Porno Holocaust (1981)
By: Devon B. on July 31, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Exploitation Digital (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.77:1 (16:9 enhanced). Italian DD 2.0 Mono. English Subtitles. 113 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Joe D'Amato
Starring: George Eastman, Mark Shannon, Dirce Funari, Annj Goren
Screenplay: George Eastman
Music: Nico Fidenco
Country: Italy
The first thing I discovered when putting on Porno Holocaust is that it is one hour and fifty-three minutes long. That's too long for crappy horror, too long for crappy porn, and way too long for a crap of a film like this. The opening credits felt like they should make up half of the total run time, but no, they didn't. There was so much more to come…

A group of scientists are going to a desert island to inspect genetic mutations that have occurred due to radiation. Some of the scientists are women, and there is some trepidation about taking the bikini babe scientists along. Well founded trepidation it turns out, because one of the island's natives has mutated into a guy with some cloth wrapped around his head and a sexual yearning for female flesh. It sounds like it has SO much potential, doesn't it?

I'd not seen Porno Holocaust before, having been scared off by Erotic Nights of the Living Dead. Back then, the only way to see these Joe D'amato horror porns was via bootleg, and Erotic Nights was still only available in a print missing all the hardcore footage except the vaginal uncorking of a bottle. Porno Holocaust's premise always sounded like it had more going for it, so I doubted it would be as bad as it has been made out to be. I was wrong. Oh, so wrong.

There are two reasons to watch this film. Porn and horror. It's nearly 15 minutes before the first hardcore scene, and that's just a boring lesbian scene with not much happening and not much that is visible. This set the pace for the rest of the hardcore, which is mostly unspectacular, often unerotic, and mostly made up by one couple's repeated parings. Much of the hardcore footage is too dark or poorly shot, making it hard to see much detail, let alone to find erotic. Even cum shots gets lost in blackness or bad angles, which shows some REALLY poor planning.

The only real amusement I got from the porn scenes was a bit that used typically asinine porn logic. A woman pays to have sex with two guys, but then immediately proceeds to blow them (she doesn't do a good job of it either, I might add) while they caress her head and back. Who would pay for that? When things progress, one of the guys has trouble getting his dick in. This is a professional? The other still seems to be intent to provide the pleasure he's been paid to deliver by rubbing his hands over non-erogenous zones. It looks like amateur, fumbly hour. In fact, a lot of the porn was fumbly.

The horror elements are even less of a draw. Sure, we got George Eastman, but he does very little and doesn't get to eat anyone. The gore is even less spectacular than the porn, which is REALLY saying something. I know not a lot of effort went into this movie, but this is ridiculous. Not only that, but the hardcore footage often completely interrupts the horror 'story,' making everything seem to go on forever, when really it's just going on for one hour and fifty-three minutes.
Video
Porno Holocaust is presented at 1.85:1 in a 16x9 enhanced print. The film has grain, specks, is a little hazy at times, and sometimes also looks a little washed out, but the movie looks surprising good. I was amazed by how good it looked, actually. I know my comparison was a third generation boot of Erotic Nights, but even so, I wasn't expecting this low budget obscurity to scrub up so well.
Audio
Audio is a two channel Italian track with optional English subs. While I didn't have a problem with most of the audio, the score will drive you mad. It's like muzak remixes of favourite Italian scores of the past.
Extra Features
Extras include Porno Holocaust's trailer, as well as those for Yellow Emanuelle, SS Hell Camp, Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, and Erotic Nights of the Living Dead. Erotic Night's trailer features way more of the porn than was in the print I saw years ago. I wouldn't revisit it to see the full thing, but the trailer confirms there was footage missing from the print making the bootleg circuit back then. This was a great highlight of how much better, and economical, it is to be a horror fan these days. I could get the completely uncut film with a good transfer on DVD for less money than the shitty boot of yesteryear.

Anyway, there's also a small photo gallery, which has some artwork for Porno Holocaust, and an eleven-minute interview with Eastman. It's a general conversation about his career, but he does speak about Porno Holocaust specifically, and admits if they'd known how many people were going to see the films they were making back then, some more care may have gone into them. Oddly, it sounds like someone is cleaning house in the background during the interview.
The Verdict
This DVD creates a dilemma for me. I want to give it a good score because of the quality of the presentation, but the film itself doesn't even warrant a score of one. However, given Porno Holocaust's prior obscurity and the level of work that Exploitation Digital must've done, I'm giving this a three. This is not in any way meant to imply that I recommend the film to anyone, even desperate raincoaters.
Movie Score
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