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“Poern” (2015) is a bold undertaking combining literary inspiration with eroticism, but its focus is much more on skin than substance.

Bored at the end of the night, a woman decides to read a series of erotic short stories based on the work of author Edgar Allan Hoe, letting the depravity found in the stories eventually overwhelm her.

From the directing talents of Domiziano Cristopharo, Alessandro Basso, Alessandro Redaelli, Andrea Aste, and Yumiko Itou comes this exploitation anthology out of Italy — distributed on Blu-ray by DarkStar Films.

Stories include a man being tormented by the spirit of a murdered cat, a prisoner trapped with a deranged inmate, and a demon seduced by a cursed woman.

The “wrap-around” showcases a robe-clad female (international adult actress Roberta Gemma) becoming increasingly flustered and exposed due to each tome she reads in a volume of collected works penned by the rechristened “Edgar Allan Hoe”.

The go-between lacks plot and is more of a unifier between tawdry segments of the anthology. These intrusions add nothing to the film, and the unnamed woman quickly grows tiresome. 

Spectators are given four nonverbal shorts exhibiting a range of ambition. Action and atmosphere move things along. Familiarity with the source material is a plus but not necessarily a must as some of these short-form features exorcise artistic license in an avant-garde manner. 

This 2015 feature also enjoys a celebrated segment directed by Domiziano Cristopharo for his work on the segment “William Wilson”.

The award was given to Domiziano Cristopharo (Vore Gore, eROTik) on behalf of the 2018 International Shorts Film Festival in Melbourne, Australia, in the best adult/erotic film category. It is undeniably the jewel of this compendium. With a runtime of twenty-three minutes and thirty-seven seconds, it is also the most lengthy endeavor in the film. 

Despite the accolade, the shorts contained within this anthology are mostly a miss.

The spark which captures interest and imagination is null and void, not benefiting from the visual approach, which should have been the main draw. One would hope for the sex-positive approach to compliment the original text but contain more sinister notes. Unfortunately, there is too much focus on the flesh and not enough plot.

Sadly, the lack of development makes the film feel longer and more tedious than it should. 

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 2
Poe and exploitation horror enthusiasts can purchase the film here

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