Severin Films // 1984 // 97 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Christopher Kulik (Retired) // February 5th, 2010
Treat her like a pet, or else she'll turn into a wild beast!
The filmmaker behind such soft-core "classics" as the Black Emanuelle series, Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead and Papaya: Love Goddess Of The Cannibals is back. While he puts a bit more thought into his story this time around, L'alcova is simply another string of sexual encounters, this time with racism and silent pornography sprinkled in. Once again, Severin is on hand to deliver the exploitation goods with the utmost respect.
Elio De Silveris (Al Cliver, Zombie) has just returned to his Italian homeland after fighting the Zulus. Unbeknownst to his wife Alessandra (Lilli Carati, The Whore), he brings along with him Zerbal (Laura Gemser, Emanuelle Around The World), a female slave given to him as a gift by her tribal king father. Alessandra is appalled he would bring home a "smelly primitive," especially when she only wants privacy with her lover Wilma (Annie Belle, Climax), who also happens to be Elio's secretary.
What follows is how Zerbal turns everyone's lives upside down. First, Elio decides to transfer his power over Zerbal along to his wife, who ends up getting quite turned on by the Ebony beauty. Wilma gets extremely jealous, eventually succumbing to the romantic advances of Elio's son Furio (Roberto Caruso, The Stunt Man). When Elio ends up failing as a writer, he turns to directing porn...and having his three female companions serve as the stars!
Let's not pretend The Alcove is anything else than what it sounds like, shall we? This is heavy breathing nonsense designed for titillation purposes, sporting the flimsiest of plots and a complete lack of character motivation. It's so concerned about sex -- particularly lesbianism -- it even fails to justify its title! D'Amato yet again ventures into tasteless territory, with racial slurs and an ugly rape scene near the end. These turns generate nothing but unpleasantness.
Still, The Alcove does have two notable attributes. One is the period atmosphere, and the other is D'Amato's frequent star (and muse) Laura Gemser, who's positively alluring. The script attempts to give her some kind of goal, although we don't find out about it until the very end, and it's not to be believed. Some might look at this as being about a slave who gains power over her superiors through her sexuality. But since we don't care about her character, why does it matter? Besides, this is not supposed to be some kind of character study, but a soft-core romp with lots of heavy petting and tongue licking. If that is your cup of tea, go for it!
Severin again goes above and beyond the call of duty, giving The Alcove a slick DVD presentation. The 1.85:1 anamorphic image is soft but scratch-free, with deep black levels and nice flesh tones. Grain is virtually nonexistent. Despite the silly dubbing, the 2.0 mono track is quite clean. The only disappointment is a lack of subtitles. The lone extra is a 10 minute interview with D'Amato recorded back in the mid-90s; the director talks about his career and working with Gemser, among other things.
Severin is free to go, but the film is found guilty!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Severin Films
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 1984
MPAA Rating: Not Rated