Synapse // 1970 // 92 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // September 23rd, 2010
The film they tried to stop!
Truthfully, there's really no need for me to even bother reviewing Secrets of Sex.
No, this isn't a porn movie, despite the lurid cover suggesting that might be the case. It is, in fact, a grim anthology horror flick crossed with a trippy '60s arthouse film. And, uh, it's narrated by a mummy. If that sounds interesting to you, well, I can't blame you. It sounded interesting to me, too. Alas, the actual film is a remarkably tedious, unimaginative 92 minutes that proves unsatisfying in almost every way.
Some of the stories presented in this film prove agonizingly predictable. For instance, we're told the story of an art photographer taking pictures of a model pretending to be tortured. It becomes very obvious very quickly that she's about to take the plunge and start actually torturing her unsuspecting subject, but the short takes its time getting there. Finally, it gets there and...well, that's it. No additional exploration of the subject, no further intrigue, no more story. Time to move on. This frustrating pattern happens again and again.
On other occasions, the stories will simply stop before they've had a chance to go anywhere at all. Consider the first story about a man who buries a box without knowing the contents (there may very well be a person inside). This plays like the prologue to a story that never actually gets told.
Other sections of the film simply meander tediously, playing like the "story" portions of a porn film without actually delivering the payoff. The remarkably lame segment about a young man who catches a woman attempting to rob him falls into this category -- it's a cheesy story set-up followed by a long make-out sequence. Every few seconds or show, this piece breaks away to a shot of a plane flying overhead. Oh, artsy!
When the film attempts to actually titillate, the results are laughable. The worst offender is a supposedly lurid sequence in which a breathless male announcer lustily suggests, "Imagine you are making love to this girl. Imagine you are making love to this boy. Now imagine you are making love to this girl. Now imagine you are making love to this boy," while showing us images of naked young adults with naughty looks on their faces. How brazen!
What was I saying? Oh, yeah. I don't really need to review this DVD. Why? Because we've already reviewed it on this very site. Judge Bill Gibron wrote a fine review of the film (released under the title Bizarre, as it was originally named before receiving the more lurid Secrets of Sex title later) back in 2005, thoroughly analyzing the film itself, the transfer, and the special features (an audio commentary with Richard Gordon and Tom Weaver, two short films featuring William S. Burroughs, an interview with writer Elliot Stein and a trailer).
"But Clark," you may be saying, "This is a re-release. Maybe they've improved the transfer or added a new supplement or two?"
Nope. The transfer is exactly the same, the special features are exactly the same. You know how I know? Because the 2005 disc has simply been re-packaged in a new case. The disc even features the title Bizarre rather than Secrets of Sex, meaning that all you get is a brand-new case with an alternate title with cover art that spotlights considerably more T&A than the previous case. What a lazy, cheap move. Synapse ought to be ashamed for this, a release that's not even ambitious enough to earn the title of "double dip." It's nothing more than a repackaging job.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.66:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 1970
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Short Films