Judge Mitchell Hattaway was last seen at the airport, head shaven, giving out flowers. Wont you make a donation to his new religion?
We are all lost.
Somebody finally found a way to make the Jim Jones/Guyana tragedy entertaining: throw in some softcore porn.
Facts of the Case
See, there's this cult, and the cult's second banana goes around drumming up membership by singing about free love and peace, but in reality the cult is a front for a prostitution racket. The female members of the cult are forced to sell their bodies and turn over the money to the spiritual head of the cult, a woman known as The Chosen One (Laura Gemser, Women's Prison Massacre). Although the cultists believe her to be a being of divine origin, The Chosen One is nothing more than a really hot chick who lives on a yacht with her oily, gladiator-wannabe bodyguard/henchman. And there's this dude who stands on the steps of the cult's temple and sings funk tunes while everyone around him makes hot, sweaty love. I swear.
This movie has absolutely nothing to do with the Sylvia Kristel Emmanuelle (note the spelling) movies. It also has absolutely nothing to do with those Emmanuelle in Space flicks Krista Allen refuses to talk about. Like so many of the movies in the Black Emanuelle (note the spelling) series, this movie is simply another Laura Gemser vehicle which has undergone a change-of-title in a shameless attempt to cash in on a name. (This flick is more commonly known as Love Camp or simply Love Cult) What does all of this mean? Nothing, really, because you still get what you pay for. Laura Gemser still takes her clothes off, there is still a boatload of sex, and any attempt to defend this as anything other than good, old-fashioned sleaze would still be an exercise in futility.
As is generally the case with these flicks, Divine Emanuelle exists primarily to showcase its star in various stages of undress. In this sense, the movie is a resounding success. Gemser is seen taking a milk bath in her first scene, and I'd say she is at least partially naked for a good 90 percent of what follows. Hell, most of the time she's completely naked, getting it on with a variety of men and women (and sometimes both). In fact, with the exception of Simone Brahmann (who also starred alongside Gemser in Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade), most of the women in the movie spend much of their time wearing nothing but a smile. (Brahmann can be excused for holding out; she plays a senator's daughter who gets mixed up in the goings-on, but never actually becomes a member of the cult.) You get your fair share of twosomes, threesomes, orgies, and lesbian scenes. Some of these scenes are quite amusing. Gemser and her second banana (played by the movie's writer-director, Christian Anders, who looks like the bastard child of Police guitarist Andy Summers and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor star Aubree Miller) get it on in the ocean, and the poor bastard almost drowns. Two male cult members take on one female member, and what one of the guys wants to do with a candle…well, let's just forget about that. But none of these can top the scenes featuring Gemser's bodyguard Tanga (played by Sascha Borysenko, who looks like the bastard child of Hulk Hogan and The Lost Boys star Tim Cappello), whose—ahem—girth strikes fear into the heart (and eyes) of the hapless women who couple with him. All of this gratuitous nudity and sex comes at a price, though. I'm not sure if it's a cultural thing or if it's due to a lack of Lady Schick razors in the cult's compound, but several of these women have extremely hairy armpits. (There's one woman who makes me want to bring up that old joke about Buckwheat in a headlock, but I'll refrain, as I'm pretty sure I've already used it in another review.) Maybe there is an audience for naked women with extremely hairy armpits, but I'm not a member of any such audience.
Divine Emanuelle also contains its fair share of unintentional laughs. In one scene two cult members are tied to columns and flogged. (Their crime was entering into an exclusive relationship; cult members are expected to give themselves freely to anyone who asks.) The male cult member looks an awful lot like '70s one-hit-wonder Leo Sayer. I can't speak for anyone else, but seeing a naked Leo Sayer look-a-like being flogged is always good for a laugh. There is a brief scene in which Anders uses his martial arts skills to take down two of the senator's hired goons; the scene itself isn't funny, but waiting for it to unfold is. See, Anders is almost always shown wearing his cult robe; when he suddenly changes into his bright yellow, dragon-emblazoned Gi, you just know something's about to go down. (Anders was also able to put these skills to use in Kung Fu Emanuelle, which I'm dying to see.) The mere sight of Sascha Borysenko is just flat-out funny. He's always oiled-up, he wears nothing but a loincloth, and he frightens his opponents by scowling and making his pecs jiggle. That's good stuff. There is also some nonsense about a cop who has infiltrated the cult in hopes of proving Gemser is a fraud. Talk about a plum assignment! (The cop is played by Gabriele Tinti, Gemser's late husband and star of Lisa and the Devil.) Then there is the aforementioned guy who sings during the orgy scenes. (I don't know the actor's name; if I did I would be more than happy to give him his props.) He has two musical numbers, and during these he break dances, proves himself to be a master of the Funky Chicken and the Electric Slide, and belts out his tunes with so much energy and style I hope George Clinton and Bootsy Collins are saving him a seat on the P-Funk Mother Ship. (Don't worry—he also gets in on the loving, discussing philosophy while some nubile lass rides him like a bucking bronco.) Of course, the songs he sings are absolutely awful, but my man's not to blame for that. No, for that you can blame Christian Anders, who also wrote the music for this flick (and in doing so somehow managed to steal the opening rift to Big Star's "The Ballad of El Goodo"). The songs are laughable and heavy-handed, with lyrics that spell out exceedingly sappy messages of love, peace, and unity. Anders himself gets to perform the worst song, a painfully crappy hippy ditty that would make even the creators of Hair wince. (With all of the responsibilities he took on for this flick, Anders hit the hat-trick for suckitude.) And then there's the ending, in which Gemser sits on a throne, surrounded by her fornicating followers, a time bomb ticking away beneath her. No poison Kool-Aid for these people—they'd rather go out with a bang. (Ugh. That was bad even for me.)
Despite what you'll see listed on the packaging, this disc does not contain an anamorphic transfer. Nope, what you get here is full frame; from the looks of it, I would say it is open-matte rather than pan-and-scan. Exterior shots look fine, with good color saturation and detail, but too often interior shots are very soft and grainy. There is also some evidence of print damage, primarily in the form of scratches and speckling. The audio is big, fat mono; dialogue is always clear, and the crappy songs come through with no problems. There is nothing in the way of low-end activity in the track, but, given the film's age, that's no surprise. Extras include trailers for four other releases from Media Blaster's Exploitation Digital label, as well as the trailer for this movie (under its Love Camp moniker). You also get a few deleted scenes (sourced from a German VHS release), as well as several minutes of footage trimmed from a handful of the movie's sex scenes. I think these deleted and extended bits are my favorite aspect of this release; more nude Laura Gemser is always a good thing, and you also get to see Tanga wielding a huge freaking scimitar, which is damned cool. The video quality of this footage isn't anything to shout about, but I'm not going to complain.
Fewer hairy armpits, more of that dude singing and dancing, and at least one scene of Tanga kicking ass with that sword would have helped. Probably not much, but it would have helped.
Guilty. Bring on the next one.
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