Retro Porn Review – Sodom and Gomorrah: The Last Seven Days

July 5, 2015
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Retro Porn Review - Sodom and Gomorrah: The Last Seven Days

In the mid-70s, few people in the adult industry made as much money as Artie and Jim Mitchell. And although the Supreme Court was all over their business with censorship threats, and the mafia was milking a lot of their profits bootlegging their stuff, the incredible success of Behind the Green Door still made the Mitchell Brothers untouchable.

Just how untouchable? Well, enough to make their next production a hubris-filled biblical story that cost more than half a million dollars (estimates range from $500,000 to $700,000… 40 years ago!) to make — a ridiculously unprecedented figure for a feature porn film.

Sodom and Gomorrah: The Last Seven Days starts like any biblical epic would: With a classic sci-fi tone and ramblings about space, of course. Immediately after that, we see a message on screen that denounces the Supreme Court’s decision to seize Behind the Green Door as an obscene movie, followed by a judge-type-figure claiming, “these multiple acts of sexual perversion would have been considered as obscene by the community standards of Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Now, before you say anything, please consider the Mitchells were doing an enormous amount of drugs during that time, and it was actually inspired by a negative review they got — it’s rumored to be the speech that starts the whole thing. So with all their entitled cockiness, they pursued their classic biblical story.

Back on Earth, it’s the year 1980 B.C. Lot (played by Thom Glardon in a not-particularly-inspired non-sexual role; his only one ever), a humble farmer with a wife and two daughters, had managed to escape famine for quite a while. But living out in the open and trying to find fertile lands takes a toll on anyone in such a deserted area. Driven by better possibilities for his family’s survival, and against all advice he had been receiving from fellow God-fearing people, he agrees to become a merchant in the strange and sinful city of Sodom.

Sodom is ruled by King Bera (Sean Brancato, who oddly looks a lot like an uglier and hairier version of Andy Samberg). Bera, aware that overpopulation was a problem when resources were scarce, simply follows God’s plan (that would be Anu, the most powerful deity according to Sumerian mythology) of limiting that population’s number — which makes total sense. The way they controlled it, though, was a little more questionable.

There are no children in Sodom; mainly because vaginal intercourse is forbidden in the city and is punished by mass-raping the girl, covering the guy’s junk with honey and dipping that in a feast for ants, and later killing both of them. As you’d imagine, it was easier to stick to anal and oral sex after seeing that.

But sinners-gonna-sin, am I right? It says so in the bible (I think), and to prove that all this perversion can’t go unpunished, we go back into space where an advanced group of aliens judges the Sodom events. The alien spaceship is captained by a monkey, whose voice sounds like John Wayne and basically plays God in this world. (I did mention the drugs, guys, stay with me!) The monkey probably represents all the people fucking with the Mitchell Brothers at the time (the Supreme Court, the mob, conservative groups) and plays into an odd comedic tone that kind of waters down any serious statement they were going for.

Unlike their previous films, Marilyn Chambers is nowhere to be found in Sodom and Gomorrah: The Last Seven Days, and even before the standard long orgies, this was an ensemble piece all the way. Most actors are unknown — which is weird, considering they had a huge budget for it. But don’t worry, if you want to feel that usual Mitchell familiarity, good ol’ Johnnie Keyes steps up again as the important black man who’s only there for the sex party — because, seriously, fuck the rest. You gotta do you, Johnnie!

Look, this is a weird movie, and not just because a giant hairy man blows himself, or space creatures alternate seamlessly with the Book of Genesis in a way that would even have Tom Cruise say, “well, that’s just a little much.” It’s a weird movie because — aside from what I’m sure was an impressive cocaine catering service — you get no real sense where this budget went to, and that’s the biggest criticism it deserves.

The editing, which supposedly took nine months (!), is pretty damn horrible and choppy. One of Lot’s daughters is played by two different girls, because the original left mid-production and they apparently decided it didn’t matter that much (it’s very confusing, but the second one is hotter, so we sort of live with it). The sets are nothing special, and neither is the acting. Having said that, both of those things are still better than a lot of the porn of the time. The costumes look fine, and you get the feeling this was a real production, for the most part.

It was shot in 35mm, which definitely helps to give it some legitimacy. It also counts with legendary guitarist Mike Bloomfield as the musical director and co-writer (with fellow Chicago bluesman and Dylan musician Barry Goldberg) of a very solid original soundtrack, recorded by a live band that featured both of them. Without a doubt, one of the standout things about the film.

This movie could stand on its own without any sex scenes and just be considered a weird piece of 70s underground cinema. And if you didn’t know who these people were, or the budget they had, it would fly under the radar nicely with a strong cult following. The problem is we do know, and when you factor that in, it still comes off a little underwhelming.

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