Sexploitation Lives! I mean – LOOK AT THE TITLE OF THIS MOVIE! “A Smell Of Honey, A Swallow Of Brine!” Talk about a come on!
Thanks to everyone who checked out my original post on the Top Ten Sexploitation Classics of All Time – well, guess what? As you can already see, there are more! You can’t stop at just ten classics when this genre is full of eye-popping greatness!
In the 60’s and 70’s, Sexploitation movies were the cheapest, sleaziest films there were: they played in “grindhouses”, downtown movie theaters that were open 24 hours a day, and didn’t care WHAT was going on in the seats – the movies that were shown were “grinding out” non-stop, and were usually the most prurient films legal to show at the time. And they starred young women like Christina Lindberg:
Here is the definition of PRURIENT: Having or encouraging an excessive interest in sexual matters. Well then, there you go.
Remember, when these movies were shown, there were no “hardcore” movies in theaters – 8mm hardcore “loops” were hidden away from the police; sexploitation films were a legal outlet for pent up sexual repression – and just plain sleaziness. It was a wild time for all – these movies were routinely booked in drive-in theaters in the midwest and south, with lurid come-on advertising – and in many cases they high-tailed it out of town with the police close behind.
I do not apologize: these movies celebrate sex, violence, and – well – MORE sex and violence. They exist for no other reason, so appreciate them for what they are – the opening of the door to a new world of freedom in movie making that now results in “anything goes”…
Here is my next collection of wild, wild, wild movies that helped break down the walls of censorship in film in the 60’s – and in the 70’s, all bets were off!
Lorna The Exorcist. This 1974 film by legendary sexploitation film maker Jess Franco has a simple logline: A man is tormented by an ex-lover, Lorna, who is some kind of witch. She has a strange power over a number of women in the film, including the man’s daughter, Linda.
Look up Jess Franco to see his incredible body of work, all softcore sexploitation with a strange, european sensibility. And remember, in the early 70’s, just the face that a film was from France, where morals were looser, was cause for celebration. what people didn’t expect was such a strange mindblower like this!
Star Lina Romay was Franco’s wife, and starred in many of his films…
“Lorna The Exorcist” was from 1973, and the original print was lost or destroyed. It was later recut into a porno flick back in the early 80’s by its producer, and most of the cut scenes were never recovered. This restoration utilizes three different 35mm sources and four different audio sources and the finished film quality is quite remarkable all around. Credit to the great movie company Mondo Macabre for their outstanding restoration job on this film, including featurettes.
Sassy Sue / The Pigkeeper’s Daughter – 1973.Come on down to the farm for some fun! Producer Harry Novak is a legend for his lowest-common denominator approach to film making, which results in movies like these playing all over the country to “excited” young boys, who would pile into a single car and spend the night at the drive-ins, staring at their fantasy – girls down on the farm who just want to have a “roll in the hay.” Thanks to the terrific company Something Weird Video, these classic sexploitation films live on.
As you would imagine, the plots are simple: “Sassy Sue” tells the story of Pa, a moonshining chicken farmer, who is worried that his dim-witted son Junior is becoming way more attracted to their cow Sassy Sue than he should be, so he sets out to gather up all the nubile young farm girls in the area and get them to show Junior what he’s missing. And they do, trust me.
The special edition includes: Country Bumpkin Trailers for these movies, plus “Country Cuzzins,” “Country Hooker,” “Midnite Plowboy,” “Southern Comforts” and “Tobacco Roody” – plus, a bonus Southern-Style 32-Minute Theatrical Featurette: “The Old Man’s Bride”. You will thank me the longest day of your life!
Street of a Thousand Pleasures – OK, here is an example of the most cynical, blatantly exploitative movie making you will ever see – IF you can call it a movie!
“Street” is basically one long excuse to ogle naked women, which it allows the viewer to do very well. The plot is very thin, an American (played by John Tull of Sassy Sue fame) saves the life of a sheik, who in gratitude reveals his harem, which is basically a hundred girls standing around naked. There is NO dialogue: it is ALL VOICEOVER! He tells you how gorgeous the women are as the camera zooms in and apparently up against breasts, belly buttons, etc. This film does have some simulated sex, with tons of full frontal nudity. After an hour or so of wandering through this street of a thousand pleasures, he chooses one, has sex, and a Kinda fight breaks out. He explains what is going on, and then the movie ends.
Here is why I love this movie: it’s all b-roll and voice over, but it still was theatrically released! AND you can now buy it on DVD. God Bless Capitalism!
“THEY HUNGER…FOR YOUR BLOOD!”
