Jul 11, 2012

Blow Job – Soffio erotico



Worthwhile works of Gothic horror-core are quite hard to come by, thus Alberto Cavallone’s phantasmagoric porn flick Blow Job - Soffio erotico (1980) – although intrinsically inferior to the Italian filmmaker's previous films – comes as notable exception. Directed by the nearly forgotten arthouse smut auteur who brought us such mostly unsung cult classics as Zelda (1974) and Blue Movie (1978), Blow Job signified the steady artistic and monetary decline of Cavallone’s – at best – marginally successful film career. The production of the film was cursed from the beginning as one of the film’s producers committed suicide (as if he was an anti-hero in one of Cavallone's films) during the filming of Blow Job, which is indubitably a shinning, albeit tragic (at least as far as the film's budget was concerned) example of life imitating art, at least for those individuals that have seen the film. Essentially divided into two halves, Blow Job begins as what initially seems to be a generic Italian smut flick and later morphs into what is one of the most ridiculously wanton and discombobulated Gothic horror films ever created. Following in the delightfully despoiled footsteps of the Amero brother’s gothic LSD trip Bacchanale (1970) and anticipating Stanley Kubricks’ final effort Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Blow Job is a spasmodically sleazy yet swimmingly surreal cinematic wet dream where everything is not as it seems; at least, for the film’s oversexed and mentally obscured protagonist; a flagrant fellow who could pass as Jim Morrison’s swarthy and less attractive Italian ½ brother. Like the poetry and lyrics of Mr. Morrison, Blow Job is a haunting expression of an erotically-obsessed and esoteric escapist mind that is thematically naughty and aesthetically nice. Cavallone stated of Blow Job, "the whole film was focused on the possibility of escaping from our own bodies, by modifying sensorial perceptions through the use of drugs or self-concentration,” thus, it should be no epiphany that the film is best viewed while one’s intellect is totally tuned out; or at least when one is reasonably inebriated. 



 Blue Job begins with the introduction of actors/lovers Stefano and Diana frolicking around stark-naked in a scarcely furnished hotel room that they do not even enough money to pay for. Although Diana makes quite the first impression when she crawls on the floor while in the bare like a seductive sex kitten on the prowl, she cannot compare to the various nefarious nymphomaniacs who will eventually ransack Latin lover Stefano’s crotch. Naturally, Stefano and Diana find themselves in trouble when they fail to pay their hotel bill, but they manage to escape unscathed after a woman randomly falls to her death from the balcony of the building. The couple’s luck seems to change for the better when they encounter an eccentric middle-aged woman named Angela at a racetrack who has a keen eye for foretelling the winning racehorse. After profiting from the fruitful predictions of lady luck, Stefano and Diana follow Angela to her lavish countryside villa, a somewhat chilling yet chimerical spot with seemingly shady characters whose dubious intentions appear less than savory. Not long after arriving at this majestic maniac mansion, Angela’s put Diana under an incapacitating spell that ultimately uncouples her from Stefano. After being separated from his inamorata, Stefano enters through a series of literal and figurative doors of perception that become increasingly nonsensical and indiscreetly erotic. Among other things, Italian stallion Stefano encounters a quaint she-devil on wheels with a kitschy totenkopf mask who rides her motorcycle in the mansion during a lunatic's ball; and a one-eyed erotomaniac who enjoys teasing the man with her grotesque facial deformity and devouring his body. In the divinely demented Gothic delusional realm of Blow Job, nothing is as it seems, thus making for a rare quasi-porn flick that concludes in an abrupt and fantastic fashion that is worthy of being compared to such cinematic classics as the German expressionist masterpiece The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and Herk Harvey's extremely influential cult horror flick Carnival of Souls (1962). 


Compared to Alberto Cavallone’s previous works Man, Woman and Beast (1977) and Blue Movie (1978), Blow Job – despite its various scenes of hardcore and not so hardcore sex – is a relatively harmless yet sporadically tasteless work directed by a once politically and socially concerned man who – like many creative and revolutionary individuals of his era – settled for escaping in his own manifestly tainted psyche via irrational metaphysical mumbo-jumbo and mind-altering chemicals as testified by the film. Of course, Blow Job is a much more artistically ambitious, campy and erotically-charged work than the Andy Warhol 1963 short it was inanely named after. Additionally, Blow Job seems like an immaculate masterpiece of erotic arthouse cinema when compared to the awfully artless yet somehow more popular works of fellow Mediterranean libertine filmmakers Joe D’Amato and Jess Franco.  Watching Blow Job may not be as gratifying as receiving actual fellatio, but it does feature an oftentimes entrancing diacritic Arcadia all of its own.


-Ty E

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