A TRIBUTE TO SIRPA LANE

Special to PollyStaffle.com

Sirpa Lane, so beautiful an actress. This Finnish actress died of AIDS in 1999, which means it is likely that very beauty and sexual ferocity she displays on stage was her annihilation. She was a beautiful woman, but she was actually a fine actress. I would say she just ended up in this curious ghetto of cinema of very odd erotic material, not merely erotica, but erotica overlapping with horror involving rape, horses, cannibalism, space aliens, and in one film Nazis. She was in films from the 70s until the very early 80s. That’s the curious iconography of Sirpa Lane for you, a Finnish beauty in a number of Euro-sleaze films. Finland is a European nation with unusually lenient gun laws and home of my favorite band - at least my favorite in terms of music made within the last ten years - Circle from Pori, Finland. Add on to that the tragic beauty of Sirpa Lane and I might have to get a plane ticket to Helsinki someday.

Without knowing anything about her, I had reviewed another film she was in The Beast, a bizarre erotica/horror film that has footage of horses having sexual intercourse and in which Sirpa Lane gets raped by a monster and likes it. She was also in an unofficial Italian sequel, The Beast in Space, which also has real footage of horses having sexual intercourse and she gets raped by a monster and likes it again.

In college at Eugene Lang in New York I took a creative writing course from the author Robert Dunn (Pink Cadillac) in which he had one rule: no stories about sex with aliens. The Beast in Space goes there and I have the triple X version from Severin Films that was lost for years. It has a lot of the same sexual weirdness of the original Beast with women masturbating to horses copulating, but is set in the future with space explorers on an unknown planet looking for some kind of metal. It turns into hardcore pornography towards the end. It honestly doesn’t turn me on; its pretty gross actually. The alien that rapes Sirpa Lane has sort of a pawn thing going on, he’s more of a satyr then anything else. Actually, it almost reminds me a little bit of a fusion between the original Beast and that horrible Zardoz film.

The Beast in Space - all things that where genuinely repulsive about the original film the Beast are here- rape by inhuman beings were the victim likes it, real footage of horses copulating - but the Beast in Space makes it even a little more repulsive by throwing in light sabers and killer robots. It thus has also an element of technological fetishism, it is not merely the bestial, but also machines and robots that play into the libido at work.

There is a surprising amount of sci-fi themed pornography (Femalien, Emmanuelle in Space) out there, but a science fiction sequel to the Beast that compiles what must be a completely unique juxtaposition of fetishes. At the end of the Beast in Space, it is unclear if the beast is actually the evil computer that runs the planet, so it’s not just rape by an animal man that the victim enjoys, its also rape by a machine. Bestiality fetishism is also a mechanistic fetish? I don’t get it. But what I find really distinct and special about this film, more then any of the very strange and really gross sex or anything like that, is the soundtrack. A beautiful score of analog electronic incidental music that feels a little like the music in A Clockwork Orange is heard throughout the film. I don’t know of the music from this film being released anywhere else, but it would make great listening at a diner party or something if no one had any idea what it was from.

Then of course, there is Sirpa Lane. Poor woman, in her own way she was extremely talented. But her tragic end is not out of keeping with other artistic greats who died young, went mad, or ended up in prison. It is only that she has kind of fallen into relative obscurity, not even being graced with her own Wikipedia entry, I was surprised to learn. Alas, I have tried to resurrect some interest in her here, if at all possible.

Papaya, Love Goddess of the Cannibals, also currently available from Severin Films, once again shows Sirpa Lane in sexual situations beyond all description of weirdness. The opening scene has a woman castrate a man with her teeth. It was directed Joe D’Amato, who made a bunch of soft-core pornographic and horror films. This film is a fusion of soft-core pornography, hardcore violence and disco. The disco tries to sound Caribbean, but more so it really is just a disco soundtrack. There’s even the infamous disco cannibal orgy sequence.

This film only makes remote sense. The storyline deals with a journalist played by Sirpa Lane and her geologist boyfriend getting mixed up with some strange locals on a Caribbean island somewhere. A group of locals are trying to prevent the nuclear power plant that the white geologists and engineers are building. They have a woman named Papaya that seduces and controls people for the cause of the locals against nuclear power on the island. There are some lesbian sequences with Sirpa Lane and the Papaya character. It is worth watching for Sirpa Lane.

That uncut disco cannibal orgy scene is something to behold. It starts with the gutting of pigs that were mostly real pigs from the looks of it. They sacrifice a man, orgy sequence continues - the human sacrifice is never made anything off in the film, and it ends with people taking off Sirpa Lane’s clothes. The 70s soft core disco soundtrack never stops even when they kill people. This is one island where people like to get down! You have no clue the limits of what can be done with the wah-wah guitar effects of 70s disco funk and pornography soundtracks until you’ve watched a little Papaya, Love Goddess of the Cannibals. It drives the local primitives to unspeakable acts.

Poor Sirpa Lane. Sad story.


- William Wheaton, July 2010

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