A confession: Euro-horror movies bore the hell out of me. They have the questionable advantage of being more disgusting than their English-language counterparts, but I always found them cold and uninvolving. Fulci, Argento, Lenzi--none of them ever made a film I really liked. And so I have carefully avoided the work of Jean Rollin, director of such sex and/or violence titles as "Pénétrations vicieuses," "Apothéose porno," and "Sodomanie"--all of which sound like the wrong kind of sleaze altogether. But I took a chance on BACCHANALES SEXUELLES; the cover on the DVD made it sound like a fun '70s post-psychedelic romp. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.The exceedingly thin plot deals with two girls housesitting for a fellow who, unknown to them, has gotten into trouble with a weird sex cult. But don't even worry about the storyline--the filmmakers didn't, why should you? As with the cheapest pornos--and this film barely rises above that level--the plot is there just to give the actors a break between screw scenes. And there are a lot of them.
Rollin's prime directorial strategy is to zoom in on naked asses whenever possible--which is to say quite often, because actors invariably shed their clothing within seconds of their arrival onscreen. The sex scenes, which are long and fairly explicit, usually pop out of nowhere, with little regard for logical continuity; I think we're supposed to find this funny. It isn't. The film doesn't have nearly enough wit or imagination to make it the zesty romp the DVD packaging hints at.
Mainly, it's just boring. Maybe I'm jaded, but I need more than just one sex scene after another to keep my interest. Also, I don't see why I should have to turn to France for dumb skin flicks when I can easily get them domestically by the scores. There's something a little bizarre about subtitled porn. It's like going to Japan to soak up the local jazz scene--why bother?
By the way, this DVD edition restores 30 minutes of footage excised from the original American theatrical run. Usually, that much cutting destroys the coherency of a film, but here it might have done the opposite.It's a small but significant revelation: the French make stupid, trashy movies, too.