Sunday, August 25, 2013

Slaughter Hotel (Fernando Di Leo, 1971)

Every once and awhile I like to give out free advice to the fine folks out there who work tirelessly to run our sex slave camps; the brave souls who keep our women's prisons in tip-top condition; and the faceless heroes who make our women's mental institutions, or "lesbian rest homes," as they're some times called, the envy of the galaxy. Now, I'm not saying that I'm some kind of expert when it comes to the day-to-day operations of any of these facilities. However, I do think that I have a lot to offer in terms of good old fashioned know-how.  Over the past couple of years, I have lived on a steady diet of films that involve women who have been forcibly confined to a single location. And having done so, I feel I've been rewarded with a unique perspective. If you were to ask me to convince a single woman to do my bidding, the next sound you would hear would be the sound of her knee disrupting the relative tranquility of the bulbous contents that pepper my expansive groin area. Yet, if you were to ask me to convince, let's say, twenty women to do my bidding, I would have them eating birth control pills out of the palm of my hand in no time. This won't come as a shock to anyone, but individuals are much harder to manipulate than large groups. The individual is steadfast in their belief that personal freedom must be defended at all costs. On the other hand, the members of the large group are so concerned with pleasing one another that they eventually forget who they are. Of course, what does all this have to do with Slaughter Hotel (a.k.a. La bestia uccide a sangue freddo and Das Schloß der blauen Vögel), an Italian giallo directed by Fernando Di Leo that is refreshingly pornographic in places? I don't know. Nonetheless, I think most of you will agree, that it's probably one of the most profound things I've ever said. And what's weird is, it came to me after watching a film that features a bunch of guys refusing to have sex with the insanely gorgeous Rosalba Neri. I'm sorry if that last statement caused you to spit out the green tea or the high-calorie energy drink you were trying to ingest with your mouth, but it's a sort of true statement.
Why is it "sort of true" as supposed to just plain true? Well, one of the guys eventually does succumb to Rosalba Neri's seductive advances. But the fact that she had to practically beg someone to penetrate one of her aching holes with their indifferent penis was painful to watch. And get this, one of the reasons he gives her for not wanting to have sexual intercourse with her was that he didn't want to get fired from his job. And what, pray tell, do this precious job of his entail? He's the gardener at a women's mental institution. Okay, let me get this straight, he would rather pick weeds than stick his dick in...don't be crude. I mean, he would rather trim bushes than fuc...don't even think about it, mister.
As you were preventing me from employing some of my best garden-based sexual innuendos in a semi-public forum, I just remembered what advice I had for the people who the run the loony bin at the centre of this murderous enterprise. And that is, do not leave medieval weaponry lying around, especially in places where they can simply be picked up by anyone boasting the ability to pick things up. And judging by the large amount of functioning arms and hands I saw in this place, I'd say picking up stuff, and I suppose, things, as well, is something these people are all to familiar with.
Don't believe me? Oh, you do you believe me. Well, say you didn't, believe me, that is, just ask the doctor who greets Ruth (Gioia Desideri), a new patient who can't seem to stop playing with her hair. As he's giving her a tour of the grounds, Ruth spots a pile of sticks piled neatly on the ground. And like most people who find themselves walking with a doctor in the vicinity of a pile of sticks, her first instinct is to pick one up and hit the doctor over the head with it.
Okay, now imagine if it wasn't a stick. What if it was a mace or an axe? I'm no medical examiner, but an axe to the head is much worse in terms of overall trauma than a lowly a stick. 
What I think I'm trying to say is, maybe it's not such a good idea to leave a shitload of deadly weapons lying around the lobby of a clinic that houses dozens of deranged women. 
I've just been informed that the weapons are in fact located in the clinic's lounge. I don't understand, how is that better? It's not, I'm just saying, they're not in the lobby as I previously stated. Then why didn't you just correct yourself? Oh, that's because I didn't feel like it. Gotcha. Anyway, the weapons are still lying out in the open no matter where you think they're located. And we get a clear sense of how dangerous it is to keep your collection of medieval weaponry out in the open, when we see a mysterious figure in a dark cape roaming the halls of a chichi clinic for crazy chicks.
Grabbing an axe off the wall mid-roam, the caped stranger comes upon the room where Cheryl Hume (Margaret Lee) is practicing her naked writhing. And just as the person in the cape was about to hit her with their recently acquired axe, Cheryl accidentally rings her bedside buzzer (naked writhing can cause this to happen from time to time). Obviously not in the mood to deal with the staff, the mysterious figure in the cape takes off running. So, you mean to say the opening murder scene in Slaughter Hotel was all just one big tease? It looks like it. On the bright side, we do get to see a smattering of Margaret Lee's pubic hair. Albeit, it was mostly superfluous overlap. But still, it was thick and it was fantastic.
Since I've already alluded to Ruth's arrival, who, like I said, tries to bash a doctor's brains in with a stick mere seconds after she's dropped off by her husband (I like how the doctor, a sort of nerdy version of Peter Fonda, calmly stops her mid-swing), let's jump to the introduction of Mara (Jane Garret), a chain smoking, agoraphobic Brazilian woman. Nervously sitting on a bench, Mara is, naturally, smoking a cigarette. In other words, she's minding her own damn business. When, all of a sudden, a stunning redhead dressed as a nurse approaches her (the reason the stunning redhead is dressed as a nurse is because she is a nurse).

