Thursday, May 27, 2010

Quickies!

Hola! Taking a break from work to post my brief thoughts on some of the movies I've been watching over the last couple of weeks...enjoy!













Every Inch a Lady (The Amero Bros., 1975)

Oh boy, I really loved this film. I initially bought it because I was told there's a scene where Harry Reems fucks Jamie Gillis in the ass with a carrot (true!), but aside from this it turned out to be a really intriguing and entertaining film about a couple who decide to start up a brothel business together. The acting is top notch, the narrative flows smoothly and feels organic, and the ending is a real kicker. I came away from this film feeling immensely satisfied, which sometimes doesn't happen because of a disappointing ending. Not this time. I can't really elaborate much further, but this is certainly a film that would emerge triumphant from a feminist analysis. Highly recommended.





Pizza Girls (Bob Chinn, 1979)

Chinn, director of Candy Stripers, has a tone I really enjoy -- ditzy, silly, but somehow also really smart. In this delirious tale of pizza delivery girls who deliver more than just pizza, who are also being stalked by the San Francisco Night Chicken who is working for a fried chicken competitor, manages to establish the same porno fantasy world as Candy Stripers: sex is both routine and naughty. It's a fun atmosphere for porn, and one that allows for a lot of satirical and silly humor. Fun stuff. (Though I was disappointed no one showed up in a chicken suit, in spite of feathers flying).







Sex, Lies and Spies (Marcus London, 2010)

It's been a while since I sat down and watched a Wicked feature, but I figured I should check this out seeing as Kaylani and Stormy star in it. It's pretty good, not great -- Stormy was typically great, and seemed more enthusiastic in her scenes for some reason, while Kaylani wasn't in the movie as much as I would have wanted. The plot is pretty familiar: two assassins have a falling out because one crossed a line (Kaylani) and the other quit as a result (Stormy). Thus, the mob send Kaylani to kill Stormy. There are some cool scenes, and a couple of neat shots. I watched the whole thing, so it's above average, but not up there with best Wicked features.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Quickies are Back!

Hi folks - as I struggle to finish my next chapter, y'all will have to make do with another Quickie Review edition, which will hopefully be followed by a little analysis of a pretty interesting failure I watched recently. Until then though, here is what I've been watching for fun recently...










Blonde Goddess (Bill Milling, 1982)

I thoroughly enjoyed this film - effectively a series of vignettes, reminiscent of Star Virgin, and representative of what a vignette film should be. The sex is loosely linked together by a slight plot (nerdy comic book illustrator has fantasies of being a stud in various scenarios inspired by his comic book creations; the Blonde Goddess is the women who shows up at the end of each scene, a seemingly unattainable fantasy). There's bags of fun to be had thanks to the variety of scenarios that take place during different eras, and eventually project into the future.







Consenting Adults (Gerard Damiano, 1982)

This is another vignette-ish film, but one that plays out like a documentary, and in my opinion is way ahead of its time in its gonzo-stylings. Hosted and conceptualized by Annie Sprinkle, we're guided through a series of scenes, only some of which involve sex, but all of which deal with some kind of kink, whether it be Marc Stevens watching his wife fuck another man, Jill Munroe dominating her sub, organized "apartment wrestling," or labial piercing (used the FF button on that one).

The real winning attribute for me, though, was the way two of the scenes utilized a commentary track by the performers, each one saying what is going through their mind during the scene. It's an innovative and sexy technique, and one that, like all forms of creative verbal/aural devices, seem to be sadly lacking in adult film.




