Lucio Fulci is more widely known to film fans for his gore-soaked and violent horror flicks. It is often forgotten he worked outside of the horror field as well and had a varied output that delved into the crime, western and comedy genres.
Personally I’m more familiar with his output in the horror genre so I was excited to check out The Eroticist and see just how Fulci would fare at the helm of a comedy. When I read The Eroticist’s tagline promise of being a blasphemous erotic comedy bursting with depraved priests and a possessed politician with a compulsion for perversion I was sold. How could you not be, right?
The Eroticist concerns itself with a senator (Lando Buzzanca) running for the presidency who is unable to control his rampant sexual urges and ass grabbing. The senator has suppressed his urges for a long time in order to perform his duties and keep a angelic front for the public but all the repression has led to him subconsciously acting out on his impulses with hilarious consequences. The Catholic church has plans for the senator once he’s in office so they do everything in their power to prevent him from causing scandal that will soil his reputation and ruin his chances come election time.
I got a real kick out of a few scenes where the senator is stalking out a butt to grab that were staged in a slasher flick style. The surreal dream sequences were a highlight for me and boasted some of Fulci’s best cinematography in my opinion. Fulci essentially used this film to attack and expose the corruption and greed of the Catholic church and its ties with organized crime. The film illustrates how politicians are mere puppets controlled by the church, organized crime and big business. Apparently the senator was modelled to look like a political figure of the era which caused the film all sorts of trouble. Unfortunately there were no interviews or documentaries on the disc to elaborate on the controversy. The Eroticist was a lot tamer than I was expecting but it was still a enjoyable watch and a really sharp piece of political satire.
Definitely an interesting footnote in the Fulci legacy showing there was another dimension to the man’s work than his horror output. Quite a different beast than his horror films which may alienate audiences who prefer his blood-soaked opuses and Gialli films but for those willing to expand their horizons and check out something different this will be right up their alley. Perhaps The Eroticist will give sexploitation fans a nudge in the direction of Fulci’s splatter flicks.
While the transfer of the film is excellent, the authoring of the DVD isn’t. This edition of The Eroticist has no menu or special features. Kind of a shame really because it would’ve been interesting to get some insight into how this was received upon its release. You might want to skip the Umbrella edition and go with the disc Severin has put out as it looks like a way tidier package.
Hopefully this release will mean more of the obscure Fulci films will hit our shelves saving our wallets the beating that buying from overseas causes.
DIRECTOR(S): Lucio Fulci | COUNTRY: Italy / France | YEAR 1972 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): Umbrella Entertainment | RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes