A Estranha Hospedaria dos Prazeres AKA The Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasures (1976)

director: Marcelo Motta
release-year: 1976
genres: horror, sexploitation
countries: Brazil
languages: Portuguese
fests: Sexploitation Horror Fest (2022)

Brazilian horror about the strange goings-on one night in a creepy hotel. Possibly counts as a sexploitation film, but the nudity is so abstract and weird that I think not. Version watched is a low-quality transfer with tons of film scratches and poor quality audio.

Opens with a 10-minute-long percussion dance scene featuring women in transparent fabric wobbling out a half-hearted synchronized dance number in a hallway that would look right at home in an amusement park funhouse. It has great visuals and a nice beat, so there's really no hurry for them to move on.

We get some hand-drawn lightning and flashes of some... I guess they're supposed to be some sort of mutants? They're wearing plastic masks that make them look like they belong in The Labyrinth.

A long-fingered vampirish guy arises from a coffin and blinks a hat onto his head, Bewitched style. He spews some philosophical nonsense about the darkness and gloom, and it's probably very important to the plot, but I honestly wasn't paying much attention. I can't tell if it's complete nonsense, or if these subtitles aren't perfect, but I'm thinking a little of both. It goes on for a lot longer than you would expect, but again we have nice visuals of galaxies swirling in space and whatever to keep us entertained.

Really nice opening credits; flashing between still shots of architectural scenes with the credits applied to them, and tinting each shot in a different prime color, 1920s style.

Some people are waiting outside a hotel to apply for a job. Our vampire comes out and spews more nonsense, and now I'm pretty sure it's just going to stay uncomfortably abstract for the rest of the film. Inside the hotel, every room is lit by only a red floodlight. Creepy vampire checks every guest in, asking for no ID, as he was already expecting them. And there's some back room with people playing poker.

Organ music, bells, and sci-fi synthesizer sounds warble in the background of most scenes. The audio is very... full. Loud music or shouting or howling wind or rain at all times. Absolutely terrible audio quality and plenty of abrupt cuts, but a great selection fitting to the mood.

All of the acting is rigid and unnatural. I don't know Portuguese, but I'm pretty darn sure that the line delivery is terrible, too.

A giant motorcycle gang / dance party combo shows up. "I was....... expecting.......... all..... of you," the host informs them ever so slowly. More and more people check in, all expected, and most get a crazy little philosophical nugget as well. "Emotions do not make sense." One couple gets turned away; they were clearly not expected.

The motorcycle dancers chant "everybody naked!" and all of the women dance topless. A couple in the next room is having sex, and the gamblers are losing all of their money. It flips wildly between scenes, with no notable change.

Suddenly it cuts to a smoke-filled room full of women in bikinis giving fruit to a guy sitting on the floor??

Someone shoots himself in the head. When he pulls the trigger, sparks fly in from off screen, and blood pours down the camera lens. Excellent cheap effects.

The scenes start jumping all over the place, and confirms what we expected from the moment we saw "horror movie" and "creepy host expecting everyone." It flitters around for a while, showing how each of the guests died, the only one of note being the woman that died while having a playful splashy bubble bath. One by one, all of the guests realize that time has stopped and something isn't right.

After the realization, we get tons of shots of insects and dying mice and zoom-ins on eyeballs and beating hearts and snakes, flashing around between various creepy scenes for quite a long time. Creepy scenery and dark, twisted environments is the one thing this film has nailed all the way through, so this is one of the best parts. Had they dropped the story entirely and just shot two hours of things like this and the dance scene at the beginning, this would be a perfect film.

One of the guests mutters about "the light" and wanders out of the hotel naked. Her name vanishes from the guest book and the host looks quite upset about that. But we get an absolutely wicked shot of the host while some sort of transparent film in front of the camera lens burns away slowly. For as badly as it's made, the filmmakers did have some great ideas.

In the last scene, one of the guests who was turned away the night before returns with the police to complain about the inn owner, and the cops say "but this is a cemetery!" And so it is. That should have been the last shot, but instead we get another couple of minutes of bad editing before it wraps for real.