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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Ultimate Degenerate/ The Lusting Hours/ In Hot Blood
The Ultimate Degenerate/ The Lusting Hours/ In Hot Blood
Image // Unrated // December 13, 2005
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Bill Gibron | posted December 11, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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One of the reasons that exploitation was (and remains) so popular with its predominantly male demographic is that it sold a certain succinct fantasy that men have more or less lusted over for eons. Not just attracted to the obvious T & A or the ample softcore shenanigans, what the grindhouse patron palpated over was a motion picture scenario in which a woman was given a wild and wicked libido - a sexuality in stark contrast to the supposed social norm. Gals have often been hampered with the label of "the weaker sex", and nowhere was this truer than in the depiction of desire in the typical female. Girls were not supposed to want carnal pleasure. Their bodies were unapproachable temples, and men were supposed to value and validate their continued virginity. However, deep in the heart of every misguided guy was the desire to be dominated by an aggressive and promiscuous Miss.

The raincoat crowd found their tempting, hot to trot tarts in the weekly line-up at the local bawdy Bijou. Indeed, the theme of almost any exploitation film can be boiled down to the underlying unnatural urges of the typical female and how the right combination of approach and acceptability can turn any gal into a super sexed up nympho. The outsider cinema of the 50s, 60s, and 70sd made its money off the idea that hidden inside each and every house, student, sister, mother, niece or maiden aunt was a risqué and ribald tigress just waiting to pounce onto and pound some available man meat.

Looking at the titles offered in Something Weird Video's December DVD release, we can see this skank-filled scheme in full force. In The Ultimate Degenerate, our heroine is friskier than a Chihuahua on churros. The Lusting Hours focuses on those notorious ladies of naughty repute - a.k.a. whores, while In Hot Blood shows that the cutthroat world of modeling is just an excuse to screw around during a shoot - oh, and to chop your co-workers up with a meat cleaver while in a drug-induced daze. Each one of these fetid little films argues that women want it just as badly as men; they just haven't yet figured out how to look sophisticated and nonplused in their amorous ache.

When horny as Hades lesbian Maria grows tired of her large-chested bed buddy, she begins cruising the want ads for available action. She runs across a notice that promises unimaginable sexual adventure - and a paycheck at the end of the week to boot. Never one to look a gratuitous gift horse in the sawbuck, Maria makes a call and hooks up with hippy himbo Bruno. The sloppy stud works for Spencer, a crippled crackpot who likes his sensual escapades dirty, sleazy and sort of on the sick side. Spencer's New England home has a basement stage where various women commit unnatural acts with whipped cream and...corn cobs??? When she arrives, Maria is enraptured with the newfound freedom. She does it with Bruno on the dining table, and then heads down the cellar to catch the current show. She takes Sappho style pictures with some of the other guests and even gives a masturbating Miss a post-shower wet job. Sadly, all slutty things must come to an end as Maria learns that Spencer is a psycho, secretly torturing his patrons to death with a deadly electric vibrator. And she may be next on his Ultimate Degenerate hit list.

In typical Michael Findlay fashion, The Ultimate Degenerate is more interested in tone than titillation. Certainly there is ample breast and bottom action, and a couple of scenes of sleazy carnal caresses. But what this movie really wants to be is an exploration of excess, a tawdry and tasteless exercise in fetishism and extremes. Unfortunately, Findlay is hemmed in by the film's format. By making Maria the center of attention, we end up seeing things from her decidedly dorky perspective. Instead of getting into the mind of Spencer's sick SOB ways, we only get glimpses of his cold corruption. When something is titled The Ultimate Degenerate, you expect to see some sordidness. Yet it's not until Findlay breaks out the Mega-watt masturbation aide that things start to get good and dicey. Up to this point, all we see are gals going ga-ga over the Ready-Whip, a smudge pot watusi and the single most aberrant use of corn one will witness this side of a Kansas frat house.

