Although released through the banner of Independent Entertainment, there's no denying that recalls very much - from the packaging and cheerfully cheap menus to the racy content contained within - an After Hours Cinema release. Both companies are, after all, branches of the quite wonderful Alternative Cinema stable.
After Hours Cinema is traditionally AC's outlet for peddling heyday hardcore filth onto us willing recipients. So quite why the superbly titled UNCLE FARTS' 70S GRINDHOUSE SLEAZEFEST comes (cums?) via Independent Entertainment is baffling.
But then, slipping the disc into the DVD player, it becomes apparent - despite names such as Georgina Spelvin (THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES) and Serena (PLEASURE PALACE) appearing on the back cover, this is indeed a collection of soft-core smut that we're being offered here ...
This four-film set begins with an animated intro where the foul-mouthed Uncle Farts sits at home trying to enjoy a spot of porno on his TV. He's disturbed by his ginger-nut nephew, Scooper the Wonder Boy - "a fucking caveman" according to Farts.
Much to the chagrin of his pious neighbour Sasha, Uncle Farts decides that his nephew is so dim-witted that it's high time he educated him in the ways of the world. He determines to do this through the medium of skin flicks. Which leads us nicely into the first live-action film in this set: SEX ODYSSEY.
Appropriately, ODYSSEY is a nudie picture based around the concept of cavemen and women. The good things about this are that it doesn't necessitate any dialogue other than primitive grunts, and the hirsute nakedness lends the attempts at prehistoric period drama a hint of authenticity.
Beyond that, this is fairly tedious stuff: a group of hippies frolicking naked through the woods, starting small fires, climbing through caves and so on. Story-wise, it details a couple of long-haired louts sneaking up on a female camp and having their wicked ways with the three screaming wenches. That really is all there is to it.
It's pretty rubbish, and the men both resemble Peter Sutcliffe. These strictly soft-core shenanigans seem to go on FOREVER.
Still, some amusing sound effects and cute women just about redeem events.
When asked what the moral of the tale he's just witnessed was, Scooper proclaims "sex before civilization was just rape". He may be right.
So, to lighten the tone a little and bring Scooper's education forward a little in terms of history, Farts has another vintage video to show him.
Before he has a chance to slip the video in though, he's interrupted by a call from the vice squad. It turns out that Sasha's bickering wife has made him call the cops, in the fear that Farts may be molesting his nephew behind closed doors.
But their attempts to curtail Farts' fun are unsuccessful, as the cop who turns up - Officer Drew - is just as keen on watching the next film as Farts and Scooper are.
This time it's 1971's DIONYSIUS, with Miguel Bosque (again, sporting the hirsute look made infamous by the Yorkshire Ripper) portraying the titular Greek God. It starts with an almighty bout of sweaty romping in an open field, before settling to spin a loose yarn of sorts about how Dionysius is resurrected, seduced, killed - and resurrected again.
It's more hippy nonsense, complete with an original score that manages to take in Indian influences, choral chants, folk meandering and more. It reminded me of the musical segments of THE WICKER MAN at times.
The film is extremely cheap-looking (as if someone had a field and fancied making a nature picture in it) but can't be faulted for its ambition. The acting is less credible than the magnificent breasts that wobble through most scenes, but then surely that's better than it being the other way round?
Some portentous dialogue and ugly camerawork aside, DIONYSIUS was short and watchable. Unfortunately, that's as kind as I can be towards it.
Then it's back to the animated frolics as Farts' posse grows in his basement, ready for the next film: 1978's HONKY TONK NIGHTS.
This one tells of Bella (Carol Doda - a famous stripper from the 1960s who can also be seen in the excellent MACHINE GUN MCCAIN), a stripper-turned-singer who wants to make it big on the country and western circuit. But the punters in the clubs she plays at just want to stare at her (admittedly ample) knockers.
With artificial lighting, interiors and a full-on script, this is certainly the most filmic of the four features on offer here. But it's still pretty boring, despite support from the aforementioned Spelvin (the highlight as a seen-it-all barmaid) and Serena. It looked like an early Herschell Gordon Lewis film but without the gore.
The last film of the set, as Farts and Scooper manage to finally win over their neighbours and get their household literally banging, is SATAN'S DAUGHTER.
In it, a voluptuous brunette awakens and stares into her bedroom mirror, only for an ominous deep voice to inform her that she's now eighteen, and has been bestowed with the power to have anything she desires just by thinking of it.
And, of course, all this bad actress desires is sex ...
Badly made but strangely erotic, SATAN'S DAUGHTER is cheaper than a hooker's morals and imbued with a most welcome element of fun.
The funky score was a chore by this point, but it was all perfectly watchable regardless. And, of course, it all builds towards the inevitable orgy of 1970s hairy rutting ...
So, four obscure soft-core films from the 1970s, wrapped around with an enjoyably crude and rudimentary animated effort. While there's nothing classic going on here, it all falls under the description of "easy viewing".
The animated portions look fine in their full-frame renderings. The films themselves, also full-frame, fare less well. They're all extremely worn-looking, with pops, scratches and vertical lines galore. Also, colours are washed out quite often and English mono audio suffers from background hiss and level wavering throughout.
The disc opens with a partially animated cartoon main menu page, illuminated by vintage dance hall music.
An option to "Play All" exists for those with the stamina to get through this set in a single sitting. For the rest of us mere mortals, there is thankfully a sub-menu allowing individual access into each film.
There are no scene-selection menus, but the 3-hour show as a whole has remote access via 46 chapters.
The only extra on the disc is a trailer vault; titles featured are ALL THE SINS OF SODOM, BUSTY BOMBSHELLS OF THE ATOMIC AGE, DEEP THROAT COMEDY COLLECTION, GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS OF THE 1970S, GRINDHOUSE GIRLS OF THE 1970S, NAUGHTY NYMPHS and SKIN IN THE 70S (the decade, thankfully - not a reference to OAPs shagging).
Again, the disc affords you the option of either watching each trailer in isolation or ploughing through them in bulk by way of another "Play All" option ... hankies at the ready!
Inside the keepcase, a four-page booklet contains decent liner notes from John Nilsson.
Alternative Cinema have done it again - provided a nicely priced DVD containing no less than four rare 70s sex films (albeit soft-core in this instance), including the fan-baiting inclusion of the likes of Spelvin, Doda and Serena.
Fans will no doubt lap it up. It's a region-free release too.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Independent Entertainment|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|see main review|