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Retro Review: ELEVEN DAYS, ELEVEN NIGHTS (1987)

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ELEVEN DAYS, ELEVEN NIGHTS
(Italy - 1987)

Directed by Joe D'Amato (Aristide Massaccesi). Written by Sarah Asproon (Rossella Drudi) and Clyde Anderson (Claudio Fragasso). Cast: Jessica Moore (Luciana Ottaviani), Joshua McDonald, Mary Sellers, Tom Mojack, Laura Gemser. (Unrated, 92 mins)

A softcore cult classic that was instrumental in helping establish the legend of Skinemax while playing a significant role in the depletion of many a pubescent teenage boy's tube sock supply back in the day, 1987's ELEVEN DAYS, ELEVEN NIGHTS is a gender-swapped Italian ripoff of 9 1/2 WEEKS from notorious Eurocult journeyman Joe D'Amato. Written by Claudio Fragasso and Rossella Drudi--the husband-and-wife masters of erotica who would later gift us with TROLL 2--ELEVEN DAYS, ELEVEN NIGHTS pretty much follows the template of D'Amato's "Black Emanuelle" films of the late '70s, right down to the presence of Laura Gemser, this time as the editor to nympho journalist Sarah Asproon (Jessica Moore), who's writing a scintillating memoir of her sexual exploits entitled My One Hundred Men (Drudi uses the pseudonym "Sarah Asproon" for her writing credit, giving the film a bogus autobiographical ruse in the tradition of "Emmanuelle Arsan"). Sarah is nearing completion of the book as she seduces man #100, none-too-bright New Orleans engineer Michael Terenzi (Joshua McDonald, absurdly dubbed by the dulcet tones of the venerable Ted Rusoff). They have a torrid sexual encounter on a ferry, during which she steals his wallet and calls him later that evening for another hookup. Michael is due to be married in twelve days to his nice but boring, sexually unadventurous fiancee Helen (Mary Sellers) and isn't looking forward to a dull sex life or dealing with his controlling in-laws. So he doesn't hesitate to get all of his wild desires out of his system, diving head-on into a kinky and obsessive fling with Sarah, who wants to make the most of what little time they have, purring: "Give me all the nights you have left! Eleven nights...just for me!"






To paraphrase SNL Weekend Update city correspondent Stefon, ELEVEN DAYS, ELEVEN NIGHTS has it all: public sex, psycho-sexual dom/sub head games, gender role reversals, cross dressing, bondage, honey as a gooey sex accoutrement, silhouetted hard-ons, reacharounds, self-degradation, emasculating hot cuck action, a Jackie Rogers Jr cosplayer, and cringey Sarah rape fantasies ("Why don't you rape me? I'm dying to be raped!"). It's rather difficult to take any of it seriously, though it's easy to see why it was in regular rotation on late-night pay cable. D'Amato (one of the many pseudonyms of cinematographer-turned-director Aristide Massaccesi) dabbled in a little bit of everything but was best known for his EMANUELLE collaborations with Gemser, his horror gorefests like BURIED ALIVE (aka BEYOND THE DARKNESS) and THE GRIM REAPER (aka ANTHROPOPHAGUS), and he also directed the Miles O'Keeffe ATOR films under the name "David Hills." By the mid '80s, he started occasionally venturing into hardcore porn, where he'd eventually work almost exclusively in his later years until his death in 1999. But he also produced numerous films through his company Filmirage, including the future bad movie favorite TROLL 2, and thanks to ELEVEN DAYS, ELEVEN NIGHTS, he also carved himself a niche in late night cable, where his Eurosleaze exports always found a home. The film spawned an immediate follow-up in 1988, with Moore reprising her role as Sarah for what was shot as ELEVEN DAYS, ELEVEN NIGHTS PART 2, but released as TOP MODEL. That was followed by a string of numerically-challenged D'Amato-helmed sequels without Moore, including 1989's unrelated 11 DAYS, 11 NIGHTS 3, which offered a male protagonist in unknown American actor Cort McCown (who had small roles in '80s comedies TEEN WOLF and CAN'T BUY ME LOVE) and 1991's bafflingly-titled fourth installment 11 DAYS, 11 NIGHTS 2 (no, "2" is not a typo, and since the actual second film was rechristened TOP MODEL, perhaps D'Amato was trying to backtrack with a retroactive "part 2"), which starred Kristine Rose as a returning Sarah Asproon. Making matters even more mystifying is the existence of 1990's TOP MODEL 2, which was neither produced nor directed by D'Amato and starred neither Moore nor Rose. With this franchise--with its actual order being a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma--and with 1989's BLUE ANGEL CAFE and 1990's HIGH FINANCE WOMAN (aka THE LOVES OF A WALL STREET WOMAN), a pair of softcore titles with CANNONBALL RUN Lamborghini girl Tara Buckman, D'Amato was slightly ahead of the curve with the straight-to-video erotic thriller explosion that would hit American video stores over beginning in 1990-1991.


