Here’s a list a spent a few hours compiling. If anyone has a title they think should be added, please do let me know:
3 A.M. (Gary Graver, 1975) – The most Bergman-esque X rated film ever made; all about loneliness and guilt caused by isolation.
A Climax of Blue Power (Lee Frost, 1975) – A quick paced and nasty roughie about a police impersonator.
A Coming of Angels (Joel Scott, 1977) – A strangely depressing film about a lonely white slave organization.
A Dirty Western (Joseph F. Robertson, 1975) – As the title implies; high camp mixed with some rape and a gory shootout.
A Touch of Genie (Joe Sarno, 1974) – Joe Sarno doing his best Woody Allen impression.
A Woman’s Torment (Roberta Findlay, 1977) – Brutal horror film about a psychotic female killer.
Act of Confession (Anthony Spinelli, 1972) – More “important” than “good,” a strange look at the sexuality of a nun.
Alice in Wonderland (Bod Townsend, 1976) – Delightful musical adaptation of the classic book.
Amanda by Night (Gary Graver, 1981) – Hard boiled thriller about a prostitute being stalked by a wealthy psycho.
American Pie (Jeffery Fairbanks, 1980) – Cute and silly nostalgic film, set in the 50’s, about kidnapping.
Angel Above, the Devil Below (unknown, 1974) – Screwball masterpiece about Satan possessing a vagina.
[Anna] Obsessed (unknown, 1977) – Violent drama/thriller about the trauma of rape.
Autobiography of a Flea (Sharon McKnight/Jon Fontana, 1976) – Excellent period piece comedy based on the French novel.
Baby Rosemary (John Hayes, 1976) – Surreal and very depressing drama about the death of a woman’s father.
Babyface (Alex DeRenzy, 1977) – Nasty black comedy, satirizing pedophilia and women’s lib.
Bacchanale (Amero Brothers, 1970) – Beautiful avant-garde “trance film” with horror overtones.
Beach Blanket Bango (James Bryan , 1975) – A pitch perfect satire/musical about 60’s Americana.
Beauty (Shaun Costello, 1980) – A dream like adaptation of Beauty & the Beast.
Between Lovers (Ron Sullivan, 1983) – Heart felt melodrama about a woman in love with two men.
The Bite (Jerry Denby, 1975) – Period piece satire of The Sting.
Blonde Ambition (Amero Bros., 1980) – The Amero Bros. take on an MGM musical.
Bordello – House of the Rising Sun (Chuck Vincent, 1984) – Uncharacteristically downbeat comedy from Chuck Vincent.
Both Ways (Jerry Douglas, 1974) – Extremely well written story of a married man who experiments with homosexuality.
Bride’s Initiation (Unknown, 1973) – Classic “B film” combo of silly horror and sillier comedy.
Café Flesh (Stephen Sayadian, 1982) – Terrifying postapocalyptic masterpiece
Candy Goes to Hollywood (Bob Chinn, 1979) – Delightful sequel to the 1978 film, follows Candy through a well put together series of vignettes.
Captain Lust & the Pirate Women (Beau Buchanan, 1977) – Excellent X rated swashbuckler.
Censorship in Denmark (Alex DeRenzy, 1969) – Crucial doc. on Danish sex fair.
Champagne for Breakfast (Chris Warfield, 1980) – Weird wanna-be comedy which ends up being more misogynist than funny.
Changes (Gerard Damiano, 1970) – Unsurpassed doc on early XXX movies/books.
Charli (Stu Segal, 1981) – Very well made love story.
China Girl (Edwin Brown, 1974) – Silly take on a Bond film.
Co-Ed Fever (Gary Graver, 1980) – Excellent screwball comedy set in a private school.
Confessions of a Teenage Peanut Butter Freak (Zachary Youngblood, 1973) – Bizarre underground comedy with an incredible surreal ending.
Corruption (Roger Watkins, 1983) – Arthouse XXX.
