It's not often I sit down with the intention of watching a sleazy movie. I know that seems odd considering my love for European Trash cinema but it's true. Although sleazy elements may be a part of a lot of the films I watch and enjoy I don't seek out movies just because they are known as sleazy in their approach to their subject matter. In my younger days I did seek out cinema that catered to the more sordid side of things but over time I've pretty much seen everything I wanted so the thrill of simple shock has worn off.
Or at least I thought so.
Last night I watched Lucio Fulci's 1986 feature THE DEVIL'S HONEY. I knew it was known for it's sexually sleazy story but had kept myself as unaware of details as possible so I could absorb the film without interference from expectations. My first surprise was to learn that the lovely Corinne Cléry appears as Bret Halsey's wife. I have a thing for that lovely lady dating back to YOR, THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE (1983) so the prospect of ample nudity from her was enticing and on that front this film certainly delivers! Miss Cléry spends a great deal of her small amount of screen time nude or in various states of undress but the same is true of the actual female lead actor Blanca Marsillach. In fact, here is so much nudity in the film that by the end I should have been inured to the sight of female beauty but both of these ladies are so gorgeous I remained in awe of them.
That I never became accustomed to the nudity in the film is a testament not just to the physical beauty of the women onscreen but to the fascinating themes being explored in the story. I won't go into detail so as to allow curious viewers to see the film as I did but the sadomasochistic relationship at the heart of things is explored in absorbing ways. The wants and needs of a person in such a relationship are so complicated and confused that even knowing your own mind seems difficult. I'm not sure the story's physiological complexity justifies such a sleazy, exploitative movie but I know I couldn't take my eyes off it wondering what might happen next. That is the most shocking thing this film showed me- that I can still be entranced by something so seedy and dark. Fulci continues to surprise me decades after his death.