Still, this movie is a lot of lewd, ludicrous fun, mostly because of the actress playing Maria. Though she is credited as Artimida Grillet, fans will instantly recognize Uta Erickson as the game gal with an insatiable itch. This favorite of the New York film scene worked with many of the genre's biggest names, most notably Doris Wishman and Joe Sarno. Her natural "assets" and Scandinavian appeal are hard to deny, and when she gets good and worked up, it's viewer va-va-va-voom time! Sadly, the rest of the cast is familiar, but rather flaccid. Indeed, the two gals who literally invent the concept of cornholing look about as interested in their product-based porn as a peacenik on Veterans Day. It's bountiful blank stares all around. But perhaps the biggest strike against The Ultimate Degenerate is that it comes directly after Findlay's most famous films, the tainted triptych of The Touch of Her Flesh, The Kiss of Her Flesh and The Curse of Her Flesh. Since it would be next to impossible to top those seamy sex splatter masterpieces, even Erickson's eroticism can't make this Degenerate the ultimate anything.

Findlay was rumored to be behind the mock doc dementia known as The Lusting Hours as well. This supposed exposé on the lives of loose women is really nothing more than a marvelous voice-over lecture followed up with lots of outrageous skin flick footage. The movie is actually divided into parts. We learn how every one horse town has at least one whorehouse - how else will the inbred and the imbecilic get their farm-subsidy sated rocks off. The description of how the town brothel works is a treat, as are the scenes showing a decidedly dried up Madam making sure that her barnyard babes and ready, willing and more than able. Next, we move to the world of the streetwalkers and escorts. But instead of focusing on the female only, The Lusting Hours takes a queer quantum leap and talks about the problems of male prostitutes as well. We see our sour stud for hire collecting his keep from a mesmerized matron, picking up a John in the Port Authority bathroom, and getting a beating from this loving transsexual spouse! The final facet up for discussion in the world of sex for sale is the life and times of a call girl. These full blown fashion plates (who use Harper's Bizarre and Butterfield 8 as their guides to glamour) must struggle with horrendous moral issues as well as finding ways to please their three-martini clientele.

For all its pseudo-scholarship, this oddball bit of episodic erotica is rather routine in its depiction of debauchery. The scenes inside the countrified cathouse are mostly mundane (and occasionally out of focus). The only joy comes from seeing how homely these ho's really are. During the guy-on-guy grooving that makes up the middle of the movie, one has to wonder out loud how the raincoat crowd reacted. After all, men bloated on beer and beef don't want to see a couple of gents sans slacks involved in an ersatz sensual massage. The most absurd section of the film revolves those high priced hookers known as call girls. The narration makes it sound like these penthouse paramours are moments away from the poor house, what with their ever-rising expenses. Between elevated rents, the high cost of make-up and the toll taken by a trollop's best friend - a towel service that delivers (???) it's a wonder these gals have a single designer gown to sell their virtue in.

In between the stripping and the softcore, we are treated to what sounds like real interviews with harried hussies. These ladies are lamentable and morose, each one explaining in sad sack detail how they've been used, abused, contused and confused by all manner of men. While the notion of pimps and the white slavery syndicate are never mentioned in this magnificently mannered movie, there is enough uneasy life lessons offered here to make The Lusting Hours quite educational. The women are wildly divergent - some are presentable, while others give new meaning to the phrase 'pug fugly". There is very little dialogue, and even the temporary foray into the world of nudie photography lapses into a story of lash-inspired sadism. For all its promises of passion and the provocative, there is just some very minor Lust in this single, squalid hour. Those who like their message muddled with lots of nekkid nookie will probably disagree with such a sentiment.

There is no denying, however, that In Hot Blood is one cold, clammy fish fest. The supposed story of an immigrant gal named Rita - whose overdeveloped bosom bodes either well, or poorly, for her future big city success - ends up being a cautionary tale as Manson family home movie. There was more hygiene and good humor on the Spawn Ranch than in any sequence in this hopped up horror. Just looking at some of the bovine broads here is enough to give your desire a good and substantial dousing. Rita decides to use her ample attributes to get a coveted modeling job and before she knows it, she has fallen in with some repugnant refugees from the Woodstock nation. Actually, these are more like Altamont anarchists the way they whip, beat and berate each other in the name of love. During a drug taking session, one of Rita's runway pals goes good and nutzoid, and the resulting catfight leaves our heroine escaping with her life and the junkie jonesing for payback. Purse loaded with a handy meat cleaver, our angry actress seeks out Rita, who has holed up with another friend for a little Sappho soothing. It's not long before the twisted Twiggy goes psycho, slaughtering her pals for being against intravenous drugs. Imagine that!

