Posts tagged “porn

BLU-RAY REVIEW: THE LOST FILMS OF HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS (2013)

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Herschell Gordon Lewis is a legendary director, one that I have met and chatted with on more than one occasion, and could not be a nicer man around. Then one remembers that he has directed countless cult films such as BLOOD FEAST, TWO THOUSAND MANIACS!, COLOR ME BLOOD RED, and THE WIZARD OF GORE—And those are just (more…)


Convention Coverage: EXXXOTICA Expo 2015 Chicago

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I decided to give the EXXXOTICA Expo a try this year, as I go to conventions all the time, they have mostly been for horror & cult films or comic book conventions; EXXOTICA was my first porn star convention. As stated on their event page, (more…)


BOOK REVIEW: THE PORNOGRAPHER’S DAUGHTER by Kristin Battista-Frazee

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I finished reading Kristin Battista-Frazee’s THE PORNOGRAPHER’S DAUGHTER: A Memoir of Childhood, My Dad, and Deep Throat last night around dinnertime, usually ending up being the time my girlfriend gets home from work. I told her I really wanted to (more…)


CINEMA WASTELAND COVERAGE 2013: DAY 1

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My day of driving to Strongsville, OH for Cinema Wasteland with my girlfriend/official website photographer Stepha and horror-afficianado Brian began early Friday morning before dawn as we left the confines of the Southwest Side of Chicago, IL. With only a few minor mishaps, our tiny trio of terror-fiends made it all the way to the Super 8 where we were staying without incident. After we checked in to our hotel room, we went (more…)


SHU-IZMZ RADIO: Interview with MICHAEL LEE STEVER

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Actor, Director, Cameraman, Editor, and Producer MICHAEL LEE STEVER so graciously had a chance to talk with Shu about several of his latest freelance film projects such as SATURDAY NIGHTMARES: The Ultimate Horror Expo of All Time! (2010), RESURRECTING CARRIE (2012), and most recently, a short film on actress Jan Broberg entitled JAN BROBERG’S GUIDE TO THESPIANS, SOCIOPATHS, & SCREAM QUEENS! To check out the video, head over (more…)


PORN and METAL= AWESOME!

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vanessa del rioI am a few days late in hearing about this news, mostly because I do have “internet blackout”, as I call it, when I am at work because I am busy working the high-profile career of working in a movie and video game record shop in Chicago AND my “smart phone” just took a nose dive into technical retardation by crapping out on me and forcing me to whip it to the ground in a fit of unbridled anger and rage, BUT this is a bit of news right up ol’ Shu’s alley and suitable for SHU-IZMZ. As readers know, I have a (more…)


SHU-IZMZ RADIO: DAVE KOSANKE of LIQUID CHEESE FANZINE Interview

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SHU-IZMZ has known of Dave Kosanke, head honcho of his very own zine entitled LIQUID CHEESE FANZINE, for quite some years now, but only just last year actually bothered to pick up an issue (ISSUE #33) at Flashback Weekend a few months ago when Dave was working at the Synapse Films booth selling dvds from Synapse, as well as his zine. After hanging with him at a mutual friend’s (Jon Kitley of KITLEY’S KRYPT) parties on Halloween and various horror peeps engagements, I felt it was high time I had let listeners (more…)


SHU-IZMZ RADIO: Cinema Sewer’s ROBIN BOUGIE Interview

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cinema sewerFolks may have listened to my first interview I conducted with the extremely talented artist and immensely knowledgeable film buff at CINEMA SEWER, the one and only, Robin Bougie. Well. since the latest issue of Cinema Sewer was out and on sale, along with the companion piece portraying Robin’s sleazier side of things in Sleazy Slice, I thought it only fitting to (more…)


