Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sex Psychedelia Collection: Ramage (Mobility Cathexis), The Last Bath, Waltz of the Bat, and It Came From Love

Directed by Bob King, Karl Krogstad, Steve Brown
Starring Buddy Sigmund, Anama Anis, Templeton Blaine, Thalia Lemar, Debi Duchamps, Tyler Reynolds, Eric Fledermaus, Honey Lang

"I don't understand a word of Indian. Maybe I can talk to them in Bee."

After Hours Cinema is well known for bringing to the surface films that have been lost, forgotten, largely unseen or merely unreleased since their initial theatrical runs - and the Sex Psychedelia Collection is no exception.

A wonderful sampling of the West Coast weirdness that was going down in the late 60's and early 70's, the Sex Psychedelia Collection brings together 4 tripped out film experiments from this era.

Ramage (Mobility Cathexis) starts the freak-out well enough with a trio of art school meditations that don't really make much sense singularly, let alone as a cohesive unit.

In the first segment, a typical looking young lady pays a visit to a pornographer who, as any good pornographer does, gets her to masturbate on an American flag.

Next, a red-headed gal with ropes wrapped around her lays on the rocky shore of a beach, distraught and intent on ending her life. As the tide comes in, said redhead reminisces about past sexual relationships. Apparently, they bummed her out a bit.

Lastly, a writer, exhausted from typing, takes a much needed nap. As he sleeps, he dreams of 2 lovely nude cuties running around with each other on the beach who beckon to him. Upon waking, he decides to head out to the beach to get his thoughts straight. While walking the shore, he sees the 2 ladies that he was dreaming of reaching to him from a rocky alcove.

He freaks the fuck out and runs straight to the loony bin, where he has insanity drenched sex antics with 2 fellow inmates, who may or may not be the girls he had dreamed of earlier; it's difficult to tell. The end.

At 54 minutes, Ramage (Mobility Cathexis) runs a little long, but overall is an interesting watch in its own right.

The Last Bath AKA Dark Dreams (1975) is definitely a step up as far a visual stylings, direction and acting compared to Ramage, but still holds on to the previous films what-the-hell-is-going-on sensibilities. (Yes, those are bananas.)

A young photographer is struggling with separating his dreams and fantasies from reality. After dreaming of a sweet underground parking garage encounter with 2 girls, a nice BJ fantasy in the photographer's boathouse, and a sexy memory of a past photo shoot, he meets up with a pair of foxy nurses and heads out to a secluded cabin with them for the weekend.

As the weekend progresses and steamy times are had by all (mostly in the cabin's bathtub, giving relevancy to the film's title), jealousies, anger, and possibly witchcraft spoil the retreat and shit ends badly for one of the lovers.

Although also running long at 71 minutes, The Last Bath is actually a pretty well-made film. There's above average camera work, an intriguing story, and inventive sound and visuals. The film is consistently damaged, with streaks of white or black at every frame, but unfortunately, this is the only known print in existence.

Waltz of the Bat (1972) starts out disc 2 with a turn for the more traditionally narrative, although no less strange. Top hat and cape sporting "The Bat" roams around the streets of San Francisco picking up hippie chicks and giving them his love seed. What the girls don't know is that after The Bat does his thing, they are then transformed into his slaves.

The Bee, who is the bestower of The Bat's powers, must stop him before he becomes immortal from all his conquests. It seems to me that she should have thought about that in the first place, but then I guess we wouldn't have this movie.

Running a comfortable 67 minutes, Waltz of the Bat is probably the most entertaining of the 4 features, but we're certainly not looking at an award winner here - unless there's one for best sex scene featuring ragdolls.

It Came From Love (1972) rounds out this crazy collection with a tedious little sci-fi tale involving a gaggle of lovers and the alien who abducts them. He forces them to make sweet love in his tin foiled room - I mean spaceship - for some reason that's not made explicitly clear.

Low on plot, heavy on hairy 70's loving and really just plain silly, It Came From Love is a nice capper for your flashback weekend. Again, at 58 minutes the editors could've streamlined this a bit, but hell - this is a document of immense historical importance!

Certainly not an anthology to change the world, the Sex Psychedelia Collection, however, is perfect for film historians (armchair or otherwise), weird cinema enthusiasts and people who like to get high - of which I consider myself all three.

Get it now at Alternative Cinema, and check out the February 2011 AC Podcast for further information, including director speculation that I don't feel comfortable speaking on.

- Jeremy Vaca

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