Thursday, June 10, 2021

CRAZY NIGHTS (1979) (Full Moon Features Blu-ray Review)


Label: Full Moon Features
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 100 Minutes 
Audio: English-dubbed Dolby Digial 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 with No Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Joe D'Amato
Cast: Amanda Lear 

From Italian exploitation titan Joe D'Amato (Absurd) comes a disco-era mondo movie Crazy Nights (1979) aka Follie di notte, a softcore pseudo-documentary starring French model turned disco performer Amanda Lear, who had a lot of hype and notoriety at the time based on her disco career, and because she had dated David Bowie, was an album cover model for Roxy Music and was both a lover and muse to surreal artist Salvador Dali! Not really knowing anything about this movie I put it on expecting a bit of disco-era hot trash from the notorious Joe D'Amato, and I was not wrong about that, but when it opened with the Lear performing the hypnotic disco tune "Follow Me" I began to have a bit more faith in it. While I'm not a disco fan per se the dark-tinged disco-tune is pretty dang fantastic. 

After Lear finishes up the song she is seen leaving the venue she is performing in and returning to her country estate, where the next day we see her tending to a stable of prized horses and lounging around the pool, during which she introduces the film's "shocking" mondo sequences, which are a compilation of cabaret and sex club scenarios that play out, supposedly across the world, but probably shot at the same club re-dressed with stock footage. These various acts involve erotic cat-woman strippers, newspaper covered lovers unwrapping each other with their teeth before engaging in hands free coitus, S&M bandage including an old geezer getting a nail driven through his Johnson, necrophilia fetishes, and a weirdly, humorously intended bit of beastiality, plus a kinky magic act, and its all capped off with another performance from Amanda Lear performing her tongue-in-cheek disco tune "Enigma (Give A Bit of Mmh to Me)" at a discotheque, which was also pretty fantastic.

The flick was entertaining to a degree, though the biggest take away for me might be the disco-crooning of French singer Amanda Lear, her bookend performances are far and away the best thing about the movie. The softcore sex stuff was alright, its well-shot and there's a ton of nudity both male and female, but it's pretty tame and not all that eyebrow raising, which is what you want with a mondo movie. That it's not that shocking might be saying more about my depravity than the feature, but it was never dull, just a bit uninspired and not very shocking.

The film has long been unavailable on home video, and the story behind it being so scarce is a bit more interesting than the feature to be honest. The story goes that the flick was originally pitched as a musical movie centered around Amanda Lear, but it was seemingly never completed, or so she thought, until - to her shock - it turned up in Italian cinemas under the name Follie di notte. The star was reportedly startled to discover that she had been tricked into starring in a softcore sexploitation film and sued the producers, which is one of many reasons the film had since fallen into virtual obscurity. Its always great to see another Joe D'Amato flick get a Blu-ray, kudos to Full Moon for unearthing it and getting it on disc, especially one so far removed from his usual genre fare! 

Audio/Video: Crazy Nights (1979) arrives on region-free Blu-ray from Full Moon Features uncut in 1080p HD framed in 1.85:1 widescreen, sourced from a scan of the original camera negative. Audio comes by way of English-dubbed 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround without subtitles. The only extras are eight-minutes of trailers from Full Moon Features. 

 Special Features: 
 - Trailers: Barbed Wire Dolls (1 min), Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun (3 min), Naked Girl Murdered in the Park (1 min),  Satanic Sisters (1 min), Voodoo Passion (1 min), Women in Cell Block 9 (1 min) 

Screenshots from the Full Moon Blu-ray: