The Film (2/5)
I spent the summer pondering what was occurring with Redemption Film. They spent a lot of time discussing Kino Lorber's new Kino Cult streaming service, which it appears will be issuing it's back catalog into the digital landscape. Aside from that they seemed to disappear after their excellent slate of Robbe-Grillet releases, and their final 2 Pete Walker Blu-ray’s (also a release of the British Ghost story the Black Torment). It has been 3 months, but we are now seeing the first Redemption release in that time. A true exploitation oddity, released only to DVD Lawrence Ramport's The Last Step Down.
The Last Step Down involves a pair of women training a third friend of theirs in the art of prostitution, they also spend their nights participating in bizarre occult sexual rites. That is about all the story you get, the film tends to alternates between few locations and the whole setup seems to be a springboard for some badly executed softcore sex scenes. It is sort of akin to a more colorful Virgin Witch without any plot running through it.
Last Step Down is the debut, and only feature film from director Lawrence Ramport. The direction present isn't exactly smooth or stylish, but there are some nice lighting effects at play that offer a bit of an attempt at mood. Aside from that there isn't much to recommend with this particular film. The sex is tame, and not adequately directly, and the film is much too repetitive for it to be of solid interest.
The DVD is promoted as a double feature with a film by Russell Gay called Blood Lust. The film is from 1979, and is actually a one reel, 15 minute long sex short purported to be based on that second most adapted of vampire classics Carmilla. This film isn't any great shakes either, but it's short and more than a little bit bizarre and certainly worth the amount of time you spend with it.
Redemption have presented the films in 1:66:1 and 1:33:1 transfers respectively, the former is anamorphic. The films have nice color and detail present, but as these are low budget obscurities they have certain amounts of damage to the source material present. This is not overly prevalent, and is certainly not a distraction.
Just Blood Lust, but that's a nice little short film to accompany a totally obscure 40 year old feature, so that works for me.
I am a big advocate for the output of Redemption Films, they have spent the better part of the last 2 years releasing some amazing EuroCult oddities to DVD and Blu-ray including the works of Jess Franco, Jean Rollin, Pete Walker, and finally getting the films of Alain Robbe-Grillet onto a stateside physical digital format. This may be the one film that they've released thus far release I have not entirely gelled with. The short film Blood Lust was certainly interesting, but Last Step Down was not something I can entirely recommend. However, for fans of 70's sexploitation oddities you can and probably have done much worse.