42nd Street Cinema

Necromania: A Tale of Weird Love! (1971)

Necromania: A Tale of Weird Love! (1971)Long considered to be lost, Necromania: A Tale of Weird Love is a bizarro horror-tinged hardcore outing written, produced, directed and edited by low-budget extraordinaire Ed Wood, under the pseudonym Don Miller.

Although the title might suggest a morbid tale about a degenerate sex cult with a predilection for lustmord, the sex is shockingly vanilla and the violence...well there isn't any. So don't go getting your hopes up creeps, this ain't no Avon production!

Starring LA sexploitation royalty, the gorgeous Rene Bond and her then-husband Ric Lutze as Shirley and Danny; a young couple experiencing marital problems. Danny, the poor bastard, suffers from erectile dysfunction consequently Shirley is seldom satisfied in the boudoir. The couple arrive at the residence of Madame Heles; a practitioner of what appears to be sex magick, seeking sexual healing.

Q: Surely an appointment with a highly qualified couples therapist would make more sense, right?
A: No dumbass, this is the 1970s!

The work is full of inexplicable details like why the couple even end up there in the first place. In two separate scenes characters are terrified by a badly taxidermied wolf that died of rabies - honestly, that's in the script - no doubt an attempt at injecting an air of humour into the shenanigans, and for some reason the couple are pretending to be married - a fact that's somehow divined by Tanya (Maria Arnold); an assistant of the elusive Madame Heles via an esoteric ritual in a scene I wish was longer, proclaiming their suspicions were correct, the couple aren't married and that's actually a good thing for whatever it is the practitioners have planned. It transpires that Madame Heles is a kind of sex-witch-vampire creature that resides in a coffin, a part that Wood desperately wanted Malia Nurmi, the original Vampiria, to play.

I couldn't really fathom what sort of evil machinations Madame Heles and Tanya were upto, or trying to accomplish. I'm sure there's a greater story underpinning what is shown, but the narrative takes a backseat in Necromania with the sex being the sole focus of the picture. Granted, the entire movie is predicated upon the unhappy sexual relationship of a couple, but there's no excuse for failing to convey a story along with it.

Clocking in at just under an hour Necromania doesn't outstay its welcome and although for the most part it's pretty poorly shot, the frames are often bursting with colour. I'm no self-professed Ed Wood aficionado, shit I've only seen this and Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957), so I really don't believe you need to be well versed in his filmography to have an appreciation for this. But, if you're keen about the Golden Age of Pornography however, given how early this sex film was released, it does have some historic merit and is worthy of the meagre 53 minutes of your time.

Necromania would make for a good double bill with another occult-themed sex film, The Rites of Uranus (1977), both are similarly claustrophobic in tone and suffer from a similarily dreadful framing.

2 Stars


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