Friday, February 19, 2010

R.I.P. Jamie Gillis

Very, very sad news folks. It's been confirmed by those in the know that Jamie Gillis has died after a battle with cancer. You can read about it here (doesn't seem to have made "mainstream" news yet).

I particularly liked the email Carter Stevens posted, and the little tribute that followed, which you can read at the linked thread:

"'It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Jamie Gillis, who died today in New York at the age of 66 after a battle with cancer. A wonderful and charismatic man and most treasured friend, he will be greatly missed by his partner Zarela, his family, his many friends, and countless fans around the world. He will be cremated at a private ceremony. In lieu of flowers, Jamie requested that contributions be made to the NYC Police Athletic League, an organization that helped Jamie as a boy and continues to assist children in New York City ( Despite the immense grief we feel for the loss of our friend, we are comforted by a quotation from Albert Camus that Jamie often quoted to us: ‘Happiness, too, is inevitable’.'

He was a good friend to me and I will miss him. As to the charges of his mistreating women. That's crap. He might start off rough but all a woman would have to do was slap his face and he would just as happily lick her boots. I've oft been quoted as saying there are 5 kinds of people in porn, hetrosexuals, homosexuals, bi-sexuals, tri-sexuals and then there is Jamie Gillis. Jamie took it as a complement which it was and quoted me proudly. I'll miss the man a lot."

This made me smile, which is a good thing I think, and I will continue to celebrate his life through his films. Peace, Jamie, and thanks for everything.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The History of Sexuality: Star Virgin (1979)

I went into Star Virgin (Dir. Howard Ziehm) with fairly low expectations, other than that one of the scenes in this "vignette" film features Dracula, a topic I'm researching at the moment. My expectations were promptly shattered, however, as at around the halfway mark I realised that what I had so far attributed to possible ineptness or budget restrictions were most likely a much more conscious commentary on social constructions of sexuality. By the end of the movie, the film had basically blown my mind, and if I hadn't been so tired, I would have immediately watched it again. I'm sorry, Star Virgin, for ever doubting you.

The film opens with the birth of Star Virgin (Kari Klark) the only human being left in the universe, created in a test tube, and unaware of "a repulsive and now completely obsolete activity called sex," yet eager for knowledge. Mentor, her little robot friend who she perpetually gets in trouble by unintentionally arousing him, tries to pacify her (and himself) by showing her examples of human sexuality.

"Sex," Mentor explains, "began in 1950 at Monroe High," and so begins our first scene: a depiction of the Garden of Eden, 50s style, complete with obnoxious snake and tree of knowledge. The homoerotic components of this scene are tangible, and yet at this stage I attributed these elements to ineptness: throughout the sex, the snake (an old man in a tree) repeatedly butts into the action, giving the male performer instructions in an extremely homosocial way. Once the fruit 'n' sex gets underway (and they really give it their all - it's pretty messy), the male performer sucks on the banana he has inserted into his partner, lending the entire scene a curious homoeroticism that I couldn't deny, yet somehow dismissed as unintentional or misguided. The scene concludes without a money shot, but rather with the "manager" of the "theme park" chastising the couple and throwing them out.

The next scene is intended to show Star Virgin how the devil (the snake in the last scene) takes on many forms in order to arouse humans and have them do dirty things. One of those forms, according to the next scene, is Count Dracula (and his "Igor," Richard Nixon). Played out like a silent movie, a couple are invited into Dracula's castle, the boyfriend is drugged, and the girlfriend is raped by Dracula and Nixon. Once again, the scene has strong homoerotic undertones, especially due to the sexual positions, but also simply because of the homosocial combination of two men engaging in sexual activity through a woman's body (just as in the Garden of Eden).

The scene gets even more complex as the boyfriend wakes up, is outraged, and reaches for the nearest crucifix to fend off Dracula. Interestingly, it is at the moment of confronting Dracula with crucifix that the Count pulls out and jerks off to a money shot, with both men staring each other down. Such a homosocial/homoerotic moment is particularly in-keeping with the themes present in the very-Victorian Dracula by Bram Stoker. Furthermore, the girlfriend who has been "saved" from her "ruin" is in reality furious with her boyfriend: "You asshole, I was about to come!"

The following scene is where I really "got" the movie and the statement it was trying to make. Star Virgin wants to know what "coming" is, much to Mentor's distress. To pacify her, he explains that in the past, "humans attended huge, violent spectacles for the sole purpose of inflaming their sexual emotions." Cut to a good old-fashioned "Deighton Plowboys" football game, with men piling on top of the star quarterback. The commentator reports, "Everybody's going down on him! What a pile up! He must have a thousand pounds 'a beef on top of him!" Ahem.

Once again, women's bodies mediate such blatant displays of homoeroticism, as two of the cheerleaders decide to revive the injured quarterback using their sexual expertise. He is able to go back out and finish the game, thanks to these lovely ladies.