“Daughters Of Darkness” tels the story of a chic couple who arrive at an extravagant and deserted seaside hotel after eloping. Stefan is wealthy and happily English, with a hidden streak of sadism, while Valarie is intelligent but of inferior (Swedish) blood. To keep her with him at the eerie hotel he lies consistantly about his relationship with his mother and his plans to tell her of their marriage. Meanwhile he has mysterious phone conversations with an older, dominant and pampered sissy. Two fresh guests arrive; the Hungarian countess, Elizabeth Bathory and her voluptuous protege, Ilona. Virgin corpses begin showing up about the city drained of their blood. A wary detective lurks around the hotel taunting his only suspect, the Countess.
What else do you need? OK, how about rampant nudity, blood sucking, and lesbians! I say that’s a great way to spend $5 of your money and 90 minutes of your time!
A Smell Of Honey, A Swallow Of Brine! Kudos to Something Weird Video for putting “A Smell of Honey, a Swallow of Brine,” one of David F. Friedman’s best movies, on DVD!
Let’s take a moment – LOOK AT THAT TITLE! And what about that tagline! “There is an expression for girls like her…you see it scrawled on wall!”
I mean, C’MON, MAN! This is sexploitation at its finest!
Here is the Amazon double feature writeup: Sexy Stacey Walker, with her arched eyebrows, wicked smile and heavily sprayed hair, burns up the screen as Sharon Winters, a character who gets her kicks seducing men, then crying “Rape!” (In his commentary, Producer Friedman tells how he considered calling the movie “C.T.”, but figured no one would get it.)
Shot in black and white, “A Smell of Honey” has a deliciously tawdry look, yet shows some artful flourishes (likely attributed to cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs as director Byron Mabe was never known for artful flourishes. Even when the actors are clothed, our imaginations are nudged into the gutter (Walker and “victim” framed in a tree that looks like spread thighs; Walker suggestively drinking from a Coke bottle while the camera periodically cuts to the thrusting, bulging crotch of her boyfriend singing in a bar). Walker could’ve easily gone on to stardom, in either exploitation or even mainstream movies (she reportedly was courted by Paramount). But, as Friedman tells it, she married “some gazoony” and moved back to her home state of Texas after only making two feature-length movies.
Once again, kudos to Something Weird for packing this DVD with more sexploitation that you can handle! Friedman only distributed “A Sweet Sickness,” but the movie is a worthy second feature to “A Smell of Honey.” Starring Vincene Wallace as a Hollywood hopeful who tries to hold on to her virtue while pursuing an acting career, “A Sweet Sickness” is nastier than most ’60s sex pics, but not quite crossing over into ’70s soft-X territory. And how about this! Look for Carol Channing in an opening scene (calm down, she’s not naked).
“The Brick Dollhouse” is another Friedman pickup, and even he refers to it as a “worthless piece of crap.” Swinging roommates come home to discover one of their roomies has been shot dead. By the time the police arrive, they’ve all changed into sexy lingerie–perfect attire for telling the police about all those swingin’, topless pot parties they go to on a daily basis.
There are trailers for other Friedman movies, like “The Defilers,” “The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill” and “The Lustful Turk” (in which all the men wear obviously fake beards). But the best extra is Friedman’s commentary on “A Smell of Honey.” This sultan of sleaze and Allah of alliteration (sorry, got carried away) livens up any DVD with his frankly-told, frequently humorous anecdotes of exploitation’s golden age. At times, his commentary can be more entertaining than the movie (e.g. “Fanny Hill” and “The Head Mistress”). Though “A Smell of Honey” easily stands on its own, Friedman’s commentary is icing on the cake.
And now, onto another of the legends of the genre: cue the Swedish!
Maid in Sweden – leave the best to the Swedes! Here is the story of Inga, a 16-year-old Swedish girl who leaves her rural home to spend a weekend in the Swedish capital. An innocent with no experience, but with prodigious physical attributes, she has a series of romantic adventures as she throws off the frustrations of her small-town environment.
Look at that tagline: “Inga In Sweden, Her Coming Of Age.”
You don’t have to be Caligula to know what they are saying to you. In the late 60’s the Swedish busted down the door to sexual freedom in movies with “I Am Curious (Yellow).” A “SWEDISH” movie meant one thing and one thing only: sex, sex and more sex. And the iconic sex kitten of Swedish Cinema was Christina Lindberg.
Christina Lindberg is mesmerizing onscreen, whether in this film or “Exposed”, and certainly “Thriller: A Cruel Picture.” She was the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill!” revenge film, and there is a major coup here with the 2008 video interview with the usually low-profile and reclusive Miss Lindberg.
She “Acted” in these movies – they were art in their soft-core sort of way – and they deserve respect for pushing boundaries while still attempting to tell stories with real characters and real psychological issues. All while naked.
There you go, let me know what you think!