Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Sadist (USA, 1963)


"School's out, teacher!"
Charles A. 'Charlie' Tibbs (Arch Hall Jr.)

 
Wow. What a fucking great movie...
The set-up is hardly original or uncommon: the car of a group of people — in this case three teachers on their way to a Dodgers game in Los Angeles — develops engine trouble so they pull into a rural, independent gas station with a car graveyard. Odd thing is, though there is still warm food on the table in the kitchen of the house, no one is there — until a psychotic young man appears, with his silent Baby-Doll-like girl in tow, brandishing a gun....
In all truth, we here at A Wasted Life had often both heard of this low-budget B&W thriller, aka Sweet Baby Charlie and Profile of Terror, usually in relation to the facts that it is the first known movie to be inspired by the Starkweather-Fugate killings and, supposedly, the only good movie that the legendary Arch Hall Jr ever made. In regard to the latter, this happens to be the only Arch Hall Jr movie we've seen to date, so we have nothing to compare it to, but The Sadist is definitely a ten and Arch Hall Jr's turn as the Starkweather figure ain't too shabby either.
For the uninformed, the Starkweather-Fugate murders were a two-month (December 1957 & January 1958), ten-body murder spree in Nebraska and Wyoming conducted by the James Dean wanna-be Charles Starkweather (24 Nov 1938 — 25 June 1959) and his 14-year squeeze Caril Ann Fugate (that's them above). The entire sordid tale has since inspired many a film aside from The Sadist, the most famous of which are probably Terrance Malick's feature-film debut Badlands (1973 / trailer) and Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers (1994 / trailer).* In The Sadist, among other things the names and locations and ages are changed (the age of the killerette inspired by Fugate, for example, is changed from 14 to a more socially acceptable 18), but the source nevertheless remains glaringly obvious.
In turn, also for the uninformed, some info about the legendary Arch Hall Jr., who left the film business in 1965 to become a pilot and is now enjoying his retirement doing fun stuff (see his website here). He is, as the name indicates, the son of Arch Hall Sr., a true personality and former Hollywood stuntman who enjoyed an active if mostly lackluster career in the movie industry that spanned from before his first un-credited onscreen role in the serial Dick Tracy Returns (1938 / chapter 1) to its gloriously inglorious end with his screenplay for the Ted V. Mikels' film The Corpse Grinders (1972 / trailer). (The Jack-Webb-directed war comedy The Last Time I Saw Archie [1961 / theme], by the way, is based on his war-time experiences.) Hall Senior founded the no-budget movie studio Fairway Productions,** allegedly with the goal of making his son Arch Hall Jr a bankable star and musician, a goal that allegedly faltered not just due to the low quality of the Fairway productions but also to Hall Jr's own desire to become a pilot. Many of their limited number of projects have become classics of craptastic cinema, and while Arch Hall Jr never did become a bankable star, he and his films have definitely long become an object of cult popularity.
Still, Hall Jr was never seen as a particularly effective actor, in part, perhaps, to quote Ray Dennis Steckler from ReSearch #10: Incredibly Strange Films (1986), because Hall Jr was "a nice kid and a good singer, but he didn't seem to have his heart in it; never seemed to really care." It would seem, however, that in The Sadist he did care, for in the film he offers an unrelenting and effective performance so consistent and ruthless that it is 100% believable. In truth, almost all the performances in The Sadist are excellent, but Hall Jr, whose interpretation of the giggling psycho Charles A. 'Charlie' Tibbs owes a lot to Richard Widmark's giggling psycho in Kiss of Death (1944 / trailer), is such an overriding presence that the other actors almost fade into the background.
"Almost", however, is the word here: Marilyn Manning (of What's Up Front! [1964 / scene] and Eegah [1962 / full movie]) is also highly memorable as the mostly silent and equally sadistic and simple-minded white-trash nubile Judy Bradshaw, and it is hard to forget the realism of the doomed family-man teacher Carl Oliver*** as portrayed by Don Russell (the director of the nudie cutie Tales of a Salesman [1965 / trailer]). The powerless manly-man teacher Ed Stiles (Richard Alden of The Pit [1981 / trailer]) manages well enough, the desperation on his face literally tangible at times, but like that of the fresh-faced, helpless and almost sexy Doris Page (Helen Hovey, Arch Hall Jr's cousin in real life), his performance is occasionally overshadowed by the others.
For all that we had heard about The Sadist in the past, we were lucky enough to have never heard a full plot description, so we went into this movie without really knowing where the story would go or even whether it was half-way competently shot. What we were confronted with proved to be an eye-opener: The Sadist, filmed in a searing and hard B&W, is a tightly scripted and absolutely suspenseful 92-minute emotional downer told in real time. And just as tight and solid as the script is the great cinematography of the movie: scenes are blocked and framed and shot with a cinematic eye that both belies the movie's low budget roots and also reveals some knowledge of past films — more than one shot, for example, indicates an intentional homage or visual reference to Sergei Eisenstein.**** The script is also in no way flabby, spending just enough time to set up the situation and introduce the teachers before taking them (and the viewer) through a realistic, brutal and sucker-punching nightmare.
 
Shot on a budget of $33,000 dollars over a period of two weeks, The Sadist is one of those films that really has to be seen to be believed. An almost upsetting movie, it remains persistently depressing and unforgiving until the end, and by the time the unexpected resolution plays out, a total of eight bodies litter the rural landscape. And while clearly an exploitation film aimed at drive-ins and threadbare cinemas, The Sadist evidences such visual and narrative power that it transcends its own roots: when it comes to no-budget crime films, this nail-biter of a movie is easily of the same caliber of such well-known — not to mention acknowledged and respected — hard-hitting gut-crunchers like Edgar G. Ulmer's now somewhat creaky masterpiece from 1945, Detour (full film), and one-film-wonder Leonard Kastle's unflinching slow-burner, The Honeymoon Killers (1969 / trailer). The Sadist, like Night of the Living Dead (1968), is one of those films in which the ostensibly meager sum of the parts adds up to produce an unexpected masterpiece — but unlike any of the three other films just named, The Sadist still lingers in relative and totally unjust obscurity.
Help change that: watch The Sadist now, and then tell all your friends about it...

* Other related films include the 1993 US TV movie Murder in the Heartland and the 2004 "true story" Starkweather (trailer), written by Stephan Johnson, the scriptwriter of Ed Gein (2000). The "murderous white trash lovers" aspect, in turn, can be found in movies as diverse as the excellent and under-appreciated early Brad Pitt movie Kalifornia (1993 / trailer) — made at a time when David Duchovny was the bigger name — as well as the entertaining Peter Jackson black/action comedy The Frighteners (1996 / trailer).
** We haven't been able to find a definitive list of all films that came from the house of Fairway Productions, but the firm produced a number of fun films. Their first film seems to have been the nudie-cutie Magic Spectacles (1961, dir. Bob Wehling), which Arch Hall Jr. supposedly scripted. Aside from The Sadist, the titles featuring Hall Jr as an actor are The Choppers (1961 / full movie), Eegah (1962), Wild Guitar (1962 / full movie  / trailer), The Nasty Rabbit (1964 / full movie) and Deadwood '76 (1965 / full movie). Known productions without Hall Jr are Tell It Like It Is aka The Weird Ones (1971), Ray Dennis Steckler's The Thrill Killers (1964 / trailer) and What's Up Front! (1964).
*** The convincing look of fear in his eyes and those of fellow teacher Doris Page when Charlie shoots the car window above their head is probably not acted: there were no special effects used here, only real bullets going through the window a foot or two above their heads.
**** In this regard, we would tend to say that the "director of photography" Vilmos Zsigmond — working here under the pseudonym "William Zsigmond" — should get the accolades: he went on to a long and successful career spanning from films like this and Satan's Sadists (1969 / trailer) to respectable projects like The Deer Hunter (1978 / trailer), The Witches of Eastwick (1987 / trailer), Maverick (1994 / trailer) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977 / trailer), the last for which he won an Oscar. In turn, director John Landis (10 June 1926 — 17 Dec 1991), who also wrote the script for The Sadist, forever remained in the netherworld of no-budget filmmaking from his first films (Stakeout! and Airborne [full film], both released in 1962) to his last known and uncredited directorial turn, the under-known hixploitation roughie Jennie: Wife/Child aka Tender Grass (1968 / credits).

Full film:

Monday, December 23, 2013

R.I.P.: Harry Reems, Part VI (1985)


Harry Reems
August 27, 1947 — March 19, 2013

On 19 March 2013, Herbert Streicher — better known under his later name Harry Reems — went to the great porn shoot in the sky. The following is the sixth installment of a career review of the many films splattered across his career. By the 80s, he was on the alcoholic and drug-induced skids, and, as he once said, "By 1985 nobody would hire me any more. That's when the real alcoholism kicked in. I was drinking 24 hours a day and the seizures started." The films that follow were all released after he and his special talent had become unreliable...
Go here for Part I
Go here for Part II (1969–72)
Go here for Part III (1973–74)
Go here for Part IV (1975–79)
Go here for Part V (1980–84)



WPINK-TV
(1985, dir. Myles "Miles" Kidder)
This direct-to-video masturbatory aid is distinguished by some of the most famous sausages of the Golden Age, those of John Holmes, a-just-starting-to-bloat Ron Jeremy, Harry Reems and Marc Wallace, the reported "Patient Zero" of the AIDS wave to hit the heterosexual porn biz just before the turn of the century. The real drawing card here, however, is the legendary (and, at 19 years of age, young) Christy Canyon (born Melissa Kaye Bardizbanian) — though, like all babes of the time, she suffers a nasty case of Big Hair in this film. 
Some of the scenes of co-babe Ali Moore (born Erin Marie Scott) were later cut out when it was discovered Moore had entered the biz underage, but oddly enough her pre-legal films haven't been as heavily pursued as those of Traci Lords, thus many of them (like this one) still feature her exchanging body fluids. You'll notice on the video cover above, however, under-the-table Ali's face has been replaced with that of Christy, who as a result appears twice in the photo (an earlier VHS release features the same photo not Photoshopped).
Over at the adult film database, they explain the movie: "TV cameraman Phil (Ron Jeremy) turns up with a brazen plan for a 'sex-rated' past-prime-time program after watching girlfriend Cathy (Christy Canyon) turning on for his private video viewing pleasure. Phil and his crew start the ball rolling with some pulse-stopping aerobics that unbeknownst to the group have been picked up by satellite and beamed around-the-world; launching an investigation led by super-agent Scorpio (Harry Reems). Disguised as a maintenance engineer, Harry is nevertheless quickly spotted as Cathy can't help but notice his gear. Cast and crew continue to make air-waves with special guest star, John Holmes, who holds his own against a panel of experts on 'Beat The Cock'. Behind the scenes, Bambi lends the director a helping hand and Harry convinces Cathy he is ready, willing and more than able to handle his share of the load. Meanwhile a network of foreign and domestic audiences are now desperately trying to horn in on Scorpio's undercover operation. Finally, the lights are dimmed, the cameras stilled and the action slowly grinds to a halt as Cathy and Scorpio take to the darkened center stage for some instant re-play-by-play until, flushed with success, the entire ensemble joins in. Forgotten in the fray, agent Scorpio's 2-way communicator is heat activated and his cover is blown, announcing to one and all they have been caught in the act on WPINK TV." 
The full NSFW movie can be found here; it was followed by four direct-to-video sequels between 1986 and 1993...




