“I don’t know if I’m fickle… or wicked! […] I love you, but I’m being consumed by this sexual fire inside... I need men! I need men! I NEED MEN!” --Laura (Isabel Sarli) in Fuego
We are all interested in bad movies, inexcusable cinema, worse-than-mediocre pictures, and miserable excuses for art, for that is the stuff we use to fill the empty spaces in our souls. You are interested in the unknown, the mysterious, and the unexplainable—that is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you the full story of some of the worst movies ever made. We are bringing you the grim evidence, based on the secret testimony of the miserable soul who survived a screening. I am that miserable soul. The absurdly low budgets, the cramped soundstages, the ridiculous plots, the inane dialogue, the risible acting—my friend, we cannot keep these a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Armando Bo is guilty. Let us reward the innocent. Remember, my friends: terrible movies such as these will affect you in the future!
Vixen! features a sexually insatiable female lead, who spends the film seeking satisfaction in all the wrong places. Fuego also features a sexually insatiable female lead, who spends the film seeking satisfaction in all the wrong places. Both films open with a bikini-clad protagonist emerging from a lake; in Vixen!, Meyer has Erica Gavin playing with a fish, kissing it, putting it into her mouth (insert “felate-o-fish” joke here) and slipping the scaly thing down her top in a most provocative manner. In Fuego, there are no fish. You know a movie has problems when you think “more fish-kissing” would be an improvement.
The Plot in Brief: Poor Laura (Isabel Sarli) cannot find sexual satisfaction, no matter how or with whom she tries. At one point, she is so overcome with lust that she rubs snow all over herself to cool down. That’s about it.
Like many of these “nudie cuties” from the late 1960s (although, to be fair, Fuego is more like a turgid soap opera or steamy “telenovella”) the plot consists of three basic scenes repeated until the minimum running time is met: Laura struts and preens, Laura has sexual relations, Laura feels bad and repents, repeat. Silly Laura!
Like many films of this ilk, Fuego features insane, quotable dialogue:
“I need to help you… with this infirmity.”
“Did I hear you right? An infirmity?”
“Yes, it’s an… infirmity.”
“It’s not an infirmity… it’s INSANITY.”
Listen to the theme song for yourself and tell me that you can get this *&^%$#@# tune out of your head:
The Something Weird Video disc also contains a second feature, The Female, which I was not able to watch, unfortunately, because Fuego so inflamed my loins that I was forced to take a lengthy roll in the snow. It also has a plethora of bonus features that make the disc almost worth buying: three separate trailers for Fuego, each with a different level of sleaze; trailers for seven other Argentine nudie cuties, including the irresistibly titled The Curious Dr. Humpp; two short subjects; and a gallery of exploitation art with a soundtrack of vintage radio spots used to advertise the films.
My friend, you have now read this column, based on my own sworn testimony. Can you prove that this film doesn’t exist? Perhaps on your way home, someone will pass you in the dark, and you will never know it, but it might have been Armando Bo, the producer, director, writer, composer, and star of Fuego. Many scientists believe that bad movies are being filmed at this very moment. We once laughed at fire, the wheel, gravity, the horseless carriage, the telephone, the electric light, and the airplane. So much laughter! And now some of us laugh at very bad movies. God help us in the future.