Film & Water #171 – Drive-in Double Feature: Laura Gemser!

THE FILM & WATER PODCAST

Episode 171 – Drive-In Double Feature: Laura Gemser!

Because you demanded it! Rob and Max Romero are back with another Drive-In Double Feature, this time taking a look at two movies starring 1970’s erotic superstar Laura Gemser! First up is Gemser in her breakout role as Emanuelle in 1977’s SISTER EMANUELLE, followed by her turn as a telepathic mutant in the 1983 Italian post-apocalyptic action blockbuster ENDGAME!

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22 responses to “Film & Water #171 – Drive-in Double Feature: Laura Gemser!

  1. If Gemser/Kristel is the Biden/Sanders conversation then Krista Allen is clearly Elizabeth Warren, that is to say, Allen is the (Emmanuelle) candidate that smart people support.

  2. I’ve never actually seen an Emanuelle movie. (I had HBO but no Cinemax growing up) but boy did Gemser catch my eye in Invaders of the Lost Gold. As for Endgame, boy do I love, Love, LOVE Italian exploitation films from the 70s and 80s!!! The Alien rip-offs, the zombie movies and the post apocalyptic extravaganzas that jam packed as many elements from other movies as they could. A few of my favorites
    2019: After the Fall of New York (Escape from New York, meets Planet of The Apes meets The Road Warrior)
    Texas Gladiators (or Texas Rangers: 2020)
    Zombie
    Zombi 3 (you MUST see Zombi 3! It is tremendously entertaining. A non stop carnival ride of one thing after another with whether it makes sense or not!)
    and of course
    Rats.

  3. To give credit where credit is due, using ‘Emanuelle’ to tell you that it’s a Laura Gemser film, whether her name in the film ‘Emanuelle’ or not, works and I will watch any film with her in it. ‘Emanuelle on Taboo Island’ is a great example of this. Why did I watch it? Laura! Is it good? No, it’s slow and kinda boring… but it has Laura!

    If, for any reason, you enjoy SISTER EMANUELLE, you may appreciate to know that a year later, a Japanese film was made called SINS OF SISTER LUCIA which has a very similar basis about a wild woman forced in a nunnery and trying to seduce and corrupt everyone… with the help of escaped convicts who similarly rape and convert everyone to their cause. I’m a fan of Roman porno from Japan and find them interesting but they are almost always questionable and off-putting. The similarities truly surprised me after I watched SISTER EMANUELLE.

    As for BLACK COBRA WOMAN, I haven’t seen it and won’t if it involves animal killings, thanks for the heads up. Similarly, allow me to warn that if there are any more Gemser films in the future give another giant fuck you to EMANUELLE: QUEEN BITCH. I guarantee that it’s beyond redemption allow for a completely different reason. Go with the period piece from D’Amato like THE ALCOVE or something but just avoid QUEEN BITCH as if your life depends on it.

  4. PRISM!!! YES! Growing up in Southwest Philadelphia, my Aunt and Uncle who lived next door to us had Prism before our neighborhood was wired for cable. Much like Rob’s father, they got it for sports, but for myself and my brother and cousins, it was our gateway to boobs and sex! I don’t know if I’ve ever CHOSEN to watch a Laura Gemser movie, but I’m sure I’ve seen movie scenes with her! Rob, I need to do a show with you dedicated to Prism! Through this amazing cable outlet, I was introduced to boobs and sex, along with Superman the Movie, Bachelor Party, Revenge of the Nerds, National Lampoons Vacation (more boobs and sex!), Jaws, and SOOO many more. I can vividly remember the bringing our VCR over to my aunts house and jerryrigging it so we could dub the movies onto tapes. I think that’s how I got to see Eddie Murphy:Delirious! One of my best memories was watching Blue Thunder with my dad and having him tell me not to mention the scene where they eavesdrop on the topless woman to my mom. Ahh, the 80’s……great show guys!

  5. I don’t use these words often, but “Thank you, “and “this is a damn triumph!”

    LOVED this episode. But can we talk about Monique Gabrielle as Emmanuelle? MAGNIFIQUE!

    “You have to shoot this bottomless and topless” – Rob acts like he doesn’t record all his shows this way.

    More like this, please.

    1. If they don’t want to do GemserCast, they could do Cult Queen Cast and spotlight a couple of movies starring a different B-Movie beauty each time.

  6. Since I suggested one film to stay away from, I thought I’d come back and give another little heads up for another.

    Mondo Macabro released a beautiful blu-ray for EMANUELLE IN AMERICA. I don’t know if either of you seen it but if you’re sensitive, you might want to know that there is not only some mock snuff but also a scene where a woman sensually caresses a horse’s erect member. I think we are supposed to take it that she is jacking him but it’s very gentle and hardly results in a climax.

  7. If I were to pick my two favorite Laura Gemser movies….these two wouldn’t be what I would pick!

    Even though nuns are Catholic and my deeply religious upbringing was Baptist, I still feel the “fire and brimstone” whenever I see a beautiful woman dressed as a nun. That happened here with Laura and in Spirits with Michelle Bauer. I think you hit the nail on the head with the other complaint…This is more a Mónica Zanchi film than a Laura Gemser film.

    I’m not an expert on Gemser (though I would like to be) but here are answers to some of your comments from stuff I heard on blu-ray extras. Yes, I actually own some Gemser flicks.

    On the blu-ray to Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, where the two teamed again, Zanchi admitted she had a crush on Mr. Gemser, Gabrielle Tinti. She said she didn’t pursue him, because she didn’t want him to cheat on Laura, but her attitude seemed to be, to me at least, that she could have gotten him had she pursued him. Come on, Monica, you’re cute but Laura is the one of the reasons someone came up with the word “perfection.” I can’t imagine any man who was with Laura would even want to look at another woman. I wonder if Gemser and Zanchi didn’t do a love scene with each other in either movie because there was tensions between them.

    Speaking of Mr. Tinti, I can’t believe you didn’t mention his most bizarre role (for him, anyway) : a guest shot on The Andy Griffith Show. At least we didn’t have to see Barney Fife getting hot with Laura, although that might have been the ultimate nothing guy/hot girl fantasy. Oh, most of the women I know who have seen Mr. Tinti thought he was pretty yummy.

    As for the Moira Chen billing in Endgame….Laura co-starred in a made for American network TV movie Love is Forever, in which she co-starred with Michael Landon and Priscilla Presley. Either the producer or director, I forget which, insisted Laura be billed as Moira Chen because he was hoping no one would recognize her from her erotic movies. According to a Laura audio interview (she didn’t appear on camera) on one of the blu-rays, he wouldn’t even allow anyone on the set to refer to her as Laura. Maybe Joe D’Amato thought anyone who discovered her on the TV movie and was bewitched by her magical charms and beauty would not know Laura Gemser but would want to see more Moira Chen.

    If you were offended by Black Cobra Woman, you may want to steer clear of Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals.

    Erotic Nights of the Living Dead is TERRIBLE!!!!!! The movie is about a ship’s crew who plan to go to a supposedly haunted island. The first hour deals with their sexcapades before they set sail and is almost wall-to-wall male full frontal nudity. One crew member has a three-some with two hookers who run off after they find out about his plan to visit the island. He chases them, all buck nekkid, into to hallway and says, “You stupid hookers didn’t even get your money.” His next door neighbor is standing there and apparently likes what she sees of his nakedness, has a fling with him and joins in on the trip. In the first hour, we only see about five seconds of Laura, just to let us know she’ll be on the island when they get there. ENOLD does have a bitchin’ score by Marcello Giombini.

    I’ve already mentioned it, and someone else did above, but L’Alcova is Gemser and D’Amato’s stab at a “message movie” cum (no pun intended) “art film.” It was on youtube at one time. If you don’t see the social commentary, well, that ain’t might fault.

