Uncle Joe honestly thought he had reinvented the wheel with this pornographic take on Carl Gottlieb’s then already 15 year old cult comedy CAVEMAN. Although he would frequently voice his frustration to anyone who would listen about winding up on the “wrong” side of the filmmaking fence, he simultaneously took a given the circumstances almost perverse pride in his adult achievements which he considered light years beyond anything his carnal compatriots came up with. While there’s surely a case waiting to be made, it’s safe to say that his explicit output came out uneven to say the least. Having dabbled in just about every commercially viable movie genre over a three decade stretch, from the early ’70s right up until his death at the doorstep of the new Millennium, he built up a quantitatively impressive body of work comprised of some 200 titles, none of which lost money on their modest investment, I bet. Seeing how most of these, as was the Italian exploitation tradition, took their “inspiration” from far costlier films that were booming at the box office either stateside or on the Continent, meant that little respect was forthcoming. At least from artistic and critical circles, as the money men were undoubtedly beaming as the paying public packed theaters to the rafters.
Though he had dabbled in hardcore on and off ever since his notorious 1981 PORNO HOLOCAUST, going back even further one might consider his explicit inserts into both EMANUELLE IN America and EMANUELLE AROUND THE WORLD his real start in this respect, it was not until the ’90s that he would be forced to devote himself almost exclusively to fornication features. While many of these came out dire rather than dirty, some like JUNGLE HEAT or 120 DAYS OF SODOM suggested a penchant to please that simply refused to curl up and die. While hardly up there with his best efforts in this or any other field, HOMO ERECTUS does have a number of things going for it, starting with sparkling outdoor cinematography in lush natural surroundings by the great Mr. Massaccesi himself, hiding behind his familiar “Federiko Slonisko” alter ego, a capacity he has always obtained far more kudos for than for his filmmaking. Given the genre, it also doesn’t hurt that he cast some extremely good-looking girls from the four corners of the globe, all of whom perform with a gusto that wasn’t always a given in Joe’s XXX endeavors. The guys, more locally recruited apart from Aussie Gerry Pike (the abused anti-hero from Michael Ninn’s SEX), almost match the damsels in do-ability, with the notable exception of stalwart Roberto Malone who has gobbled himself into a sweaty, heaving mountain of meat by now yet salvaged by his equally various appetite for and unfeigned appreciation of fine female flesh.
That was the good news. Unfortunately, the format forces the entire cast to make fools of themselves by grunting, growling and acting “primitive” in general. While such behavior is usually discarded for the sex scenes, with the toe-curling exception of a “funny” accidental discovery of the blow job by Malone and “Jasmina” a/k/a Kethrin Brut from Luca Damiano’s lavish ADVENTURES OF THE ORIENT EXPRESS, there’s still plenty of it to wear on an audience’s last nerve. Devoid of dialog, apart from some brief voice-over narration (at least in the German dub I watched), the story’s as simple as they come. Two rival male tribes go to battle over a trio of maidens they have found wandering the woods and whom they both covet. Cindy Scorsese’s the short-haired Hungarian blonde from Joe’s Visconti knock-off VIRILITY and French brunette Pénélope (sometimes “Sarah Fosterman”) should be familiar from Alex Perry’s PENELOPE, natch. Most screen time’s devoted to homegrown Stefania Sartori however, most notably Juliet to Brit Mark Davis’ Romeo in D’Amato’s JULIET & ROMEO. Naturally, while two dogs are fighting over a bone, a third – in this case a tribe of amazons headed by statuesque Laura Palmer – runs off with it. Still, Italian macho culture being what it is, the men soon catch up with them and they all f*ck happily ever after.
Plentiful poking taking place in fields and forests fills the majority of the film’s running time, its “slumming” sire unable to resist the furtive flourish such as the inclusion of wildlife stock footage (like an apparently approaching alligator as two tribesmen go hand to hand in a stream) to uphold the illusion of a “proper” picture. English rose Roxanne Hall distinguishes herself both through unabashed erotic enjoyment, especially in an encounter with pretty boy Pike (whose extensive fore-arm tattoos they went to the lengths to cover up with strips of fur, just saying), as a discreetly demure take on the whole prehistoric posturing that’s positively refreshing by contrast to her colleagues’ limitless exuberance. Though this isn’t much of a showcase for any talents other than sexual, she showed proof of acting ability in an age when there wasn’t much call for it in adult as evidenced by old-timer David “Adele Robbins” Fleetwood’s under the radar MIA. By contrast, Swedish strumpet Tatyana Tighera fits the very definition of blah as the third Amazon warrior (completing the triumvirate with Palmer and Brut), best remembered if at all for being one of the “fake” Helen Duvals in Oliver Czech’s vapid THE THIEF, THE GIRL AND THE DETECTIVE.