Meanwhile, Mentor is having a lot of trouble keeping himself together, as Star Virgin's horniness is arousing him to dangerous levels - he is at risk of being "disconnected" for violating the rules. Star Virgin is turning him into a "mechanical masturbator," and Mentor has had enough: "All right, you hot little slut, you want something really dirty? Something that will really make your pussy gushy? Check this out!" And check it out I did - probably the most awesome striptease/queef performance I've ever seen. What starts out as a simple demonstration of this wonderful woman's queefing abilities (met with rapturous applause), swiftly moves on to stunts, such as queefing out a lit pack of matches, as seen below.
What follows is a man-heavy scene, depicting a group of guys - about nine or more of them - getting serviced by two strippers. Needless to say, two strippers are not quite enough to go around, and the homoerotic potential of gang-bangs and orgies become anxiously present.

This scene is basically the tipping point for Star Virgin, who is reduced to writhing around in oil, masturbating with a dildo (helpfully provided by Mentor), and subsequently "cumming" an enormous amount of thick, white goo.
The meaning of this is worth considering. At first, I thought this was a commentary on the demand for visual representations of orgasm, combined with the age-old male fantasy that women are sexually the same as men (the idea that women ejaculate just like men do dates back centuries - check out My Secret Life and John Cleland's Fanny Hill). However, the concluding narrative renders things a bit more complex than this. The narrator muses over this final scene, "Is this the end of the human race? ... Or is this big bang the rebirth of mankind? Returning him to his rightful place as Lord of the Universe? Are we all, then, children of the girl known as Star Virgin?" These concluding questions imply a few things: that Star Virgin has inseminated herself autonomously, thereby restarting the human race (satirically represented as men exclusively), which in turn suggests that Adam and Eve are now reduced to just Eve (returning the movie to its starting point) - Eve is mother of all, with no need of Adam if there is the possibility of parthenogenesis.

Ultimately, Star Virgin seems intent on rupturing the pornographic fantasy: it represents human sexuality as a construction based around the anxious displacement and mediation of homosexuality between men, via women's bodies. Seeing as pornography can be seen as a particularly literal fulfillment of such displacement, Star Virgin operates as a curiously self-reflexive pornographic text. Certainly thought-provoking, and a bundle of fun at the same time.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I've Been Sick: Neverending Quickies!

Yeah, that's right, I'm recycling quickie pics. I have been pretty sick recently, and then really busy because I was sick, and now I'm about to be really, really busy, so I'm just gonna pop this little quickie review up to keep the blog semi-resuscitated. I did see a pretty wild and wonderful film the other day that will have its very own feature review as soon as I get back on my feet. With that said, here is what I have been watching...

Mount of Venus (Dir. Carter Stevens, 1975)
This one is from the Carter Stevens Collegiates boxset from After Hours Cinema, and I went into it with fairly low expectations. I'd never heard of it, but Jamie Gillis and Georgina Spelvin are in it, so I figured they would at least pop up a couple of times. Well, the film is almost nothing but Jamie and Georgina, so hurrah! It's also a lot of fun, with some clever dialogue and neat (low budget) editing, telling a zany version of Greek mythology. Jamie is particularly good as Jupiter, God of Thunder, who is constantly announcing himself in a booming voice, with accompanying cracks of lightning. All very amusing hi-jinks.

Pretty Peaches 3: The Quest (Dir. Alex deRenzy, 1989)

I loved Pretty Peaches 2 so this was obviously on my radar, especially as Jamie Gillis pops up in it as a TV evangelist (who is obviously a total pervert). In this installment, Peaches leaves her trailer home to seek out spiritual enlightenment, only to be disappointed at every turn by her "guides'" sexual perversions. I like these films because, just like their source material, Candide, they go from scenario to scenario and you're never quite sure what will be next. Peaches' mother, Tracy Adams, once again threatens to steal the show with her sub-plot seducing a young man (in extremely tight jeans and extremely big hair) while on her way to finding Peaches. A fun movie, but not as good as the second one.

The Hurt Locker (Dir. Kathryn Bigelow, 2009)

I was excited about this film going in - all-guy, and directed by a woman - but I ended up turning it off halfway through. I guess the title should have indicated the theme to me, but I just found the scenes really aggressive and they weren't presented as consensual. Particularly the throat-fucking scene between the two leads (with Anthony Mackie as the power-bottom, playing against type), there was not a sense of both parties enjoying it. I guess this was probably the point, but I still thought Mackie could have brought a little more enthusiasm to the table. Renner does a good job in this scene though and seems really into it. The narrative gets pretty repetitive, mostly consisting of the action rather than the dialogue (which is pretty cheesy), which is a shame because there are so few all-guy features around. A missed opportunity.

Wet Rainbow (Dir. Duddy Kane, 1973)

Holy shit, this film is good. And I mean outstanding. My viewing buddy even said that despite the sex scenes being shot really well, it was almost impossible to find them hot because there was so much to think about (this is a compliment to the film). I think it manages to be hot as well as be intellectually rigorous. This is a complex look at a relationship that involves two people - the excellent Harry Reems and Georgina Spelvin - who are intelligent, artists, probably a bit elitist, and getting older. They fantasize over Reems' young photography student, and eventually things start to fall apart. I don't want to say any more than that, partly because I don't want to spoil the film, but mostly because there's so much subtle complexity to this film that it would be difficult for me to articulate it in this short space. I actually cried during this film. Great stuff.

