This offering from the fine folks at Something Weird Video is another one of their double feature DVDs representing sexploitation flicks. The tagline for "The Love Cult" declares: "Here's a major motion picture that tells the inside story of phony religious groups that used the DEVIL for a preacher!" What this 1970 exploitation film is really about is the Great Eric, a hypnotist who can no longer get gigs doing his act on local television shows. Desperate for a new idea he catches an evangelist on the tube and decides to start a religious cult where he presents himself as Eros and preaches free love. But even under these circumstances Eros/Eric has to hypnotize some of the women to get them to undress. That is pretty sad when you are the leader of a love cult. However Eric's great sin is not that he seducing women through hypnosis, but that he does not really believe in what he preaches. At least, that is what we get from the film's narration, which attacks his hypocrisy more than his hypnotism and explains why Eric must reap what he has sown.
Artistically this film has its moments. There is some creativity involved in the opening and closing titles, including hearing the voice on the phone after the final scene fades out and the credits start. Director Barry Mahon shoots a lot of nudity in what is either dramatically or badly lit black & white photography. He also likes to focus on hands and feet during the sex scenes, whether what is happening is a seduction or a rape, which raises some disturbing questions about the ambiguity of a woman's clenched hand. But those moments of seriousness, or at least artistic pretensions, are more than offset by the heavy hamminess of the main character (and not in a good way).
"Mundo Depravados" ("World of the Depraved") offers the legendary stripper Tempest Storm (48-24-36) as Miss Tango, the owner of the Temple of Beauty Health Club. As the cops investigating the murders is the "hilarious comedy team" of Johnnie Decker and Larry Reed as Detectives Riley and Hamilton. Some guy in a trench coat wearing a stocking is slashing some of the female members, and so these two comic cops show up to try and solve the crime when they are done ogling the girls. This movie basically alternates between scenes of voyeurism, in which some Pepping Tom is spying on the girls, and ones in which one of them is killed, with the comic cops thrown in between (at one point they start doing imitations for several minutes). There really is no pretense here that this movie exists for any other purpose but to show naked women.
This 1967 film was the only one ever written or directed by Herb Jeffries, who was the husband of Tempest Storm. Now, making a film with her in it would be a good idea except for a couple of things (not what you are thinking so STOP it already). The first is that Tempest Storm was 39 and about a decade past her prime when she made this movie (see the Tempest Storm short included on this DVD to prove the point). The second is that younger stripper such as Bunny Ware are the ones doing routines in the movie while Tempest is reduced to being an actress.
After some unnecessary outtakes from "Mundo Depravados" (which was also known as "Meet Me Under the Bed"), there are trailers for both features, "On Her Bed of Roses," "The Peeping Phantom," "Sex Club International," "Sex Killer," "Strange Compulsion," "The Twisted Sex" (stories of sexual deviation taken from the files of a psychiatrist), "Two Girls for a Madman," and "Venus in Furs" (based on the novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch). Then there are a trio of shorts. "The Revolution Marches on Its Stomach" is a short that offers not so much as drugs, sex and rock & roll, but nudity and food. "Swami Yogi-Pogi" is a silent black & white effort that shows an afternoon "tease" (as in strip), where women get naked, put on bathing caps (hygiene is important). and jump into a pool while a guy with a monocle takes pictures. In the end the Swami uses his powers to put the bathing suits back on the girls (really; that is what he does).
Finally, there is "Tempest Gets Plastered," which is about some guy making a plaster cast of Tempest Storm's torso (this was clearly made some time before "Mundo Depravados"). So if you want to watch a man duct tape the body of a famous stripper, this is your opportunity (the cast was going to be put 1000 feet into the earth so it could be found in 500 years). Of course, taking off the cast is more interesting, because once the photographers start snapping pictures then come up with suggestions for how Tempest should pose. At least this DVD gets credit for saving the best for last, for what that is worth.
"The Love Cult" gets rated 3.5 stars because or its artistic pretensions, as misguided as they might be, but "Mundo Depravados" is a 2.5 because is just keeps losing ground. The DVD extras come in at a 4.5 mainly because of the ample evidence why Tempest Storm was a cult figure. That gets us to 3.5, and since the extras are always the best part of a Something Weird Video double feature, I will round up. Note: There is an Easter egg on this DVD. When you are in the "Gallery of Underground Sexploitation Movie-Magazine Covers with Audio Oddities," hit the button for the next chapter. It involves eggs and the age-old question: which came first the chicken or the egg.