Thursday, 26 December 2013

Sex Psycho (1970) Walt Davis

Strange relic this, from those formative years of US hardcore cinema. Times before the genre was in full flood, coming forth in glorious fruitful waves through the hearts and minds and junk of the masses. In the accelerated lifespans of cinema's more polluted and seething back waters some long time before full forms were spawned, the defining symbols of porno chic and rot gut roughie alike, the classics of Damiano, Metzger, Costello and more. One imagines just about anything could have come and taken hold from that era of rutting potential, well just about anything but not this. While absolutely of its time Sex Psycho is in the order of film that could have come from any time, working with a bulldozers concern for sanity, reason and even the public. Not much seen or thought of in its day and a cult concern only after long later home releases, it doesn't have much in the way of peers or imitants, staying more a near lost moment in time. So it is, but it's fun to speculate on what could have been. I mean, how much more fun would 70's hardcore have been if more was shooting at bloodthirsty bisexual degenerates, right? 

The plot is a spindly thing of infidelity and murder, but really this is about sex, sex and more sex. On the plus side it's consistently bonkers stuff with only one scene of straight vanilla, there's a memorable early shock twistaroo and a couple of hilariously nutty gruesome pay-offs. Combined with the sporadically somewhat amusing writing this all makes for a certain slack faced compulsion. On the minus, direction is as rudimentary as it gets, and the performers bring neither the twisted tenderness nor the demented fury called for by the story, this the kind of unrelenting, close, hairy and dirty f#cking that one can almost smell through the screen but has little interest beyond that faint whiff of sweat, semen and unwashed sheets. Things are chiefly softcore as well with only a few explicit penetrative shots, presumably the cast were actually going at it but the camera isn't that interested in getting its nose in the details. Now of course badly shot grimy hardcore isn't essentially more worthy than badly shot grimy softcore, but with a set up like this it really helps. 

Plus there just isn't enough internal tension or interest to sustain this, the wry comment framing device has been put to plentiful better use elsewhere, character interactions offer no surprises and line deliveries are usually bored and sometimes botched. The lone vanilla scene is also a skippable drag. 

But still, I find this sort of thing impossible to really dislike whatever its problems. Never quite reaching boredom, it's the kind of vaguely niche filth that achieves worth simply by being, sampler of depraved anti art that invites a grin at the real face of Man. Not recommended unless you have to see it then, but I'm sure at least a few will be open to its charms. 

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