BOOK REVIEW: BENEATH CONTEMPT AND HAPPY TO BE THERE: THE FIGHTING LIFE OF PORN KING AL GOLDSTEIN by Jack Stevenson

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BeneathContemptWhen one thinks of the name AL GOLDSTEIN, if they even know who the man is, they may describe him using the words “pornographer”, “pervert”, “vile”, or “scumbag”. Let’s not forget “arrogant”, “loudmouthed”, and “obnoxious”. To some, he may be all of those things. I, personally, do not know. I have never met the man, and probably may never. Sadly (or some may say fortunately), I first heard of the man and his notorious underground sex publication (more…)


SHU-IZMZ RADIO: Interview with Author ROBERT ROSEN

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Following  the review of BEAVER STREET: A HISTORY OF MODERN PORNOGRAPHY, I felt compelled to have a chat with the author, Robert Rosen, about his 16 dirty, dirty years working as a writer, editor, and…well…pornographer in the porn magazine industry. Readers of SHU-IZMZ know what affinity we have here for boobs, blood, and bush—while there isn’t really any blood in the porn-tastic memoir (not of the stabbing or slashing variety, anyhow!), all topics and subjects covered were extremely relevant for all parties interested.

Here is the download link for the interview, but I must warn you (more…)


BLU-RAY REVIEW: THE IMAGE (1975)

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Radley Metzger, hailed as “one of the pioneers of American adult cinema“, brings us an S&M-themed art house film, The Image, that pushes the boundaries of decency and plunges viewers neck-deep into a sordid world of perversion, voyeurism, and deep, dark fantasies. Wait, some of you readers out there may be thinking this is some of what SHU-IZMZ is all about: perversion, voyeurism, and deep, dark fantasies. Just throw in gore, horror, and sleaze and one has just summed up the core ideals and goals of this website. All of this is true. The very talented Radley Metzger just propels the creativity of his films to an unfounded level within erotic films that carefully border between hardcore porn and softcore porn.

RADLEY METZGER

As I said in my review of Metzger’s Score, there is a great deal of taboo subjects of a sexual nature explored in Metzger’s films. In Score (see review), bi-sexuality was the topic of choice (mixed in was the “swinger” lifestyle of having multiple partners in sex shared with one’s significant other) and with The Image (put out on Blu-ray by Synapse films), Metzger explores S&M and does so in a very intriguing and roundabout sort of way. The film is based on the classic novel “L’Image” by Catherine Robbe-Grillet (under the pseudonym of Jean de Berg).

The Image starts out with a party in which Jean (Carl Parker, The Score) is attending. At the party, Jean happens to set his gaze upon the very beautiful Anne (Rebecca Brooke as Mary Mendum, Laura’s Toys, Misty), who happens to be a sex slave to his friend, Claire (Marilyn Roberts, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Skateboard). When Jean voices his interest in the lovely Anne, Claire decides that the two should meet and the rest of the film is scene after scene of Claire imposing sexual degradation showing off her extreme domination of Anne for Jean’s benefit, as well as her own.

Claire (Marilyn Roberts) and Anne (Rebecca Brooke as Mary Mendum)

Normally, I would be only interested in this film for the sole fact that there is a great deal of nudity, both male and female full-frontal, as well as some very kinky scenes of voyeurism but Radley Metzger, as he did with Score, adds a bit of class and artful expression to his films I am finding out. As much as I can get bored easily with erotic stories with their banal plots and story lines (see my reviews for several of the Emanuelle films), Metzger’s films always cease to amaze me with his unique spin and twist on how he makes films. Interestingly enough, my opinion of Metzger’s films varies vastly with another very well-known critic (also from Chicagoland area by the name of Roger Ebert) who loathes most, if not all of his films. In fact, I am currently in the process of reading one of his books which is comprised of only movies he deems to have sucked. Also, by no means am I insinuating that I, Shu, is anywhere on the same level of writing, critiquing, and knowledge of film as the esteemed Roger Ebert is- I am just stating that I have much better taste in films sometimes!

