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July 26, 2011

Movie Review: Sex and Black Magic (1980, One 7 Films)

It's very rare that there's been a time when I've passed up on a trashy offering from Italian cult film director, Joe D'Amato. Not many film makers can say that they've done slashers, thrillers, giallos, hardcore and soft-core porn, westerns and numerous other genres. Does that mean he's a world class director? God no! One 7 Films has been after my euro-sleaze loving heart with their recent releases. After kicking off the company label with the solid erotic thriller Scandalous Gilda the company has just started to unleash some of D'Amato's more obscure titles like Sexy Pirates, Chinese Kamasutra and today's ultra-filthy treat, Sex and Black Magic (Aka Orgasmo Nero).

Buy Sex And Black Magic on DVD

D'Amato had a string of sex and horror films with island settings (Erotic Nights of the Living Dead, Porno Holocaust) during the late 70's. Sex and Black Magic has it's similarities to both those films with it's voodoo and sex themes. "Sex" though is a little more soft-core though it borders very closely to hardcore with some close-up of diddling lady parts and a cum-shot free blow-job on the beach between lead actress, Lucia Martinez (who plays Haini) and Italian porn star and VD sufferer, Mark Shannon.

Paul (Richard Harrison) is very passionate about studying the interesting practices of island natives. Traveling from island to island with his adulterous wife, Helen (Nieves Navarro) he also yearns to have a child. Enter Haini, a gorgeous voodoo lovin' minx who’s caught in the middle with a lesbian affair with Helen. Expect copious amounts of female masturbation and all other forms of perversion. You also can't have a good D'Amato film, without including some voyeurism in the mix.

Fans of Italian horror and splatter may be a little disappointed as there isn't too much in the way of grue. We do get a few scenes of cheesily handled cannibalism though. Lucia Martinez is the real reason to watch. I found her oddly attractive. She's not very voluptuous (hell, I sport a bigger rack of moobs) but she handles herself almost like a poor man's Laura Gemser. Yes, that's a compliment as odd as it sounds.

One 7 Films, in their brief history, they haven't been huge on extras. Sex and Black Magic, however, has the most bonus material of any of their releases. It's also quite entertaining, and far from "throw-away" supplements. We get a photo gallery, an alternate scene that show an extra pecker shot, some unused footage and easily the best feature, bonus hardcore inserts. These were never initially intended to be in the final product but like many of D'Amato's films they were shot for other markets in need of more skin.

Mark Shannon and Lucia Martinez are the focal point of the sex scenes in the hardcore inserts section. Amazingly, Shannon is just briefly in the original cut of the film as "Guy getting blown on beach". For those of you not familiar with a Shannon, he was a consistent XXX performer (and D'Amato regular) in Italy. Unfortunately, this Tom Selleck look-alike has a nasty case of genital warts. These additional inserts are a fun watch, but just to forewarn you, there are some nasty close-ups of the infected Rice Krispies hanging from Magnum HPV's sack. You do get much more Lucia Martinez in these scenes, thankfully.

The audio and video quality on Sex and Black Magic is very good. This, to my eye, appears to be sourced from original materials. The color overall is excellent for the kind of film it is. Very slight grain is present but all in all it's a surprisingly nice looking presentation. No splices, emulsion or other hindrances. The bonus features also seem to have been handled with care and stored well over the past few decades as they look just as sharp.

Next to Alien From the Deep, this is the best One 7 Release so far. Sex and Black Magic definitely has some slow spots but it’s also consistently sleazy and bizarre enough to keep euro-cult enthusiasts entertained. Recommended

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