Color, 1975, 84 mins. 4 secs.
Directed by Pim de la Parra
Starring Willeke van Ammelrooy, Hans van der Gragt, Nelly Frijda, Franulka Heyermans, Marja de Heer, Serge-Henri Valcke, Marieke van Leeuwen
Cult Epics (Blu-ray & DVD) (US RA/R1 HD/NTSC)

The My Nights with Susan, Sandra, Olga & Juliefascinating history of Dutch '70s exploitation My Nights with Susan, Sandra, Olga & Juliehas been getting an unexpected spotlight from the U.S. label Cult Epics courtesy of its affiliation with Scorpio Films, a company founded by filmmaker Pim de la Parra (who directed Obsessions and produced the erotic hits, Blue Movie and Frank and Eva). The penultimate film from the Scorpio stable, My Nights with Susan, Sandra, Olga & Julie, finds de la Parra back in the director's chair for a project he spent five years getting off the ground. Originally intended to star British actors with a score by Bernard Herrmann, it's a very wild ride with a mixture of horror, suspense, and eroticism that should have gotten a much more significant international release than it received.

While driving in the Dutch countryside, a wealthy American (Brouer) picks up a pair of beautiful hitchhikers, Sandra (de Heer) and Olga (Heyermans). However, what soon turns into an afternoon tryst in the back seat gets nasty when one of the girls fatally smashes him over the head with a bottle of bourbon. After dumping the body in a nearby lake, a nearby eccentric, Piet (Frijda), retrieves the body for her own amusement and dons the dead man's sunglasses. The two murderesses return to the house where they're staying whose owner, Susan (Frank and Eva's van Ammelrooy), is now taking in a handsome new boarder, Anton (van der Gragt). Intending to recruit Susan for a new modeling gig, Anton sticks around long enough to bed his female companions and My Nights with Susan, Sandra, Olga & Juliemeet two more peculiar residents, voyeur photographer Albert (Valcke) and narcoleptic nymph Julie (van Leeuwen). What seems like a My Nights with Susan, Sandra, Olga & Juliehedonistic paradise soon turns nightmarish as the two homicidal ladies set their sights on Anton, leading to an outrageously macabre finale.

At the time of its release, this was probably a tough sell given that it's trying to court audiences for both a Hitchcockian thriller and a nudity-packed exploitation film. Of course, that tension is what makes it all the more fascinating today, from the Jean Rollin-worthy opening sequence to the escalating strangeness of the Piet character who manages to be both funny and creepy in equal measure. The only really solid performances are given by pros van Ammelrooy and van der Gragt, who have the heaviest dramatic lifting in the story and acquit themselves well in and out of their clothes. However, it's the devious de Heer and Heyermans who make the most indelible impression as the sexy psychos, constantly providing a homicidal threat even during their heated sex scenes.

My Nights with Susan, Sandra, Olga & JulieFor its North American home video debut, Cult Epics's 2019 Blu-ray and DVD combo release is a rewarding release featuring a colorful, nicely detailed HD transfer preserving the film's Techniscope aspect ratio. It's the most attractive of the Scorpio films on video to date, My Nights with Susan, Sandra, Olga & Juliewith the stylish lighting and bright country exteriors likely being big contributing factors. The original Dutch track is provided with optional English subtitles along with an English dub that's considerably less effective but worth checking out just for comparison. The film can also be played with an optional video intro by de la Parra (11m15s), who explains its placement in the Scorpio pantheon and the lengthy process of getting it off the ground including the intended casting of Rutger Hauer. Also included are a trio of Scorpio short films -- the experimental "Heart Beat Fresco" (10m19s) and two comic looks at a single everyman, "Joop" (10m50s) and "Joop Strikes Again" (10m30s) -- including the least erotic use of the song "Je T'aime Moi Non Plus" imaginable. Finally the disc rounds out with a gallery of posters and stills and trailers for all four Cult Epics Scorpio releases.

Reviewed on June 16, 2019.