Joe D'Amato was a one-man definition of exploitation throughout the 1970s -80s, crafting some of the genre's most cynical, violent, and titillating films. Okay, sometimes he crafted shit sandwiches, but even these possessed enough energy and guts (and breasts and asses and innards) to make them of interest to exploitation fans. You are a fan of exploitation, aren't you? Come see what Uncle Severin has for you. That's right, one of the more sought after skin fests of papa Joe D'Amato, intact with gorgeous women doing dirty deeds on an even dirtier budget. Devoted to breaking taboos of cultural taste and aesthetic acceptance, D'Amato (a cinematographer-turned-director) soaked his minuscule budgeted portraits of physical carnage and excess in buckets of blood and gallons of cum, merging horror and eroticism (er, make that smut) long before it was a Hollywood cliché. Lacking the technological principles of Bava and the poetic lyricism of Argento, D'Amato was more interested in exploiting primal human hungers and fears than in developing subtle characterizations. And it shows in this sick puppy. Bloody spectacle was D'Amato's meat and drink, and Gorehounds and sex fiends have always fed well on his excesses. Revelling in the intimate exploitation of such basic, animalistic human behaviours as violence and sex, D'Amato found a perfect wedding of content and form in the Emmanuelle franchise, directing such perverse poems as Emanuelle in Bangkok, Emanuelle Goes Japanese, Emanuelle's Revenge, and Emanuelle in America. In Emanuelle Around the World, he indulges his taste for exploitation with sheer recklessness and joy, diving into sleaze with abandon as he drowns the exotic, earthy Laura Gemser into such down-and-dirty situations cinematic situations as prostitution, snuff, etc. Severin rescues this delightfully demented homage to sex and slavery with a pristine transfer and intriguing extras, with the polished color and compositions arousing a disturbing contrast when compared against the grim imagery and sordid subject matter. Best of all, this is the film uncut as it was meant to be seen, guaran-fricken-teed to offend and arouse!
In a plot devoted to action rather than character, using Emanuelle's character more as a sexual object that things happen to than a truly evolving character, Gemser's walking testament to female sexuality is a bit misogynistic, and that's okay, for despite the convincing tone of the atmosphere and situations, this is still a fantasy. Pain, perversion, and sexual ecstasy are heaped upon Gemser and pals as Emanuelle attempt to expose a ring of exploitation and exploitation. Travelling the world, she stops along her crusade against female degradation to suck, swallow, and cavort with various members of both genders. Exploring the treachery of male ran organizations that harm women, she meets George Eastman's character in India only to discover that he possesses a talent for prolonged sexual pleasure. Progressing from this to a temple, she finds fresh meat in Brigitte Petronio, and rest assured D'Amato doesn't miss a chance to pair these two together. Finally, reaching Rome, Emanuelle discovers Karin Schubert, who leads her to a white slavery ring, a vicious cartel of tyranny that she vows to destroy.
Emanuelle Around the World is one of the more shocking of the Emanuelle series, right up there with Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals and Emanuelle in America. Effective on an undeniably crass but immediate level, this is the kind of cinema that drips animal savagery and guilty pleasure -- exactly the type of subversive cinema that has moral police gasping in the isles (or masturbating in the closet). Following the formula of these films, this story includes the expected exotic locations, copious nudity, and occasional raunchy hardcore action desired. In fact, everything one could possibly want in an Emanuelle film is here -- globetrotting, sleazy sex, secret slave rings, and of course more sex! More importantly from a thematic standpoint, this entry examines the tension between sexual freedom and excess with abusive power. A theme that is mirrored by an unsettling orgy of violence and eroticism, porn and drama. This and the general enthusiasm of the film may even raise it above the typical Emanuelle outing.
Severin has quickly risen in the ranks of exploitation DVD, releasing classy and forgotten gems of sleaze, action, and horror in definitive transfers with enticing extras. While extras are absent in this disc per say, the film itself is the extra, revealing sexually extreme footage never before seen in the States, and never before on disk. While this statement will undoubtedly send those fan boys who spend way too much of their lives on message boards, the rest of us -- folks with lives outside the computer screen -- will simply be grateful to Severin for restoring this salacious slice of sleaze to its immoral glory. Ahh, the skin, the sin! Some of the naughty restored scenes of this "XXX European Edition" include: an all-woman Kama Sutra academy, Karin Schubert's gang rape, more lesbian encounters (now, I ask you, how can this be anything but a good thing?!), sick games with animals (I don't get the attraction here but apparently D'Amato did!), and U.S Senators defiling women.
The quality of the materials here are surprisingly good, with little if any distortion of picture or sound. In fact, this may well be the flick has ever looked and sounded -- cliché to say but true. The 1.85:1 widescreen print is stunning when you think about the obscurity of the film and its history, clean and with little grain to speak of. Colors are bold and vibrant, and the flesh tones realistic. Imagery in general is sharp and pleasing. Audio is featured in Mono and Dolby Digital, harmoniously blending sound effects and score. Crisp without whispering or scratching, the audio tracks heighten the watching experience. All around, this is Emanuelle as you've always wanted to see her, being raw and dirty in a polished setting.
Review by William P. Simmons
|Released by Severin Films|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|see main review|