30 November, 2007

KARIN SCHUBERT: IL PAVONE NERO

You all probably have seen at least one film with the German actress Karin Schubert, whose prolific career ranged from Sergio Corbucci's COMPANEROS (1970) to European soft core, XXX porno and beyond, way beyond. There's reportedly one or two where she does things with.... Well, we won't go there.

Appearing in over 60 films from the mid 1960's to the 1990's she seems to have since dropped off the map. She is something of a legend of Eurotrash nonetheless: the slim, blonde cult movie siren, kind of like a white version of Laura Gemser, with whom she appeared in the Black Emanuelle template, Bitto Albertini's EMANUELLE NERA (1975). But she doesn't have Gemser's special magic, at least not in the films I've seen her in, which isn't many. She may also be remembered for short, sleazy bits in lower tier gialli such as THE COLD EYES OF FEAR (1971) and THE GIRL IN ROOM 2A (1974), or opposite Richard Burton in BLUEBEARD (1972), one of her few projects which enjoyed some US mainstream theatrical distribution.

One of her most obscure films is the 1974 Italian production IL PAVONE NERO, directed by Osvaldo Civriani (OPERAZIONE POKER), a competent genre journeyman of the 1960s and 70s. This has never had any legitimate home video R1 presentation on any format and don't expect a deluxe DVD presentation any time soon.

This strictly soft core effort combines sexy Caribbean voodoo rituals, mild horror elements, interracial sex, dream sequences and some nudity. Ms. Schubert plays Laura, the upper class wife of an Italian engineer (BAY OF BLOOD's Chris Avram) who is charmed by a voodoo priest when they visit Santo Domingo. As her husband draws up plans for a local construction project she discovers Voodoo dolls in odd places, runs off into the jungle at night to visit fevered rituals presided over by the master, played by singer, composer, actor Don Powell (BLACK EMANUELLE 2). In one delirious scene Schubert, who has Big Hair and isn't afraid to suddenly strip for the nearest male, discovers the white person in every black when a local dancer tears off her own skin and reveals Karin Schubert as the woman hidden within her flesh! Another scene contains a memorable shot of Powell carrying our scuba diving heroine in his arms on the ocean floor. Husband Chris finds out about all this obsessive-compulsive behavior and locks Laura up but the witch doctor gets her anyway, tying her to a sacrificial post for the ultimate sacrifice...

Laura is saved at the last minute by the local police but Chris still has problems with her back home until he finds and burns the voodoo fetish, after which he discovers his wife has become tame as the family dog. Just the way he likes her!

It's all very sexist, racist and totally Politically Incorrect. With a catchy, throbbing, drums-in-the-tropics score by Powell (who doesn't sing here) and Lallo Gori. This somewhat anticipates the later Dominican Republic lensed sex/horror mixes of erotica, zombies, voodoo and gore from Joe D'Amato (cf VOODOO BABY; EROTIC NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD; PAPAYA: LOVE GODDESS OF THE CANNIBALS, coming on R1 DVD from Severin next year).

IL PAVONE NERO isn't great but registers as a compelling oddity which has some striking scenes and is kind of worth checking out, but it's available in N. America from grey market dealers in Italian language only. The video dub I have is letterboxed, watchable, but hardly HD.

We'll be looking at some other Karin Schubert adventures in future blogs.

(C) Robert Monell











9 comments:

Jeremy Richey said...

I really like those early films of Karin's and she is a real stunner in BLUEBEARD.
I've never seen any of her post seventies work (I think the picture with Gemser she made is my last experience with her) but I really enjoy seeing her in those early roles.
Thanks for the post, she isn't someone I see brought up too much.

Robert Monell said...

I also always enjoy watching her, Jeremy. She's a striking presence. I still have to catch up with BLUEBEARD which sounds like a camp classic. The cast alone makes it a must see.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Robert...Bluebeard is a lot of fun, just keep your tongue planted firmly in your cheek watching it. Outside of teh fantastic cast it has a killer Morricone score and a great over the top performance by Burton...I love it.
Keep up the great work...

Holger Haase said...

Thanks for the post. I remember in late 80s/ early 90s, one or two years after Schubert had stopped appearing in those German hardcore movies (where she allegedly stipulated that she would not be interested in eiter anal sex or full blown sex scenes with black performers) that there was one newspaper article in Germany describing how she was now reduced to being a stripper in one of those strip show booths in Hamburg. I have since repeatedly tried finding more details about where I read this, but can't come up with any sources. Bummer, should have kept that article.

Robert Monell said...

Jeremy: I'll try to locate BLUEBEARD, although it's probably OOP. Thanks.

Holger: Interesting report on her activities post hardcore. I had heard a number of different stories about her but not sure of their veracity. Rumors. Thanks.

Kaya Ö. said...

Her bio at bcult says she worked on erotic hotlines and twice tried to commit suicide.

Robert Monell said...

Thanks for that further information, Kaya. It seems she sunk to the bottom rungs of the sex industry later. She certainly lent some of her films an element of class.

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Yunus B. said...

Actually, there are two hardcore versions of this film. Chaleurs sexuelles is the French release with hardcore inserts and the original cut (also known as Voodoo Sexy Erotico) was released on video in early 1980s. Yes, it's an interesting point in Schubert's biography. Also check the hardcore version of Emanuella nera.