Aug 25, 2016

Sensitivita: The House by the Edge of the Lake

The Spanish poster, my favorite.
After a strictly commercial review (see? a Frank Zappa gratuitous reference) we return to our latest obsession: Italian beauty Leonora Fani. Today's entry is 1979's sex horror  flick Sensitivitá (Sensitivity) AKA The House by the Edge of the Lake, The Last House Near the Lake, Witch of the Lake & Diabla, among others. There's a censored made for TV version of the film known as Kira: The House Near the Lake. We strongly recommend you to skip that version by all means. Our review was made after watching the never released before director's cut of the film. Yes, we are connoisseurs, we know our way into the world of obscure cult films. 
Despite being recognized as an Italian sexploitation actress, Leonora Fani has worked in very different films ranging from straight shocking sexploitation to romance movies. However, there isn't a single film where she hasn't appeared nude or screwing, leading viewers into questioning her acting skills. Nonetheless, she is an actress and has proven so in many of her films as both lead or support cast. Anyways, let her films do the talking. 

a Burning hand emerges.
a Murdering monk.
Sensitivita may not be one of the greatest Italian horror films ever made but, since it's starred by our goddess Leonora Fani, it's worth the watch. Directed by Enzo G. Castellari, known for action films like Keoma, 1990: The Bronx Warriors, Cold Eyes of Fear & Warriors of the Wasteland admitted some years ago that this wasn't one of his best directing jobs since he didn't had an active role in the filming of Sensitivita. Nevertheless, his  filmography is hit and miss, specially miss.

A young university student "Lillian" (Fani) returns to her family's country villa near a lake where years earlier her mother drowned. She is supposedly researching a local legend, a witch called Kira (Caterina Boratto) and a strange symbol associated with her. However, our heroine spends a lot less time at the library than she does flat on her back fucking all local guys. Nevertheless, there is a catch: whenever she cums, she faints (and not out of sexual exhaustion I might add) into a trance and some horrible fate befalls her sex partners (a car accident, a drowning etc.) Naturally, there's a lot of talk in the town about this strange, slutty outsider girl (but she still never seems to lack for willing sex partners). "Lillian" also seems to have some kind of weird relationship with a retarded girl named "Lilith"(Patricia Adriani), who is always spying on Lilian's sexual escapades and masturbating whenever she has sex (which makes for quite a rigorous masturbation schedule). Meanwhile, Kira, the witch also seems to be hanging around. And Lillian's own mother, though generally unseen except in the prologue, is referred to by the locals as the "lady in the lake". And if four weird women isn't enough, there's also a little, local blind girl who tears the heads off her dolls and says a lot of cryptic things.

Bouncing tits speak louder than words.
I want to masturbate so badly!
Evidently, Sensitivita is not Enzo Castellari's best film by a long-shot. But,  the visual style is clearly the best element of the film. Castellari makes this nonsense horror look & feel as scary as possible, and despite the numerous sex scenes (which we're not complaining about, keep 'em coming Leonora!), he manages to maintain a suspense atmosphere despite the many misleading softcore sexploitation tricks the film has. With the possible exceptions of "Pensione Paura" & "Nene", this is probably Leanora Fani's classiest film. To some,  this may not be saying much for an actress who starred in a movie with the self-explanatory title "Naked Massacre", in the under rated kitsch "Giallo a Venezia", in the deranged "Beastialita" (we're saving this film review for last), and even in some hardcore porn films (although she was not actually a hardcore actress). Anyways, we see Leonora Fani as a daring actress who had the, uhm, pubes, to film a varied range of films that not only got her into the annals of  Italian sexploitation but also, allowed her to be internationally recognized by her now obscure and hard to find filmography. And what the hell! is 2016! and we're still promoting her films 42 years after her debut! (La Svergognata, another of our forthcoming reviews)
Italian horror films are generally well known for choosing visual style and atmosphere over logical plotting and realistic dialogue, but in the 1970's these films became increasingly over-the-top stylistically and often downright nonsensical. Of course, they also tended to paper over all the gaping plot holes with copious, and often even ridiculous, amounts of sex and nudity. 

I'm gonna cum all over your face babe!
Please don't cum inside.
By now, I'm sure you've all realized this film hasn't been officially released on DVD or Blu Ray, you know, those ugly screen caps come from an 8mm film that must have been poorly digitized ages ago. Will an official release ever see the light? I don't know and in a way, I don't think so since, there isn't much value to add to the horror genre here. Obviously, Leonora Fani fans, like you and I, will most certainly try to find every film she's been into no matter how crappy the quality of the copy you can get your hands on. After all is Leonora Fani

Horror fans won't miss much if they decide not to watch this film. However, there are a few scenes here and there that might leave you wondering "Oh my! did others stole ideas from this movie to create their own 80's slasher blockbusters?"  We may never know the answer, as perhaps such scenes are merely coincidences and not straight rip offs, but you never know. American film makers have "borrowed" a lot of ideas from their European & Asian counterparts.

Leonora Fani, Italian beauty.
Are you talking to me?
Overall, Sensitivita, is an OK sexploitation horror film with lots of nudity and sex, of course, Leonora Fani makes the difference big time. On the horror side of things, there are a lot of better films out there. Advisable to Fani fans and horror enthusiasts who are looking to complete their obscure film collections.

Here's the Spanish dubbed trailer: