Saturday, 7 August 2010

The Joys of Jezebel (1970)

The Joys of Jezebel is part of a two-movie set of devilish sexploitation treats from Something Weird Video. This one is sexploitation with a biblical slant!

I have to admit I’m fairly vague on biblical stuff but I suspect they weren’t too obsessed with sticking closely to the source material. Be that as it may Jezebel is a character with obvious possibilities for this sort of movie.

The lady in question is deceased and she’s now in Hell. And what do people do in Hell? Well apparently they have sex a lot. Lucifer is keen to get Jezebel into the sack but she’s playing hard to get, until Lucifer comes up with a tempting offer. She can return to the land of the living for a while if she agrees to bring Rachel back to Hell with her. Rachel is a virgin, a commodity evidently in short supply in the underworld. But Jezebel’s body will remain in Hell. In fact she’ll switch bodies with Rachel.

Rachel is fairly upset at the time since she being forced to marry Jeremiah, as part of a deal cooked up by her sister Ruth and Joshua. Joshua needs soldiers for his army, and Jeremiah will supply them in exchange for Rachel. Jezebel’s taking over Rachel’s body causes some difficulties, since when Jeremiah decides to take Rachel to his bed before their wedding night he doesn’t realise it’s really Jezebel, and Jezebel is very obviously no virgin. Meanwhile Jezebel has concealed Rachel somewhere in Hell, and Lucifer is desperately searching for her.

We might some of the varied inhabitants of Hell. Including King Solomon, who is accompanied by some guys with donkey heads. He seems to like it in Hell since he gets to make out with a sexy go-go dancer. She assures him that he’s much better than his donkey-men.

Legendary sexploitation producer David Friedman had made the interesting discovery a few years earlier that if you happened to be based in California you could make costume pictures for almost nothing. The costumes from historical epics made by the major studios were sold off by them and for a very small outlay you could get hold of a whole movie’s worth of top-class costumes. That was the discovery that triggered off his series of historical skin-flicks, starting with The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill. They were made in colour, they looked marvellous, and they were fun to make. And they made a nice change of pace from the “roughies” that had dominated the sexploitation market in the mid-60s. They looked bright and cheerful.

This one follows the standard Friedman formula - lots of nudity and lots of jokes. The lameness of the jokes adds to the charm.

Christopher Stone as Lucifer and Christine Murray as Jezebel are passable actors. Dixie Donovan as Rachel is atrocious, but she’s atrocious in the right sort of amusing way.

Director Peter Perry was inspired to get a bit creative with this one. The lighting and the use of colour gels gives it a rather cool look, with scenes alternately bathed in red light or blue light. And the sets are better than you’d expect. So overall it looks rather good, and that’s its strongest point. Apart from a considerable number of naked ladies.

Something Weird’s DVD looks pretty good as well. The colours are nice and vibrant.

As long as you accept it for what it is it’s generally good fun.


The Vicar of VHS said...

I'm less vague on biblical stuff, being a man of the cloth and all, and the Jezebel story is one that horrified me as a child in Sunday school. Apparently the historical Jezebel was a Machiavellian political power behind the throne, but in Sunday school what they focused on was the verse where it says "she painted her eyelids and looked out the window." The teachers insisted this meant she was a proud woman who wore too much make-up and thought too much of herself. Her punishment? To be cast out the window and her corpse eaten by dogs!

"So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot...But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her hands....They went back and told Jehu, who said, "This is the word of the LORD that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel's flesh."

Yeah, girls--sass your mom and wear too much make up, and your flesh will be devoured by dogs, so saith the Lord. Here endeth the lesson. O_o

WRT your great review, I haven't seen the movie, but now I want to. I must admit, though, I wouldn't have thought that, once you were IN Hell, you *could* play hard to get with Lucifer. I guess even in the Infernal Regions, No means No!

dfordoom said...

It would certainly make a fine addition to the Vicarage's collection of DVDs for the moral improvement of your flock.