• Sexcula

    Released by: Impulse Pictures
    Released on: April 9, 2013.
    Director: John Hollbrook
    Cast: Debbie Collins, Jamie Orlando, John Alexander, Tim Lowery, Bud Coal, Marie McLeod
    Year: 1974
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    The Movie:

    Canadian cinema isn’t really all that well known for its pornographic output, and that’s for good reason – there isn’t a whole lot of it. There is, however, the strange case of Sexcula, a film made at during the heyday of the golden age of porn in Vancouver, British Columbia and screened only once. The very definition of obscure, it features a cast of unknowns and was directed by John Hollbrook, a man who has gone on to a fairly prolific career as a cameraman.

    The ‘story’ begins when a woman (Debbie Collins) and her boyfriend (David F. Hurry) drive out to the remote mansion owned by her family. Crumbling and in dire need of repair, the two explore the building – it seems she’s looking for her grandmother’s diary. She finds it and off they go to a grassy field where they enjoy some wine together. As she lays there naked, he reads to her from the diary and it’s here that the plot really begins.

    Long ago in the eighteenth century there was a Doctor Fallatingstein (Jamie Orlando) who created a man named Frank (John Alexander) who she hoped to use basically as her love slave. Unfortunately, Frank doesn’t work properly – he can’t get it up and the good doctor cannot for the life of her figure out why. So in order to get this problem solved, Fallatingstein calls in her promiscuous sex expert cousin, Countess Sexcula (Debbie Collins again), in hopes that she can figure out why Frank just isn’t interested.

    So Sexcula does what Fallatingstein asks of her. She’s got a few different tricks up her sleeve, the first of which is to try and hypnotize Frank. This at least clues them into the fact that he does have some desire when the simulation results in all of them running naked through a field with Frank asking them to ‘come back.’ The next day they hire a stripped (Julia Simmons) to do an arousing dance, though she’s later joined by a giant ape (!) and then Sexcula takes him on a carriage ride where she figures a little girl on girl action might get him going. When Sexcula realize Frank can’t produce ‘sex cells’ she takes a more scientific approach and heads into town where she ‘borrows’ some functioning sex cells from a horny lumberjack and a drunken sailor... and then later a wedding party that turns into an orgy that is actually a porno movie shoot? While all of this is going on, the doctor’s assistant, a hunchback named Orgie (Tim Lowery), is diligently trying to screw a telepathic female robot (Marie McLeod) who is perpetually naked and stuck on some sort of lab table. Unfortunately for Orgie, the giant ape that is kept in a cell in the basement has got the hots for him.

    Even before the cast and crew break the forth wall in the film’s completely lunatic finale, Sexcula stops making sense. Oh, there’s a plot that’s fairly well established early on and details of that plot do carry through much of the movie but how on earth the porn shoot factors into the eighteen century setting of the main story is anyone’s guess and why the crew all show up in the end? Who knows. You get the impression that somewhere along the way the filmmakers just sort of threw up their hands in frustration and said ‘fuck it. It’s like instead of trying to finish a coherent feature they just used what they had, knowing full well that since this is porn plot could easily come second to the more explicit aspects of the production.

    Speaking of which… some of the scenes are softcore (the girls in the carriage) and some completely hardcore. Most of the scenes are fairly quick and not as focused on gynecological close-ups as a lot of similar movies, though the film definitely delivers the hardcore, particularly in the later parts. The most explicit scene is the one that takes place in the chapel as the bride to be blows her fiancé in front of the priest before the best man and maid of honor get in on the action, followed later by the priest himself. It’s all very strange and not always that arousing.

    Often bathed in a lot of odd primary colors (red being the most popular one), the laboratory sets make those used on The Hilarious House Of Frightenstein look fancy by comparison. The abandoned building in the opening scene has some nice atmosphere but it’s never used after that early establishing bit. The bulk of the film is just goofy looking. Yet throughout all of this nonsense, there’s a very playful spirit to the movie. The sex is fun, the comedy fairly horrible but no less enjoyable and everyone in front of the camera seems to be in on the joke. Even if the performances are goofy and wooden, the cinematography fairly primitive and the whole thing completely ludicrous, this makes for a fun watch. They really don’t make them like this anymore, Sexcula is truly one of a kind.


    Sexcula looks pretty good in 1.33.1 fullframe, which was can assume is how it was shot. It’s not like there are lots of different sources available for this one floating around and given the age and obscurity of the picture, the image is surprisingly decent. Some of the darker scenes are a bit too dark but this seems to be the way that the movie was shot. Colors are reproduced nicely and although there’s plenty of grain, the print damage that appears on screen is minor. Detail looks good and there are no issues with compression artifacts or edge enhancement – all in all, a nice, film-like transfer.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono track is occasionally a little bit muffled, which no doubt stems back to the original recording, but for the most part it’s fine. Dialogue is pretty easy to understand and the levels are properly balanced. No serious issues with hiss or distortion to note. There are no alternate language options or subtitles provided.

    Extras are slim but we do get an original trailer for the movie – it’s in noticeably worse shape than the feature itself but otherwise a welcome addition to the disc, which also includes static menus and chapter selection. Included inside the keepcase is a double sided one page insert with some liner notes on the history and rediscovery of the movie from Dimitrios Otis on one side and a humorous Rick Trembles Motion Picture Purgatory comic strip review of the movie on the other side.

    The Final Word:

    A legitimate cinematic oddity, Sexcula is just as bizarre as you could imagine it would be, a frequently hilarious and occasionally surreal mix of monster movies and seventies porn weirdness. Impulse’s DVD debut looks and sounds as could as can really be expected and if it’s not stacked with extras, the trailer and liners are a nice addition to the disc. This one’s a trip.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      Entertaining review. Sounds like it's worth picking up.
    1. Jimmy Simard's Avatar
      Jimmy Simard -
      My pre-order just got ship, looks like it will be fun watching time.