The film starts with main protagonist Larry O'Hara (George Eastman [aka Luigi Montefiore] - ABSURD; ANTHROPOPAGHUS THE BEAST) grinning into the camera, peering through the wire mesh fence of an asylum courtyard.

It's a brief scene that ends typically in a spot of energetic sex, and serves no real purpose other than to give us something mildly diverting to watch over the opening credits (the onscreen title is SEXY NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD).

The action then starts proper as we're propelled back in time to the beginning of an adventure that will eventually turn Larry bonkers.

Larry is a gambling, womanising sailor who hires his yachting services to wealthy businessmen for weekend excursions in Mediterranean seas. Our first experience of his 'services' are when we see his rich client enjoying a spot of fishing, oblivious to the fact that the unscrupulous Larry is touching his beautiful girlfriend up, mere feet away.

Meanwhile John Wilson (Mark Shannon [Manlio Cersosimo] - THE PLEASURE SHOP ON 7TH AVENUE) works for a property development company that has just acquired planning rights to build a tourist resort on a tropical island. Wilson plans to go out and visit the island to get a better idea of where to erect his company's hotels but not before he samples the nearby mainland's prostitutes.

Booking into a high-class brothel, Wilson has his way with two prostitutes whose company he presumably enjoys, as he invites them to join him on his journey to his newly acquired island. Upon learning that the destination is the dreaded Cat Island however, the two whores leave in such a rush that they don't even pick up their fee.

Luckily for Wilson, the prostitute in the next apartment, Fiona (Dirce Funari - ABSURD; PORNO HOLOCAUST) is up for the journey - not to mention a healthy amount of fucking too, if the price is right.

Meanwhile after bringing his boat into the mainland harbour, Larry brains a zombie that appears in the shallow waters. When the authorities arrive, they insist Larry is mistaken about having murdered someone, because this corpse has been dead for weeks.

However, back at the morgue the coroner is about to get a very nasty surprise while inspecting said corpse !

Predictably, but not before lots of ambling scenes of sexual escapades, Wilson hires Larry to take him and Fiona out to Cat Island. Being the mercenary that he is, Larry accepts the well-paying job, despite warning the snooty pair that the locals claim the island to be cursed by zombies.

Once on the island, Larry & co meet Luna (Laura Gemser - EMANUELLE IN AMERICA), a native girl who has predicted their arrival thanks to her psychic abilities. Luna, and an old blind man with the nastiest lump on his forehead, warns the visitors that they must leave the island and save their souls before it is too late. We learn that the island's population was wiped out by an earthquake, that was followed shortly afterwards by an epidemic.

Instead, our intrepid explorers sunbathe, take photos, have sex and ignore ever bad omen that comes their way (how many times does a black cat have to walk past you hissing like a demon? Just get the fuck out of there!).

A few minor incidents later (and a few sex scenes later, obviously) and Larry decides that perhaps the trio should make waves after all. Nice idea Larry, but now the boat's engine won't start and here come the zombies, rising rather stylishly from their sandy graves!

EROTIC NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD was up until this release one of Joe D'Amato's more obscure titles, certainly in it's uncut XXX-rated form. Much had been discussed about the film, but few had actually seen it in it's entirety.

Having just sat through the full uncensored 112 minute version, I will say that in less than two hours D'Amato fits in explicit vaginal penetration, a graphic blowjob, an onscreen cumshot, a woman coaxing a cork out of the neck of a champagne bottle using only her pussy lips, copious full-frontal nudity, numerous gun-blasts to zombie heads, neck-biting, cannibalism, decapitation ...

What's truly remarkable is that he still fits enough flab into the film so as to render it really slow and boring!

Honestly, the pace is almost non-existent in the first hour. It could be argued that the alternative Shriek Show release - the R rated version, minus the hardcore sex scenes - is a better film as I imagine it must be a good 10 minutes shorter. Whatever, all I know is that this uncensored version was heavy-going for the large part and that the numerous sex scenes (only a couple of which are hardcore) were not only irrelevant to the plot but totally devoid of any eroticism.

And, for a zombie film, it seemed a shame to almost exclusively confine the presence of the living dead until the final 30 minutes of the film. For the record, the zombies are reminiscent of early Fulci, and the attack scenes in the latter stages of this film are pretty good.

The picture quality is very nice: for such a hard-to-find film, I expected something pretty ropey. But EROTIC looks great - sharp, no grain, looking only a little washed out in the colour department. Framing is 1.85:1 anamorphic and appears to be correct. Very impressive.

It's nice to see Shriek Show have located a full English language soundtrack for the uncut version of the film. Very competent it sounds too, no problems to report. It's dubbed (of course) - and very badly so!!

The extras are hardly comprehensive, but nevertheless certainly not to be sniffed at.

A 3 minute trailer focuses on many of the hardcore sex and gore scenes, with wild changes in the (terrible) score that is so badly edited it's quite amusing. Good picture quality here, surprisingly enough.

There's a few trailers for other Shriek Show titles too - ZOMBI 2; SLAUGHTER HOTEL; NIGHTMARES COME AT NIGHT; EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS.

SUNNY AFTERNOONS OF THE LIVING DEAD is 23 minutes worth of footage from various scenes in the film, that were originally filmed in daylight but later treated to appear (in the final cut) to have been shot at dusk. The footage mainly consists of zombies rising from the ground and walking slowly across the beach - to be honest, it looks more eerie in the daylight!!

If you keep watching at the end of the SUNNY AFTERNOONS feature, you also get treated to the opening and closing asylum scenes, without the onscreen credits to impede your view

A poster and stills gallery rounds off the extras in fine style. Although it can't be navigated via your remote control handset, it is an entertaining proposition. The first 90 seconds is devoted to the film itself - then we get 3 minutes of pictures of Gemser in the buff. This is more extensive than the collection Blue Underground mustered for their EMANUELLE IN AMERICA release, and better presented.

The disc is Region 1 NTSC encoded, Dual Layer, unrated. It comes in a black keepcase packaging. The menu pages are static but colourful, and the main feature can be accessed via 18 chapters.

Probably the only time I'd recommend an R-rated film over the unrated alternative! But, hey, if you really want to delay the arrival of the undead just so you can watch close-ups of a Tom Selleck look-alike's genital warts for 5 minutes, that's your call!

Full credit to Shriek Show though for locating, restoring and remastering this sought-after curiosity. And it does look mighty fine

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Shriek Show
Region All NTSC
Not Rated
Extras : see main review