Secret! Sensational! Shameless!
The Great Eric is neither. His magic/hypnosis/disgruntled loser act is wearing thin on local independent television stations around skid row. So he determines that there's got to be a better way to make a dishonest buck. Taking a page from Madison Avenue, he determines that sex, and a saucy name change, sells just about anything, even an aging, sexless boozehound. After locating the proper pleasure palace, otherwise known as an abandoned warehouse, he changes his name to Eros and starts a randy alternative religion based on the saving grace of patch-to-patch patty cake. Even with the occasional rape, everything seems to be going along tithingly. Then a rich old witch shows up and offers our non-erotic cleric a Plato's Retreat all his own. All he needs to do is service her insatiable appetite for flippy-floppy, and it's a greenback bonanza. But wouldn't you know it? Untold riches and access to their every want and desire turns this band of affection aficionados against each other in a bawdy battle for a bigger piece of the pie (financial and hair). And just like other sin splinter factions founded on false foundations throughout the world, greed and grievous bodily harm are the gifts of grace from The Love Cult.
Meanwhile, the Gaiety Theater—slash—Health Spa is having a string of very bad luck. Seems several of the dancers—slash—lifetime members are being slaughtered by a wigged-out weirdo in a trench coat and ladies panty hat. Tango, the owner—slash—headliner of the exotic dancer exercise club wants the police to solve the crime. Across town, a ribald Richard Simmons—slash—tacky Tony Little that teaches shut-ins the finer points of figure fitness worries that this rash of stripper rippings will reduce the amount of sweeps week rating eye candy at his disposal. But the detectives—slash—dimwits put in charge of the case are too busy doing body cavity searches in the their minds to appreciate the finer points of inductive and deductive reasoning. Besides, they enjoy their off duty past time of mimicking famous people a little too much. Eventually, the killer—slash—plot device finds ways to slaughter his skin exposing sows right under the cops' clueless noses. So it's up to the decidedly matron-like Tango to take the stage and re-enact the murders via interpretive dance—slash—asexual striptease to bring the homicidal hack backstage for a little sandbag justice. Luckily, the pathetic peeping police stumble in to reveal the killer's identity. And while all of this may seem like some silly nudie flick—slash—exploitation hack job, it's really nothing more than a few concentric rotations of the Mundo Depravadaos (World of the Depraved).
Anyone who ever wondered what life would be like at Jonestown during the non-Kool-Aid drinking days need look no further than the mind numbing nothingness of The Love Cult to weaken their resolve. Hoping to stir up a little blasphemy bally-ho by mixing sex and the sacraments, this limp loser of a skin flick simply sinks under its own stupidity. Many of its exploitation selling points are clearly out of the dense as a doorknob school. It concludes that the best way to sell its saucy viewpoint is to have main character Eric/Eros blather on like Howard Beale in need of a Viagra. While the notions of liberating sex and the saving grace of hinder grinders are extolled over and over again, we only eyeball several sedate scenes of the near comatose copping feels. What fornication we do experience comes at the wrinkled claws of an elderly Rose Marie lookalike and a gin soaked Buddy Ebson double as they perform several non-sexy bed battles. You half expect Morey Amsterdam to show up and join in for a joking and geriatric ménages a trios. But the worst part of this flaccid free love faction film is the reliance on sexual battery by greasy dive bar patrons to move the plot along. Seems that whenever a character needs a little bit of what Marvin Gaye would call "carnal caregiving," one of the Vitalis slicked sickos who work for Eros simply force themselves onto the unknowing victims-in-training. This mean-spirited notion of rape as rapture along with the general disgusting quality of the entire unclothed cast and a voiceover narration that is part Movietone News, part Dudley Manlove from Plan 9 (who played a character called…Eros. Coincidence?) make The Love Cult a long drawn out initiation into a sordid segment of salvation that should have stayed stymied. No amount of Scientology or L. Ron Dianetics will ever "clear" this crazed curve crash from your subconscious.
At least Mundo Depravados starts out with a little more vim and vigor. Within the first ten minutes, we are treated to a brutal sex crime, a sleazy burlesque act, the filming of a bawdy morning workout show, and the introduction of two of the most lust and lechery filled non-prop comic cops ever to walk a meat beat. More concerned with the nightly strip show than who's killing the grimy girls of Tango's Gaiety Lounge, these bumbling buttons couldn't investigate their way out of a cold shower. But they do have one hell of a Ted Mack Amateur Hour impersonation act. That's right! Just as the murder mystery starts to unfold, and characters are sporting stab wounds left, right, and backside, our manic Mark Fermans break into a disconcerting Rich Little nightclub routine. Especially touching is the entire Topo Gigio/Ed Sullivan faux homo exchange. Frankly, all of Mundo Depravados is a little off kilter, starting with a title that was changed from Meet Me Under the Bed, for obvious reasons (?). It bounces so violently between nudie cutie comedy and debauched sex psycho picture that there ought to be a whiplash warning during the opening credits. Standing at the center of this insanity is the large and lengthy of bosom Tempest Storm, well past her built like Grant's Tomb headliner days and left to ineptly read cue cards and look stretched of incisor as Tango, exercise guru and over-the-hill exotic dancer. Her main competition is Jack La Lane's Latino leech Ray Rivier, known for beating Ron Harris to the scantily clad Aerobicise crown a good 15 years before that Showtime sexercise extravaganza. Eventually, the plot starts to slumber and after a couple of obviously false leads (including what looks like Louie Anderson with a permanent "aw shucks" smirk on his face), we learn the "sex monster's" identity, and like the rest of Mundo Depravados, it makes little or no sense. The police wind up consists of one line and then an obscene phone call for a date with Tempest. And wouldn't you know it. She says yes!
In one of the rare instances of bonus bewilderment, Something Weird gives this DVD few decent content cookies. There are a vast array of unreal trailers, advertising films with fascinating titles like The Peeping Phantom, Sex Club International, and Two Girls for a Madman. But the rest of the wacky windfall usually present is truly wanting here. The outtakes from Mundo Depravados are really nothing more than micro-moments of clapboard slaps and flubbed lines. Offered without sound but backed by the movie's manic bump and grind roots rock, they grow dull quickly. As do the short subjects. Germans in the nude playing with their food is, perhaps, penetrating Third Reich torture fodder, but the so-called The Revolution Marches on its Stomach is like one big bile Brioski. The full frontal Swami Yogi-Pogi features the Great Gildersleeve's deviant brother snapping sex pics of bare sunbathers. The female hostess keeps begging the bewildered shaman to zap clothes onto their stag reel skin show. Finally, we get to see Mundo Depravados star Tempest Storm in her almost human phase, just before she turned bitter and bedraggled. Seems a famous artist wants to immortalize Tempest's chest in plaster. Seems several hundred reporters were necessary to cover the proceedings. Along with horrendous film soundtracks that seem as if they were recorded by a detuned Mr. Microphone, making all the plot and character important dialogue nearly indecipherable, this is a middling package of a couple of meandering movies. At least the full screen monochrome images are first rate. But be warned. Signing up to join The Love Cult / Mundo Depravados could result in a lifetime membership of misery and droopy mammaries. And even the Moonies aren't that sadistic.
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