Color, 1974, 86m.
Directed by Bob Hollowich (John Holbrook)
Starring Debbie Collins, Jamie Orlando, John Alexander, Tim Lowery, Bud Coal, Marie McLeod
Impulse (US R0 NTSC)

SexculaWhile monsters and sex have gone together in various forms going back for decades, it's sSexculaafe to say that there's nothing else on the planet quite like Sexcula. Shot on the cheap by Vancouver filmmakers and unknown actors, it's a brew so completely out of its mind you won't believe it exists even after watching it. A mad female scientist, a lady robot, a lust-crazed bisexual ape, random porn inserts, nonsensical plotting, and terrible, terrible acting. In short, it's pretty glorious.

The story behind the previously unreleased Sexcula is pretty wild in itself and has been covered everywhere from They Came from Within to the liner notes for this DVD release from Impulse, though the most tantalizing write up came after a screening afforded to the marvelous site Canuxploitation. That in turn inspired a colorful entry from Rick Trembles' Motion Picture Purgatory, and it still sounded like a movie someone dreamed up in the middle of a bad fever.

The madness begins when a couple decides to renovate an old mansion inherited by the female half (Collins), who giddily finds an ancestor's diary and decides to read it aloud with her boyfriend -- even on an afternoon picnic. That triggers the ensuing flashback / hallucination / whatever the rest of the movie is supposed to be as the action shifts to the (very) dark laboratory of Dr. Fellatingstein (Orlando), who -- shades of the previous year's The Rocky Horror Show -- has created a man named Frank (Alexander) to satisfy her carnal appetite. Unfortunately he can't get it up, so she decides to throw an artificial female on a slab into the mix. However, the she-bot instead becomes the object of lust for Sexculaher slobbering, chubby assistant who apparently has no ED issues.

The good doctor decides to call in her relative, Countess Sexcula (also Collins), who gets distracted in her attempts to arouse Frank during a lesbian carriage ride. Then there's a long strip routine in the lab that inflames the doctor's experimental ape, and for reasons known only to the filmmakers, the film even switches gears to a chapel wedding (that turns out to be a porno film shoot) in which the bride and groom decide to consummate in front of the priest, with the best man and maid of honor following suit for a foursome that intercuts with Sexcula's final effort to get Frank ready for action.

At least for its first 40 minutes or so, Sexcula feels like a nudie horror film in the same vein as something like Kiss Me Quick or House on Bare Mountain, with a couple of quick graphic inserts thrown in as a nod to the rSexculaecent demand for theatrical hardcore fare. Leading lady Collins can't act at all but makes for an oddly compelling presence all the same (with the packaging pointing out, not inaccurately, her resemblance to Marilyn Chambers). Then things really go out of control as the story fragments into so many narrative splinters the only solution for the filmmakers is to shrug their shoulders on two separate occasions and reveal everything we're watching is a film within a film. Or a film being made within a film. It's all kind of insane, and no doubt some fearless sleaze scholar will turn out a thesis paper in the future trying to pick it all apart.

Anyway, judging by appearances Sexcula was most likely shot at least in part as a softcore monster romp, with a couple of the title character's scenes crossing the line briefly into unsimulated territory (using obvious stand-ins, necessitated by on-set performance issues according to the fascinating liner notes by Dimitrios Otis). The swerve into full-on group sex for the big finale really comes out of left field, and one really has to wonder who the target aSexculaudience for this might have been back in '74 (when hardcore couldn't even be legally shown in much of Canada). This certainly wasn't the first time someone tried to make an adult film with a campy horror angle either; Anthony Spinelli's silly Suckula had already come out in 1973, and Ed Wood had even stumbled onto the idea even earlier with Necromania. However, it seems unlikely that anyone affiliated with this film had seen any of those as this is truly a beast unlike any other.

The story behind the resurrection of Sexcula from unreleased limbo is a saga you'll have to get the DVD to learn in full, and for cult movie fans who thought they'd seen it all by now, well, here's proof there are always loony little gems out there left to excavate. The Impulse DVD presents the film as is from what is presumably the only print in existence, full frame as originally shot and not surprisingly in pristine condition since it's probably only passed through a projector once or twice. The film itself isn't shot with much technical proficiency, so bear that in mind for scenes apparently shot without a lot of lighting equipment. That said, the gaudy and sometimes very stylized colors pop through just fine, and detail looks great given scrappy nature of the production. A very faded theatrical trailer is also included, which presumably also wasn't seen by many people. Truly one of a kind and probably the most mind-warping discovery we'll see this year.

Order from Diabolik DVD.

Reviewed on March 23, 2013.