Cinema/TV, Film Notes

MotelX review – Excitação (1976)

My notes on the vintage Brazilian exploitation film.

A Brazilian giallo with supernatural overtones and a lot of softcore sex and nudity, this campy trash picture is at least consistently entertaining – with some splendidly atrocious 1976 fashions (it’s the sort of movie that has an upfront credit for lingerie) and attitudes on view, plus rooms full of clunky hi-tech computer equipment that now have a pleasingly retro feel.


Neurotic but stylish Helena (Kate Hansen – in the sort of role Carroll Baker played several times) is often left on her own in their new moderne beach house by health nut computer engineer husband Renato (Flávio Galvão, with a beard as untrustworthy as his adjust-the-tracking sports jackets and a cupboard full of mystery medications).  Helena is in a permanent tizzy because of poltergeist activity involving the shower (which turns scalding and traps her, but not before one of several sensual soaping-the-breasts sessions), the TV set (which keeps switching to a Satanic horror film), the record player, the blender, a fan which traps her hair and lights that go on and off.  She also has visions of Paulo (João Paulo), the house’s former owner, who hanged himself in the living room and loiters as a marble-eyed spectre.  The script takes care to establish that Renato may be the genius who’s made a success of the São Paulo company that supports their lush lifestyle but Helena has inherited the firm and the money from her father – which is pretty much a tip-off that this is an it’s-all-a-plot plot even before the errant husband, rebuffed by a scared-into-frigidity Helena, has sex in the surf with Paulo’s widow Arlete (Betty Saady), who is otherwise Helena’s new best friend.  I have a feeling that this telenovela porno business wasn’t intended entirely seriously since it’s hard to watch the sex scene, which includes rolling clinches and Arlete floating deliriously while in receipt of underwater oral gratification, without thinking that the lovers are more likely to drown than get off.


This odd little menage is shaken up by the arrival of Arlete’s cousin Lu (Zilda Mayo), in a tiny bikini and on a big motorcycle.  On the prowl for man-action, the trampy Lu has several more fabulously revealing outfits to wear and strip out of in order to get it – and Arlete seethes in her presence because she’s no longer the biggest slut in the movie.  Director Jean Garret – who co-wrote with Ody Fraga – stages a perhaps-meaningful sequence which intercuts Lu jiving lasciviously to pop music (the very recognisable Apple label is on the LP) with a santeria exorcism ritual performed in the haunted room by a cigar-puffing priest.  It’s no spoiler to reveal that the heroine is the target of a conspiracy to drive her mad, since that’s obvious from early on – and Garret has several left-field twists to deliver.  Wild spirit Lu ticks off everyone with her crazy antics (like chasing down a pistol-packing nightie-wearing hysteric with her big bike as a joke – for which she gets shot at), an incidental extra murder mystery involving a night-time bludgeoning (this scene tastefully combines a corpse discovery in the surf with a tight wet nipple-outlining sweater necro-ogling session), clumsy superimpositions which hint at genuine supernatural activity on the site of the fake haunting (and cue a revenge-from-beyond bit), and musings about the effects of all the computers in the world being switched off.


The title translates as Excitement.  Garret’s filmography includes such tempting-sounding items as Gozo Alucinante (Hallucinating Orgasms), O Beijo da Mulher Piranha (Kiss of the Piranha Woman) and Fuk Fuk à Brasileira.


Here’s a video rip of the whole film, without English subtitles.


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