Cozy Cool (Lowell Picket, 1971) – Grity early XXX noir.
Cry For Cindy (Anthony Spinelli, 1976) – Well written and beautifully photographed hooker drama.
Dancers (Anthony Spinelli, 1981) – Brilliant screenplay and unsurpassed acting.
Dark Angel (Peter Vanderbilt, 1983) – Artsy “head film.”
Dark Drams (unknown, 1970) – Early “trance film”
Debauchers (Sidney Knight, 1971) – First hardcore film to deal with “snuff” films.
Defiance of Good (Armand Weston, 1974) – Unsettling psychodrama involving the mentally ill and a cult.
Devil’s Ecstasy (Brandon Carter, 1974) – Fun “B film” horror story.
Desires Within Young Girls (Richard Kanter, 1977) – “High class” screwball comedy.
Devil in Miss Jones (Gerard Damiano, 1973) – Existential masterpiece.
Devil in Miss Jones 2 (Ron Sullivan, 1982) – Beautifully photographed comedic sequel.
Devil in Miss Jones ¾ (Greg Dark, 1986) – Outstanding punk/New Wave re-envisioning of Damiano’s classic. Tackles racism and misogyny.
Disco Dolls in Hot Skin (Stephen Gibson, 1978) – Silly 3-D classic.
Divine Atrocities (Kim Christy, 1983) – Extremely artistic loop carrier.
Double Exposure of Holly (Bob Gill, 1976) – Well written mafia noir.
Dracula Exotica (Shaun Costello, 1980) – Brilliant adaptation of Dracula.
Driller (Joyce James, 1984) – Sarcastic spoof of Thriller.
Dynamite (Amro Bros., 1972) – Very strange screwball comedy.
Easy Alice (unknown, 1975) – Depressing examination of porn life.
Ecstasy Girls (Gary Graver, 1979) – Excellent inheritance based screwball comedy.
Erotic Adventures of Candy (Bob Chinn, 1978) – Clever take on Candide.
Eruption (Stanley Kurlan, 1976) – Excellent remake of Double Indemnity.
Every Inch a Lady (Amero Bros., 1975) – Very silly hooker comedy.
Expose Me Lovely (Armand Weston, 1976) – Greatest X rated mystery film ever made.
“F” (Svetlana, 1980) – Delightful fantasy romp.
Farewell Scarlet (Chuck Vincent, 1975) – Clever spoof of detective films.
Fascination (Larry Revene, 1980) – Silly satire of “how-to” books.
Femmes DeSade (Alex DeRenzy, 1975) – Brutal and violent rape and revenge film.
Filthy Rich (Michael Zen, 1981) – Entertaining comedy about servants.
Firestorm (Howard Winters, 1983) – Epic about rich family.
Fireworks Woman (Peter Locke & Wes Crave, 1974) – Surreal art film with horror and religious tones.
Fongoluli (Ed Seaman, 1973) – “Gatting in touch with nature” style hippy comedy.
For Services Rendered (Tim McDonald, 1984) – Hilarious Bond spoof.
Forced Entry (Shaun Costello, 1971) – Violent Vietnam slasher.
Girls on Fire (Jack Remy, 1984) – Fun blackmail comedy.
Hard Gore (unknown, 1975) – Campy horror known for its ridiculously gory content.
Hard Soap, Hard Soap (Bob Chinn, 1977) – Excellent TV spoof.
Her Name Was Lisa (Roger Watkins, 1978) – Depressing story of drug addiction.
High Rise (Danny Steinman, 1972) – Pop-Art masterpiece.
High School Fantasies (James Bryan, 1974) – Excellent take on America in the 50’s.
Illusions of a Lady (Jonas Middleton, 1973) – Bizarre head film about a shrink.
The Image (Radley Metzger, 1973) – Excellent adaptation of the French novel.
In Love (Chuck Vincent, 1983) – Best X rated romance drama.