    1. As a fellow fan of THE ALCOVE, are you a fan of the Tinto Brass film, THE KEY? THE ALCOVE was supposedly D’Amato’s response to it and I gotta say, Stefania Sandrelli is quite breathtaking. I actually saw it only after reading the source material, a short story by a turn of the century Japanese writer named Tanizaki.

      1. I have not seen the Key and didn’t no anything about it being an influence on The Alcove. Really, the Alcove isn’t the type of movie I would normally watch, but….Laura Gemser. :)

        I may have to hunt out The Key, now.

        1. If you buy the Mondo Macabro blu-ray of EMANUELLE IN AMERICA, you can watch an included hour-long interview with D’Amato. They cut in clips of his films but it’s just him talking about them and the performers.

          As for THE KEY, he literally admits in the interview that he copied Tinto Brass and THE ALCOVE is just a rip-off of THE KEY. He talks about how he was born in 1936 so the 1940s and 1950s are a very erotic period for him making the period films very special. Essentially, THE KEY is about a old, sick man who is getting off on the idea of his wife cucking him with a younger man. Tinto Brass’ film places it in the 1940s Venice and if THE ALCOVE is an “art film” then so is THE KEY. It’s very stylish and arguably just more artistic in it’s general production. In the story and film, the thought is that the wife would never cheat on him put putting her in that position regardless is exciting.

          Frankly, Tanizaki was a very kinky old man who wrote about stories involving cheating, old men lusting over younger women etc.

          1. My Emanuelle in America is the DVD version. Laura was way too hot to be wheeling around in a Dodge Aspen. Get that goddess a 70s Corvette!

            **spoilers for the Alcove**

            In the Alcove, I viewed the change in the relationship between Laura’s character and Lilli Carati’s character as the commentary on social caste. Carati’s character is clearly dominant over everyone in her sphere. I liked that the husband was set up as a traditional heroic, macho character….being a hunter and writer, I wondered if he was modeled on Ernest Hemingway. Anyway, he is quickly revealed to be a cuck when he cries like a baby when Carati shuts him out of the bedroom and doesn’t even try to hide the fact that she is sleeping with Laura.

            Carati is also abusive to the cute secretary she is having an affair with before Laura arrives. What I liked about the relationship between Carati is the slow burn between Laura being the slave and subverting Carati to the submissive position. Laura starts the movie by kissing Carati’s feet, but, little by little, Carati starts to treat Laura more as an equal, and by the end, she’s begging Laura and Laura is slapping her around.

            The Alcove does kind of fall apart at the end. I was surprised that everyone agreed to participate in husband’s movie idea. Everyone had pretty much dominated him the entire movie.

            Honestly, though, I hate to sound like a pathetic fan boy, but I think Laura Gemser is absolute perfection (a word I don’t use lightly) and if she were presented to me as a servant, I probably would have let her take charge of me at first glance. How can anyone be as gorgeous as she is?

  8. Laura Gemser is a total blank for me. Not sure how I missed out. I guess her films just weren’t readily available at that infamous video store that allowed underage kids to rent movies they had NO right watching.

    I’m glad you guys covered these, so I would finally have some reference to a running gag on the very network I’m a part of. The Living Dead one would be a great Halloween themed Gemsercast.

    I don’t think I’m going to try watching these with Cindy. I think The Truck Stop Women accords are slowly rebuilding the fractured relationship between my most frequent podcasting partners, so lets not tempt fate.

    Chris

    1. Chris, read paragraph 8 (Damn, that was a long comment) of my comment….I don’t think Erotic Nights of the Living Dead is a good movie for anyone to “find their joy” with Laura Gemser…and I would be entertained by a movie where Laura Gemser combed her hair for an hour and a half. If I had to make a list of the most beautiful actress in movie history (not just B-movies), Laura would definitely be close to the top of the list.

