José Ramón Larraz – La Visita del vicio AKA The Coming of Sin (1977)

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“A perverse little number from the erratic but always interesting José Larraz (Vampyres), this rarely seen, low budget blend of exploitation and art is best known to fans of Euro sleaze under its more colourful theatrical release title, Violation of the Bitch. For its first DVD release, Pagan translated the original Spanish title, La visita del vicio (or more literally, Vice’s Arrival), as The Coming of Sin. Under any time, it’s a twisted, often mystifying daydream filled with erotica and surrealism. Beautiful amateur painter Lorna (Patricia Granada) passes her sunny days dabbling with a paintbrush and burying herself in the family library. Life changes dramatically with the arrival of Triana (Lydia Zuaso), a dark-haired girl from a gypsy clan who comes to stay indefinitely and sparks a gradual, torrid relationship with Lorna. However, Triana’s dreams are haunted by images of a naked man (Rafael Machado) on horseback, a premonition which comes true one day while she strolls through the woods surrounding a nearby lake. The mysterious man, who never seems to wear much, attempts to rape Triana, who runs home and tells Lorna about the weird naked guy living with his horse out in the wild near their house. Lorna goes to investigate while Triana’s fantasies continue, including one which finds her naked inside a giant horse about to be… uh, straddled, apparently. Soon the mystery man directly intrudes on their lives, beginning an unholy triangle of lust which culminates in a dark reversal of fortune.

Though undeniably rough around the edges, The Coming of Sin is a strangely compelling alternative to the usual plotless European sex films of the period. The non-actors were evidently hired more for their looks than their thespian skills, and they make for adequate pawns in Larraz’s little mind game. On the other hand, the awkward dubbing reliant on forced British accents makes for some nasty ear punishment. As with his other kinky countryside yarns like Vampyres and Symptoms, Larraz relies on soft focus photography and elegant camera movements to counterpoint the often extreme and bizarre activity onscreen, including some fairly graphic and fleshy sex scenes. An even stronger variant with hardcore inserts made the grindhouse rounds under the title of Sex Maniac and has turned up on the bootleg video circuit (as well as an Italian PAL VHS release as Sodomia), but this unofficial bastardization of Larraz’s film is best avoided. On the other hand, the international version under the Violation title, originally released in Holland and other European countries before hitting the video dupe market, was dramatically shorter than Larraz’s preferred cut, clocking in just at 70 minutes. This cut eliminates several crucial scenes in their entirety and alters the opening credits to play out over a later scene. The Pagan DVD represents the closest approximation of Larraz’s original intentions. The BBFC lists a deletion of 1 minute and 15 seconds to obtain an “18” certificate, a punishment given to Triana’s rape scene, which is still quite explicit but contains a strange jump in the audio, abruptly cutting off the music. Nothing from the other English language video editions is missing, and the added material is quite valuable. Image quality is quite good considering the softness of the source; the gauzy appearance reveals some compression problems, but the clarity of the image and nicely defined pastel colour schemes make up for it. The letterboxing also adds some much needed breathing room to Larraz’s claustrophobic close ups, which come off as oppressive and clumsy on earlier cropped video editions. The DVD also includes a photo gallery and a thirty minute interview with Larraz, apparently the complete unedited version of his discussion excerpted in his episode of the worthy Channel 4 series, Eurotika! Candid and often quite funny, he discusses his career at great length, and the disc offers chapter indexes to each film and subject.” – Mondo Digital



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