For all its potboiler promise, In Hot Blood is like a music video made by a burlesque band. The nominal plot is provided by yet another voice-over narrator, only this time, our guide has a difficult time covering up his Nu-Yawk accent. He tells us of Rita's ravishing delights and killer body, yet all we see is an Hispanic honey who would look more at home behind the Tortilla-making machine at the local Casa Bonita. Our actress is a short wasted void with only an incredibly inflated rack recommending we pay any attention to her. She is surrounded by members of both the international Janis Joplin impersonators society as well as a few scarred Jean Shrimpton wannabes. The main activity in this film involves photo sessions where the cameraman is usually more naked than his models, an orgy where fat sow sluts use phone cords as S&M devices and some of the most non-erotic body painting this side of a shameless 60s revival. Since we never really believe that Rita is someone to root for - or care about, for that manner - we don't fret when her pal places a cleaver in her cleavage. It seems like a fitting end to a rather wasted life, actually.

Indeed, a great many things about In Hot Blood will make your will to live wither and die. The women here are truly abhorrent, that combination of skuzzy and repugnant that reminds you of the hemorrhoids on a long distance trucker's anus. They all have long, unmanageable hair that gets in the way of the gratuity the minute they start to bump uglies, and their faces are pitted out and pockmarked as only a hard as Hell life of lewdness can create. While some may find this level of naturalism conducive to carnal desire, the vast majority of us exploitation fans will balk at such blousy, bilious babes. Throughout this entire DVD, one is assaulted over and over again by the sexual equivalent of crust scraped off the bottom of a brine barrel. Findlay's filth festivities aside, there are some real reprobate issues in the casting of these slovenly softcore extravaganzas. Still, these films are all worth a look since they present wanton women in undeniable droves. These are the kind of honeys that don't take "NO" for an answer or a suggestion. They've got overly moist groins and can't do a darn thing with them except the standard grindhouse hop on pop.

Something Weird really does an excellent job of preserving these perverted entries into the exploitation lexicon for future generations to gag on. All three are offered in the mighty monochrome format and fill the screen with their 1.33:1 black and white bounty. Each has issues - occasional dirt, some scratches, a few editing mishaps - but overall, the prints are pretty good. As mentioned before, parts of The Lusting Hours are wildly out of focus, but this must be from the original elements. Unless SWV feels that these women are so homely that they deserve a muddy reminder of same, it is safe to assume that the cinematographer was out to lunch the day these scenes were shot.

Sadly, the only bonus feature offered here is a series of trailers for all three films, along with the standard gallery of exploitation snaps. Over the years, Something Weird has released hundreds of DVDs, and each time they treat us to a stunning array of poster art, press kits, publicity shots and newspaper ads. Here's hoping they uncover some new material soon. Many of us collectors are getting sick and tired of seeing the same selections of imagery over and over again.

A similar sentiment can be shared over this interesting, if underdeveloped triple feature. All maize monkeyshines aside (for that is what the Native Americans would call the corn carnality), this trio of titles is a decidedly mixed bunch. Of the three, Degenerate is best, followed closely by the lesson in Lusting. Only Blood is unwatchable, but that has more to do with the dames hired to play poon possum than the otherwise routine genre trappings. Fans who find themselves waiting for a favored film may wonder why these noticeable non-classics are seeing the digital light of day. Indeed, there is an entire backlog of Something Weird wackiness that deserves a DVD release over and above these excuses for excitement. While still recommended, here's hoping Image breaks out a few of the fabulous treasures trapped in the company's vicarious vaults. There is nothing wrong with horny gals going on a fake fornication spree. It's the very foundation of the grindhouse mentality. It's just that when the women resemble lugubrious longshoremen, their desire for Eros is less than exciting. And stimulation is what exploitation is all about.

Want more Gibron Goodness? Come to Bill's TINSEL TORN REBORN Blog (Updated Frequently) and Enjoy! Click Here

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