Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 8th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Italy,November 18th, 1980
Director: Joe D’Amato
Writer: Tom Salina
Cast: Laura Gemser, George Eastman, Dirce Funari
DVD released: June 29th, 2004
Approximate running time: 112 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Shriek Show
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
The film begins in a mental hospital were recently admitted patient Larry O´ Hara (George Eastman), stares into the distance remembering the trauma that put him here. The first half of the movie is where most of the sexual explicit material is included as we get to know Larry who hired by John Wilson (Mark Shannon), to talk him and his lady friend to the Cursed Cat Island. Larry plans to buy Cat Island and develop it into a tourist retreat. Zombies only appear twice in the first half of the movie and it isn’t explained how they got to civilization from Cat Island. Upon arriving at Cat Island the locals appear to have been deserted the island and the only form of society left is a ancient graveyard. While on the Island Larry, John and his girlfriend encounter the lovely Luna (Laura Gemser), and her cryptic grandfather who has a big lump on his head. The group is warned of great danger by Luna and grandfather on several occasions, still not the superstitious type the refuse to leave. The second have of the movie is where the zombies take over and really shine. Should the trio have taken the Luna and the old man’s advice and left the island, or is it too late?
Aristide Massaccesi (Joe D’Amato), began his career as a cinematographer working on films like the Antichrist and What Have They Done to Solange? He was reluctant to put his real name on the films he directed while he was still a cinematographer not wanting to lose any work as a cinematographer. Joe D’Amato by the 1980’s would shift from making horror films into the world of hardcore pornography and he go on to direct over 100 hardcore films. Laura Gemser was one Joe D’Amato’s most frequent leading ladies she would work with D’ Amato on 28 films including their most notorious outing together Emanuelle in America. Erotic Nights of the Living Dead is far from Joe D’Amato’s best work and this movie is by far the least erotic film that I have seen from D’ Amato to date. His cinematography is really well done as it is with all of his films. If there is one then D’Amato knows and is good at it is his excellent photography. The story is all over the place and the cast George Eastman does his best menacing look while Laura Gemser does what she does best looking beautiful. The English dub track for this film is terrible at least it adds to the films campy feel. Erotic Nights of the Living Dead tries to mix sex and zombies but ultimately fails to merge the two entities.
Shriek Show’s release Erotic Nights of the Living Dead presents for the first time ever on home video in America an uncut hardcore version of the film that is presented in its original 1:85:1 aspect ratio and it has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. Through out the colors are soft while for the most part the flesh tones appear natural. The black levels are good as grain is kept to a minimum and overall this is an extremely clean transfer that is free of print damage.
The only audio option available on this DVD is an English Dubbed track that for the most part is clean and easy to hear. My only complaint is that the dialog at times slightly muffled.
Extras include about 27 minutes of alternate scenes, a photo gallery with movie stills and photo’s of Laura Gemser. Other extras include the films original X-rated trailer and a collection of trailers for other Shriek Show Titles. An Easter egg the French opening credits can be found by going to the main menu screen via screen access then push down and a skull will appear above the menu. Shriek Show offers two versions of Erotic Nights of the Living Dead the explicit version with hardcore scenes in tact and a rated general release that removes all the hardcore scenes. Erotic Nights of the Living Dead is another great DVD from Shriek Show and fans of Joe D’Amato can finally own this sleaze classic in a quality version.