Whore of the Worlds
(1985, dir. Myles "Miles Kidder)
More direct-to-video product from Myles "Miles" Kidder, who either left the business or changed names after 1987. Written by the obviously pseudonymous "Major Lodes", which we guess is what the makers hoped this film would help make male viewers deliver. The film has a plot, but also simply reuses scenes from other films directed by Kidder: in the first version released, for example, it reused the Ginger Lynn/John Holmes from Those Young Girls (1984) as well as the Ali Moore/Ron Jeremy coupling from WPINK-TV, but just like in WPINK-TV the Moore/Jeremy scene was later cut (due to Ali's age). In any event, there are a variety of versions floating about of this "poorly written and amateurishly acted but nevertheless 'campy' and amusing" movie.
The plot, as according to Hot Movies and a hundred other websites: "Just when she's smugly certain the entire population of the planet has accepted her moratorium on sex — evil ruler Clitemnestra discovers the decampment of Zork and Zindy for worldly pleasures. In her private chambers, Clitemnestra watches their amorous antics through the telly and finds her gorge rising as well as long buried desires. After taking matters quickly in hand, she dispatches her chief aide-de-camp (Harry Reems) to trap and zap the fallen angels. Meanwhile, Zork and Zinky, unaware they are being watched, have found Hollywood, California, a fine state of affairs and, anxious to make up for lost years of enforced celibacy, are having a ball with a playful group of consenting adults. But just as the ball starts rolling, the promiscuous pair are hog-tied and high-tailed back to face the music and certain death. When brought before Cliteminestra's court, however, a member of the jury takes Zork's plight to heart, while Zindy gives the vengeful empress a taste of her own medicine and thereby turns the rapscallion ruler into The Whore of the Worlds."
For one of its versions, the video was recut and redubbed and, with additional scenes added, renamed Lust in Space... the hairy guy in the ugly makeup on the cover is no one less than an unrecognizable Harry Reems.



Trashy Lady
(1985, dir. Steve Scott [1937–1987])
One of only three straight shot-on-film pornos directed by Steve Scott, who worked primarily in gay porn (he even performed in some of his own films, including such gay classics as his first widely distributed directorial job Track Meet [1976 / NSFW trailer] and Inches [1979 / NSFW trailer], the latter which we looked at briefly in They Died in September 2012, Part X: Addendum and features the legendary Al Parker [1952-1992]). Steve Scott, born Salvatore Grasso, who was known to place value on the story and technical aspects of his movies, died of AIDS in 1987 at the age of 50. Scott co-wrote Trashy Lady with Will Kelly, who went on to direct Reems in the 1988 porno, Night Prowlers. Trashy Lady, a period piece set in the 20s, is more-or-less a riff on the Academy-Award-winning dramedy Born Yesterday (1950), but in reverse: instead of a gangster hiring a woman to teach his mole manners and couth behavior, the mobster hires someone to teach his gal to be trashy. Over at imdb, arturopanduro of Florida calls the film "a very well-made period piece [...] with a great cast and better-than-average production values," and among other scenes points out that "there's also a nice DP performed by Cheri Janvier with Marc Wallace and Francois Papillon in a boxing gym."
CD Universe explains the plot: "Trashy Lady is a period piece set against the backdrop of the roaring 1920's Chicago underworld, during the days of prohibition, well-dressed gangsters and tommy-guns. Harry Reems plays mobster Dutch Siegel, who has just been dumped by his filthy-mouthed girlfriend, Jessie (Cara Lott). Shortly after, he falls for the new cigarette girl, Katherine (Ginger Lynn of Buried Alive [1990 / full film], Mind, Body & Soul [1992 / trailer], Evil Breed: The Legend of Samhain [2003 / trailer] and The Devil's Rejects [2005 / trailer]), whom he meets at his posh club. Dutch wants 'Kitty' [as he calls her] as his dame, but a problem exists — she's too classy for him. Kitty is a lady and Dutch likes his dames trashy. He employs a local whore, Rita, played by Amber Lynn, to teach Kitty the 'right' ways to act. His problems are compounded when another local mobster, Big Louie (Herschel Savage of Fatal Pulse [1988 / trailer]) decides to take revenge against Dutch because he believes that he's been sleeping with his girl, sparking a small gang war."
Video Tramp says: "All three of [Scott's straight porno] films featured an up-n-coming starlet named Ginger Lynn. Interestingly, their three collaborations, especially Trashy Lady, are still being discussed by porn fans even today — a testament to their significance. The years truly have been kind to Trashy Lady, which has gone on to become a legitimate adult film classic, often noted by Ginger Lynn aficionados as one of her finest films."
For 11 NSFW minutes of "Rita" teaching "Kitty" to swallow sausage (and more) to period-correct music, go here.
Trailer to Born Yesterday (1955), the probable inspiration for Trashy Lady:



The Girls of 'A' Team
(1985, dir. Jerome Tanner)
Another direct-to-video porn film directed by Jerome Tanner, the director of the previous year's For Your Thighs Only; and whereas in the earlier film the plot involved prudes trying to outlaw sex, this film involves an evil force trying to outlaw anal sex. In England, some guy named Richie says "Girls of the A Team is the funniest adult movie ever." In Japan, Saijoo is of the opinion that the film is "Hilarious B-grade filth at its best! This movie is a must see for anyone who's even remotely a fan of Ron Jeremy or Harry Reems. It has some of the best one-liners that you'll ever see, and some of the most disgusting pre-sex drooling, and come-shot rambling that Harry Reems has ever had recorded." Indeed, Harold Reems' line "Zanos, you're the best!" seems to be sort of cult classic among some.
The plot, more or less as we could piece together from various sites: Zanos (Ron Jeremy) is the ambassador of Uranus and has a strong penchant for anal sex. While visiting the United States, he gets frustrated when the girl he's bonking (Tamara Longley) won't let him do anal, so he rings Steven, his US liaison (Peter North), who suggests he should contact the A Team, whom Steven describes as 'masters in the art of anal penetration'. The A Team soon arrive at Zanos' villa in a van (similar to that used in the original TV series The A-Team [1983-87]). Soon thereafter, Harry Reems visits Zanos and is introduced to Mr P, who sets him up with an A Team babe, Ami Rogers, who teasingly asks 'Well, Mr Reems — are you going to ream me out?' "Several anal orgies take place, with a lot of anal and some DP…" As an added attraction, in a couple of scenes the ends of the receiving ends have faces painted on them.



 
Ten Little Maidens
(1985, dir. John Seeman)
Director John Seeman, retired, was one of the many unsung perennially active flesh-cucumbers of the Golden Age: appearing in over 100 films, like so many Joe Shmoes active in the field his reliable 7-inch erections kept him employed but never brought him the fame of, say, John Leslie or Harry Reems. We only know of him, actually, because he was the lead weenie in one of the most psychotronic movies we have ever seen, the triple-X gore horror flick Hardgore (1974), a movie well worth watching for anyone into deranged cinema who has no problem with on-screen exchanging of body fluids...
 
Ten Little Maidens, as far as we can tell, was his third and last attempt as a director. The movie, as implied by the title, is inspired by Agatha Christie's best-selling novel Ten Little Niggers (1939), which was later given the more palatable title Then There Were None and/or Ten Little Indians and which has enjoyed great success as a stage play and a variety of films. René Clair directed the first feature film version of the Christie story in 1945.
Full film — René Clair's And Then There Were None (1945):
 
3X Update describes the plot as follows: "Ten Little Maidens is a classic of 80s erotica that stars Ginger Lynn in one of her finest performances. She and Harry Reems play a happily married couple who find their wedded bliss interrupted by an offer for an all-expense paid trip to the mysterious Bacchanale Island [delivered by Kitten Natividad, in a non-sex appearance]. The sexual adventurers jump at the chance and are soon swept away on a tide of carnal mayhem. When Ginger and Harry arrive, they find themselves at a decadent dinner party with a few other couples — a dinner party that soon turns into a full-fledged orgy. Afterwards, their enigmatic host announces that after having so much fun, all of the guests must pay — with their lives! The flick turns into a wild murder mystery in which deadly intentions and sensual shenanigans lurk around every corner. This flick epitomizes everything that was great about 80s porn, from the cheesy yet effective story to the breathless acting to the white-hot action. […] One of the best porn films of the decade, it's a must-see experience for anyone into feverish fun and atmospheric ecstasy." Possibly taking inspiration from Hardgore, the film includes death by electric dildo…
Over in Brugge (Belgium), Dirtymoviedevotee (dries.vermeulen@hotmail.be) says that "the AVN Award-winning 'food orgy' sequence [...] really grosses some people out" and that "seeing a man masturbate using a turkey is not appealing in the least". Ten Little Maidens can be found on-line at this Russian website here, 24Video.
Trailer to George Pollock's non-sex Euroversion of Ten Little Indians (1965):



Rubdown
(1985, dir. Bill Amerson)
Director Amerson, along with Bob Chin, is one of the movers and shakers of the early years of porn that were amalgamated to the character "Jack Horner", played by Burt Reynolds in that great flick Boogie Nights (1997 / trailer). Amerson "discovered" John Holmes and remained his manager until the end. (Holmes is seen swinging his sword in this film here, too.) Amerson started his career selling illegal porn under the counter and in back alleys way back when Deep Throat (1972) hadn't even been thought of, much less the concept that porn might one day be legal. As Bill "Williams", the name given in the credits, he would also occasionally appear in non-sex roles in a porn film or sexploitation flick such as, for example, Stephen C. Apostolof's The Divorcee (1969). Scriptwriter Patty Plenty, born in Wichita, Kansas, on April 28, 1948, and also known as "Patty Please", was still baring her pneumatic plastic pillows in geriatric porn at the start of the eighties in titles like Top Heavy Grannies (2003).
 
Rubdown is a less than spectacular direct-to-video product with big hair, body hair, bad acting and direction, and a plot that might hold water but a resolution that does not... At imdb, VCX explains the plot: "Bixby (Reems) is a horrid employer who fires Gail (Kim Carson) because she refuses to give in to his sexual advances. Her two co-workers, Patty and Suzy, quit in protest and the three decide to become full-time self-employed entrepreneurs in the 'World's Oldest Profession'. 'If you've got to let somebody squeeze the goods,' says Gail, 'you might as well get paid for it!' The enterprise is an outstanding success and their 9-to-5 world is crowded with lust-filled men and couples looking to add spice to their lives. One day old Bixby catches their ad in the paper and phones for an appointment. Recognizing his voice, the girls plan a just revenge!"
Discount DVD says that the film "is a waning career assignment for porn studs Harry Reems and John Holmes, who have to perform with some of the hottest young porn actresses of the mid-1980s. Fortunately, they manage to rise to the occasion."



Oriental Jade
(1985, writ. & dir. G.W. Hunter)

 
Heart Throbs
(1985, writ. & dir. G.W. Hunter)
Two films from 1985 directed by two-spurt "G.W. Hunter", for whom we can find no information and no other credits, both featuring Harry Reems' reliable (?) rod somewhere for a scene or two. Oriental Jade (full NSFW film) was a star vehicle for the Korean American Kristara Barrington, a popular babe of the 1980s who may or may not have entered the field underage (her first films are now unavailable) and eventually gave up her Porn Queen title (according to popular but unsubstantiated rumor) to become a veterinarian under her real, unknown name — though kristarabarringtononline.com actually claims that "Recent notification has placed our 80s superstar in Chicago working with other friends of the family and supporting family members doing bookkeeping for a relatives Korean grocery stores."
According to an interview she gave to Gregory Dark in Psychotronic #26, "The high point of my life was that I fucked 350 guys in high school" — a statement that might help explain her oft-enthusiastic performances. The plot of Oriental Jade, according to some website: "Shot on location in the South Seas, Oriental Jade is an epic tale of movie making Hollywood Style — and the wanton desires that blaze behind-the-scenes. At the center of the story is G.W. Hunter, the booze-loving screenwriter with a taste for Oriental erotica. His script is laced with plenty of steamy scenes, but most of the real action occurs off-screen and after hours. There's the hot actress with a taste for jungle love, the director who puts his all (among other things) into his work, and the writer's wife who discovers a very talented actor … and that's only part of the action. Featuring one of the most beautiful casts ever assembled, Oriental Jade is an adult blockbuster that must be seen to be believed!" (Assuming the above description to be correct, and the character "G.W. Hunter" is also the real director, then the film would seem to have been directed by James Miles, aka Miles Long. [Whatta name — Hah, Hah, Hah.])
Like Reems and most of the cast from Oriental Jade except Kristara Barrington, James Miles / Miles Long also appears here in Heart Throbs, the paper thin plot of which concerns (to quote Adult DVD Talk): "Four sex-craved representatives of the Amalgamated Cosmetics Company travel to Hawaii to try out their new Shocking Pink Lipstick, which brings women to their knees, literally." Ron Jeremy is also in both films, but in regard to the latter of the two films, a reviewer was inspired to say: "He is actually tolerable here, and he used to be a half-way decent actor, which is weird. I can't recall anyone, porn or mainstream, becoming progressively worse over the years. I know it doesn't make sense, but I swear it's true. Ron was also less hairy than some of the women he bones, but aside from that, [the film] suffered from too many shadows, bad sound, and less than arousing sex. Shot in Hawaii, at least the scenery was attractive."



The Grafenberg Spot
(1985, writ. & dir. Artie Mitchell)
The Grafenberg Spot is one of the last big budget productions of the now-infamous Mitchell Brothers, with Harry Reems getting the star treatment on the poster to a film filled with name actors, including Nina Hartley, Amber Lynn, John Holmes, Annette Haven, Rick Savage and (once upon a time) Traci Lords. Lords had her only scene, a three-way with Harry Reems and Rick Savage, edited out of the film when it was discovered she was underage at the time.
The plot: Leslie (Ginger Lynn) and Michael (Harry Reems) are a couple who have a problem: she has a highly active G-spot and whenever she gets the Big O she gushes fountains, which freaks Michael, who thinks she can't control her bladder. Leslie visits a doc (Annette Haven) who fills her in on the G-spot and then teaches Michael about it; he gets to see the spot in action a few more times with other babes while Leslie has her own fun and then they get back together and squirt off into the sunset... 
Six years after this film, on February 27, 1991, director Artie was shot to death by his business partner and brother, Jim Mitchell; Jim died of a heart attack in 2007. Back in the good ol' days, they made the legendary porn film Behind the Green Door (1972 / NSFW clip), which made them rich, and the equally interesting Resurrection of Eve (1973 / innocent dance scene); both films starred the legendary Marilyn Chambers (of Rabid [1977 / trailer]).



 
Tower of Power
(1985, dir. Gary Graver)
Another film by Gary Graver (as "Robert McCallum"), the director of Society Affairs (1982). According to Rog Reviews, which lists this film here as a "parody" with "curvy girls [&] big tits" as its theme, Tower of Power "is an 80s flick that really represents the era nicely. It's a little soap opera story about corporate espionage, sexual blackmail and hot women willing to do whatever it take to stay on top. [...] If you like movies with a bit of a story, some drama and pretty 1980's porn actresses, then this is one to check out. Angel is worth watching for sure, especially if you have never seen her." As the fun blogspot Golden Sin Pleasure explains, the film "is not expanded more than necessary and the revelation of the traitor's name comes without surprise and really fast at the end. This does not mean I did not like the movie because it's hard not to like a Gary Graver's film. As usual his direction is perfect, all is well filmed and the pace is efficient (the mixture of the scenes between Robert Kerman and Janey Robbins with the one between Annette Haven and Herschel Savage who takes place at the same time is a very good example of this). [...] Even with my reservation about the plot, this film is a recommendation and a good example of how to edit a movie when a lot of sex scenes are present."
One of Gary Graver's first directorial efforts,
the short film Good Country People (circa 1960):
 


Beverly Hills Exposed
(1985, dir. Gary Graver)
And yet another Gary Graver movie. More big business shenanigans with Harry Reems as the head man, "Gregory Towns". Rame.net says the following about the movie: "Harry Reems plays a nymphomaniac businessman trying to close a deal with Billy Dee (seen here to the left in a photo from the iafd). The video plays out in a very refreshing, breezy way [... and ...] shows you can have a very hot porn flick w/o anals, facials, DPs, etc. It also shows a porn flick can have production values w/o a bunch of stupid camera tricks and nonsense symbolism like painted midgets or glow-in-the dark costumes." Billy Dee, by the way, was "one of the first of the do-anything, do-anyone second-tier porno studs, [...] a smooth-talking, light-skinned black hunk who was one of the coolest, most suave studs of his time". Born "William Daniels", he usually played a white dude in the countless films he appeared in, or an Hispanic. He left the adult film business in 1990 because, in his own words: "As it happens, I [...] went to Bible College. I now have a theological degree, but never became an ordained minister. But I am a believer. That is why I am not in the biz anymore." Supposedly he now plays in a church band somewhere in San Antonio, TX.
As mentioned under the entry on Society Affairs, director Gary Graver (July 20, 1938 — November 16, 2006) was an intensely active if not obsessed filmmaker that worked on hundreds of films. And where does a filmmaker like that begin? Well, with super low budget (as in Super-8, probably) surrealistic short films, this one here possibly starring a young Ron Keas...

Another of Gary Graver's first directorial efforts,
the short film Mildred (circa 1960):




Too Naughty to Say No
(1985, writ. & dir. Suze Randall)
Too Naughty to Say No and Love Bites (the next film listed) are two directorial efforts by former glamour girl and (explicit) glamour girl photographer Suze Randall, seen to the left here, which she released under the moniker of "Victor Nye". Too Naughty was inspired by the work of Marquis de Sade, and like so much of his work is about the corruption of the innocent — to use the plot description at 3X Update: "Two students at a Catholic girls' school are best friends. One, Betty, (Angel) is a shy, withdrawn girl, and the other, Catherine, (Ginger Lynn) is a wild, party-till-you-drop hellraiser. The partier decides to give her 'good girl' friend an education in the ways of the world."
According to Adult DVD Talk, "The film starts out [...] as the Catholic school girl watches the wild girl having sex with her pimp. From there the film gets more wild as the girl ends up at a whore house, getting attacked by a rapist, being brought back from the dead and having a lesbian encounter surrounded by men watching and jerking off." Harry Reems appears in the film as an undertaker who screws the dead Betty, only to his tongue soooo good that she comes back alive... the babe who played Betty, Angel, gets an "introducing" credit at the start of the film, but the former Seventeen covergirl (real name: Jennifer James) had actually already been doing films for a year.
Who knows how long Too Naughty to Say No will be there, but the full film can be watched on-line here...



Love Bites
(1985, writ. & dir. Suze Randall)
Tracy Lords gets the star credits on the poster, but according to at least one website she had her single sex scene edited out after her age-related scandal... no loss as far as we're concerned, as we never did like her pout. The film is about what happens when a mosquito is discovered the sting of which has an aphrodisiac effect. The synopsis, according to Rame.net: "The aphrodisiac is in this new breed of mosquito, 'cupex cuidens'. It's encountered in Africa by a missionary whose daughter, Prudence (Ali Moore), is bitten by one of the little devils and transformed into an insatiable nymphomaniac. She exhausts the village chief (Andre Bolla — who went on to become 'one of the hairiest Black gay actors to ever appear before the camera') [...] while her horrified father (Fred Jones) prays for her salvation. Soon the mosquito is in the United States, being studied in the laboratory of a bumbling research biologist, Harry Reems, and his assistant, Doctor Traci Lords. To the music of The Flight of the Bumblebee, one of the little darlings escapes and bites a frosty career woman, Amber Lynn, as she takes the elevator to her job. Peter North is the only occupant. [...] The elevator sequence takes about ten minutes and a lot of other passengers are involved. The mosquito invades a meeting of More Morality, chaired by Michael Morrison, who looks a little like Jerry Falwell. The prudish members drop their pants and panties. [...]."
The Canadian Brass plays Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee:




Erotica Jones
(1985, dir. Scotty Fox)
Were it not that we here at A Wasted Life are total cleavage fans, we might have skipped this film... but, damn! Christy Canyon got cleavage! (Back then she had ugly Big Hair, too, but then it was the 80s...) Rame.net explains the film: "She felt what she wrote! Sally (Christy Canyon) is a sweet, naive, innocent housewife... or so her husband Rob (Harry Reems) thinks! In reality she is Erotica Jones, famous authoress of racy sex novels, which incidentally happens to be Rob's favorite reading material. When writing, Sally, frustrated by Rob's lack of sex drive, envisions herself as all of the horny women in her novels, and experiences all their lustful encounters. There was the peddler, Blind Sam (Paul Thomas of Al Adamson's Doctor Dracula aka Lucifer's Women [1978 / trailer] and Jesus Christ Superstar [1973 / trailer]) who had to do everything by the feel system, so he felt her... every inch of her... and didn't stop until he knew her backward and forwards, inside and outside. And since Erotica's women were all bi-sexual, there were encounters with women like Alicia (Pat Manning) who went door-to-door spreading love and joy. Sally absolutely loved spreading her joy for Alicia! And what sex novel would be complete without a ménage-a-trois, so Sally, through Erotica Jones, meets up with two neighborhood actors Hotrod and Silvertongue, and makes them each prove that they are deserving of their names! Sally's only problem, is how to tell Rob that she is Erotica Jones, and when she blurts it out one evening, he scoffs at her in disbelief. Later that night though, Rob finds her newest manuscript and finally realizes the truth...."
Paul Thomas singing in his acting debut  
Jesus Christ Superstar (1973):

 



Hot Blooded
(1985, dir. Stu Segall)
The last porno projects of Stu Segall (as Godfrey Daniels), who went on to become a successful producer of such series as Silk Stalkings (1991-99) as well as the founder of the San Diego production facilities, Stu Segall Productions. Among his porn credits is the popular Marilyn Chambers vehicle from 1980, Insatiable (theme song, sung by Ms. Chambers herself). The plot of the X-rated comedy Hot Blooded, according to 3X Update: "Three promiscuous young women launch a provocative plan to boost business in the local video store. The shopgirls give patrons all the service one could ever imagine! It is not long before sales shoot through the roof." Reems has a bit part as "Harry" and shows up with his on-screen wife (Colleen Brennan) for one of the last sex scenes. 
Of more interest to us here at A Wasted Life are a variety of Stu Segall's early credits: as Godfrey Daniels or Ms. Michelle Krelmn or Ms. Ricki Krelmn or P.C. O'Kake or Arthur Byrd he wrote and/or directed and/or produced such fun early sleaze as Saddle Tramp Women (1972) and...
The Suckers (1972)...
The Dirty Dolls (1973)...

 
Scene from Teen-Age Jail Bait (1973)...

C.B. Hustlers 
(1976, full film — with Uschi Digard!)...

Spirit of Seventy Sex
(1976 / one very hardcore and hairy minute)

Let's Play Doctor (1977)...

and, of course, his cult classic, Drive-In Massacre (1977):

 


Indecent Itch
(1985, writ. & dir. John Stagliano)
Gotta admit, the cover is good for a laugh — and yes, that is Harry Reems made up as the Devil. Indecent Itch is an early film from John "Buttman" Stagliano, who is considered the daddy of gonzo porn and has gotten rich by making his own personal kink the focus of his product. Having tested positive in 1997, he no longer barebacks babes in his own films. According to the back cover of the video, Indecent Itch tells the tale of "Stunning new starlet Brittany Stryker dances alone, withdrawn from the pain and frustration of relationships. Her constant masturbation is her one escape. This bittersweet solitude is broken by the intrusion of old friends. The taunts and teasing of her promiscuous friends drive her to have nightmares of her masturbation fantasy, having each of her holes filled with a large vibrating pink dildo, the cold piece of plastic to which she is addicted. She is left empty and begging for the real thing, which she gets when three young studs replace the cold plastic with the hot pulsating real thing, all three of them at once! In the midst of her struggle and the constant partying (soothing oil and all!) of her friends, Brittany somehow finds what she really wants."
In honor of John Stagliono, 
here's a cover version of one of our favorite cumbias, Bombom Asesino:



Part XII will follow in 2014 ... eventually.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Zzikhimyeon jukneunda / Record (Korea, 2000)

