Sunday, April 27, 2008

AN EI CINEMA SAMPLER

This article was supposed to appear on Larry Stanley's old website. Then Larry passed away. I have a site dedicated to Larry at Penguin Comics, THE BLOG!, but I tend to keep that site a little more PG like Larry would have wanted it. I thought the article deserved to see the light of day, so here it is in its entirety. Enjoy it. I know Larry would have.

Ei Cinema is divided into many smaller divisions. There is Seduction Cinema, Shock-O-Rama, Video Outlaw…well you get the idea. Recently, my good friend Larry Stanley sent me a stack of films from ei and asked me to review them. To be honest I had already seen the entire batch of flicks and wasn’t looking forward to reviewing them again.

That’s when I hit upon this idea. Cover all the films in one feature, give them the coverage that most of them deserve and make Larry a happy camper. That’s when I hit on the sampler idea. Alone, these films are just entries from an independent film company. Together they represent a pretty good cross section of what ei Cinema has to offer. So, with that said, let’s delve into the realm of ei Cinema.



DEMON SEX (2005)
If you were to watch one film to represent the body of work that ei Cinema represents then this would not be a good one to use as an example. Far from the beaten path of Misty Mundae and the multitude of lesbian encounters, Demon Sex serves up its nudity and sex the old fashioned way. Heterosexual with plenty of blood and kink. Seems there’s this alien race of demons that can transform into hot chicks. This comes in handy when a team of researchers discover an alien strain of DNA that will save their dying race. It doesn’t take long before the nerdy scientists are approached by hot chicks and they’ll do anything to get the formula. Especially slaughtering scientists.

Brinke Stevens and her ultra hard gorgeous shape are the center attraction of this film as she portrays the queen of the aliens bent on saving their species. It’s always nice to see Brinke in the altogether. The rest of the cast are no slouches in the looks department either. An oddity in the company’s library in that there is quite a bit of heterosexual play going on along with the lesbian antics we come to expect.

The extras on the DVD are plentiful. Two short films entitled, DEMON TREAURE and DEMON FAMILIARS give us little plot and lots of Brinke Stevens which is always a good thing. In addition to that there is a vintage peep show loop that seems to be starting a trend with the DVD’s released by ei Cinema. It actually seems out of place among with this modern, blood soaked violent epic, but who am I to turn down perfectly good vintage peep show material.



VOODOUN BLUES (2004)
This is one of those things where you do not have to really be a fan of Misty Mundae to enjoy. It’s basically her film school project that received a major release because; well because she’s Misty Mundae! Really, I have a hard time believing that ei Cinema would have released this short film if Misty hadn’t done so much feature work for them.

What we get is the title film which is a short lasting only 6 minutes. It’s the extras that truly make this a disc worth having. There’s an interview with Misty Mundae that goes over the trials and tribulations of making the film. We get another documentary that goes over the making of the music for the film. Since the short has no dialogue it’s the song that makes it work. Originally, she had wanted Screaming Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell On You, but when she discovered that it would cost some severe cash and that it would be used in an upcoming Levi jeans promotion, she passed on it and got Tim McBride to compose a fresh piece for the film. Cinematography Joe Miller has a short film called SOUR MILK that is twisted and funny and co star Katie Bourdeaux gives us the short, WHORROR HOPPERS that is bizarre as Hell.

As for VOODOUN BLUES, we get the wild tale of a gorgeous voodoo practitioner bent on revenge against her ex lover. It’s a little David Lynchian with a definite stamp by Misty. Shot on 16mm the print is great and it shows that Misty is made for film. Sure she looks drop dead hot on video, but film gives her a more sophisticated look and the camera loves her. This is a DVD that anyone would be proud to call their own.



BITE ME! (2004)
Michael Raso, head of ei Cinema shows that he knows what makes a great film. In this case he hired film maker Brett Piper (THEY BITE & NYMPHOID BARBARIAN IN DINOSAUR HELL) to make a film that utilizes the basic framework of a Seduction Cinema film and then twists it into one of the best horror comedies on the market today.

Strip club owner Ralph (Michael Thomas) is desperate for cash. So desperate that he decides to go into the marijuana business and gets a crate of experimental pot from a couple of guys. Unfortunately, the crate is infested with these bizarre bugs that feed on human blood. It isn’t long before the club is infested, there’s a DEA agent snooping around and an exterminator who actually loves bugs is called in to quell the menace of the bugs. It’s finally up to the strippers to save the day. Misty Mundae, Julian Wells and new discovery Erika Smith must team up and defeat the bugs.



This is true exploitation at it’s finest. We get monsters, beautiful girls that like to be naked and a threadbare plot that manages to hold it all together, but not get in the way of all the fun. Brett Piper’s other film SCREAMING DEAD managed to make a truly horrific ride into terror and still keep some of the conventions of what Seduction Cinema fans have come to expect. It’s amusing to note that in both films he pokes fun at the lesbian scenes that the company is famous for. In BITE ME! The only lesbian scene takes place under a blanket and it hilarious.