Metzger manages to use a very sexy sounding and catchy theme song- “Image” written by British composer Brian Bennett (first gaining notoriety as drummer of the band The Shadows)- almost every time Jean (whose character is also narrating the whole film and at times adds a certain cheesy element to the whole affair) is privy to Anne getting aroused sexually each time Claire publicly commands her to do sexually explicit acts for her and Jean’s pleasure. Anne, as described by Claire, is a young model that is owned by her and gives Claire much pleasure. For the most part, this is absolutely true. In fact, the whole plot of the film really just revolves around Claire showing off Anne’s blonde, fluffy, bush (she never wears panties) to Jean and then either punishing her physically (which gives Anne great pleasure) for taking some sort of pleasure in the act or allowing her to be sexually violated by Jean or by Claire. The film really is just a piece of adult filmmaking history, created around the Golden Age of Porn in the mid-70’s by a ground-breaking director responsible for such classic sex-themed features , hard-core and soft-core films, such as Therese and Isabelle (1968), Carmen, Baby (1967), and Camille 2000 (1969)-all of which were shot in Europe- as well as The Lickerish Quartet (1970), Little Mother (1972), and Score (1974). Metzger also learned to adapt to the current trends in the United States once hard-core films came to dominate the U. S. adult film market. This started to occur after the success of Deep Throat (1972). Some of the very explicit features Metzger directed under the pseudonym “Henry Paris” included the films The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann (1975), Naked Came the Stranger (1975), The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976), and Barbara Broadcast (1977).

Granted, there are some elements to The Image that I found to be somewhat annoying (such as Carl Parker’s narrating a good portion of the film or the manner in which scenes or segments were broken up via scene or chapter titles edited as if the movie were a play of some sorts), but overall, the cinematography (René Lefèvre), sexually explicit scenes of S&M involving whips, chains, public humiliation and voyeurism, and acting felt as if those in the film really were getting turned on by all this sordid imagery and sexual acts-and maybe they were!

Rebecca Brooke is being punished for being a naughty girl!

One of my favorite scenes in the film, for there are a few of them, is when Claire takes Anne and Jean to a famous rose garden. Once there, Claire informs Jean that Anne gets wet when she fingers the inner petals of a rose. I found the scene’s imagery to resemble the finger of the lips of the vagina and believe Metzger filmed the scene as he did to mirror my thoughts. The scene is so highly erotic, yet harmless looking upon first sighting. I found it very unique in the manner in which Metzger directs the actor and actresses in The Image for this particular scene. The sexual tension is so thick in this scene that one can cut it with a knife. Metzger does a fine job of filming very tense scenes, cutting the camera back and forth between close-ups of Anne (Brooke), back to Jean (Parker) for his reaction which usually involves him licking his lips in anticipation of getting some action from Anne, and then back to Claire (Roberts) whom is deriving great pleasure in the whole affair. It is scenes such as this one that made the film far more interesting and unique than I thought it ever could be.

I may have found this film to be entertaining for other reasons than were intended by Metzger, but I can’t say that for sure. I saw the film to be just as humorous as it was erotic, primarily in how Metzger takes scenes of voyeurism that could easily be along the plot-lines of a XXX feature that is just broken up by scenes of hard-core fucking mixed in with some atrociously delivered lines of dialogue, but because the film has a certain classiness to it by having actors instead of adult film cast whose expertise is in the act of sex and not delivering award-winning performances in the area of acting. I found Metzger’s The Image to be seriously exploring the topics of sadism and masochism as well as keeping me amused on a humorous level only those that know me personally can understand, if even then.

Let's see if Anne is wearing any panties!