The Defiance of Good (Armand Weston, 1975)

Yikes. I nearly turned this off after I couldn't take anymore virgin raping in an insane asylum. As I reached for the remote, however, a bearded man comes to "save" the poor girl and take her to his own special hospital. Now, I'm not an idiot - I've seen enough 70s porn to know this guy's hospital is going to be like something out of Story of O, and sure enough it's an initiation site for innocent young girls to shed their repressive femininity. It's a familiar trope in porn, and one that I can sometimes appreciate, and occasionally this format can do some subversive things in terms of gender, but not this one unfortunately. I just found it a little too unsettling and seedy for my tastes - I know it's supposed to be unsettling and seedy, but hey, if I don't like it, there's not much I can do about that. Unpleasant. (The ending was interesting though).




Tigresses (and Other Man Eaters) (Joe Sarno, 1979)

More vignettes! I never normally watch vignettes...what's going on? Unfortunately, this one didn't really live up to my expectations, whatever they were. A great cast, and I was excited to see Vanessa Del Rio, but she was criminally wasted, in my opinion. If she's going to play a character who speaks no English, that's fine with me, but please have her audio track present - her constant talking through her scenes is my favourite thing about her. A bummer, then, that the audio was dubbed.

I've heard that a couple of scenes, or at least substantial material is cut from the currently available version, so I will be willing to watch it once it comes out in the Platinum Elite series, restored and complete.



Bootylicious Girls (Mason, 2010)

I was initially excited to see this film because it features Kristina Rose, but her scene ended up being my least favourite, mostly due to her co-performer Ice Cold, who just didn't do it for me (his verbalizations were not my cup of tea). Luckily, the rest of the film is great, particularly Isis Taylor's scene with Manuel Ferrara - awesome tease, awesome scene - the fun and passion is tangible, and Manuel is on the verge throughout, which is pretty fun to watch.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Was Wrong: A Look Back at Dracula Exotica

Ok, so perhaps when I wrote this review of Dracula Exotica way back in March 2009, I wasn't "wrong" exactly, but rather "young." A little background for y'all...

I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to write my dissertation about, and because of Forced Entry and Femmes de Sade, I was thinking about writing it on representations of rape/sexual violence in hardcore pornography. When I say "thinking about it," I mean I had done a bunch of research, outlined my chapters, and was ready to meet with my committee chair the next week. Clearly, I did not take that route, and thank god -- I would be in living hell. But I tell you this so you understand that when I watched Dracula Exotica, I was watching it as a "scholar of rape," so to speak, and had done a lot of reading on the subject. In addition, studying porn in general can be taxing on the emotions at the best of times -- I often find myself wondering what the heck I'm doing, and become plagued with self-doubt regarding my thoughts on the sex industry and women. In this context, the film made me feel nauseous, and I guess I rebelled against it. I also was a relative novice in the porn-nerd department (it has been a steep learning curve), and had little knowledge of generic conventions and certain porn personas.

I recently returned to the film, and I loved it the second time around, but I think it's important to also note that the rape scenes are indeed distressing, the necrophilia is disappointing and upsetting after witnessing Vita Valdez's sexual autonomy, Big Bird (Eric Edwards) is a misogynistic creep, and in general the film has a seedy feel to it that's hard to shake during the first half.

Nevertheless, the film's second half redeems many of the nasty feelings you might acquire at the beginning, and I found it to be a rather progressive film in a lot of ways, particularly through the character of Surka/Sally (Samantha Fox) who, as a re-imagining of the original novel's Mina, suggests that active female sexuality is not something to be condemned like it is in the Stoker text. There is a lot more to say about this film -- the way it exposes the religious/institutional forces that oppress Surka, Vanessa Del Rio's Latina persona as subversive racial performativity, the homosocial/homoerotic conflation of blood and semen (displaced in the novel, but rendered literal in the film) -- but I won't bore you with details. Writing this chapter, looking at these films while thinking about adaptation, Victorian culture, and genre, has really enabled me to think in more complex ways about texts that formerly may have made me uncomfortable, and I'm really happy I have this blog to look back on as a way of analyzing my thoughts as they formulate and develop.

Suffice to say, the film is nasty, and at times problematic, but I didn't give it it's due the first go around, and wanted to say "my bad."

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