(Spoilers.) Over here in Germany, the DVD release (shorn of probably the movie's best and bloodiest 4 minutes) was saddled with the rather incongruous title Fear No Evil; the English-language title Record is without doubt much more on the mark, as home video plays such an important aspect to the movie's plot... but title and censored gore aside, what is perhaps truest about this film is that it is no wonder that most of those involved don't seem to have made another film — we really hope that none of them quit there day job to take part in this thing.*
Which is not say that the movie, a slasher, has absolutely no redeeming values, it's just that its redeeming factors don't add up to a worthwhile film, as in the end there are only three: the fact that it's an Asian (Korean, to be exact) horror film that for a change isn't about some white-faced, long-haired, all-powerful ghost, and it features a hilarious and unexpected event that interrupts the fiery immolation of a "dead" body as well as a singular mildly innovative shock scene involving a cell phone and arm.
As just mentioned, Fear No Evil stands out as a rarity in that it is a Korean slasher flick, one modeled after the standard American template that hasn't changed all that much since first introduced who knows when. (Most people like to credit Carpenter's Halloween [1978 / trailer] as the genre's granddaddy, but while that film may arguably have been the one to start the modern Golden Age of Slashers, the genre itself can arguably be traced back to Coppola's Dementia 13 [1963 / trailer / full movie], Powell's Peeping Tom [1960 / trailer], or — if you're of the type that see slashers and bodycount films as one and the same — even the now rather dull films Terror Aboard [1933] or Thirteen Women [1932 / song about the film], the latter an early Myrna Loy film that holds the distinction of also being the only surviving film featuring a credited Peg Entwistle.**) In regards to the slasher template, Fear No Evil follows it so closely that for a while one is almost convinced that the film is meant to be ironic but that like, say, Tim Burton's non-slasher Planet of the Apes (2001 / trailer), the filmmakers play with the tropes so closely that it becomes impossible to see that they (and the film) are not being 100% serious. But after a while, it becomes obvious that in the case of Fear No Evil, at least, the film is less knowingly ironic than it truly is simply by-the-numbers and seriously sub-standard.
Like so many a dead-teenager flick, the driving instigation behind the revenge killings in Fear No Evil is the classic prank that goes wrong. In this case, prank played by the school's best (two babes, three dudes) on the school loser. The babes, sorta plain Hui-jung (Seong-min Kang) and hot stuff Eun-mi (Chae-young Han, "Korea's Barbie Doll" and only participant to have achieved a subsequent show biz career, in her film debut), invite the eternal loser to join them for a weekend alone at a secluded cabin as the set-up, unknown to the loser of course, to film a fake snuff film. But when the three dudes show up to play their parts as the masked killer home-invaders, they unintentionally use a real knife (!?!) and don't notice, until it is too late, that it not only punctures the boy's chest but that there is real blood everywhere — the latter is odd indeed, as obviously no one thought to bring fake blood with them in the first place. (As a whole, the events of the set-up give the viewer the feeling that if the five students are truly examples of South Korea's best and brightest, than the future of the region may indeed lie in the North.)
Needless to say, like the much better I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997 / trailer), the movie Fear No Evil emulates most closely, the five students don't want to ruin their futures due to the "accident" and decide to destroy the body (and the self-made video of their deed) — an event that also goes hilariously wrong. Nevertheless, convinced all is OK, they swear themselves to secrecy. But then, a year later, not only is the "snuff film" video online, but a masked killer in a red jumpsuit is out to kill them one by one... Five students being a relatively low number for a body-count movie, however, the unknown and unstoppable killer also does away with an occasional innocent (elder sauna worker, MILF school nurse, ambulance attendant, policeman) as well.
Our DVD version, cut, is hardly the most bloody of films, so we'll reserve comment on the gore, but we must state that seldom have we seen a film in which teenagers, conscious that someone is out to kill them, so consistently find a reason to separate or go somewhere alone. Indeed, they do it so consistently they could well have all worn "Kill Me, Please" signs on their backs — but as stupid as their actions are in this regard, they do give cause for regular laughter. Likewise, the killer(s) — yes, a nod to Scream (1996 / trailer) is at hand as well — are so obvious, that they each could just as well have worn a sign on their back saying "I'm a killer". Needless to say, on the whole Fear No Evil is rather lax when it comes to suspense or tension...
For that, it is mildly funny in a bad film sort of way. Aside from the above, who can't break out in guffaws when one student flirts with the MILF nurse by saying something to the effect of "I've got heat pimples on my inner-thigh, you want to see them?" Likewise, it is sort of amusing when the final girl and guy consciously hunt for the killer — they don't know it's more than one, of course — and then, when they finally find him, lose their cool and start running around like to chickens without heads. The fun ridiculousness of that bit is topped soon thereafter when, after surviving that, they end up having a wham-bang showdown with the second killer, who appears to be as unstoppable as Arnie in the first Terminator film (1984 / trailer). (A fun scene, perhaps the best of the movie.) As always, however, the filmmakers simply don't know when to stop and throw in a final after-graduation scene with a twist from left field that is as aggravating as it is prefatory to a possible sequel.
So is Fear No Evil any good? Not really, but as derivative and idiotic as it is, there are many far worse slashers out there, many of which you find reviewed elsewhere on this blog. The end question is, does the fact that there are worse films out there really make it worth your time to watch this movie? In our humble opinion, your money would be better spent on kimchi...
 
 
 Antipodal to Fear No Evil — 
a trailer to film that doesn't exist:

* Jae-hwan Ahn, who plays the wimpy teacher in the movie, no longer has to worry in this regard: he killed himself in 2008 at the age of 36.
** In the case of the last two and earliest films, however, it must be said that they are definitely far less slashers than body counters, while with the exception of Dementia 13, all the historic precursors listed — including Halloween — listed lack a key ingredient of the modern slasher: that the killer remains unknown until the final showdown.
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