Recently-released on an all-region Blu-ray from the UK-based 88 Films (because physical media is dead), ELEVEN DAYS, ELEVEN NIGHTS was shot almost entirely on location in New Orleans, one of many Filmirage productions of the period that were being primarily lensed stateside, usually in Louisiana, Virginia, or Florida. They would also rely heavily on local--and frequently terrible--actors, though once in a great while, an unknown would break out and go somewhere (future MELROSE PLACE star Josie Bissett made her debut starring in the 1989 Virginia-shot D'Amato production HITCHER IN THE DARK, directed by Umberto Lenzi). Jessica Moore was actually an Italian model named Luciana Ottaviani, who acted in several films under a variety of pseudonyms from 1986 to 1989 before abruptly quitting the business (D'Amato would later say that her boyfriend disapproved of the movies she was making), though she did resurface for an interview on a 2010 Italian DVD release of ELEVEN DAYS, ELEVEN NIGHTS (unfortunately not included in the extras of the 88 Films edition). She appeared in Lucio Fulci's 1988 film SODOMA'S GHOST under her real name, and her gory death scene in Mario Bianchi's 1988 horror outing THE MURDER SECRET (as "Jessica Moore") was recycled in Fulci's 1990 meta cut-and-paste job A CAT IN THE BRAIN, where she was credited as "Gilda Germano." Her most high-profile job from a mainstream perspective was a small role in the 1987 Richard Chamberlain ABC TV-movie CASANOVA, where she played Faye Dunaway's niece and was credited with the "Gilda Germano" alias.


It's no wonder Moore never caught on considering she acted under at least three different names in her four-year career, but she's a bold and uninhibited presence throughout ELEVEN DAYS, ELEVEN NIGHTS (some of her nudity is quite graphic), and while she's dubbed, she displays a remarkable confidence for an inexperienced actress who was only 20 years old at the time (and perhaps too young to be playing a worldly writer just about to wrap up a memoir of 100 conquests). Elsewhere in the cast, Sellers is American, though she's spent her entire career in the Italian film industry and was a member of the Filmirage stock company for several years, also appearing in Michele Soavi's debut STAGEFRIGHT, Umberto Lenzi's GHOSTHOUSE, and Fabrizio Laurenti's THE CRAWLERS (aka CONTAMINATION .7). McDonald's career ended faster than Moore's--this was his second acting credit (after a bit part in Empire's shot-in-Italy ZONE TROOPERS), and he was out of movies after his third, Aldo Lado's 1988 actioner SAHARA HEAT. ELEVEN DAYS, ELEVEN NIGHTS isn't, by the standard definition, a good movie. But it's never dull (for obvious reasons), it's an essential title from an era of sexploitation that's somewhat fallen off the radar, and Jessica Moore is a stunning beauty who deserves her rightful place alongside Sylvia Kristel and Laura Gemser in the Softcore Eurotrash Hall of Fame. The Blu-ray release of ELEVEN DAYS, ELEVEN NIGHTS takes one back to a time in their formative junior high years before the age of the internet and streaming, when one would sneak downstairs in the middle of the night if one of these trashy imports was on, the wailing sax always the telltale indication that one of "the good parts" was coming up and you had to make sure the volume was low enough so as not to wake up the rest of the house. Hypothetically, of course.




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