Greetings, Brothers and Sisters of the Psychotronic Video World. There’s been a lot of talk over the last couple years about remakes. But we’re not here to talk about remakes today, readers. We’re talking about the exploitation sleaze ‘n cheese that’s so raw, so gut-punchingly vile, that if it hadn’t been made when it was made, then it probably would never exist. And it’s a hard call on that, because with the SAW films, SLAUGHTERED VOMIT DOLLS, the HUMAN CENTIPEDE franchise and A SERBIAN FILM, it seems like there’s no depth of depravity that filmmakers and mondo film-watchers are unwilling to descend to. I’m honestly still a little stunned that I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE got remade. If nothing else, it shows that even if the original had not been made, then the filmmaking atmosphere exists in which it could be made.
But anyways, here’s ten films that I think today, in 2011, that the Hollywood Babylon would pass on. No particular order; more simply as they occur to me.
ILSA: SHE WOLF OF THE SS (1975) — The original Nazi Nasty, this Canadian-lensed production centers on Kommandant-Doktor Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne), a sadistic nymphomaniac in charge of a Nazi Prison Camp. By day, the male prisoners labor for the benefit of the National Socialist Party; by night, they are taken into Ilsa’s bedchambers. Those who fail to satisfy her are castrated, emasculated, or executed, based on how severely they fail to bring her to orgasm. Meanwhile, women are subjected to cruel experiments designed to prove that women can withstand more pain then men, and thus should be used as shock-troopers for the Reich. Hey Ilsa, ever hear of a little thing called “Childbirth?” I’m pretty sure your theory has been proven sound, honey.
The fact that actual Nazi medical experiments, conducted by Josef Mengele himself, are here recreated for prurient purposes makes it a pretty sure fact that this film would not be made today. There’s less politically- and racially-insensitive methods of showing naked breasts, especially those of busty beauty Uschi Digard. Hell, there’s less insensitive ways of showing people who need to be sprayed with MILF-urine in order to orgasm, if that’s your thing.
INGAGI (1930) — Jumping back almost a half-century (and showcasing one of only two films on this list not made during the 1970s), we have this roadshow attraction. The 1930s were the Golden Age of exploitation pictures, many of which traveled from town to town in the trunk of a sleazy promoter’s car, staying in town just long enough to make a few bucks — or until the moral center of the town drove these perversion-peddlers out. INGAGI was billed as an “ethnographic” film, extremely educational and enlightening — and then pulled the Ol’ Switcheroo! Happy day for the Raincoat Brigade, INGAGI purports to be the true story of an expedition into the dark heart of Africa…that finds a village where the women have sex with gorillas! Naked “native” women abound, and the gorilla is played by Charles Gemora, the patron saint of all future gorilla-suit actors. As a bonus, the financial success of INGAGI prompted RKO to invest in a little picture by Ernest P. Schroedsack and Merien C. Cooper, a little picture called KING KONG.
This one I was iffy about including on this list. I mean, I think making a movie about gorilla-on-human sexual conquests would be passe, but maybe HANGOVER 2 proved me wrong.
ALL THE LOVIN’ KINFOLK (1970) — Ahhhh, good ol’ Hicksploitation. This trashy little “regional” drive-in picture, also released as KIN FOLK and THE CLOSEST OF KIN, is a magnificent piece of sleaze. Two cousins from the country, Zeb and Cindy, graduate from high school and travel to the big city. Along the way, they learn all sorts of lessons about the differences between country living and city living especially where propriety is involved. Some highlights of the film include Cindy falling in with a family of moonshiners who believe that aging their product in a dungheap provides the best flavor (and who chase Cindy out when she stabs the family patriarch in the leg for trying to rape her), a sequence in which Zeb has wildly passionate sex with Uschi Digard to the tune of “The William Tell Overture,” a sequence in which Cindy’s sister induces a farmhand to plow her in the ass in the chicken coop (resulting in the glorious dialogue from him, “We’re gonna get chicken shit all over us,” to which she dreamily replies, “…Good…”) and finally Cindy and Zeb getting their long-awaited incestuous freak on.
Lovingly clinging to the border between Hard R and Soft X, ALL THE LOVIN’ KINFOLK also straddles the border between glorifying the sexual liberation of the Appalachian backwoods, and condemning the ignorance and misogyny of these communities. Still, any film that deals with this much feces (human, bovine and chicken) and in which the happy ending is between two cousins, seems unlikely to find that ready a market these days, but the proliferation of both scat porn and faux-incest porn on the internet seems to contradict this.
THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK (1972) — A surprisingly chilling docudrama from Charles B. Pierce, LEGEND follows the story of the Fouke Monster, a swamp-dwelling Bigfoot-like creature (though shorter and more aggressive than the normally passive Bigfoot, and mysteriously leaving three-toed tracks) that terrorized the community of Fouke, Arkansas, in the Texarkana region. Much of the film consists of eyewitness testimony — simply pointing the camera at actual witnesses (and in some cases victims) of the creature’s rampages, and allowing them to tell their story, with some footage recreating the events shown. It’s handled with remarkable restraint and poise, and not once do you get the impression that Pierce is patronizing the people of Fouke or selling them short. The viewer gets a few brief glimpses of the creature (an ape suit that’s never really shown or in focus) but there’s an overall claustrophobic atmosphere in which the creature seems to be lurking behind every tree, behind every shed, and in every hollow. It’s a fantastic watch, especially on an autumn night with the lights off.
We’ve had plenty of killer Bigfoot movies lately, and found footage/”documentary” films are at an all-time peak. So why wouldn’t THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK be made today? The film is too honest, too raw, and honestly has too much integrity and dignitas to be released in this cynical, jaded age.
DEADLY WEAPONS (1974) — Ah, a favorite of mine, from the amazingly exploitative Doris Wishman, aka “The Female Ed Wood,” so called for her camp aesthete…and the ineptness of her productions. DEADLY WEAPONS is the first of two films Wishman made capitalizing on Polish-American exotic dancer Chesty Morgan’s incredibly large natural breasts. They’re listed as 73FF, but that seems very inaccurate, and may be the result of changes in the way bras are fitted — if I had to guess, I’d say something more along the lines of a 36 or 38 FF by today’s measurements. The second film Morgan and Wishman did together, DOUBLE AGENT 73, would also fit for the purposes of this list, but quite frankly I enjoy DEADLY WEAPONS more.
In DEADLY WEAPONS, Chesty’s boyfriend gets offed by the Mob for trying to double-cross them after a job; distraught, Chesty takes revenge in the only way she can — she becomes a stripper, uses the burlesque circuit to track down the killers (one of whom is a post-DEEP THROAT Harry Reems), and then smothers them under her gigantic pleasure zeppelins. This is pretty much precisely how I would want to die.
Why wouldn’t it get made today? While the argument can be made that this is a film about feminine empowerment and freedom from patriarchal dominance, at the end of the day it’s a film glorifying gigantomastia. And while I’m a gigantic-natural-breast fetishist, I recognize that breasts this large are generally deemed grotesque by those whose kink it isn’t.
THE AMAZING TRANSPLANT (1970) — Another offering from Doris Wishman. While DEADLY WEAPONS was no Lysistrata, THE AMAZING TRANSPLANT…well, it’s no MAD LOVE. Mild-mannered Arthur suddenly becomes an unstoppable sex maniac, attempting to rape and murder his girlfriend. She tells of this to Arthur’s uncle, a police detective, who begins an investigation, which leads him through a string of rapes and murders seemingly perpetuated by his formerly milquetoast nephew, each of which gets its own detailed flashback. Finally, in the last ten minutes, we find out the cause of all this (because, y’know, the title totally didn’t give it away): Arthur received a penis transplant from a recently-deceased fellow, who it turns out was a serial rapist and murderer, and now his cock, granted a new life, is directing Arthur’s actions!
As far as killer-penis movies go, this is not one of the better ones I’ve seen. It’s dull, plodding, and about sixty minutes of the seventy minute run-time is padding. Still, I think the notion of a man being so in thrall to his own johnson that he will kill at its command, is one that would be passed over today. At least, I would hope so. The original concept, used in such films as MAD LOVE and THE HANDS OF ORLAC, still has some juice in it; and it was spoofed in a Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode several years back with a hair transplant driving Homer to criminal behavior.
FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE (1977) — Three violent convicts escape from an armored car transporting them to a maximum security prison. Stealing a pimp’s car, they murder a drug-store owner and take a black minister’s daughter hostage. The convicts, led by Jesse Lee Cain (BLADE RUNNER’s William Sanderson, in a role he will not admit to playing), decide to pay a visit to the minister’s house. Father Ted Turner is just sitting down to dinner with his family, preaching as he does so that “the meek shall inherit the Earth,” to which Granny replies “Black Power!”
Cain kicks in the door and forces the family at gun point to serve him and his cohorts dinner, all while spouting every racial slur in the books. Turner is forced to say things like, “Yessah, Massah, all us coons is hungry!” and then to dance a “down-home nigger jig” with Cain shooting at his feet. Turner’s wife is strung up a tree, a white woman who stops by to visit the Turners is raped and murdered, a child’s head is bashed in…and finally, Turner has had enough. Fighting back, he shoots Cain in the stomach, muttering “little-dick white-trash faggot” as he does so.
FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE is truly an astonishing film, perhaps one of a kind in terms of pure bilious hatred. This is a movie that white bigots can enjoy for the abuse heaped upon the Turner family, and that black bigots can enjoy for seeing a vile Honky put in his place. And that’s not something you’re likely to see in films again any time soon.
