Oasis of Fear (3 stars)

Oasis of Fear

(18) 90min

(Shamelss DVD retail)


Umberto Lenzi’s 1971 cult thriller presents a hippy couple (Ray Lovelock and Ornella Muti) who are apparently amoral and beyond any of the usual social constraints, but being outmanoeuvred on the anti-social behaviour front by an ostensibly straight-laced bourgeois Italian housewife (Irene Papas). Their freewheeling jaunt through Italy, financed by selling pornographic images of Muti’s winsome Aquarian chick is brought to an abrupt halt by Papas’ scheme to frame them after she murders her husband.

Restored to most of its original English dubbing, with a couple of extra scenes, Lenzi does just enough to keep the interest throughout, but leaves one feeling mystified. Still, there’s some subtle social satire on the way, with the trendy alternative couple being demonstrated as just as materialistic as the murderess who hosts them to a night of excess with Machiavellian plots under her hospitality. There’s a mildly amusing text commentary as an extra, but little else.

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