  9. I was going to say that my first Laura Gemser movie was Black Cobra Woman, which I saw sans the “woman” in the name at the invitation of my father when I was visiting one weekend in the late ’90s or early ’00s. It went something like “You oughta watch this one later. It’s got Jack Palance in it and in the end they kill a guy by shoving a snake up his ass!” But then you reference the epic anticlimax of Endgame. I realized that I’d seen this terrible, boring movie on a little black & white television in the back room on KTXH 20. It was a weekend afternoon in the mid-80s, and it was mostly sand and laughable dubbing that surely would have left my memory forever if not for the non-ending. It so perplexed me that a movie would just stop like that, I never forgot or forgave it. If this thing was released in 1983, the turnaround to basic television must have been whirlwind, because I can’t believe I’d have bothered with it past 1986 at the latest. Given the afternoon timeslot, I figure the blue mutant rape was cut, so there’s another reason I wouldn’t have remembered Gemser over a decade later.

    I don’t recall whether it was reacquainting myself with Gemser after recalling Black Cobra in the Netflix age or my more formative experiences with Emmanuelle sequels in the ’80s & ’90s, but I began a deep dive into as many authorized and illicit spin-offs as I could get my hands on, then blogging about it. There’s still something like 38 total entries, although I started throwing in any old adult-oriented nonsense toward the end.

    The thing that’s interesting to me about Black Emanuelle is that she really is the Yin to Arsan-Emmanuelle’s Yang. Emmanuelle is all about a sort of Age of Aquarius idealized sexual liberty that despite the fabricated female writer’s perspective at least makes overtures toward female empower and equal time titillation. That said, aside from her personal circle, Emmanuelle really is self-involved and concerned only with the pursuit of pleasure. Despite being associated with Sylvia Kristel (who died at 60 in part due to heavy drug/cigarette abuse), Emmanuelle has a Bondian collection of accepted actresses with individual and crossover fan bases. Meanwhile, aside from an utterly forgettable non-sequel, Emanuelle Nera is inseparable from the actress who played her, to the point where most movies featuring Laura Gemser (surprisingly straight edge and prudish in real life) in the lead are branded as Emanuelle whether her characters have anything to do with one another. Also, Emanuelle is a bit of a crusader, often a journalist or other social provocateur actively working against injustices. As a result, she’s often sexually punished, and her movies are clearly meant not only exclusively for men, just generally ones with rather polluted sensibilities (hence all the horror/grindhouse elements.) Emmanuelle is often an instigator, where Emanuelle is more of a passive receiver. One is light and shallow, and the other is dark and troubling.

    While not in the strictest sense an Emanuelle sequel, I think Sister Emanuelle not only works in the meta-continuity of that non-franchise, but also serves as a commentary on “White Emmanuelle.” After the bestiality and quasi-snuff ring uncovered in the notorious Emanuelle in America, our heroine is so spiritually broken that she escapes her past life in a nunnery. A girl very reminiscent of Marie-Ange, the promiscuous teenager who initiated Emmanuelle in her journey toward becoming “L’Antivergine,” destroys Emanuelle’s bid for peace with an appetite for flesh as rapacious as one would expect from the Emmanuelle series. In deleted scenes from Sister Emanuelle, Gemser’s character actually tortures Monica, the act that rouses her from her dream/vision, and recalls the brutal extremes of Emanuelle in America. The metatext is that Emanuelle recognizes the darkness that has infected her through her experiences, and that she has to harness those “black” inclinations to combat the evil that men do. Sister Emanuelle is therefore something of an indictment of Emmanuelle’s libertine fantasy; an expression of Emanuelle Nera’s contempt for the selfish hedonism of her privileged white “namesake.” From here, the scale of harrowing nature of the Emanuelle Nera movies expand, although without the degree of emotional discomfort inspired by Emanuelle in America (even as cannibal tribesmen and prison violence enter the non-franchise.)

    Or Joe D’Amato was catering to kinks with any connective tissue entirely accidental. Your choice.

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