Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

We here at the FCU tend not to review pornography.  It’s not like an official policy in the bylaws of this small non-revenue generating company or anything, but if you need to know about the socio-economic impact of say ‘Full Anal Access’ or ‘Big Bootied Cheerleaders 6’ then maybe Swank Magazine should be your destination.  But then, I guess that depends on your definition of ‘porn’.  I mention this as we review late great Italian pornography director Joe D’Amato’s masterpiece of semi-modern cinema ‘Emanuelle in America’, which in some quarters may actually qualify as pornography.

Anyone over the age of thirty and had cable TV in the 80’s is probably familiar with the name of Emanuelle.  Nothing like being fourteen before those pesky V-chips and parental locks invaded our homes, and sitting in your bedroom and watching Sylvia Kristel or the ‘Black Emanuelle’ Laure Gemser  do some fake lovin’ on their way through ‘adventures’ in the name of whatever bogus occupation they had for the next hour and a half.  Today we will be dealing with the lovely Laura Gemser who plays a photo journalist in the cult classic, ‘Emanuelle in America’.

In this installment, we find Emanuelle a photo journalist who asks the ‘tough questions’ and will do whatever the hell she has to do to get the story.  This time our honey colored Indonesian beauty finds herself in New York City (though it still looks likes somewhere in Italy).  After photographing some nude models (A hobby for our hard hitting journalist and an awesome device for squeezing more titties in the movie) she gets accosted by an odd Christian carjacker (don’t ask).  Note that this was released in 1977 before carjacking became de riguer, so we have a little forward

criminal thinking here.  Emanuelle thwarts the would be jacker by giving him a blowjob.  Fearful of the strange but wonderful feelings that the BJ gives him, he runs off.  Note to self.  If confronted with an armed carjacker, simply take the bullet to the head... avoid offering oral sex.

Soon, Emanuelle gets a hot tip on some freaky sex games of the rich and famous so she sets out to go under cover to expose these decadent debutantes (is that the name of a porn series?  It should be if it isn’t).  Emmanuelle has no idea how freaky these rich folks can be as she goes from New York, to Venice, to Rio, or to wherever she must go to unearth the ‘truth’.

The story for this one, even for an Emanuelle picture, is a meandering mess.  But truthfully, who watches an Emanuelle picture for the story?  Hell, who watches an Emanuelle picture period (other than me, apparently).  If you want to watch naked women frolic around, isn’t that what porno is for?  But this was 1977, before porn became so mainstream that it’s on every major satellite and in every major hotel chain, so I guess it was Emanuelle or nothing.  There a few things however that set this particular volume apart from the rest however.  Emanuelle’s undercover exploits leads her to one freaky rich dude who has a harem of beauties and, well, a stable of horses.  One thing leads to another I guess and Emanuelle has to witness a young woman masturbate a horse.  That scene was probably edited out of the Cinemax version, but available for all to see in the uncut director’s edition.  Joe’ D’Amato would literally roll over in his grave if had to watch a version of his movie without the horse masturbation scene, being how critical it was to the advancement of the narrative.

Soon Emanuelle and her audience are privileged to view some legitimate hardcore sex.  They are screwing for real in this one people.  Laura Gemser isn’t, mind you, but pretty much everyone else is.  After watching a horse get jacked off, a little hardcore sex isn’t going to knock you off your chair.  But maybe women being tied to stakes, getting their nipples cut off and then gutted may knock you off your chair.  Emanuelle goes to the underbelly of Brazil and exposes real live snuff films.  I’m told that this stuff was staged, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t look real to me, disturbingly so.  I’m still not convinced.

In the end after the horses, hardcore, and snuff what we’re left with is your typical overlit, poorly dubbed, nonsensical Emanuelle junk.  I can see how this has movie has obtained cult status, as I’m sure back in ’77 nobody had ever scene quite a bizarre mix of the softcore, hardcore and the macabre.  But thirty years later it doesn’t quite hold up to any kind of close scrutiny.  In a time where porno titles are cleverly titled little gems such as ‘Violate My Ass’, we are probably a little too jaded to see the magic that Emanuelle had to offer.

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