I’m misty for Mundae.
The folks at Seduction Cinema have established their own mini-media empire in recent years. It began as a bunch of homemade nudie movies made by some New Jersey natives and their friends. Their zero-budget schlock gained popularity, finding its way onto Best Buy’s DVD shelves, and into late-night airings on premium cable channels.
The secret to their success? In the early days of the new millennium, when the internet tightened its now-permanent stranglehold on society, the filthiest, most disgusting hardcore porn imaginable became only one click away. Seduction Cinema took their sleaze in the opposite direction by crafting softcore skin flicks, at a time when no one else was doing so. This was helped along by marquee star Misty Mundae (a.k.a. Erin Brown, Masters of Horror: Lucky McKee: Sick Girl), who rose to fame thanks to her girl-next-door charm and her enthusiasm for disrobing in front of a camera. Now, Seduction Cinema has gone back to the vaults and put four of its most famous (infamous?) movies on this two-disc set.
Gladiator Eroticvs is a low-budget spoof of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator with naked girls. Play-mate of the Apes is a low-budget spoof of Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes (2001) with naked girls. Lord of the G-strings is a low-budget spoof of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings with naked girls. Spiderbabe is a low-budget spoof of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man with naked girls.
We’ve got four of these movies to watch in one night, so let’s get rolling.
The first, and earliest, movie in this collection is Gladiator Eroticvs (the “v” instead of a “u” makes it historically accurate). Misty Mundae is in a supporting role in this one, with the lead character played by her frequent co-star, erotic rocker chick Darian Caine (The Erotic Witch Project).
Right from the start, I can tell something is off when the bad dubbing kicks in. Almost all the actors’ voices have been replaced, and the effect is, shall we say, not convincing. So the movie kicks off with a slapstick take on the “epic battle in a field” thing, and it’s almost to the point of being amusing. Then, the fighting comes to a complete halt so two women can get it on, thanks to conveniently placed blanket in the woods. This is not going to be a plot-heavy movie.
After the fighting and sexiness is over, the comedy kicks in, with a lengthy scene of the emperor arguing with his weenie of a son. This is a fast forward button moment if there ever was one, with the two just going on and on with their comedy shtick, again with the dubbed voices, and it’s just plain painful.
Up next is another nudie moment, an all girl three-way out in the woods, no doubt in the same location as the earlier sex scene. I’m torn about this scene. One on hand, I can’t hate it simply because it’s sexy girls, but on the other hand, it comes out of nowhere and it goes on and on and on (for some people, though, that might a good thing. What do I know?).
Time for more comedy shtick as the emperor’s son meets with a couple of senators in what appears to be a bathroom. There are more audio issues here, as I couldn’t understand what anyone was saying. Considering the jokes in this movie, though, perhaps I can count myself lucky. Meanwhile, back out in the woods, the plot loosely follows the Ridley Scott film, as our heroine is recruited against her will to compete in “the lesbian games.” We get more nakedness and jokey shtick during these moments, but at least it fits into the plot, sort of.
The movie gets its big “WTF” moment with “The History of the World,” an animated segment—not really animated, just a bunch of still drawings set to narration. It’s completely random and has nothing to with anything else in the movie, but that’s what makes it kind of hilarious.
In case you haven’t guessed, the movie is in something of a loop—comedy scene, nudie scene, comedy scene, nudie scene, and so on. By now we’ve been introduced to Mundae, playing the emperor’s repressed daughter, who develops an attraction to Caine’s gladiator, oh excuse me, glad-she-ator. The two of them then have their big scene, and then they’re joined by a whole bunch of other girls, which is no doubt the reason why most people watched this in the first place.
Now it’s time for Play-Mate of the Apes. I’m a kind of nervous about this one. I’m into a lot of weird stuff, but girls in gorilla masks is just a little too fetish-y for my tastes. Fortunately, it looks like most of the sexy actresses are playing the humans and not the apes, so my fears of human-monkey lovin’ are abated.
As the movie begins, it’s clear that the Seduction Cinema folks are amping up production values however they can, with some bargain spaceship CGI. From there, we get two astronauts aboard the ship just waking up from some sort of cryogenic/stasis sleep (it’s never explained, of course), and they immediately get it on. Again, I’m torn. The “red-blooded male” part of my psyche has no problem with this, but the “writer/artist/filmmaker” part of my psyche gets impatient, as we’re ten minutes in with no plot, story, dialogue, etc.
The spaceship crashes, and the all-female astronauts, led by Mundae, are stranded in the woods. This leads to something I’ve seen in a lot of low-budget sleaze flicks—padding out the runtime with footage of the actors walking. We sit there and watch them walk and walk and walk. This leads to a montage of the girls skinny-dipping, after which they finally get captured by the apes. Note that the “apes” are wearing normal clothes to go along with their ape masks, and the nets they use to capture the girls are obviously volleyball nets.
Mundae meets up with Caine, playing the “Nova” role. They of course have a sex scene, after which we get to know the ape characters, as they hang out in a bar. Somehow, the filmmakers managed to wrangle Hollywood makeup artist Michael Thomas (Ghostbusters) to create the ape masks, using molds based on the original Planet of the Apes, so the apes with speaking roles look surprisingly good, a nice throwback to the classic.
If these movies weren’t already campy enough, the camp factor goes into overdrive with musical numbers. See, in order to show that they have souls and are more than just animals, the humans must prove themselves by dancing. The apes then retaliate with singing and dancing of their own, including the obligatory and obvious Elvis reference. And to think earlier I actually wanted the movie to have a plot. Be careful what you wish for…
The movie is caught in the same loop as the previous one. The story, such as it is, comes a halt so they can have another sex scene. Then our heroes escape from the apes and head back out into the woods for more comedy shtick. The jokes abruptly screech to halt for another sex scene, and from there we’re dropped into more ape slapstick and so on. If you’re going to make an erotic film, even a lighthearted one, shouldn’t you have some sort of sexual tension among the characters, which builds up to the big sex scenes, instead of just splicing in the nudie bits wherever? This is the wrong type of movie for me to be asking these questions, isn’t it?
