La peur et l’amour (1967)

Way too many U.S. skinflicks portray girly-photography studios as the darkest, dreariest, drabbest places on earth. Not so with Torment, a French skinflick set in a fancy house in the Parisian countryside which is simply crawling with curvaceous naked beauties. It’s also crawling with gangsters and violence in a plot that plays like it was ripped from the pages of a half dozen comic books.

Thin and bald, creepy Joe Darien is a menacing thug infatuated with Kim, one of the above-mentioned photographer’s models. First chance he gets, Joe de-virginizes her. Her life changed, Kim promptly parades around with her breasts hanging out in front of her blasé stepmother Linda. Linda also likes lounging around with her boobs on display (“You’re not even a stepmother I can respect!”) and the two get into a topless catfight which a second gangster – a rotund slob named Louie Ricco – takes a photograph of. Louie figures he can sell the photo to Kim’s daddy while Linda, realizing she’s about to be blackmailed, runs for help to Boris, a Russian nightclub owner, who immediately takes out Linda’s friendly breasts and mauls them.

Sexploitation highlight: at Boris’ club, a sexy blonde does a striptease in front of a large fake snowman with blinking eyes. Ya gotta love it.

On a roll, Joe murders one of the photographer’s neighbors, and steals diamonds from the man’s safe: “Diamonds are more beautiful than women!” He also fires a shotgun into the photographer’s face which makes poor lil’ Kim faint dead away, so Joe carries her off and puts her in a garage somewhere.

But wait, it gets even more complicated. As expected, Louie Ricco attempts to blackmail both Linda and her husband, but the husband smacks Louie around while Linda, once again, displays her breasts. Joe, meanwhile, is captured by Boris and his men who want the diamonds Joe stole and decide to make him talk by letting a stripper dance all over him until – oops! – everyone ends up dead but Joe. By then, Kim wakes up, leaves that nasty ol’ garage and, blissfully ignorant, wanders back to the photographer’s house just in time to meet crazy Joe in full-throttle maniac mode….

One of three English-dubbed films from French sexploitation vet Max Pécas released here by BOB CRESSE through his company Olympic International Films (the others being Heat of Midnight and ), Torment has so much nudity and idiot plotting that one can almost hear Cresse laughing out loud. Oddly enough, while all the posters, ads, pressbooks, photos, and theater marquees advertised the film as Torment, the actual on-screen title is Fear and Love. Obviously, Cresse thought the title Torment far more commercial but, rather than spend the money needed to change the title card, he simply combined both titles for the advertising which reads “Love + Fear = Torment!” Neither title, however, really conveys the nuttiness at the core of Torment, best thought of as an art-film for lunatics.

Date: June 14, 2020