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Billed as ‘The Wildest Mondo Movie Ever", Crazy Nights comes across more like "The Lamest Frankenstein's Monster of a Mondo Movie Ever" and it's probably all down to our beloved Aristide Massaccesi's bungling and being forced to pivot, or lying to people or something. At any rate, what is presented here as a ‘Mondo Movie' about discos or strip clubs, more or less, is both less and more than the sum of its parts. It's an interminably tedious, yet oddly invigorating sexcapade that could only have come out of late 1970s Italy.
Crazy Nights gives top billing to Amanda Lear. Lear has had an interesting life to say the least, as a sometimes actor, chanteuse, and muse to David Bowie, the band Roxy Music, and Salvador Dali. (A well-known song from her sultry, languid pop music career is "Queen of Chinatown", a song so fraught with husky, ambiguous vocals it is known to cause listeners to suddenly appear in drag.) In this case, Lear was lead to believe Crazy Nights was to be a documentary feature (I think) that used her song "Follow Me" as a jumping-off point for touring Gentleman's clubs and discotheques throughout the world. Or at least that's kind of what turned up onscreen, after Lear believed the project was dead.
Imagine her shock, accompanied by a cigarette, tumbler of scotch, and throwing expensive vases into the fireplace, when Crazy Nights eventually appeared. Sandwiched between two Lear performances and her travelogue introductions (filmed mostly at her fabulous Roman manse) are cheaply staged strip-club scenes and worse. Though we're told these clubs are in locales such as Las Vegas, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, and Berlin, they appear to have been filmed in one location, utilizing a grand total of two sets. (Massaccesi couldn't be bothered to create the illusion of more than two clubs worldwide.)
Dodgy often out-of-focus exterior footage at least establishes mild credibility, before we're treated to staged footage of polite audiences full of couples and men in suits, watching various nude dancers, some halfheartedly stabbing at cultural reference points. Despite a few notable exceptions, these dances (no stripping really, just full-frontal nudity) make Ed Wood's Orgy of the Dead seem engaging. But before you reach for that fast-forward button, be aware that you'll also be treated to some sketchy fun.
In fact the very first sequence ends with an audience member tricked into sodomizing a goat! Another inexplicable sequence seems to show a religious sexual rite that includes a bunch of male acolytes engaging in a huge sodomy daisy-chain. A pair of documentaries within the documentary (that's got to be a first) outline an S&M sex club ("They're SICK!" says the tour guide) and a porno-film married couple (the husband grimaces sheepishly for the camera, quite the buzz-kill) who watch a little of their truly adult material, if you catch my drift. There are not one, but two sequences featuring magicians for Pete's sake, before some dreamy Euro-pop gets needlessly chopped up for a little ballerina-on-ballerina action. Finally Lear wraps things up with another performance in front of a bunch of innocent teens who were hopefully attending the show in ironic fashion.
Joe D'Amato's (Aristide Massaccesi) Crazy Nights, uncut and remastered, is crazy-making all right. Your disco-sex-club tour guide Amanda Lear is unaware as to the type of movie she'll eventually be spliced into, one that features a bunch of staged nude dances, a bit of pornography, and magicians. If it's full-frontal nudity you want, D'Amato's got you covered. If it's a parade of inexplicable sequences that are equal parts stultifying and enraging that you want, well, you probably already know that D'Amato's your man. If it's an actual Mondo Movie that you want, featuring real-life examples of worldwide nightlife and sexual mores, I can't help you. Mondo Movie enthusiasts and completists will nonetheless find this bizarro, little-seen, but extras-free release Recommended.
Full Moon Features presents this benighted anomaly in a 1080p, 1.85:1 ratio. Depending on what segment you're watching, the fidelity varies wildly. Establishing shots of cities around the world are most assuredly stock footage, sometimes amazingly soft and out-of-focus, or shuddering as the camera pans over the skyline. Some filmed-on-location shots, including Lear's segments, are a bit soft and gauzy, which appears intentional. The dance sequences are for the most part crisp and clean, surprisingly free of much noticeable damage, and with vibrant colors.
Two Audio tracks are available, one in 5.1, and one in 2.0. If ever there were a feature that didn't need the 5.1 treatment, this is it. The default setting is for the 2.0 track, which is just fine, though there are a few curious elements. Lear's first song performance is a bit sonically flat, while the sound bed appears drenched in wow and flutter. Not a great listening experience for music lovers. Many scenes are dubbed into English, including Lear's intro-sequences, and often the dubbing is way out of sync. This comes to a head (pun intended) during the porno-couple sequence, during which dialog for all participants is dubbed by one woman, (disconcerting) and is about 3-seconds off. Who knows what D'Amato and his team were thinking? The dance sequences are generally fine-sounding, otherwise, though nothing to get excited about.
Extras are limited to a handful of Trailers for other Full Moon releases, including a variety of exploitation genres.
Joe D'Amato's (Aristide Massaccesi) Crazy Nights, uncut and remastered, is crazy-making all right. Your disco-sex-club tour guide Amanda Lear is unaware as to the type of movie she'll eventually be spliced into, one that features a bunch of staged nude dances, a bit of pornography, and magicians. If it's full-frontal nudity you want, Amato's got you covered. If it's a parade of inexplicable sequences that are equal parts stultifying and enraging that you want, well, you probably already know that D'Amato's your man. If it's an actual Mondo Movie that you want, featuring real-life examples of worldwide nightlife and sexual mores, I can't help you. Mondo Movie enthusiasts and completists will nonetheless find this bizarro, little-seen, but extras-free release Recommended.