part of a Brazilian cinematic phenomenon known as pornochanchada,
likely serves as a cultural signpost for that country, but its
value as entertainment — straight up or ironic — is microscopic.
in some South American university there is an associate professor
writing a book about the cultural significance of these movies;
whatever he/she comes up with will likely be the only good to
come from Impulse Pictures' DVD release.
as neither a thriller nor (softcore) porn, Violence
and Flesh is a movie in the sense that headcheese is food,
its amateurism is strangely ineffective in what is, essentially,
merely a device to show people being sexually assaulted.
if you enjoy this sort of thing, you're bound to be disappointed
because VAF is happily just bad enough
to mitigate is lurid subject matter. The artless direction — too
banal to be called 'immature' — isn't so much Last
House On the Left as it is
"Hey, let's put on a show!" Were it a better movie, it
would have been repellent; as is, it's just unpleasant.
plot device is familiar: Three escaped convicts find/steal some
money and, on their way to the getaway boat, stop to torture and
rape a handful of attractive women and their menfolk. Two are
nitwit vessels of the id; the other is a naïve socialist with
a political agenda. Seriously. As further subtext, the women are
presented as idealist doers (actresses) while their men are intellectual
talkers (a playwright, an economist).
fans of strange cinema looking for at least one holy shit!
moment won't find it. There isn't enough imagination here to blow
up a balloon, though there are a few unintentionally funny bits,
such as a car that burns longer than Roddy Piper and Keith David
fight in They
Live. The car probably cost $500, and damned if they didn't
get every cent out of it.
one point there is a serious political discussion over dinner,
and the hostages make an early attempt to subdue their tormentors
by staging their play (!). Midway through, one of the women falls
in love with the misunderstood criminal, setting up a murder/suicide
finale that should have been funnier than it was.
supposes the ham-fisted polemic could have resonated with Brazilian
audiences in 1981, though it's hard to believe this is where
they'd come for a social critique — or that an entire nation
of moviegoers would be so uniformly unsophisticated. Then again,
that would explain The Blind Side,
so who are we to condescend?
Impulse DVD is a bare bones affair, just the movie in its original
fullframe aspect. There's an insert explaining pornochanchada,
but virtually nothing about the movie itself. For instance, it
touts the fact that Violence and Flesh
stars Helena Ramos, who, we're told, is a legendary adult film
star in Brazil, but only one other cast member is identified.
The transfer is mostly decent, but not exactly crisp —
and there is occasional surface debris visible. The film is in
Portuguese (newly translated, we're told; there's a job!) with
English subtitles. 3/26/10