DVD Review: Wakefield Poole’s Bible!

Published on February 7th, 2014 in: Art, Culture Shock, Current Faves, DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Movie Reviews, Movies, Retrovirus, Reviews, Teh Sex |

By Brad Henderson

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When we see the rating X or XXX, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Hardcore porn? Or a film that has so much sexual content that it isn’t fit for an R rating? Sometimes neither of these things can be the case. Back in the 1960s and ’70s films that had sexual content were rated X because in that day and age it was considered too much. Those films are nothing compared to what we have today between porn and R-rated films that are deemed “extreme.”

Vinegar Syndrome is probably a name that you aren’t familiar with yet, but take note because these guys are true fans of vintage/art cinema. I was fortunate enough to watch one of their reissues, an X-rated film from 1974 called Bible! directed by Wakefield Poole. Just looking at the synopsis or reading about it you might think it’s a hardcore porno or maybe a sexplotation film. I’m here to tell you that it’s neither.

Yes, there is full frontal nudity and there are depictions of people having sex but it’s more of an art film than a porno. Bible! is a re-telling of three Old Testament stories that are portrayed without dialogue and accompanied by classical music. Oh, and everyone is mostly naked. I will say this movie is something you would not expect to see. While watching Bible! I felt I was in some art house in France watching a play because that is exactly what it is. It isn’t a film to get people in long overcoats into the theater to play with themselves. This film was made by a man with a vision who wanted to show the world his version of these bible stories in this weird, beautiful, and intriguing way.

Just imagine if Kenneth Anger, Ken Russell, and Andy Warhol all lived under the same roof and decided to drop acid and make a film together. That is what I felt like after the credits started rolling on Bible! Just to clarify, even with the high amount of nudity in this film I wouldn’t consider it distasteful or anything like that. It isn’t something you might want to watch with the kids or your family, but as a film buff or a true lover of art, I highly recommend it.

The DVD has some interesting extras on it including an amazing interview with Poole from a public access show and a wonderful introduction where Poole explains his love for the project and what inspired him to do it. He explains how Bible! is his homage to Fantasia and that blew my brain out of my skull. They also have new interviews with two of the actresses from the film where they discuss on-set stories and how they got the roles. Their screen tests are also included.

Vinegar Syndrome obviously takes great pride in their releases and I’m very excited to see the rest of the films in their catalogue. I recommend Bible! to any true film lover. It flopped back in the day but it would be nice to see it receive more publicity and get noticed.

Wakefield Poole’s Bible! was released by Vinegar Syndrome on December 10, 2013.

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