Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead
Joe D’Amato is a name that is not likely to raise the eyebrows of any mainstream filmgoer, true, but those of us who spend as much time as we can digging through the archives of European horror will undoubtedly recognize the man responsible for such cult titles as Beyond The Darkness and Antropophagus. Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead, released during what I consider to be D’Amato’s most relevant filmmaking period (1979 to 1981), is a cross between low-budget European horror and pornography. Yup, most Euro horror movies are known for their exploitation leanings but Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead, as the title probably implies, is one to go “all the way.”
The quality of a film like this is going to drastically depend upon the reason one is watching it. Are you watching it go get off on sex or violence or both? I would say at least one-third (probably more) of Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead consists or either softcore or hardcore pornography whilst the rest of the film explores your usual Italian horror clichés such as poor plot development, gruesome violence and loads of atmosphere. I, while not expecting any hardcore pornography, was certainly hoping for sleaze, atmosphere and violence and that’s exactly what I got. If you’re looking for a horror film with any kind of substantial, coherent meaning than I suggest you not only stay away from Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead but Joe D’Amato all together as he openly admitted to sometimes putting artistic value aside in favor of producing something he felt would elicit profits. It sounds shallow and to some extent it probably is but, then again, it was quite common in Italy during the late 70s and early 80s for filmmakers to emulate American box-office successes (something D’Amato often did) or to simply set out to make what they thought would secure some financial success so, at the end of the day, I don’t hold D’Amato’s perspective against him since sex sells and it sells well.
Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead is a one-dimensional film that is only going to appeal to a pretty niche audience, namely one looking for both sex and horror because, otherwise, there’s too much sex for horror or too much horror for sex. I enjoyed the film’s atmosphere tremendously and felt the second-half of the film (the horror side) was more rewarding than the first, its eerie island setting being more than appropriate for the surreal, dreamlike zombie scenes that take place upon its sands. The first half consists of sex, sex and more sex. What more can I say? If you’re one with unabashedly bad tastes than I highly recommend Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead to you but, otherwise, I suggest you keep your distance. All right, now if I could only find that darn bottle cork …