It Happened in Hollywood (Peter Locke, 1973) – Excellent X rated “magazine film.”
It’s Called Murder, Baby (Anthony Spinelli, 1982) – Well written period piece noir.
Jack ‘N Jill (Chuck Vincent, 1979) – Witty romantic comedy.
Jade Pussycat (Bob Chinn, 1977) – Best Johnny Wadd film.
Joy (Chuck Vincent, 1977) – A successful comedy about rape.
Last Bath (Karl Krogsted, 1973) – Strange and beautiful avant garde film.
Little Orphan Sammy (Ron Wertheim, 1976) – Silly look at capitalism and Russian spies.
Love Garden (Mike Haggard, 1971) – Authentic love drama.
Love You (John Derek, 1979) – Plotless but pretty film.
Love, Lust and Violence (Norbert Meisel, 1975) – Excellent mafia themed exploitation flick that happens to be hardcore.
Lust on the Orient Express (Tim McDonald, 1985) – Silly take on its namesake.
Madam Zenobia (Ed Seeman, 1973) – Trippy psychedelic sex film involving voodoo.
Marriage & Other 4 Letter Words (Richard Robinson, 1974) – The best comedy about swingers.
Memories Within Miss Aggie (Gerard Damiano, 1974) – Haunting psychodrama about depression, loneliness, and religeous obsessions.
Misbehavin’ (Chuck Vincent, 1978) – The best X rated screwball comedy.
Morning After (Sidney Knight, 1970) – Low budget B movie mystery about a murder.
Mystique (Roberta Findlay, 1979) – Study of terminal illness.
Naked Afternoon (Alan Colberg, 1976) – Silly plot but outstanding visuals.
Naked Came the Stranger (Radley Metzger, 1975) – Excellent adaptation of the novel.
Naughty Victorians (Robert Kinger, 1975) – Victorians playing with S & M gear.
Never So Deep (Gerard Damiano, 1981) – Cute love story/comedy.
Night Caller (Anthony Spinelli, 1975) – Excellent psychodrama about a stalker.
Night Hunger (Gerard Damiano, 1983) – A Damiano art film about a strange family.
Night Pleasures (Hans Christian, 1975) – Moody pseudo-noir/melodrama set around a sleazy bar.
Nothing to Hide (Anthony Spinelli, 1981) – Excellent take on Of Mice & Men.
Opening of Misty Beethoven (Radley Metzger, 1975) – Brilliant version of Pygmalion.
Overnight Sensations (unknown, 1976) – Interesting artsy take on breaking the 4th wall.
Pandora’s Mirror (Shaun Costello, 1981) – Best Shaun Costello vignette film about a possessed mirror.
Passions of Carroll (Shaun Costello, 1975) – Excellent version of A Christmas Carrol.
Pretty Peaches (Alex DeRenzy, 1978) – Screwball take on memory loss; cutest enema ever.
Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann (Radley Metzger, 1974) – Fantasies of a married couple.
Psychiatrist (Ted Roter, 1978) – Excellent horror film about a cult in a hospital.
Purely Physical (Chris Warfield, 1982) – Tale of an evening at a motel.
Randy, the Electric Lady (unknown, 1980) – Sci-fi comedy about the ultimate orgasm.
Raw Talent (Larry Revene, 1984) – Best X rated take on the porn world.
Red, White, & Blue (Ferd & Beverly Sebastian, 1970) – History of XXX in L.A.
Resurrection of Eve (Jon Fontanna & Artie Mitchell, 1973) – Outstanding film about women’s lib.
Rollerbabies (Carter Stevens, 1976) – Future of sex.
Roommates (Chuck Vincent, 1981) – Best X rated drama ever made.
Sadie (Bob Chinn, 1980) – Best of Bob Chinn’s “tropical” films.
Scoundrels (Cecil Howard, 1981) – Cryptic head film about a family.
Score (Radley Metzger, 1972) – Excellent comedy about bisexual swinging.