For instance, the scene in which Jean and Anne go out alone (minus the company of Claire) to shop for lingerie for Anne. Jean tells Anne to try out the lingerie he has picked out for her, which happens to be crotchless. He lets the sales clerk (Valerie Marron as Yvette Hiver) know that he wants one in the shape of (makes upside down triangle shape with his hands) so as not to cover the beauty. At this moment, I began to laugh uproariously. Was that reaction intended by the director? I probably don’t think so but that is the reaction that I got out of the scene and for me it was a positive one. I really can’t say if I would have even reacted differently had I seen the film back in the mid-70’s as a man in his 30’s. Whose to say, maybe I still would have had the same reaction. I can’t say I understand how individuals derive pleasure from pain, as evidenced in many of the S&M scenes involving Anne getting whipped by Claire, but to each his, or her, own. These scenes were not extremely graphic so if one can get by them, they do not encompass a large portion of the film. The scene continues on as Anne is directed to orally pleasure the sales clerk while the sales clerk orally pleases Jean. It was, to say the least, one hot scene and more along the lines of what one would encounter in the world of XXX films and there always somewhat skeptical views of reality.

As for the extra features on the beautiful new high-definition restoration of The Image, created directly from the 35mm camera negative, boasts a 1.85:1 ratio, a remixed 5.1 surround soundtrack, the original 2.0 mono soundtrack, isolated music and effects track, the director’s filmography, liner notes, and English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired. As for special features go, I was sort of disappointed. I wanted a director’s commentary by Radley Metzger himself, or at least some sort of behind the scenes footage and interview with Metzger. I am a big fan of director commentaries and/or interviews with cast and crew. I will say that the print looks exquisite on Blu-ray and in high-definition. I know that there already is an older box set release with Metzger’s films on dvd and I think that the collector’s will want to update their Metzger collection with the new crop of Blu-rays that Metzger’s films are coming out on.

The Image explores the subject of S&M in a way that only Radley Metzger can explore it. If anything, Metzger’s The Image is a part of adult cinema history and would add to anyone’s adult film or erotica collection. For beautiful cinematography in a film whose scenes and camera shots seem to be filmed each as a separate photograph, The Image is as beautiful as it is ugly.


REVIEW: SCORE (1974)

Cult Epics has picked up another fine movie to be released for the first time totally uncut with Score, a sexploitation film directed by artsy-fartsy soft-core/hardcore porn auteur Radley Metzger, to be released out on Blu-ray and, once again, have given another release the red carpet treatment in terms of extra features and a wonderful looking high-def transfer. Score was made during the “porn chic” fad in the ’70s, also known as the Golden Age of Porn. Some other porn films made during this era were Deep Throat, The Devil in Miss Jones, and Behind the Green Door. A couple of these films were even played in some mainstream movie theaters, such as Metzger’s Score and Gerard Damiano’s The Devil in Miss Jones. One of my favs from this “golden era” was Debbie Does Dallas. The playfulness of the film holds a tender smart in my penis..err…I mean heart. Metzger is known for giving his films a very fresh and artistic approach to them. This film, Score, definitely could be considered a period piece for the ’70s with its look and feel.  I found while watching Score, a story about a sexually-liberated swinging couple who decide to place a bet with each other concerning their liberated views on swinging and exploring ones’ carnal desires and see if a newlywed couple (married only a year) will succumb to their advances and way of life. The film garnered interest for me because of Lynn Lowry, who plays Betsy, the almost frigid yet curious young wife to the uber-gay Eddie and his repressed homosexuality. Lowry, who in the film has a very large nun fixations, actually has been in some of my favorite horror films, many of which have achieved some sort of cult status, such as George A. Romero’s The Crazies and the 2010 remake (as the woman on the bike), the cult-fav I Drink Your Blood (1970) where she was not even credited, Cronenberg’s They Came From Within where she played a nurse, and Cat People (1982). The film that got the attention of director Metzger and led to her being cast for the film was her work in Sugar Cookies (1973), another soft-core sex film. Eddie (Calvin Culver a.k.a. Casey Donovan), to me, looked like he could have been the poster-boy for a gay male erotica magazine with names like “Coltboy” or “Hotpants“.

