decent one. Detail and texture both surpass the old DVD release by quite a margin, there’s better depth throughout the picture. Say what you will about some of D’Amato’s efforts but they typically always look good and this movie is no exception. The high definition transfer does justice to the solid cinematography. The feature takes up just over 21GBs of space on the 25GB disc, there aren’t any noticeable compression artifacts nor are there any issues with edge enhancement or noise reduction. The movie still looks a bit soft, it probably always will, but this is a more than decent presentation given how the movie has looked in the past.

    The Italian language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono mix on the disc is fine. The dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow and that awesome Fidenco score sounds nice and bouncy here, adding a lot to the sleaze and trash that plays out on screen. Optional subtitles are provided in English only.

    Extras start off with a new interview with Mark Shannon entitled The Real Italian Stallion! Here, over twenty-five-minutes, he talks about his youth, his education, what he did after school before he got into acting, what it’s like filming nude scenes and sex scenes, the kind of money that he made doing these movies, some of the directors and actresses that he worked with over the span of his career including D’Amato and Gemser, when scenes needed to be faked and why, and then, of course, his experiences shooting this particular film and Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead. Shannon doesn’t really hold back here, he’s blunt about all of this, explaining in sometimes semi-explicit detail what he did on these films and how he feels about it – it’s a pretty interesting piece!

    Carried over from the old Media Blasters DVD is a twelve-minute on camera interview with George Eastman in which he his work with D'Amato and how and why they came up with the ideas for this film in the first place. The interview is conducted in Italian with English subtitles. He notes how some people think it’s a sequel to Anthropophagous, working on a low budget, some of the trickiness that occurred during the shoot in terms of staging and continuity, what it was like writing with D’Amato, his thoughts on the character that he played in the film and more.

    Aside from that, we get two trailers for Porno Holocaust and one for Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead. Menus and chapter selection are also included on the disc.

    Porno Holocaust – The Final Word:

    Porno Holocaust is irredeemable trash that runs about twenty-minutes too long but like so much of Joe D’Amato’s work there’s something oddly fascinating about this fair plotless and completely scareless mix of horror and hardcore. Code Red’s Blu-ray release won’t convert the non-believers out there but for those who can and do appreciate this nonsense, it’s a pretty solid release presenting the film in nice shape and with two interesting interviews that document its history.

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