Seduction of Lyn Carter (Anthony Spinelli, 1975) – Dark tale of mental breakdowns.
Sex in the Comics (unknown, 1973) – Live action TJ Bibles.
Sex World (Anthony Spinelli, 1977) – Depressing look at sexually dysfunctional people.
Skin-Flicks (Gerard Damiano, 1978) – Autobiographical story of Damiano making a film.
Smoker (Veronika Rocket, 1983) – New wave thriller.
Snake Eyes (Cecil Howard, 1984) – Artsy romance drama.
S.O.S. (Jim Buckley, 1975) – Excellent film about Screw.
Society Affairs (Gary Graver, 1982) – Clever comedic heit film.
Sodom & Gomorrah (Mitchell Bros., 1975) – Excellent take on the bible story.
Sometimes Sweet Susan (Fred Donaldson, 1975) – Sad story of mental illness.
Spitfire (Cecil Howard, 1984) – Political comedy.
Squalor Motel (Kim Christy, 1986) – Arthouse new wave film.
Star Angel (Cecil Howard, 1986) – “Ghost” of a singer haunting her lover.
Star Virgin (Howard Zeihm, 1979) – Silly history of sex vignettes.
Story of Joanna (Gerard Damiano, 1975) – Artsy story of degeredation.
Sweet Savage (Anne Perry, 1978) – Excellent X rated western.
Take Off (Armand Weston, 1978) – Beautiful version of Dorian Grey.
Taking of Christina (Armand Weston, 1975) – Terrifying kidnapping film.
Talk Dirty to Me Part 2 (Tim McDonald, 1982) – Comedy about a TV host.
Teenage Cruisers (Johnny Legend, 1977) – Cool “cruisers” comedy with great score.
Teenage Sex Kitten (Anne Perry, 1972) – Angry film about runaways.
Tell Them Johnny Wadd is Here (Bob Chinn, 1975) – Well written Johnny Wadd film.
Through the Looking Glass (Jonas Middleton, 1976) – Best X rated horror film; maybe best ever.
Tiffany Minx (Roberta Findlay, 1981) – Clever mystery film with violence.
Tongue (unknown, 1975) – Racism drama with surrealism.
Tropic of Desire (Bob Chinn, 1979) – Sad film from Chinn’s “tropical” period.
Ultra Flesh (Svetlana, 1980) – Campy futuristic alien sex film.
V- The Hot One (Gary Graver, 1977) – Sad take on Belle Du Jour.
Visions (Chuck Vincent, 1976) – Dialogue free fantasy masterpiece.
Visions of Clair (Zachary Youngblood, 1977) – Trippy head film.
Voyeur (Chuck Vincent, 1985) – Angry look at VHS.
Wanda Whips Wall Street (Larry Revene, 1981) – Clever satire of the business world.
Water-Power (Shaun Costello, 1976) – Nasty black comedy about an enema rapist.
Wet Rainbow (Duddy Kane, 1973) – Realistic story of a married couple.
Whatever Happened to Miss September? (Jerry Denby, 1973) – Cute love story.
Wild Dallas Honey (Jeffery Fairbanks, 1982) – Melodrama about a rural couple; excellent photography.
A Deep Compassion (Pat Rocco, 1972) – Violent story involving a convict.
A Ghost of a Chance (Gorton Hall, 1973) – Excellent comedy based on Blyth Spirit.
A Night at the Adonis (Jack Deveau, 1978) – A fascinating look at cruising culture.
American Cream (Chuck Vincent, 1972) – Satirical take on American culture.
Crooked Arrangement (Ray Proca, 1973) – Clever blackmail drama.
Destroying Angel (Peter DeRome, 1976) – Artsy masterpiece involving religion and damnation.
Do Me Evil (Toby Ross, 1975) Sad story of absusive brothers.
Drive (Jack Deveau, 1974) – Brilliant homage to 50’s sci-fi.
