Emanuelle in America (1976) Emanuelle in America/Brutal Nights (1976) -***½

     This was the second of four psuedo-sequels to Black Emanuelle directed by Joe D’Amato, following Emanuelle in Bangkok and preceding Emanuelle Around the World. D’Amato being pretty much the Emperor Caligula of Eurosleaze, you know it’s going to deliver the goods no matter what, but the true conoisseurs of the genre will begin salivating like one of Pavlov’s frigging dogs when they hear that it’s probably the scummiest of the bunch, even in the softcore edit that I watched.

     The story? Ha ha, that I can give you in just a couple of sentences. Emanuelle (Laura Gemser), whose job appears to consist entirely of photographing naked girls, has sex with her icky, receding-hairlined boyfriend (Riccardo Salvino, of Gently Before She Dies and Ladies’ Doctor) and then goes “undercover” in the star-sign-sorted harem of some rich, ugly Dutchman (Lars Bloch, from Exotic Exploits of a Sexy Seducer) to take pictures and have lots of sex. She then heads off to Venice with a guy who says he’s a duke (Gabriele Tinti, from Women's Prison Massacre and Cut and Run), and has lots of sex. Next stop: an illegal sex resort on a Greek island, where arrestingly unattractive women spend a fortune to be serviced by huge bearded men in loincloths, and where Emanuelle rapes the lesbian manager of the resort, who appears to have wandered in here by mistake from some women’s prison movie somewhere. Then it’s back to the U.S. for more sex in Washington with a corrupt politician (Roger Browne, from War of the Robots and Women in Cell Block 7) who traffics in hallucinogenic drugs and makes snuff films in South America. Finally, Emanuelle quits her job at the newspaper, goes with her boyfriend to some remote island inhabited mainly by fat black people who are (I guess) supposed to symbolize the carefree simplicity of pre-modern life, and has more sex. The end.

     But come on now. We don’t watch these things for the story. We watch them because we want to see Laura Gemser naked. And see her we do, oh yes. And because Joe D’Amato is at the helm, we see a whole lot more. There is the obligatory party at the mansion that turns into an outrageous orgy. There is the lesbian sauna scene. The topless sunbathing scene. The sex-in-public scene. The menage-a-trois. The lesbian pool orgy. As early as 1976, this movie has phone sex between Emanuelle and the aforementioned icky boyfriend. It has real live, on-camera masturbation in close-up. It has a nude woman giving a hand job to a fucking horse! (The latter jaw-dropping exercise in bad taste is only implied in the version that I saw, but these Italian schlock-fests are often cut up at least a little by their American distributors, so it’s possible that... but let’s not go there.)

     What Emanuelle in America also has is the sort of utter lunacy that can only be had from an Italian exploitation flick. We’ll start at the beginning, shall we, when Emanuelle is confronted by the psychotic boyfriend of one of her models (if you’re confused as to whether Emanuelle is supposed to be an investigative journalist or a glamour photographer, you’re not alone), who is determined to kill her for the sake of feminine virtue. “You’ve corrupted her with sex,” he says, “ but after I’ve killed you, I’ll marry her, and she’ll never have to take her clothes off again!” Um... What?!?! And do you know how our heroine gets herself out of this predicament? Do you?! She sucks his dick, that’s how! Hey, it’s worked for me every time I’ve had to fend off a heavily-armed, mad puritan who thinks that killing me will save the world and his loved ones from sexual depravity, so why not? But wait, it gets better. Later in the movie, Emanuelle is talking to the psycho’s girlfriend (who is, of course, naked), and it comes out in conversation that Emanulle has changed the guy’s life-- he’s now a full-on sex maniac! Are the Italians really this fucked up?

     Here’s another example. I’ve already mentioned that the Dutch guy’s harem is divided into groups based on the signs of the zodiac. But what I didn’t tell you is that, to join the harem, Emanuelle has to get a fake passport listing a birthdate that would make her a virgo. And I also haven’t mentioned that the first harem girl Emanuelle talks to introduces herself, “Hi, I’m Gemini,” or that, during the pool orgy scene, all of the girls are wearing matching vermilion G-strings that have shitty little gold-like medallions on them in the forms of bulls and fish and virgins.

     I could go on for pages about that sort of thing-- the movie’s loaded with it-- but I want to make sure I mention the continuity problems too. The most astonishing one occurs when Emanuelle is riding in the company limo to the Greek sex club. When the chauffeur comes to pick her up, he’s driving a 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood 60. But when he pulls up to the gate of the resort, the car has turned into a 1967 Sedan DeVille. And the transformation reverses itself on the way back. Maybe someone who wasn’t a car guy wouldn’t notice a thing like that, but I really think that the two vehicles look different enough that any slightly observant person would pick up on the fact that the car had changed, even if they couldn’t tell you the make, model, and year of both of its guises.

     Italian softcore just doesn’t get a whole lot better than this. I mean, how can you go wrong with a movie called Emanuelle in America, fully two thirds of which takes place in the eastern Mediterranean? Have a change of underwear handy when you watch this movie; between the ludicrous story, the wooden acting, and the non-stop lesbianism, there’s a good chance you’ll either piss yourself laughing or cum in your shorts.



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