The lone bonus feature on disc one is the featurette “Inside Misty Mundae” (see if you can spot the double entendre), so let’s take a look at that now. It’s an interview with her about the making of Gladiator Eroticvs. Hear her say “it was fun” over and over. Her co-star Esmeralda Dellarocca then stops by for some sexy massage action. After that, Misty takes a drive to a local park, where she walks around for a while and then visits an adjacent cemetery and I can’t believe this thing goes on for more than an hour. She’s a cute, nice girl, but she doesn’t have that many interesting things to say.
Halfway through! Time to put in the second disc and attempt to endure Lord of the G-strings. It was made a few years later, and, once more, the production values have increased somewhat. They’re clearly using higher-end cameras and other updated tech, so the picture quality is noticeably better than the camcorder look of the previous two. There’s another noticeable difference—the puns. Mundae plays “Dildo Saggins,” a “throbbit” who lives in “Diddle Earth.” If you think that’s bad, then you’re not prepared for what’s to follow, because the entire movie is stuffed to the boots with every cheeky LOTR pun the writers could think of.
Now we’re back in the dreaded loop, as the movie ping-pongs back and forth between nude scenes and lame comedy shtick. All sense of a forward-moving story goes bye-bye as the middle of the movie is just a series of LOTR-based sketches out in the woods, with a bunch of crazy characters our heroes run into. You could argue that Monty Python and the Holy Grail did the same thing, but these people, despite their best intentions, aren’t the Pythons.
OK, the movie is still meandering around plotlessly from pointless nude scene to pointless nude scene. I guess you could argue that “pointless nude scene” is, in fact, the point, but it looks to me like everyone’s just going through the motions, if you’ll pardon yet another pun. I know I shouldn’t care that the nudie bits aren’t moving the story forward, but I do, dammit.
A dumb movie gets dumber with an ultra-dumb ending. The big finale is all fart jokes, followed by a bunch of break-the-fourth-wall gags. These movies are starting to wear me down. The sexy scenes are, well, sexy, but they’re not enough to carry the stale humor and nonexistent production values. One more to go, Spiderbabe, which is, to my knowledge, the most elaborate production Seduction Cinema has ever attempted. Here’s hoping.
Once more, the production values have taken another leap forward. Spiderbabe has nice lighting, rock songs on the soundtrack, location shooting in New York City, and actual sets instead of just having the actors stand in front of a blank wall. The movie’s look is so lavish, it almost (almost!) reaches Lloyd Kaufman levels of filmic quality. For anyone else, that wouldn’t be a good thing, but for Seduction Cinema, that’s actually a compliment.
If I were to ask you to guess what the plot of Spiderbabe is, you’d probably figure it out correctly on your own. Mundae plays “Patricia Porker,” a shy student who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and blah, blah, blah, etc. The bite gives her super-powers, and also increases her horniness. This is their attempt to work the sex scenes into the story, instead of just throwing them in randomly. Again, here’s hoping.
The movie follows Raimi’s playbook pretty closely, more closely than the other films in this collection followed their spoof subjects. There’s the wrestling scene, the villain is the best friend’s older sister, and the organic webbing doesn’t come from her wrists but…actually, you’re better off discovering that little surprise for yourself. Additionally, there’s the whole bit with the burglar and Patricia’s uncle’s fate, which lead to her becoming a superhero and…like I said, you probably guessed all this already. The villain, by the way, is “Femtilian,” played by Julian Wells (Flesh for Olivia).
Hilariousness alert! The movie does the whole “heroic montage” thing, including shots of Mundae in her Spiderbabe costume running around in a crowded Times Square at night, striking a bunch of heroic poses. It cracks me up that all the people walking by don’t pay her any attention, as if nothing’s out of the ordinary. I guess all those people in Times Square could have been paid movie extras, but I doubt it.
In addition to all the jokes and nudie scenes, there’s also a little bit of action and fighting in this one. It’s slow-moving action and fighting, but it’s in there nonetheless. Even more surprising, there’s some slight character development. After Mundae and Caine have their obligatory sex scene, it’s followed by a discussion about their relationship. It’s not deep or anything, but it’s more than the other films in this set have done.
As Spiderbabe continues, it goes back into the same mind-numbing loop that the other films did, but not to the same degree. It ends with a final confrontation between hero and villain, shot against some clunky bluescreen effects, but at least the story comes to a real ending this time, and not just fizzling out with a couple of camp jokes before the credits roll like the other movies did. Spiderbabe is almost like watching a real movie. Almost.
The only extras on disc two are a bunch of trailers for other Seduction Cinema releases. A booklet has some information about all three movies, as well as 2010 interview with Misty Mundae. When these movies were released separately, those earlier DVDs had more bonus features, some in two-disc sets, with a ton of behind-the-scenes goodies, but you won’t find those extras in this set. The picture and audio on the first two movies is in poor shape, improving from not as bad to mediocre in the next two movies.
There we have it, a journey through the weird, wacky world of Seduction Cinema and back again. Can I go get some sleep now?
Are these good movies? No, they’re trash. Yet I cannot bring myself to hate them. For one thing, they accomplish everything they set out to do, provide softcare thrills and cheap laughs. Also, unlike most people who say they hope to become filmmakers someday, these guys and gals actually picked up a camera, made these movies, and found their audience. I can’t fault them for that. So although I can’t in any way call these movies good, I nonetheless appreciate them for what they are.