What is Esotika?
Become a Contributor
Site Credits

Esotika Erotica Psychotica began as a film review blog by Mike Kitchell on January 2nd of 2007. He started to blog with the eventual goal of having a website that would serve as a sort of "platform" for people and information pertaining to the particular blend of film that he was fascinated by; namely, that which combined sex, horror, art, and experimentation. The necessity for the website was felt due to a discontent with the prevelance of genre film review sites that would often overlook or dismiss the so-called "pretentious" films, and "art film" review sites that would ignore the "low brow" genre films. Since he felt the most important films were the films that were brilliant combinations of the two, he decided that a remarkably nobrow approach was necessary. The necessity for a new website also grew out of the fact that many internet based review sites were primarily DVD review sites. He has a major appreciation for DVDs (obviously), but DVDs aren't relevent without the films that they hold.

Esotika Erotica Psychotica strives to focus more on the films themselves in it's writing--and not just with plot description either. These genre-busting hybrid films are often ripe with critically and culturally relevent topics that often get ignored, for reasons mentioned before, for either being too "lowbrow" or too "highbrow," but never balancing evenly on one side or the other. We also have a penchant for the obscure, neglected, undiscovered, as the films that fit into the adjectives described above, when being truly exemplary of sex, art, horror, AND experimentation, have yet to be discovered and praised.

The name is a slight permutation of the Italian title for Radley Metzger's Lickerish Quartet: Esotika Erotika Psicotika. The changing of the two latter k's to c's was a completely arbitrary decision to differentiate between the alternate title of the film and the title of the blog/website. As a more detailed explanation; we thought the words evoked an idea of the type of films that are discussed.

Esotika references "esoteric," meaning in this context, of course, obscure. As mentioned before, the films applauded on the Esotika site are often fairly obscure, or at least relatively unknown, films. Erotica clearly references the erotic and sexual content in many of the films discussed. Psychotica brings to mind the idea of a sort of "psychosis," which in film can relate to a very "free" or "experimental" method of narrative, imagery, or really anything. Those three signifiers together produce, at least, we would hope, the idea of what makes an Esotika film an Esotika film.

To expand on the idea of "what makes an Esotika film an Esotika film?" we'll draw on several examples. The first example of an "Esotika" film that got us thinking about our preferences in film was Harry Kümel's Daughters of Darkness. The plot of the film, on it's own, immediately places itself witin the context of what would ostensibly be called the horror "genre." Vampires, blood, and eternal life rarely find themselves in any other realm. But within this "horror" context there are many "art house" tropes, namely the studied cinematography, presence of a-list actors (namely, in this case, Delphine Seyrig), and a decidedly intellectual air. There is a very obviously play between what is classically considered "high brow" (the "art house" tropes) and "low brow" (the vampire plot), and the film, in the end, never pinpoints itself specifically on one side or the other

Another example would be the entire filmography of Alain Robbe-Grillet. Renowned as an intellectual, he also wrote one of the most quintessential art house films of the last century, Alain Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad. But his films all feature heavy doses of both the fantastique and eroticism, of which the presence of both is rarely found in a simple horror film.

So what makes an Esotika film an Esotika film? A refusal to submit to solely lowbrow or solely highbrow tendencies; a remarkable exploration of sex, art, and horror; a production location that is remarkably varied; and a willingness to experiment in order to achieve something decidedly avant-garde.

If you have any interest in becoming a regular or occasional contributor to ESOTIKA EROTICA PSYCHOTICA we would be more than willing to look at your submissions. We are currently looking for people to write more reviews and articles, and we are always looking for bi-lingual or multi-lingual translators. We are also looking for individuals who wish to contribute promotional art.

If you are a DVD Company, and you are looking for us to review an upcoming DVD release of yours we would be more than happy to if you believe that the film fits within the context of Esotika Erotica Psychotica. The criteria is fairly vague, so the best point of reference for "what makes a film fit the context of Esotika" would be the "WHAT IS ESOTIKA?" section above.

To become a contributor of any kind, please email Mike for more details.

Mike Kitchell
Creator, primary contributor, editor, and site designer.
Email him at mike @ esotikafilm . com

Eric Cotenas
Has contributed film reviews.
Roberto Curti
Has contributed an article on Alberto Cavallone.
Email him at rlyeh @ libero . it
Mike Ward
Has contributed reviews.
Frédérick Durand
Has contributed an article on Mario Mercier. Check out his film blog (in French) here.
Mandy Hoff
Has translated an article on Mario Mercier.

The Art and Popular Culture Wiki
Started by Jan Geerinck, this wiki serves as a "backbone" in regards to terminology and extra connections that may arise.

All images used on the site come from one of three sources; DVD screen caps (primary source), scans from books, or web searches. Images are assumed to be used under the Fair Use Law. I assume no rights over the images. If I am using an image that you own the rights to and you would prefer be taken down, please contact me.

If you have any questions, corrections, or comments, please email me at mike@esotikafilm.com.