Wednesday, December 9, 2009


For some blisteringly foolhardy reason, I took on the challenge of watching Gen X videos in the order they're listed in the stacks. In the coming months I'll try to post the fruit of these exploits as close to daily as I can (yes, the store hours will inevitably be far more reliable than these posts: Check out our holiday schedule the next time you're by!). If even one of these listings guides you to brave a new, strange title on your next visit, I'll consider my work done!

TITLE: The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance
DESCRIPTION: Gothic lesbians prowl the corridors of a miserable little castle somewhere in Italy and fall prey to a deranged count, resplendent with canine gnashers, a fairly ghastly complexion and the personality of Pol Pot. This is Italian gothic with the added bonus of some bizarre breast gropings amongst the kitchen staff and other dubious sexual shenanigans.
DIRECTOR: Alfredo Rizzo
YEAR: 1975
RUNTIME: 89 min

There is a point to every film made -- not always a laudable point, and certainly not always a good point, but a point nonetheless. Sometimes, when you know what the director's aim was supposed to be, it's easier to ignore the failings of the film in other capacities. At other times, it's not immediately apparent what the director was shooting for -- and then you have to wait the movie out, if you have the patience, until the pieces fall into place.

The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance is tragically one of the latter films: Not only are there no bloodsuckers, and precious little in the way of dancing, but even the production company's blurb for the film, relating how "gothic lesbians ... fall prey to a deranged count, resplendent with canine gnashers, a fairly ghastly complexion and the personality of Pol Pot" sorely misrepresents the culprit or crimes that take place in the course of the film (as if drastic rewrites or post-production plot changes weren't fully addressed in the marketing department).

And before viewers can even set themselves to the task of deciding what director Alfredo Rizzo's aims were, they have to endure a bizarre introduction to the film: a cheesy Bravo UK soft-core experience, care of the Redemption Films brand. For all the bared breasts and dripping blood, it's rather tedious -- and worse, an awful intro to the film itself. All Redemption Films start with some variation on this introduction, though, so just zip through it if you can.

When you do, the film opens with a straightforward premise: a count inviting an acting troupe of women and their emasculated manager to join him for the weekend at his castle. Within the first 24 hours of their stay, numerous excuses for female soft-core nudity emerge -- lesbians frolicking in their bed-chamber, another woman warming to the count's affections, the odd woman out making merry with one of the count's servants, two kitchen assistants exploring each other's breasts in recounting the tale of their lesbian guests. In fact, if this film were to be believed, the act of intercourse involves little more than the fondling of breasts -- just one of the cute consequences of erotic films skirting censorship in their day.

But the real tragedy emerges alongside the first death, a brutal affair involving one of the women in the troupe. Immediately, the lack of grief or even interest in this grotesque occurrence among the other women wears at the thin semblance of the film's plot, and from there a meagre fare of suspense and subsequent deaths leads to a wooden, drawn-out penultimate scene where suddenly it clicks for the viewer: The whole thrust of the plot was just an excuse for as much bared flesh as possible.

This is a sad realization, because -- much like the soft-core content itself -- The Bloodsucker... is exceptionally top-heavy with erotic scenes, so this epiphany about the leaden acting and stiff, flimsy plot that dominate the latter half of the film comes too late for viewers to forget about the plot in its entirety and focus on the main event.

Truly, if the film had even ended with another wanton display of female flesh, it would have succeeded in its aim. As it is, Rizzo's effort ultimately yields a lightweight soft-core scenario with a laborious plot tacked on for the second half. There are better, more efficient vehicles for buxom broads: The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance is a sad waste of healthy flesh, and not worth watching past the last done-up blouse.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING AIDS: A love of breasts and bad acting -- there's plenty of both to go around!


tom s. said...

Last time I looked, your downloadable spreadsheet said you have about 13,000 items. And your last update said you got over 20 new items in a week. I think you are being quixotic.

madkevin said...

Back in the 80s, when I was in high school, my friends and I did this with the horror section of the Blockbuster Video store in Welland, Ontario. We watched every goddamn video they had in alphabetical order at a rate of about five a week. My big suggestion to you if you continue with this project: Booze helps.

MLClark said...

Tom S.,

It's the journey, not the end-point, that matters!


Kudos on the mighty Blockbuster feat! Way ahead of you on the booze front!