Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 4th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1982
Director: Joe D’Amato
Writer: Joe D’Amato
Cast: Nieves Navarro, Richard Harrison, Lucia Ramirez, Mark Shannon
DVD released: March 8th, 2011
Approximate running time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: One 7 Movies
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Sex and Black Magic was written and directed by Joe D’Amato, one of Italy’s foremost purveyors smut cinema in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. His is most known for directing a series of Emanuelle films, which all starred Laura Gemser. Most notably Emanuelle in America. And while these Emanuelle films are arguably his most known sexploitation films. Shortly after the success of these films he would embark on a series of tropical island based erotica themed films. Such as Papaya: Love Goddess of the Cannibals, Hard Sensation, Sesso nero, Erotic Nights of the Living Dead and Porno Holocaust.
Content wise Sex and Black Magic like most of Joe D’Amato is shot of plot and heavy on sex, especially lesbian action. The initial setup does a good job setting up who everyone is and what their motivations are. Unfortunately after this initial setup the film is too content with just jumping from one sexual rendezvous to the next. And while in most instances this would not be a setback. This meandering middle section of the film nearly kills off any impact that this film’s shock ending has. Also anyone expecting anything remotely horror or even some good old black magic, will be disappointed. Since both of these aspects of the plot are greatly underplayed.
Issues with the plot, one thing that is almost always a given when discussing the film’s of Joe D’Amato is the exquisite cinematography. And thankfully this is one area in which this film often excels. Another area in which this film holds up well is it’s two female leads, Nieves Navarro (Death Walks at Midnight) in the role of the wife and Lucia Ramirez in the role of the island girl that seduces both them. With the film’s most memorable performance coming from Nieves Navarro, who’s performance as a love starved wife ranks as one of her strongest performances of her career. The film’s score was composed by Stelvio Cipriani, who’s other notable scores include Twitch of the Death Nerve, What Have They Done to Your Daughters? and Rabid Dogs. Ultimately Sex and Black Magic is mildly entertaining sex romp that fan’s of Joe D’Amato are sure to get the most mileage out of this sexploitation oddity. While most other viewers will find this film a rough road to travel.
One 7 Movies presents Sex and Black Magic in an anamorphic widescreen that retains this film’s original aspect ratio. The source used is in good shape, colors and flesh tones look accurate and black levels generally fare well. Also there is some mild print debris that varies in degree throughout. And even though the image generally looks crisp, there are a handful of instances where things look a tad too soft. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement is never to excessive.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian and removable English subtitles have been include. It should be noted that subtitles have a few grammatical errors. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Also there is background noise that varied sin degree throughout.
Extras for this release include a stills gallery, the original end credits (49 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), an alternate scene (50 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), unused shots (3 minutes 43 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and hardcore inserts (9 minutes 49 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). Also before each of these extras are some text to put each of these extras into context. Overall Sex and Black Magic gets a well rounded DVD release from One 7 Movies.