Played by the equally stunning Monica Strebel, Nurse Helen has one thing, and one thing only on her mind. She wants to help Mara overcome her myriad mental health problems? Huh, I didn't think of that. Well, it would seem that Nurse Helen has two things on her mind. But make no mistake, the main thing on her mind, the thing that causes her to plunge her hand down her black gossamer panties late at night, is the shape of Mara's Brazilian booty and the thought of her caressing its curvaceous contours with a reckless brand of booty caressing abandon.
After watching a group patients play croquet (though, judging by their haphazard playing style, it looked more like they were playing field hockey), we meet Dr. Francis Clay (Klaus Kinski) and Professor Osterman (John Karlsen) in the clinic's lounge. I'll admit, when I first saw Klaus Kinski appear onscreen, I thought to myself: He's got to be the killer. However, after a few seconds, I started to think: No way, it's too obvious. But then again, how can Klaus Kinski not be the killer? I mean, look at him. Well, first of all, no one has technically been killed yet. And secondly, Klaus Kinski is the ultimate red herring. Meaning, he doesn't have to act suspicious. Why is that, you ask? He. Looks. Like. Klaus. Kinski. 
The moment we've all been waiting for is about to arrive, and that is, the first appearance of Rosalba Neri as Anne Palmieri, the only sane woman in this joint. What's that you say? She must have something wrong with her. Au contraire, my little turtle dumpling. Wanting to have sex with a bunch of random dudes doesn't mean you're insane. Oh, sure. Prudish pratts with penis problems will tell you that women aren't supposed to enjoy sex. But we all know that ladies like to fornicate just as much as the fellas do.
When her attempt to follow a scythe-wielding gardener (John Ely) into the woods is thwarted by Professor Osterman, she tells him, "Im not sick. I just want to make love." In order to quash her libido, Professor Osterman instructs Anne to take a shower. Calling Anne's desire to fuck everything that moves "excessive," the crotchety old man is clearly afraid of her sexuality. And I don't blame him. Wait a minute, of course I blame him. Let's break it down, shall we? You run a women's mental hospital that is home to a promiscuous Rosalba Neri, one located in the middle of nowhere, and you want her to stop wanting to have sex with every man she sees? Am I correct? So, what you're saying is, that if she curtails her sex drive, she'll be cured? That's messed up.
The question you should be asking is: Why don't any of the men in this movie want to have sex with Rosalba Neri? It doesn't make any sense. After taking a shower, which did nothing but make her more amourous, Anne is paid a visit by her boyfriend; at least I think he was her boyfriend. Either way, he refuses to have sex with her. I don't understand. It's 1971. Fuck her brains out! Right now, against that wall over there. Why are you just standing there? Touch her. Kiss her. Do something. She wants you!
I need to take a break. I mean, the idea that no one wants to have sex with Rosalba Neri is driving me crazy. I'll be back in a second.
Okay, I'm back. While walking down the hall, Nurse Helen suddenly hears the sound of a Brazilian booty being massaged. Approaching the room where the booty-centric sounds are coming from, Nurse Helen sees another nurse giving Mara a rub down. Realizing that it should be her hands that are pawing at that booty, Nurse Helen springs into action. Taking over from the other nurse, Nurse Helen seems delighted to finally have the contents of Mara's ample booty in her hands. If you're wondering why I only use the word "booty" to describe the asses that are attached to Brazilian women. It's because I feel Brazilian women are the only women on the planet who have the junk necessary to fill an entire trunk. And what's the best way to describe a trunk that has been filled to the brim with junk? That's right, booty; a big, Brazilian booty.
It would seem that Rosalba Neri, who is still wearing that black belly-revealing number (a figure eight-shaped flourish that covers her navel is the only thing that connects her top with her pants), hasn't given up in her quest to find some cock. I'm surprised Klaus Kinski didn't offer his cock to her. But then again, the Klaus Kinski in this film is not your typical Klaus Kinski. This Klaus Kinski, believe it or not, is a tad shy and has a crush on Margaret Lee. At any rate, Rosalba finally finds a willing cock in the form of the gardener. Actually, "willing" might be too strong of a word to describe his cock. Nonetheless, Rosalba wanders over to the greenhouse to get some loving.
When the gardener tells Rosalba to leave after they have finished, she refuses, as she is not even close to being done with his cock. In order to facilitate her withdrawal from the greenhouse in a more expedient manner, the gardener slaps Rosalba not once, not twice, but three times across the face. As you might expect, Rosalba's hair is tousled quite a bit after being slapped so many times. To rectify this, Rosalba flips her hair back to its previous pre-slap position with a jaunty aplomb. When she's done implementing her hair-correcting hair flip, Rosalba looks at the gardener with contempt and then slaps him back. Only once, you say? Yeah, but Rosalba's slap was much stronger than all three of the gardener's slaps combined.
As I said, Rosalba Neri is still not satisfied. She tries to acquire corporeal nourishment from two male orderlies, but they rebuff her multiple attempts to grope them.
It's after Rosalba Neri is denied sex from the orderlies, who are clearly homosexuals (not that there's anything wrong with that), that Slaughter Hotel starts to resemble a traditional horror film. With plenty of weapons and plenty women to choose from, the mysterious figure in the dark cape goes from room to room killing patients with minimal resistance. But don't worry, while the horror element is cranked up a couple of notches, the film still manages to retain its erotic flavour. In fact, the film's erotic flavour seems to get even stronger as the mayhem gets underway. Is there any explanation given as to why the guy in the cape went on a mindless killing spree? Not really. Yet, it does have close-up shots of female genitalia being pawed at and an over the top, blood-drenched climax. And, at the end of the day, I was relatively pleased by how it all turned out.

video uploaded by davidfromlille2

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