The Hand of Pleasure

Dr. Dreadful’s electric crown of thorns turns ordinary women into “mankilling love robots”, they kill CIA agents in London by sucking them to death.

An American student named Joe, studying Chinese art at the British Museum, forgoes the West End one night (where Alan Badel is Kean, Robert Morley stars in How the Other Half Loves two doors away, and between them is Forget-Me-Not Lane) to take in a Soho stripper act that ends in a tub. An agent summoned away at gunpoint in all the excitement slips something into Joe’s pocket, he takes it to Scotland Yard.

Sent as a decoy to attract the gang, who call themselves The Hand of Pleasure, Joe seeks out a Piccadilly prostitute now upstairs giving French lessons, she’s a fellow American doing post-grad work in sex studies. The two strike up a camaraderie, and at a Chinese restaurant are given a fortune cookie inviting them to Dr. D’s Museum of Heinous Crimes.

Dreadful’s women, snarling like cats, set upon the girl, while Joe is manacled to a St. Andrew’s cross and receives the crown. It’s supposed to make him queer, but his resistance renders it inoperative, he breaks free, subdues Dr. Dreadful, boffs the cats into rehabilitation, and carries his mistress away.

The director as the masked doctor is a game actor. Conventions of the genre dictate nothing ithyphallic, the performances are excellent, the stripper’s tiny stage is emulated in Frankenheimer’s 52 Pick-Up.


Terror at Orgy Castle

The witch superstition has its supreme expression in the black mass, here the female participant after repeated humiliations is carried off by her lover weak from succubi, and she asks him to return for more.

That is the punchline, principally from Buñuel’s L’Age d’Or, also Belle de Jour.