Description: “Though today he is revered for his graphic horror films, writer-director Lucio Fulci got his start in comedy. With this in mind, The Eroticist makes perfect sense — it continues the delirious stylistic inventiveness of ‘Perversion Story’ and ‘A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin’, yet its bawdy humor fits in perfectly with his origins in the cinema. The nonsensical English title implies that the film is a cash-in on William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, yet the film — originally titled The Senator Likes Women! — dates from a year before the American blockbuster. Make no mistake about it: this is as far removed as imaginable for the horror genre, at least in terms of content, although the sharp satirical barbs at the Catholic Church and Italian politics fits in comfortably with many of his better known works.
Comedic performer Lando Buzzanca is ideal in the lead, conceived as a satire of the prominent Italian politician Colombo — great effort was made to make the actor resemble the real life politician, and while the gag will inevitably be lost on American audiences, one can’t help but admire Fulci for his fearless tenacity, a quality that inevitably landed the film, and its co-writer/director, in a great deal of hot water. Fulci doesn’t stop at lampooning conservative politics, however; he has plenty of venom for the Catholic Church, too. As embodied by loudmouth American actor Lionel Stander (Cul De Sac), the Church represents a fount of misogyny and greed for power. The Stander character instills these ethics into the painfully repressed Buzzanca character, and as he begins to question these beliefs and enjoy himself the Church finds itself in a compromised situation that may result in his being “canonized” (i.e., killed and embalmed in wax!) and made into a Saint. The broad political/religious satire may not seem unduly daring today, but it was very strong stuff for its period and much of the humor continues to play well.
As mentioned above, the film’s satirical elements go hand in hand with the deliberately stylized approach. Beginning with Perversion Story in 1968, Fulci’s films began to be more and more experimental — the surreal, Daliesque dream sequences of A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, for example, find their way into this film’s aesthetic. Buzzanca’s mental “blackouts” allow Fulci to play with this technique, as in the scene in which the character imagines an ancient piece of statuary coming to life, as he envisions a soldier astride a beautiful naked woman, or the scene in which he imagines the French ambassador’s wife completely naked save for silver dollars over her nipples and a wad of cash covering her genitals. Though the film arguably loses some steam and some of its sting in the final act, The Eroticist still stands as one of Fulci’s most accomplished and entertaining works.” – eccentric-cinema.com