Dust Unto Dust (Tom DeSimone, 1971) – Love story about American Indians.
El Paso Wrecking Corp. (Joe Gage, 1977) – 2nd in the “working man’s” saga.
The Experiment (Gorton Hall, 1973) – Best coming out film ever made.
Falconhead (Michael Zen, 1975) – Brilliant art film about narcissism and mystical objects.
Greek Lighting (Warren Stephens, 1973) – Silly comedy about Bond.
Kansas City Trucking Company (Joe Gage, 1976) – 1st and best “working man” film.
L.A. Plays Itself (Fred Halsted, 1972) – Structuralist masterpiece.
LA Tool & Die (Joe Gage, 1979) – Saddest and final “working man” film.
Left-Handed (Jack Deveau, 1972) – Story about a guy questioning his sexuality.
The Light From the Second Story Window (David Allen & Pat Rocco, 1973) – Excellent adaptation of the novel.
The Night Before (Arch Brown, 1972) – Weird arty film about free love.
Night of the Occultist (unknown, 1972) – Gay horror film; very artsy.
Nights in Black Leather (Peter Berlin, 1973) – Wandering adventures of a narcissist.
Other Side of Joey (Gorton Hall & Ray Proca, 1972) – Well written love story.
Passing Strangers (Arthur Bressan Jr., 1974) – “Silent” artsy love story; half black and white.
The Rivermen (Monroe Beehler, 1973) – Excellent murder mystery.
Subway (Ian McGraw, 1981) – Doc. like examination of subway cruising.
That Boy (Peter Berlin, 1975) – Avant garde masterpiece.
Zoomerang (Gorton Hall, 1974) – Well written love triangle.
OK, I’m back! I’ve been busy as all hell. I’m not even sure what I’m gonna do with this blog, since I’ve been doing very little writing.
At the moment, I’ll probably try to use it as a place for me to review stuff I watch (X rated films, that is). So hopefully I’ll get a move on that soon.
The following is the introduction to an essay I wrote (but never finished) about outside genre-film conventions in American hardcore films made between 1969 and 1987. I’m gonna post each section as a separate entry, over the next week or so.
The concept of the “genre-film,” at least in American cinema, can be traced back as early as the teens, when silent comedies were first made available for national viewing and, due to their creators frequent Vaudevillian roots. To make them palatable to as wide of an audience as possible, many genre conventions from the Vaudeville stage were made a crucial part of these film’s structuring.
In fact, a reasonable argument could be made that most, if not all American cinema of the first half of the twentieth century are genre-films of sorts. The western, noir, screwball comedy, crime drama, romance, horror, science fiction film, etc all relied on a set of tried and true conventions to fit into a certain marketable category. It was really not until the late 1950s and early 60s, with the emergence of filmmakers such as John Cassavettes and others that commercial cinema completely broke free of genre convention.
As you’re reading my undoubtedly fascinating thoughts on the genre film, you may be asking what the hell this has to do with X rated cinema of the 70s and early 80s? Well, the connection is very simple: sexually explicit films are perhaps the greatest and most complex of the all genre-film types, for beyond their inevitable sexual content, they are unbound to any other genre convention. As a result, I refer to these films as the “ungenred genre-film.”
Another brief connection I would like to make between sexually explicit cinema of the 70s and early 80s and Hollywood cinema made pre-1950, are the similarities between their production schedules and marketing. Like Hollywood films of that era, X rated films of the 70s and 80s were typically shot very quickly, on as few sets/locations as possible, with frequently the same cast members appearing in a set of films, made for a single producer, and often shot back to back. Their running times, like many lower budget Hollywood films of the 1930s and 40s, were typically under 90 minutes (usually due both to budgetary limitations and to the fact that, like these Hollywood productions, many X rated films were rented to theaters with the knowledge that they would be played on double or triple bills, and thus needed to be short).
