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Thursday, October 30, 2008

DVD REVIEW: Hot Summer in the City (1976)

Exploitation Cinema has given birth to many beasts of cinema. From the sickening to the downright depraved, its proven to be a brutal and powerful force in underground film. 1970s Pornographic film has also had its fair share of controversy through its filthy portrayal of the wicked and sexually perverse.

HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY rides a very thin line between Exploitation and Pornographic Cinema. I hold no real interest in the latter genre, so will be looking at the film through its Exploitation microscope.


HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY spits one demented storyline at the viewer. A gang of Black Militants, planning to erupt a volcano of racial riots throughout the suburbs, decide to kidnap and ravish an innocent young white girl, whom they find lost along the highway one night.

HSITC is one HELL of a film. It drips with such perversity and filth, taking a shower after viewing becomes mandatory. The atmosphere is shockingly filthy and wreaks of disgust.

It's graphic racial undertones sprayed throughout and fair share of Exploitation violence sprinkled near the end, make for essential GRINDHOUSE viewing.

The film is Roughie, no doubt, filled with HC inserts throughout and penetration continuously. But, such scenes are stitched so well within the Exploitation atmosphere, it becomes part of the film seemlessly and doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. It actually becomes part of the plot.

HSITC also contains its fair share of disturbing content. With a mentally handicapped actor participating in the depraved acts, one wonders whether the actor is truly acting or actually disabled.

With The Beach Boys, The Supremes, and The Doors all blasting through the soundtrack, one slowly begins to understand why such a film will never see the light of an official SE release.

HSITC is such a sick bastard of a film, it works on the same level that THEY CALL HER ONE EYE works. It mixes the extreme with the cinematic to create a very powerful breed of film. Although it's definitely cheaply made, the energy is just too DAMN furious to dismiss.

VIDEO: The quality is extremely poor. Shot on 16mm, the presentation is filled with scratches, blackouts, and jumps. Finding a better print would likely be an impossible stretch, so this print does its job in presenting the film successfully to the viewer. The film is an Exploitation piece so such problems with the print seem suitable to the film. It adds that extra Exploitive flavor that soon becomes part of the film within minutes.

AUDIO: The Audio, like the Video is splattered with scratches, fades, cracks, and hisses. All is fine though, as the Audio is able to present the musical pieces and dialogue in a respectable manner. After the first 10 mins, such problems become irrelevant and is actually able to add to the grittiness of the film.

EXTRAS: A whole host of other Alpha Blue Archives trailers.

Two 8mm loops dealing with the same interracial content found within the film. Both run for about 20 mins. and are filled with graphic smut, sex, rape, and everything else in between.

The final extra is some cool taglines attached to the film on its initial release. The taglines do a good job of summing up the film really well.

OVERALL: Quentin Tarantino once called HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY, "The Greatest Porno Ever". Although I'm no expert in the illicit genre, from what I've seen, it is the most accomplished one ever assembled. It's so DAMN depraved and exploitive, that its ability manifest into an oddly brilliant film is just downright AMAZING.

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