“And when I get that feeling, I want sexual healing...Sexual healing, oh baby. Makes me feel so fine”
With apologies to the late Marvin Gaye, this sexual healing is not a famous Motown hit, it refers to a three disk adult film compilation from Eduardo Cemano, a maverick adult film director of the early seventies who was known for his zany, innovative and happy, life affirming work. Does it still give porn purveyors reason to smile some three decades later? Let us take an explicit look, shall we?
The Healers (1972)
This film is similar, perhaps a parody to all the video “marriage manuals” of the day which allowed frank, explicit sexual content to escape the censors knife if it was portrayed as educational, informative and in a demonstrative fashion. As it starts Professor Von Scmerling (played by Cemano himself) is demonstrating a new type of therapy, by dry humping a classroom skeleton on his desk in a variety of positions. According to the good professor this expression of complete sexual expression, even toward an inanimate object has numerous health benefits and can be used to combat almost any emotional, spiritual or psychological malady. To then further illustrate this point we are soon introduced to Dr Darby, another unconventional doctor who is busy banging his nurse. It isn't long before they are interrupted by a couple patients, and thats when they really let the healing begin. The doctor soon seduces a poor opera singer who has lost her voice, meanwhile in another room, his nurse works over another sad sack of a square who is the very picture of meek and mild sexual dysfunction. But the treatments have only just begun. Dr Darby then diddles a poor mute girl in order to make her speak again. Later, as he is chasing her into the street to return her clothes (even as he himself is completely naked) Darby has the curious fortune to run into a foursome on the staircase (Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice) who just happen to be living together. He invites himself into their apartment and once he finds out how tedious their sex lives are he encourages them to switch partners, but not in the way you would expect...or want. The two girls get it on, as you know they would and should, to full fill the obligatory lesbo scene, but then the guys get it on, too. All in the same bed, while the mad doctor watches and compliments them all.
Thankfully, as with most of the sex in this film, the camera angles leave much to the imagination, but I, like most heterosexual males would NEVER buy an explicit video if I knew there was guy on guy depictions of anal sex; that's why those sorts of polarizing scenes never appear in modern, mainstream adult films unless they are explicitly marketed as “bisexual”. Even though this film was made in a time where porno's didn't have ironclad genres, offhand I must say this is most disgusting, unnecessary, and unexpected moment in any film I have reviewed since the Vampire drinking a babies brains with a bendy straw in Necroville.
Even if Cemano himself couldn't have warned me this scene was coming, the nice folks at After Hours Cinema could have, with a packaging/box description that would never make me choose this set to begin with. And for that they will suffer later...
A tender love story that challenges the notions of inter-species love, or a symbolic pornographic acid trip that challenges you to tune in, turn on? Fongaluli is perhaps both of these, and more. In this one, Cemano himself plays Leviticus Witsus, a strange little man who is obsessed with love between species of animals. As is often the case with such contraband, he meets a man on the street who introduces him to the fongaluli leaf, which he feeds to Shirley, his prized pet lobster. Much to his surprise, the magical leaf not only allows him to communicate with his beloved crustacean, but it actually changes Shirley into a beautiful naked women. But there is a catch; in order for her to maintain human form, she must be fed a steady supply of Fongaluli leaves, which apparently are in very short supply. Much as can be expected in the simplistic fantastical plot of every adult film/child's fairy tale, Professor Witsus must must undertake a strange, mystical journey for the magic leaves which allow them to be together forever.
By this point it shouldn't surprise you when he is faced with a series of trials and tribulations which are temptations of the flesh incarnate, such as being forced to have sex with a gigantic woman in order to receive help with his quest. Nor when Shirley his molested by a strange foursome of hippies who refer to each other as father, mother, sister and brother and have obvious incestuous relations with each other. Ultimately, our professor perseveres, and meets the Fongawitch, who is able to forever reunite the two lovers forever, but at a terrible price; an ultimate sacrifice in a classical conclusion which actually is the only part of this thing which shows any sort of higher intelligence whatsoever.
This is another shining example of the Cemano formula and by formula I mean the random mixture of 70's culture, explicit sex all caught in a child's cartoon show sensibility of color and madness. If you have ever wanted to see 70's era adult movies where your suspension of disbelief was used for something other than figuring out the usual porno equation “How (much/many) male _____ they can fit (into/onto/all over) the leading ladies _____ at the same time?” this will delight you. But if you insist that your naked visual sex is adult in execution as it is in premise, this as the other film will seem like some silly shit indeed.
Madame Zenobia (1974)
This one is the darkest and most severe of the lot, and yet somehow the most enjoyable. For the first time, the Cemeano formula of creating the most insane possible sex scene has been harnessed with an actual coherent plot-line, and for the first time I see some semblance of depth in his work.
Marcia, has been unable to orgasm ever since the death of her lover, John. So to take off stress she does what any sensible, yet sexually repressed woman would do, she goes off to his grave, strips off her clothes and masturbates vigorously by his tombstone in a powerful, symbolic visual fusion of sex and death that finally got this reviewers attention, (admittedly, for the first time) in this box set.
But her undying fetishism for her ex lover carries with it a terrible price. Her new fiance, Eric is severely nonplussed by his lover's cemetery self exploration and they quickly break up. Marcia calls her best friend, who just happens to be an unrepentant free-love slut who at that very moment is busy having sex with two guys at the time. But being a good friend to the last, she decides that the only thing that can be done for poor Marcia is to go over to her place at once (with her two boyfriends in tow) and clumsily, forcibly molest her. Introducing her to the concept of free-love. Of course Marcia doesn't care when they do this, she doesn't care about anything anymore.
That is when they up the ante from silly sexual assault to carnal kidnapping and take Marcia far, far away to meet with the Heavenly wench. An orgy ensues, and Marcia receives divine guidance that it is okay to love sex again, an especially intriguing life lesson learned when it is delivered by engaging in indiscriminate coitus with countless hippies using camera tricks borrowed from every anti-drug propaganda film ever made since 1950. After this experience, Marcia is able to return to her fiance, and he makes her climax, loudly and proudly. Moreover, you can tell that he really loves her, because he never once asks why she suddenly smells so much like Patchouli and shag carpeting. And they all lived happily ever after. Now THAT'S sexual healing!
Okay, in retrospect, maybe this one wasn't any more intelligent than the other ones, but at least it had obvious, blatant penetration for the first time in this box set. That's Cemano for you, a revolutionary life loving, Fellini of flesh films who routinely broke all the rules in porno...except for the X Rating.
Cemano was an above average director, but the emerging hardcore XXX tastes of the day gutted his career before it began. Adult films such as DEEP THROAT (1972) and BEYOND THE GREEN DOOR (1972) were based on sexual savagery over simple silliness. As we know all too well in this modern age of “triple penetrations”, Bukkake and 500 men gang bangs, there is no putting the porno genie back in the bottle.
Need a little sexual healing of your own? Visit After Hours Cinema to get yourself a copy!