Nun fetishes and cowboy accessories in SCORE

Elvira (Claire Wilbur) and Jack (Gerald Grant), playing the somewhat bizarre swinging couple who are looking to screw anything walking on two legs (which I guess is not too hard for them since everyone in the film is attractive) and make a bet with each other that they can seduce an extremely naive young newlywed couple. The film Score was actually adapted from Jerry Douglas’ New York City Off-Broadway stage play about multiple seductions and moved the setting from New York to a Mediterranean setting instead. The film has a very European look to it as the swinging couple of Elvira and Jack invite the young couple of Eddie and Betsy over to their lavish villa on the Riviera. Originally, the Off-Broadway play took place in an apartment in Queens, NY but Metzger made the choice to film it in Yugoslavia (Croatia) so as to give the film a much more colorful look and to open up the play a bit. I, personally, feel that if the film had taken place in an apartment in Queens, NY that the movie would have looked more like a porno film, depending on how fancy the interior of the apartment was, of course. It would have to have been a very classy and swanky spread or else the film would have seemed like a dirty sexcapade

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Lynn Lowry

The film was made during a time period in the ’70s when not only the Golden Age of Porn existed but sexual freedom was at its high. It was a period before the A.I.D.S. epidemic had hit in the ’80s and sexual freedom was at an all-time high. The film Score was unique to me in regards to how Metzger used elements of comedy within the film, most of it being delivered with deadpan serious expressions. One had to be paying attention to the dialogue for there are no pauses or musical direction from the soundtrack to signify any elements of humor.

The setting, soundtrack, and camerawork in Score are top-notch and Metzger’s use of the title track to the movie, “Where is the Boy?” (which sort of sounds like a Rolling Stones rip-off), was performed by two boys that the director met while filming the movie in Yugoslavia (now Croatia). If one does not care for the title track to the film, then be wary, for the song is played incessantly throughout the whole picture. I felt that the song gave the film a sort of hippie atmosphere to the movie and couple that with Metzger’s creative camera angles during the sex scenes throughout Score, the elements combined add up to a free-loving and experimental sexual revolution.

I would also like to add that having watched this film as a straight heterosexual male, there is probably just about the same amount of male nudity as there is female nudity within the film. The nudity that I am talking about is full-frontal, both male and female, and this is the uncut version of the film which has never before been released to my knowledge and I was kind of surprised to see some scenes in which oral sex between two males was shown in a very X-rated type seen. If one is homophobic or just not all that comfortable with watching a great amount of gay male sex action, than this movie may have one skipping through certain segments or finding the film overall just not that interesting or their type of film. It would be a shame because Metzger’s film is really a piece of art and full of very subtle humor throughout. The film really tackles Eddie’s conflict with being sexually attracted to men as much as, if not more, than he is to women. The subject of queer style and dress is also addressed in the film using some quite brazen word choices, even for this day and age. One such piece of dialogue between Jack and Eddie lightly touch upon this:

Jack: Say, that’s a nice looking ring.

Eddie: Do you like it? I wasn’t sure I liked it. I thought it looked a little queer.

Jack: Queer strange or queer faggoty?

Eddie: Queer faggoty.

No sexual innuendo here....

Interestingly enough, Radley Metzger began his career as a straight filmmaker in the sense that he began learning the craft of filmmaking while the military. He also edited trailers for Janus Films, at the time, a big distributor of foreign films. After having some failure on some of his more “personal” projects, he decided that there was more money and success to be made within the exploitation and sex film market and Metzger went on to distribute I Spit On Your Grave and I, A Woman-both classics today. I Spit On Your Grave went on to be remade and given a nationwide distribution in movie theaters all across America. Who would have thought that a film whose plot is solely centered around a woman’s revenge after being raped and sexually degraded continually by a group of men would be the subject for a major studio remake. Go figure.