EMANUELLE IN AMERICA (1977) — OK, history lesson time. In 1974, a French softcore film came out entitled EMMANUELLE, and was picked up and distributed by Hollywood, making it kind of like the DEEP THROAT of softcore French erotica. A year later, BLACK EMANUELLE (notice the lost M) came out to capitalize on this, being a greasy sexploitation smorgasbord. Sequels followed, and the third through the seventh were directed by Joe D’Amato, the King of Sleaze.
EMANUELLE IN AMERICA is D’Amato’s second EMANUELLE film. It follows Emanuelle (Laura Gemser) as she researches a corrupt politician, hoping to expose his depravity to the world. However, the more she digs, the deeper a hole she finds herself in. She soon runs afoul of a ring of snuff-film pornographers, almost becoming the “star” of their latest film. The film not only shows full penetrative sex, it’s also stunning in terms of gruesome, gory violence, much of which is tied into torture-themed sex scenes. But that’s not all! EMANUELLE IN AMERICA goes further than most such films (and a million light-years beyond Cinemax’s softcore EMANUELLE films of later years) in just how far down into sickness it will wallow. EMANUELLE IN AMERICA features a sequence you’re not likely to see outside of Denmark or the Internet: A naked woman masturbating a horse to climax. Why include such a scene? “Why not?” seems to have been D’Amato’s reasoning.
Horse-ejaculate and snuff films. This could only be a product of the sleazy, permissive 1970s.
THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE (aka THEY CALL HER ONE EYE; 1973) — You had to know that this Swedish rape-revenge flick was going to be on this list. A young woman, Frigga/Madeleine (played by the amazing Christina Lindberg, who STILL looks like she’s about fourteen), is sexually assaulted, the traumatic experience rendering her mute. Years later, she accepts a ride from a man who forcibly addicts her to heroin, then makes her work as a prostitute for her fix. He even tears out one of her eyes, in a scene filmed using an actual cadaver. Eventually, this much-put-upon young lady has had enough. She hoards what money she can, using it to buy a car, a shotgun, and get trained to drive, shoot, and kick ass using martial arts. Having acquired these items and skills, look out pimps — it’s Vengeance O’Clock!
THRILLER is a rough, brutal film (I have difficulty watching the eyeball-gouging scene) dealing heavily in sex slavery and sexualized violence, all involving a girl who is supposed to be VERY young. While I don’t think such a film would be made today, if, in a hypothetical parallel universe where this film didn’t exist but Quentin Tarantino still had a career, he might make it, though I doubt ol’ QT has the cojones to make the character 14 years old…though he would probably cast himself as a greasy, foot-fucking pervert who hires her services.
TOP GUN (1986) — Haha, bet you weren’t expecting this film to show up on the list! I can hear you now, “But TOP GUN isn’t a sleazy exploitation film! It won all sorts of awards! Tom Cruise!” Bah, I say. This is a two-hour recruitment video for the US Navy combined with enough unrestrained homoeroticism to choke Liberace and a barely-coherent plot carved out of a number of explosion sequences. You can’t tell me that TOP GUN is not an exploitation film, albeit a high-budget one.
Tom Cruise goes to elite flight school, where he must prove his swaggering macho dominance in the fields of flying fighter jets, beach volleyball, standing around in his underwear with a leg up over a chair, and porking Kelly McGillis, a supermodel-beautiful astrophysicist and civilian flight instructor. Hell, replace the fighter jets with horse cocks, and you have EMANUELLE IN AMERICA II.
Why wouldn’t it get made today? In large part because the public perception of the American military has changed in the last 25 years. While I’m sure the Pentagon would love to see Hollywood pump out a whole string of propagandistic “joining the military will add 7-10 inches to your penis and supermodels will beg to be your sexual playthings” movies, it’s just not what Hollywood is willing to produce right now. Look at recent “War Movies”: LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, JARHEAD, THE HURT LOCKER, BAND OF BROTHERS, WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN…these are all “War is Hell” films. The only films out of Hollywood lately that glorify militarism are the recent RAMBO reboot in 2008, and 2010’s THE EXPENDABLES, with the upcoming RED DAWN remake being likely to join that short list.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. The only films I’ve gone out of my way to decline to include are those representative of now-marginalized political belief systems such as TRIUMPH OF THE WILL and BIRTH OF A NATION. There are many, many more exploitation films which would likely be too sleazy to be made today, but at this point you’ve probably stopped reading, so why continue to list them?
Tags: All The Lovin' Kinfolk, bigfoot, Bo Arne Vibenious, Charles B. Pierce, charles gemora, Chesty Morgan, Christina Lindberg, Deadly Weapons, Doris Wishman, Dyanne Thorne, Emanuelle in America, exploitation, Fight For Your Life, Grindhouse, Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS, Ingagi, Joe D'Amato, Kelly McGillis, Laura Gemser, Legend of Boggy Creek, Robert Judd, The Amazing Transplant, Thriller: They Call Her One Eye, Tom Cruise, Top Gun, Uschi Digard, William Sanderson