New To Blu: Racy Reels from the Something Weird Vault Vol. 1 – Cries of Ecstasy, Blows of Death (1973) / Invasion of the Love Drones (1977) - Reviewed

Cries of Ecstasy, Blows of Death

In the year, 2062, humans live in communal work-state run facilities. Because of the concentration of resources, the land outside the commune is barren. Pockets of humans have learned to survive in camps, though rubber gas masks are worn by all to keep the air breathable. However, motorcycle gangs roam the mountains looking for stragglers; anyone to have a good time with. 

Antony Webber’s post-apocalyptic, futuristic sex fantasy driven story makes use of the deserts outside Los Angeles, which offered plenty of desolation. Most of the cinematography is focused on intercourse, some of it violent. I think that’s the attraction of this film, though. The futuristic storyline allows the sexual element to be even more fantastic then it might have been had it just been a straight storyline. 

The cast is well-equipped for this mission of survival as well. Sandy Carey plays Dala, Michael Abbot plays General Byron White. Together, they roam the barren wastelands protecting what little they have. This was Dianne Bishop’s first performance as Keisha. 

As was with the grindhouse films of the early 70’s, the focus was on getting the perfect angle and less about editorial or story decisions. Yes, there is a story line here – survival. But sex isn’t necessarily a survival need, unless you’re a nymphomaniac. There are some inconsistencies with the technical side of the filmmaking, such as having to take your mask off to shout for someone, or to have sex. Yet, none of the motorcycle gangs had to take their masks off. And during the karate scene, our heroes did not wear masks, but the offending motorcycle gang did. This was not the reason why the young couple, who only five minutes before this sequence fell in love, died. 

One of the more interesting concepts of the film is the thought that as the work-state drove people into communes, so did the stragglers. The implication is that the stragglers had more freedom, which is a reflection of the era that this movie was made in. Thought was unencumbered as was the sex. It does make you wonder though if either faction thought, or rather would think, about the consequences of their actions. 

Within the last five minutes of the film, General White realizes he’s made a miscalculation. The way it was presented is funny. But the reality is, is that even beyond sex and companionship, lies the need for basic survival. And, whether you’re having sex or figuring out where you’re going to live, decisions are made in inches. If you’re off, it’s going to be a very painful experience. 

For what it’s worth, the remastering of the 35mm film looks quite good. There are dirt marks and scratches, but they are a visceral reminder of the thoughts that permeated the creative consciousness of the early 1970’s. 

Invasion of the Love Drones

Capitalizing on a number of film crazes of the late 1970’s comes Jerome Hamlin’s Invasion of the Love Drones pays homage to The Twilight Zone, James Bond, Derek Flint, Playboy and every government agency you can think of. Earth is surrounded by a phalically – shaped spaceship. The computer on the ship needs the sex drive of every human being on the planet to power itself. 

In order to make a connection with the human inhabitants, the computer must turn one person into a sex drone. In this case, Eric Edwards plays the Primary Drone. Once he falls under the spell of the sexy computer voice, he is able to spread the power to turn others into drones. They are eventually stopped by something that affects sexually active humans as well, but I’ll leave you to discover what that is on your own. 

The digitized version of the remastered 35mm print looks good, but it doesn’t hide the cheaply made special effects. The acting is better here than it was in an earlier film I watched from this series. This didn’t intentionally look pornographic in its nature. There was a coherent story full of intrigue and mystery as Dr. Femme (Viveca Ash) tries to sort out the computer’s master plan. 

The futuristic nature of the story plays right in to the fantastical element that the story tries to portray, and I dug the symbolism behind the story – that we need each other to propagate our species. I don’t think we need to think as one race in this regard, as the film suggests. Though, the true nature of the invading ship makes sense in terms of basic human reproductive systems. From that perspective, I found this film to be much more educational than most pornographic films I’ve been privy to. And, no, I don’t watch many. 

Production value, despite the cheesy effects was actually quite high, though I suspect that most of what drives that value was gained through the use of stock footage. The most elaborate scene came within the last 10 minutes of the film as the computer reveals a new character, known as “The Queen,” played by Eve Felatio. Her seductive dances were designed to mimic the energy buildup, and they were quite alluring. Ahem, back to our production values, within the span of an hour, we managed to trot the globe as the drones were dispersed throughout the world. In the end, Dr. Femme gave the computer a dose of its own medicine. 

“It’s one giant bang for mankind.” This is the type of dialogue that permeates the film. In its context, it is quite funny and another good representation of the era the film comes from. Of course, inquiring minds want to know – what is it with chess pieces and sex?? 

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-Ban Cahlamer