A Scent of Heather (Dir. Bill Milling, 1980)

I adore Veronica Hart - there's something intangibly special about her - aside from her excellent acting, and unconventional beauty - that lights up the screen. She makes sex scenes magnetic in a way that I can't explain. Now that we've got that out of the way, this film is as captivating as the best of Hart's work: set during some kind of Victorian era (that has electricity...) Hart is married off to the family gardener's son, Paul Thomas. She is still a virgin, and in fact knows zero about sex or body parts, leading to one of the most gripping and intense sex scenes I've seen, between Hart and her newlywed. Again, I don't want to go further with the plot, but lets just say it gets really complex, really quickly, and is fascinating. Highly recommended for some great scripting, great acting, and generally great filmmaking. Loved it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Holy Shit: I'm on Total Film's Website

I got picked. Thanks to Monster Scholar, for my lovely banner, which is probably the reason I got picked in the first place.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Schnell Reviews: More Quickies!

Hi folks - I'm still stupidly busy, but watching lots of movies, particularly Dracula porn. I will hopefully be moving on to something more enthralling than the utter shit I have had to sit through of late. Proceed...

Dracula (Dir. Mario Salieri, 1994)

According to the DVD, this is a big production, and is the "apotheosis" of award-winning Salieri's career. Well, perhaps something got lost in the English dubbing, but lord, this was terrible. It was, however, hilarious, as the dubbing seemed to get more and more absurd, particularly during the sex scenes. I believe the dubbers were having a little too much fun doing voice over work for porn. I won't bother going into the plot, but Dracula is absent for the most part, and I think the movie was about 35 minutes long. A really strange experience.

Dracula Sucks; aka. Lust at First Bite; aka A Bunch of Other Names (Dir. Phillip Marshak, 1979)

The version I watched had Lust at First Bite as its title, which means I got the hardcore version, but also means all the biting was cut out. This rendered an already-not-very-good movie barely coherent. I had been warned that this film was really not very good at all, but with two of my favourite stars - Jamie Gillis and John Leslie - in lead roles as Dracula and Dr. Seward respectively, I really didn't think it could be this bad. But it's bad. Not Lust of Blackula bad, but there's-really-no-excuse bad.

Lust of Blackula (Dir. Barry Morrison, 1987)

Speak of the devil. Holy shit, this is unwatchable. It stayed on my TV screen for approximately 20 minutes, during which time I had managed to witness Blackula's inability to get wood while jerking off to his wife fucking some lady. He then stalks a couple about to fuck, peeping through their window, and all the while this is presented to you in grainy 80s video - we're talking low quality here. Really bad. I will try to watch it all the way through some day soon, and maybe I'll be able to report back that it gets better, and that our hero finally sports some wood.

Deep Throat: Part II (Dir. Joe Sarno, 1974)

Ok, enough of Dracula. I haven't finished watching Deep Throat: Part II yet, because I went in thinking it was hardcore, and then slowly realised that none of the sex scenes ever turned into sex scenes. Nothing against the film - it's great - but I'll save it for a softcore sex comedy night. The cool thing about this film is that it plays off of the Watergate scandal, with some pretty funny and zany results, as well as a typically over-the-top performance from Harry Reems, general awesomeness from Jamie Gillis (I love you Jamie), and fun and hi-jinks all around. If you like your sex comedies pop/meat-shot free, and with lots of fun and giggles, then this is for you.

Champion (Dir. Shine Louise Houston, 2009)

This is my first baby-dyke porn movie, and I was pretty excited going in, seeing as there don't seem to be that many lesbian-made features out there. This is the story of an MMA fighter who is threatened with being "outed" as a lesbian, and instructed by her agent to femme it up a bit. The plot doesn't figure into the movie too much though, and instead most of the time is taken up with some pretty rough and passionate fucking. It certainly felt different from most mainstream porn in terms of the director's vision and the audience "gaze," which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, the sex scenes did get a little bit repetitive and were too long for my tastes. I like a bit more plot. Still cool though.

The Ecstasy Girls (Dir. Robert McCallum, 1979)

Holy fuck - watching this film made me feel like the filmmakers had peered into my personal dreams and plucked this movie out. Jamie Gillis is hired by a man whose rich and sexually moralistic brother is dying - the man wants to disinherit the women of the family by having Jamie fuck all the women (who are naturally perverts), record it, and show it to the dying brother. John Leslie and Paul Thomas are hired by Jamie to help out with the technical side of things, while Jamie goes about doing what he does best. Awesomeness ensues. I loved this film. I never thought I would see a film where the central concept guarantees such a high quota of Jamie Gillis scenes, each one totally different from the last. Absolute wonderment.


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