American X rated films of the 1970s and early 80s feature more genre embedding than any other “genre” of cinema in the history of film, simply due to their being no other prerequisite for an X rated film being an X rated film, besides the presence of explicit sex (note #1). As a result, many filmmakers chose to create their pictures within the constraints of a “mainstream” genre, bringing in explicit sex only when needed. Whether it was a western (examples: A Dirty Western (1975), Sweet Savage (1978)), a screwball comedy (examples: Misbehavin’ (1978), Take Off (1978)), a horror film (examples: The Devil’s Ecstasy (1974), The Psychiatrist (1978)), science-fiction (examples: Invasion of the Love Drones (1977), Ultra Flesh (1980)), or avant-garde and “art-film” inspired works (examples: The Last Bath (1973), Overnight Sensation (1976)), this second genre became the basis of the film’s narrative and often pushed the sexual content into a secondary category.
Therefore, the X rated (outer) genre and the second, though often more important (inner) genre often found themselves at odds with each other, in a battle for marketability, so that neither would be out-shined by the other, and although the average runtime percentage breakdown for sexually-explicit content versus non sexually-explicit content is 40/60, the sex often still dominates the inner genre and disrupts its coherency, usually through the placement of illogical or unrealistic sexual couplings. This, however, was often a problematic venture for despite the fact that the films themselves often valued their inner-genre (like western, comedy, horror) over their X rated outer-genre, they were never critically divorced from their outer-genre, that of an X rated film.
As a result, the inner genre is qualified by the outer genre making Sweet Savage, for example, not a “western with hardcore sex,” but a “hardcore western.” This difference is not only crucial to understanding both how filmmakers created their genre-embedded works, but also how they were publicly received. In essence, an X rated film could work very well as an example of a western genre-film, but fail as an X rated film, for it would be deemed to scant in its sexual content or not “erotic” enough, which could result in a filmmaking not being able to find funding for future projects. Thus, many filmmakers opted to, at least in part, sacrifice their inner-genre conventions for the sake of commercial viability.
However, with the abundance of X rated films taking on inner genres, there are a great many successful couplings, which make up the majority of the films I will explore in subsequent installments in this series. The inner genres I will be examining are: Westerns, Comedies, Horror films, and Avant-Garde/Art House films.
Note 1: The popular argument that is made when the question of “why do X rated films from the 70s bother having stories” is raised, is that the presence of some sort of narrative was a legal requirement under the “redeeming social value clause,” which stated that in order for a film to not be considered obscene, it needed to have some sort of scientific, cultural, or artistic value. And although it is true that many low budget hardcore films of this era have only the most basic narrative pretenses put in place only to avoid obscenity charges (this type of film is known as a one-day-wonder or “grinder”), the vast majority of the bigger budget, full length feature films made at this time have fully developed narratives which act as more than a catalyst to bring the film from one sex scene to the next simply because the filmmakers themselves were more interested in the cinematic value of their works than the sexual one.
Copyright (c) Joe Rubin, 2009. You may reprint any section of this piece, with my written permission.
I’m new to this whole blog thing, but I’m hoping, my bad grammar aside, that this little blog will be one more small step (well, medium step) in gaining some much deserved respect and critical attention for perhaps the most maligned and dismissed “genre” in the history of cinema, that of sexually explicit films, particularly those works made both here in the United States as well as in Europe, South America, and Asia between the years 1969 and 1988. Although I will occasionally site or review films made before or after this period, it will be in reference to films made during the previously stated years, as that 20 year era remains the only time during which the makers of what so many dismiss as mere “pornography” were truly dedicated filmmakers and artists.
The purpose of this blog is not to discuss censorship, politics, morality regarding social regulations and perceptions of sexually explicit films (although any relevant discussion of these matters, as they might relate to the film’s content is, of course, encouraged) but rather to treat these works of art as works of art.
I’d like to invite anyone willing and interested to contribute to this blog. If you would like to write critically about X rated films or filmmakers, simply email me.