Monday, 4 March 2013

Erotic Inferno

Released in 1975, and looking like the dark cinematic love-child of José Ramón Larraz and Derek Ford; Erotic Inferno is possibly the very last British sex film you could expect to show up on TV during the school holidays (Ford's evil masterpiece 'Diversions,' aside).

The amount of sex action is frankly staggering. The moment any two characters are left alone together for more than one second, off come come the clothes in a frenzy to reach a hurried climax before the person who just left the room returns with cups of tea. Of course, whoever has nipped out to the kitchen will also be immediately shafted before the kettle has time to boil, as inter-couple sex takes place in just about every permutation available.

Keeping up with this constantly shifting series of betrayals and "quickies" made my head spin, and it would take an Open University maths professor specializing in Venn diagrams to even begin to make sense of events.

Fortunately, a basic plot serves to hold everything together, although the sexual encounters could easily have been replaced by a series of murders or disappearances had the film-makers agenda been different.

Two brothers, Martin  (future Emmerdale stalwart Chris Chittel), and Paul (played by Larraz favourite Karl Lanchbury) are informed of their rich father's death at sea, by the family solicitor (Michael Sheard*), and invited to a reading of the will back at the impressive family country estate.

The avaricious brothers show zero remorse for their late father, and instead focus their concerns on how they might cheat their illegitimate older brother Adam out of his inheritance.

They all make their way down to the big house in the country, under strict instructions to keep out for 24 hours until it's time for the reading of the will, and each with respective lady friend in tow. Staying in the nearby cottage, the couples immediately begin a chain of aggressive sexual encounters, bitter arguments, and recreational grouse shooting.

Help is at hand in the delightful form of two bisexual horse lovers (played by Heather Deeley and Mary Millington in a casting decision from heaven !) who add further diversity to the mind boggling array of bedroom logistics.

It's certainly a dark film, much harder, and more serious in tone than the majority of UK sex films; but highly amusing at the same time, albeit without any of the goofy hysterics that permeate the 'Confessions' movies for example. You have to laugh at the overt misogyny of the three brothers - Chris Chittel's performance is absolutely hilarious - and the priceless dialogue is a masterclass in 70's sexism. There's also a wealth of exterior shots, featuring some stunning rural scenery (I'd be happy to watch 90 minutes of people walking around the fields), all of which adds to the atmosphere a great deal.

I'm not going to spoil things by explaining how the film concludes, but the ending is worth the admission fee alone.

* incidentally, Sheard's character must be the only person in the entire film who doesn't have any sex, which perhaps explains Mr Bronson's bitter demeanor when he arrived at Grange Hill during the 1980's.


  1. Is that James May with the 'stache?

  2. 'Sweden: Heaven & Hell' might be up your street. Here's the trailer:

    £32 on Amazon though.