Once again the extras on this disc are piled high. There are three documentaries that delve into the making of low budget cinema. We get the prerequisite interview with Misty Mundae. There’s a video by the band CKY along with a making of the video documentary and a beautiful booklet with extensive liner notes for the film. If nothing else, ei Cinema manages to stuff their DVD’s with worthwhile extras that are as entertaining as the films themselves.


LUST FOR DRACULA (2004)

If you told me that I could only pick one director to make the rest of whatever Seduction Cinema decides to put out, my vote with no hesitation would have to be Tony Marsiglia. I remember watching DR. JEKYLL AND MISTRESS HYDE for the first time and being totally blown away. Here was a tale of power, madness and corruption drenched in some of the wildest sex on the market today. And the interesting part was that the sex scenes were actually integral to the part! Couple that with a man who demands quality performances from his actors and you have a man who will be able to lead Seduction Cinema down a path of true excellence for years to come.

That brings us to LUST FOR DRACULA.

LUST FOR DRACULA just might be the most ferociously original vampire film I have seen in some time. All the major characters are played by women including Jonathan Harker, played by Julian Wells. Julian may be a man played by a woman or a woman pretending to be a man or…well it’s a little confusing and that makes the film all the better for it.

Mina Harker (Misty Mundae) is married to Jonathan (the aforementioned Ms. Wells). She wants a child to make her life complete, but is unable to conceive. Probably because Jonathan is, in reality, a woman. Add to that the presence of Dracula (Darian Caine) who is willing to give Mina what she so desperately carves. It’s interesting to note that Ms. Caine plays the part, for the most part, completely naked. Dracula is helping Mina because Jonathan is trying to create a new race of vampires that it is doubtful that Dracula will have any control over. I think.

See, that’s the beauty of this film. We are given all the information necessary to make for an enjoyable film going experience, but there are things only suggested that can be interpreted in more than one way. That’s what makes this film work. You are required to pay attention and think. Sure it’s full of naked women and their boobies and yes, there’s blood spattered in a number of different places, but director Marsiglia wants more from us as an audience.

Misty gives a fine performance as a young woman manipulated by chemicals for so long that her grasp of reality has failed miserably. Darian Caine manages to make for a regal Dracula while wearing absolutely nothing. My favorite actress to watch though would have to be Andrea Davis. As a predatory creature of the night she rules the screen with her presence. Her delivery is smoky and seductive and her looks are of a heart pounding exotic nature that makes you watch more intently than before. If anyone ever deserved her own movie at Seduction Cinema it would have to be Andrea Davis.

This DVD’s extras are a little light. There’s a good commentary for the film by Tony Marsiglia and Michael Raso. We get a behind the scenes documentary that is informative. There’s an interview with Misty Mundae and a short film entitled INSEX which is so so at best. The one thing this disc is missing and a true slap in the face is that there is no interview with Darian Caine. The film’s called Lust For Dracula, not Lust For Misty Mundae. Darian is a beautiful lady, a fine actress and she is the real star of this film. Seems like a grievous oversight on the part of the film makers.


LUST CONNECTION (2005)

Then we come to the final film in our little round up and this time I have saved the worst for last. LUST CONNECTION is not a real Seduction Cinema film. It’s something they bought and released. As for director H.R. Blueberry, when will Jim Wynorski stop making this crap?

The no talent star Glori-Anne Gilbert stars as twin sisters. When one is murdered and the husband is the prime suspect it doesn’t take long for the twin to surface and start making goo goo eyes at the husband.

This is straight, heterosexual, soft-core porn at its lowest common denominator. All the men are scary looking and the women have been stretched to the limits of what silicone will allow in our universe. The acting is sub par and nothing new under the sun is exposed in this horrid feature.

To try and make up for it the company has released the disc with a second ‘feature’ called NIGHT VAMPS. It’s not a movie it’s just more silicone taking their clothes off and wiggling around in a fashion that gets annoying at the 30 second mark. We also get another vintage peep show and commentary for LUST CONNECTION by it’s over rated star and director ‘H.R. Blueberry.

This DVD is a prime example of what to avoid in an ei Cinema film. Don’t recognize the usual cast of maniacs and babes on the back of the DVD? Then make sure it’s what you want to see. LUST CONNECTION is probably the worst film that has been released by ei Cinema ever.

This brings us to end of our little cross section of what you can see from the company ei Cinema. From the bizarre to the kinky to the complete waste of time, ei Cinema brings you the world of erotica all wrapped up in a neat little bow. Of course, being Seduction Cinema I kinda doubt it’s a bow. More like a nasty piece of spiked leather.

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