The Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasure

1975 Coffin Joe morality tale

Rating: 14/20

Plot: Coffin Joe is resurrected (I think) by some scantily-clad women and some male dancers with plastic breasts. His top hat magically appears, and he sulks off to an inn. A variety of guests arrive to escape a thunderstorm. Coffin Joe accepts some while turning others away. The guests engage in a variety of nefarious goings-on--biker orgies, gambling, an affair, shady business dealings, jewel thievery. At midnight, the clocks stop and some bad stuff happens.

I have to admit something--I think I'm terrified to give any of Coffin Joe's movies anything less than a 14. I almost want to make a Santo-esque "20" rule for Coffin Joe; then again, I'm terrified Santo will have an issue with that. The Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasure might not be as good as its title. As a horror film (or whatever the hell it is), it's really bizarre. The freeform weirdness of the opening scene sets the oddball atmosphere--a train track rhythm, some of the worst dancing you'll ever see, people in masks, one guy wearing the neck-down part of a gorilla suit, those men with fake plastic breasts, wobbling shirtless men, silk-clad dancing girls. And, the piece de resistance: a guy who is wearing a giant plastic fake butt on his front. After that insanity, you get the opening credits, a hypnotizing asteroid field, and some terribly incoherent poetry. Things slow down, almost to a screeching halt, as some sort of story threatens to develop. For about forty minutes of so, it's just people arriving at the hotel and Coffin Joe saying some cryptic things ("Why are objects important if the goal is for eternal existence?"). Ad infinitum. The biker orgy scene is especially nutsy though. For the longest time, it's just this packed room of unattractive biker guys and biker chicks undulating on top of each other while, for what seems like forever, chanting, "Everybody naked, great! Everybody naked, great!" The juxtaposing scenes of the dealings of the strange hostel's inhabitants is a lot to endure, but thankfully, things get really bizarre again. Stop reading now if you want to avoid spoilers. Coffin Joe, seemingly ubiquitous, pops in everybody's room, does his weird eye thing, and watches flashbacks where nasty things happen. All with some squiggly, howling, squelching Moog accompaniment and omnipresent screams. Oh, and an off-sounding "Auld Lang Syne". One guy puts a gun to his head. Suddenly, the screen is filled with superimposed fireworks before becoming drowned in blood. It's a sick effect. There's also some nifty fire effects that showcase Marins' ability to do a whole lot with just a little. Another favorite scene is where a couple are having a splash fight in a bathtub when the husband walks in with flowers. He pulls a knife and the flowers fall before, if I remember correctly, Marins decides to show us some insects or rats or a close-up of a creepy clock. Even more than the other two Coffin Joe movies on this blog (here and here), this has the feel of outsider art. It's not exactly the most coherent movie I've ever seen, but like any other Coffin Joe movies (there are two forthcoming), I'd recommend this to weird film enthusiasts.

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