Shot in only six-weeks in 1972, Score is a unique film (especially for its time) to explore bisexuality. By no means is this writer an expert on Sexploitation films, but through my research I found out that no other films of mainstream potential ever really fully explored a bisexual swinging couple. I don’t mean to say that this topic has never come up before in a film before, but it has never been so fully explored as it is in the film Score and done so in such an artful and creative way. Score is one of the few films in which the actual shots and angles of specific scenes themselves seem to have a playful candor when viewed on the screen. Elements such as this are some of the things that I believe really set the film apart from others covering the same subject- sexual, bisexual, romance, or otherwise.

As the film progresses with Elvira and Jack each individually exploring Betsy and Eddie’s turn-ons, fetishes, and (at times) buried sexual desires (in the case of Eddie and his blatant homosexual tendencies he is constantly fighting and suppressing), dress-up time evolves into a display of sexual liberation. Betsy is privy to living out her fantasy of a nun fetish that Elvira is only so happy to accommodate her with and Eddie is slowly falling to the homoerotic ploys that Jack is bombarding Eddie with in the form of playing a porn or stag film of some type and standing in front of the screen while positioning his crotch where the flaccid penis is located in the film. Costumes brought out for dress-up time include a nun’s habit, a sailor suit, a sex-slave outfit, and some cowboy accessories. I personally felt that the film balanced the erotic scenes nicely with the comedic elements and arc of the film.

The introduction of the telephone repairman Mike (Carl Parker) in the beginning of the film, as well as towards the end of the film, introduced an outsider who one initially views as a horny male heterosexual but viewers find out may have just swayed to one way or the other from our sexually liberated swinging couple’s inclinations. Originally, the character of Mike was played by action star Sylvester Stallone for the Off Broadway production of Score, but director Radley Metzger felt that Stallone was too “ethnic” and didn’t fit the European sensibility of the picture. Interestingly, Claire Wilbur originally played Elvira in the Off-Broadway stage production of Douglas’ play and was the only cast member from the play to reprise her part in the movie.

Here is an excerpt of dialogue that I felt was pretty funny and reminded me of stoners and potheads worldwide:

Betsy: Am I stoned yet?

Elvira: I don’t think so.

Betsy: Then lets play Chopsticks anyway. [Betsy plays Chopsticks on the piano]

Betsy: I don’t remember the words…

But my favorite subtle line of dialogue in the film occurs between Betsy and Elvira while they are undressing and putting on outfits for dress-up:

[Betsy puts on crotchless panties and a frontless bra]

Betsy: Why don’t I just wear nothing?

Elvira: That would be vulgar.

I will say that the special features included in the blu-ray are pretty awesome. Included on the disc is:

On the set of The Score – A 25 minute featurette with Claire Wilbur, Lynn Lowry, Cal Culver and Radley Metzger Keeping Score with Lynn Lowry – A 20 minute new interview

Audio commentary with Michael Bowen and Radley Metzger Trailers

As I have said time and time again, I am always a big fan of an audio commentary on films that include the director and was happy that Radley Metzger is part of Score’s. The extra features within the Blu-ray disc should appease fans of supplemental footage, especially the portion of the disc that show some behind the scenes footage and shots in the On the set of The Score with Claire Wilbur, Lynn Lowry, Cal Culver, and Radley Metzger.

Score is a piece of filmmaking and sexploitation history and one of the last soft-core titles that Radley Metzger directed. The sex depicted in the film may be “tame” in comparison to more modern-day soft-core flicks, but there is no mystery to what is being sucked, stroked, poked, and explored throughout the film. The film is definitely ahead of its time and a classic in that right. Even if the bisexuality may be too much for one to stomach (homophobes) or get accustomed to, it will then serve as an eye-opener to those who may be uncomfortable in regards to their own sexuality and carnal desires. I recommend this film purely for its comedy, it’s cult appeal as well as its unique European look and feel, and finally for the taboo subject-matter that it explored far ahead of its time.