HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
It Came from the Desert
Lodgers, The
Eagle vs Shark
American Assassin
Die, Mommie, Die!
All the Money in the World
Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
   
 
Newest Articles
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
   
 
  Zenabel Or why rape is HILARIOUS!Buy this film here.
Year: 1969
Director: Ruggero Deodato
Stars: Lucretia Love, John Ireland, Lionel Stander, Mauro Parenti, Fiorenzo Fiorentini, Elisa Mainardi, Luigi Leoni, Ignazio Leone, Nassir Cortbawi, Christine Haydar, Fiametta Barella
Genre: Comedy, Sex, Trash, Historical, Adventure
Rating:  1 (from 1 vote)
Review: Zenabel (Lucretia Love) is a feisty lass whose proto-feminist ideals inspire other young ladies in a humble village in eighteenth century Spain. All the men reckon she is nothing but a "loud-mouthed bitch." That is an actual quote from this movie. Caught bathing in a river, Zenabel leads her fellow nubile lovelies in humiliating some middle-aged peeping toms they then parade through the village. Unfortunately, Zenabel's rallying speech for ladies everywhere provokes an epic punch-up between men and women. Yes, these sexist pricks actually punch women in the face. Then Zenabel's dying father tells her she is not his daughter at all but the child of a nobleman murdered by the evil Don Alonso Imolne (John Ireland). So Zenabel sets out to seize back her rightful land and prove women need not suffer the tyranny of men. From far and wide young ladies come to join her cause. Also along for the ride are man-servants Cecco (Fiorenzo Fiorentini), who is drawn so camp he makes Frankie Howerd look like John Wayne, and Pancrazio (Lionel Stander) who only pretends to be gay in a bid to get into the pants of Lea (Elisa Mainardi), a sexy young thing Zenabel rescues from a rather graphic and prolonged gang rape. However, these fighting feminists are soon put in their place by a band of boorish freedom fighters led by cocky asshole Gennaro (Mauro Parenti). After easily besting Zenabel in a sword fight, Gennaro chases her into a stable where he ties her up, strips her naked and (to the strains of Bruno Nicolai's oh-so-romantic score) buggers her senseless. That's right, this is a comedy.

Are your sides splitting from laughter yet? In the late Sixties, most likely in reaction to Barbarella (1967), Italian cinema went through a minor craze for costume romps with sexy swashbuckling heroines, often adopting pseudo-feminist ideals for the sake of sneaking in acres of bare flesh and kinky sex. Many were surprisingly entertaining. Brigitte Skay was genuinely gutsy and appealing in Bruno Corbucci's saucy Isabella, Duchess of the Devils (1969). Femi Benussi emerged as cinema's steamiest topless jungle queen in both Tarzana the Wild Girl (1970) and Three Supermen in the Jungle (1970). However, the misguidedly satire of Zenabel ranks among the worst things ever committed to celluloid. It is about as funny as one would expect from the director of Cannibal Holocaust (1979).

Lucretia Love takes a fair stab at her role as the spirited heroine but the film can barely contain its misogyny. Ruggero Deodato evidently had some things he wanted to get off his chest about feminists. Hence, Zenabel's rallying speech to her band of women is "humorously" inter-cut with a shot of cows mooing in a field. Old men merrily chastise the heroine as a mouthy bitch while even other women roll their eyes at her dedication to preserving their virginity from the rape-happy villains. It is supposed to be bawdy fun in a Tom Jones (1963) sort of way but swamped in the most mean-spirited sexism, homophobia (abundant limp-wristed caricatures), plain tastelessness and of course, rape jokes. Oh god, so many rape jokes. Take for example the choice scene where soldiers working for Don Alonso lead dozens upon dozens of terrified, sobbing teenage virgins away to his rape party while their mothers weep and wail. "Just promise me you won't enjoy it!" one old woman cries. In a bizarre "humorous" twist, one of these girls turns out to have a dick. The rest of these virgins end up sorely disappointed when Zenabel drugs Don Alonso's assembled aristocrats so that they fall asleep before they do the deed. That's right, disappointed they weren't brutally raped.

Surely even in late Sixties Italy someone had to know this sort of attitude was bullshit or were things really that messed up back then? If nothing else, watching Zenabel now is like a enduring a bucket of ice water instead of a steamy romp. Quite what a decent actor like John Ireland is doing in this garbage is anyone's guess. Most likely collecting a quick paycheck. And anyone cherishing fond memories of Lionel Stander as lovable Max on TV's Hart to Hart should steel their nerves for the traumatic sight of him mincing around in his underpants. Plus what self-respecting lady does not want to see a forward-thinking heroine land a smirking rapist as her love interest? Later on Gennaro sneaks into a barn hoping to ravish Zenabel once more but ends up raping Lea by mistake. Oops! Hey, that's okay. Turns out Lea loves it! Seriously, fuck you Ruggero Deodato.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1232 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Ruggero Deodato  (1939 - )

Italian director best known his ultra-violent horror work, but whose filmography takes in many genres over a 40-year career. Worked as an assistant director on a variety of films during the sixties, and made his first credited directing debut in 1968 with the superhero yarn Phenomenal and the Treasure of Tutankamen. Throughout the following decade Deodato made erotic dramas (Gungalar, Waves of Lust), musical comdies (Man Only Cries for Love), and comic book romps (Zenabel).

It was Ruggero's horror films that gained him an international reputation however. The trashy Last Cannibal World was followed by 1980's notorious Cannibal Holocaust, and the likes of House on the Edge of the Park, Cut and Run and Bodycount were popular amongst video audiences during the eighties. Other films during this period include the action fantasy The Barbarians and bizarre thriller Dial Help, while Deodato's work during the nineties was largely confined to Italian TV.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: