Tropic of Cancer
(Al tropico del cancro)
Giampaolo Lomi, Edoardo Mulargia
Often times, when I'm working from home, I throw something on the television to half-watch, depending on the task. Upon the recommendation of a horror aficionado friend of mine, I decided upon a giallo film called Tropic of Cancer (Al tropic del cancro)—no relation, as far as I could tell, to the Henry Miller novel—and marveled at what I saw. Mind you, I was listening to music on my headphones and fiddling on the Internet at the same time. With no knowledge of what was supposed to be transpiring in the film (and, most importantly, no desire to find out), I was hypnotized by its vulgar beauty. With a bit of creative invention on a few of the details, some of the highlights of Tropic of Cancer are the following: exquisitely arranged dream/fantasy sequences in which a fake-breasted blonde, vaguely resembling Linda Evans, runs slow-motion through a red hallway (in the direction of the sexy, hair-tosselling fan on set, it would seem) while naked black men reach out to grab her (her perfect hammy/beautiful look of terror is utilized several times in the film with Mario Bava-esque zooms); a curly-haired, baby-faced Porky the Pig döppelganger–fey in the sort of way that was befitting of villains in cinema once upon a time–getting a massage from his virile, young, native servant while a white teenage boy sheds his towel to dive into a pool filled of giant blocks of ice, cut against shots of two gorgeous agitated peacocks; a mustached Jack Palace lookalike wearing a see-through blouse getting Nancy Kerrigan-ed by The Invisible Woman while sitting on a deckchair; a strange macho rivalry between two hunky Italian men that are barely distinguishable from one another (intentional? I'm not sure), trying to win the affections of the fake-breasted white lady, spying on one another making passionate love to her; frenzied native dances that turn into frenzied native orgies as the white folk look on; the bizarre murderous ends for both Porky the Pig, speared in the mud like a swine, and Jack Palance, face burned off in a mine; and a voodoo spiritual involving a woman I imagine to be the wild voodoo priestess holding a giant bucket over her head while the natives dance around a naked couple in shackles in either a wedding ceremony or a murder ritual. Do these sort of art trash films get made any more? If so, where? And if not, what has replaced them? There's a void in the world of cinema when art and trash have to exist separately. I feel it would only spoil the fun I had by actually watching the film, so I put together a photo series for Giampaolo Lomi and Edoardo Mulargia's Tropic of Cancer for your viewing pleasure.
With: Anthony Steffen, Anita Strindberg, Gabriele Tinti, Umberto Raho, Stelio Candelli, Gordon Felio, Kathryn Witt, Alfio Nicolosi, Bob Lemoine, Pierre Richard Merceron, Fred Ade