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Case Number 24118: Small Claims Court

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Waves of Lust

Raro Video // 1975 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker (Retired) // July 11th, 2012

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All Rise...

Hanging out at the Jersey shore, Appellate Judge Tom Becker has grown quite accustomed to seeing waves of rust.

The Charge

Lured…into a voyage of desire…and danger!

The Case

An attractive bohemian couple (Al Cliver, Rulers of the City, Silvia Dionisio, Murder Obsession) catches the eye of a rich man (John Steiner, Plot of Fear) and his mistress (Elizabeth Turner, The Psychic). Giorgio, the rich guy, is especially taken with Barbara, the free spirit. He invites them to join him and his mistress on his yacht for the weekend.

Giorgio is not just ridiculously wealthy, he's decadent and evil. He abuses his mistress physically and psychologically, degrades bohemian-boy Irem, and openly lusts after Barbara. He also despises the poor and anyone he considers weak; plus, he's a raging drunk.

So Barbara and Irem "team up" with Silvia, the mistress. Giorgio is unconcerned about their "alliance," though. As he notes, he could kill any one of them and not even spend a day in jail; thus is life for the wealthy.

But as the yacht trip progresses, complete with Scuba diving, skinny-dipping, and foreplay, it's clear that something is up. The question is, while four people made the trip out, will that same number be on board when the yacht returns?

In Italian cinema, the erotic thriller was a popular subset of the iconic giallo films of the late '60s and '70s. Films like So Sweet…So Perverse, An Ideal Place to Kill, Smile Before Death, and The Sweet Body of Deborah pretty much followed the same template: put a bunch of attractive people—some strangers—together, let the sexual fireworks begin, and then upend everything by having the motivations of one or more characters turn out not to be what they appeared. These films often had a Diabolique feel to them; cheesy American erotic thrillers became a staple of direct-to-home-video releases in the late '80s and early '90s.

Ruggero Deodato, best known for gore epics like Cannibal Holocaust and Last Cannibal World, dipped his toe in the erotic thriller waters with 1975's Waves of Lust. It's an OK little film, but far from the best of its kind, focusing far more heavily on the erotic end of things and not so much on the thriller aspects.

It all starts off promisingly enough, with an upside-down view of the world courtesy of Irem, who's standing on his head. We meet the very attractive bo-ho couple as they're watching Giorgio and Silvia water ski. When Silvia falls, Giorgio skis around her, almost hurting her, thus showing us right out of the gate that he's a rotter. Later, he smacks her around and has "punishment" sex with her.

Once Giorgio meets the lovely Barbara—played by Deodato's then-wife, the astonishingly beautiful Silvia Dionisio—and invites her (and, by default, Irem) to party on the yacht, the dynamic becomes clear. We have a villain, a victim, and pair of pretty young people who wink at each other a lot.

That's pretty much it for Waves of Lust. The characters are all pretty transparent, and there's little sexual tension since everyone is pretty willingly having sex. There's a bit of suspense, and a dangerous atmosphere, but it's not hard to see where this is all going.

Steiner made a career out of playing villains, and he's appropriately hiss-worthy here, but Giorgio's just too obvious. At least he's interesting, which can't be said for Cliver's Irem, who's just a nice-looking slacker with no real personality. The most interesting character is Turner's high-strung Silvia, whose intentions are not always apparent.

Setting everything on a boat gives the film a nicely claustrophobic feel, but there's so little significant action (or interaction), that it wears thin. It also robs the film of the sometimes-ridiculous "stylish" touches that erotic thrillers of the time had (trips to discoes, romps in mansions, crazy rides in cool cars, that sort of thing). The film's politics are pretty façile—the rich suck—and the all-important twists that hallmarked these things are noticeably absent. Overall, it's just a mediocre film that's only intermittently interesting as erotica.

Raro's disc offers a reasonable-looking image and a pair of weak but acceptable mono audio tracks, one in Italian, the other in English. The main supplement is a 17-minute documentary, "Erotic Tsunami," that features interviews with Deodato and screenwriter Lamberto Bava. I need to note that I had trouble playing the documentary on my Blu-ray player; it froze and wouldn't start up again, despite a number of attempts. It did play in computer's Blu-ray drive, so whether it's an authoring problem or a machine problem, I can't say.

Also included are "deleted scenes," although the scenes are, in fact, in the film; perhaps they were deleted for the theatrical run. A supplement that appeared on Raro's release of Deodato's Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man that features commercials Deodato directed is also on this set; also there's an illustrated booklet with a great, comprehensive essay by Eric Cotenas of Cineventures Blogspot and DVD Beaver.

The Verdict

I generally enjoy Eurorotic sleaze thrillers more than this. Despite an appealing cast and lots of nudity, Waves of Lust lacks luster. Raro's disc is overall fine, but this one just squeaks by.

Case dismissed.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 73

Perp Profile

Studio: Raro Video
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Italian)
• English
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 1975
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Erotic
• Exploitation
• Foreign
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Documentary
• Deleted Scenes
• TV Commercials
• Bios
• Booklet


• IMDb
• Cineventures Blogspot

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