Monday, 13 September 2010

Waves of Lust

Waves of Lust made in 1975 marked a return to feature film making for Ruggero Deodato after a few years in the wilderness of television. Deodata was initially lukewarm about taking on the film - at that point it was a relatively innocuous softcore skin flick, but his interest was stirred when he realised that Lamberto Bava's treatment had the makings of a good thriller.

A balmy, sun-kissed Italian version of Polanski's Knife in the Water, Waves of Lust concerns a free-wheeling young couple, Irem and Barbara, played by Al Cliver and Silvia Dionisio (Deodato's wife at the time) who spend a few days on a luxury yacht with another couple, Giorgio a wealthy industrialist and his wife Silvia, played by John Steiner and Elizabeth Turner. With Giorgio completely dominating his wife and guests and dishing out abuse, humiliation and degradation, its only a matter of time before good manners and hospitality goes overboard...

Deodato's instincts proved right, Waves of Lust is an entertaining sex flick and an engaging thriller. Deodato, one of the more competent and reliable directors of Italian exploitation cinema delivers a very enjoyable romp making fine use of the confined spaces of the yacht, while generating some real heat with the plentiful nudity and teasing sex. There are a few subtle hints early in the film that Irem and Barbara may not be a innocent as they seem, and in the second half of the film, Giorgio, fueled by booze grows increasingly paranoid that his life is in danger. Very much a film about about psychological violence as opposed to real violence, Deodato does included one bit of nasty business involving a spear gun, and the haunting ending of the film chills the blood...

That the film is so highly erotic is largely thanks to the two beautiful lead actresses. Elizabeth Turner makes much of her role as the long suffering Silvia. She can also be seen in Fulci's The Psychic and Antonio Margheriti's Cannibal Apocalypse. Silvia Dionisio, an especially gorgeous actress was quite a big star in Italian cinema at that time, so no surprise the film was a huge success on its release. Of the male leads, Al Cliver, an actor who has clocked up his fair share of vacant performances over the years actually turns in something credible here, but he's outclassed by the wonderful John Steiner who specialized in playing sneering, conceited assholes, and here he's on top form playing one unmerciful prick.

Gorgeous scenery - Silvia Dionisio in all her glory

Raro presents Waves of Lust on DVD in a fine special edition. The image quality is generally very good utilizing a crisp, clean print. Some flesh tones are a little too hot in some scenes but its a minor complaint. The audio track is Italian only with removable, easy to read English subtitles.

Extras include an English subtitled feature on the film with contributions from Deodato, Al Cliver, Lamberto Bava and Deodato's son, who appears in the opening sequence of the film as the little boy on the beach. Also included are some deleted sex scenes that were prepared for the export market, which amounted to slightly longer and explicit shots of the existing scenes in the film. Rounding off the extras, are some 20mins of commercials Deodato shot for Italian TV, mostly for cosmetics. One of the adverts features a shaggy dog and a cute rabbit, which Cannibal Holocaust fans will no doubt be disappointed to learn that neither are mutilated on camera.


  1. Waves of Lust is one of my faves - the score is also particularly great - I forget the audio is in Italian most of the time too, engaging as this flick is.

  2. Yep, it is a good soundtrack Jeremy. Poppy electronics but with a sinister edge when the film calls for it. I didn't mention it in the review because I thought the post was dragging a bit.

    An interesting footnote that I also cut from the review was that the film was shot around Cefalù, Sicily where in 1920 Aleister Crowley set up one of his magick communes... perhaps John Steiner was soaking up some left over satanic vibrations for his portrayal of Giorgio....

  3. I haven't seen this one - but I like a good boat thriller - so I will be trying to track this one down...