“If I must just choose the method of my demise, I choose…
Death By Cinema!” -Britt Rhuart
Day 10 – Sleazemania (Part 1)
I want to talk about a group of people who don’t nearly get the respect they deserve in the film world, film preservationists. These are the men and women who see films, often forgotten in the projection light bulb of time, who do there best to make sure those films are saved. Nowadays, studios and universities, such as USC and UCLA, do this, but for years, film was often under the loving protection of private film collectors. That is why we still hope to one day find a long lost print of a film like King Kong Appears in Edo, Humor Risk, or London After Midnight one day appear out of someone’s collection. Sadly, all the films I just mentioned are likely gone forever, but it’s the film preservationist’s job to see that more films are not lost. Now, there are many good examples, but in the world of exploitation, off the top of my head, I can only think of two. Mike Vraney is the man who founded Something Weird Video. It is because of him that we have such class-icks commonly available to us. Regular readers of my posts know I have a love/hate relationship with Something Weird, though mostly love. Almost all their movies are terrible, but they can be tons of fun, and the bonus features are amazing. In other words, the DVDs are an experience, and one I often take up with relish. Sadly, Vraney died in early 2014, but Something Weird is soldiering on without him. I can only assume that’s what he would have wanted, for the legacy of these films to continue on, because exploitation cinema is bigger than one man. It’s something the should and needs to be preserved.
The other preservationist is the man I want to talk about today and his name is Johnny Legend. Legend has had a long and varied career, doing everything from being a professional wrestling manager (one of his films is the much beloved Andy Kaufman/Classy Freddie Blassie parody of My Dinner With Andre, My Breakfast With Blassie) to an actor to being a fairly well known rockabilly artist. However, to me, Legend will always first be known as an exploitation film preservationist, often working with Rhino Entertainment, or just on his own. He reissues many forgotten films and film clips into bizarrely edited, rambling, incoherent DVDs that look like they were put together by someone on heavy drugs which, knowing Legend, is a distinct possibility. However, like Something Weird, you buy the DVDs for the experience and Legend almost always puts together a fun experience. He puts together topic ranging from sex to drugs to preserving the memory of the late, great Tod Slaughter, a fact of which I am immensely grateful, as I feel Slaughter needs more modern recognition.
The DVD I’ll be reviewing today is a series Legend issued throughout the 80s on VHS, Sleazemania. While the content hasn’t really been upgrade to DVD quality (still looks like a 5th generation VHS), it’s part of the gritty feel. And the nice thing about having the DVD is I have all three parts of Sleazemania. So I’ll be doing a review of each part on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of this month.
Random Thoughts While Watching the Film:
What did I just say about VHS quality? The title card looks like it was punched up on a 40 year old Chyron machine (it probably was) with all the VHS magnetic static I could want. Glorious.
The first clip is a guy talking about a new film experience called Hypnovista, which was film technique to hypnotize the audience. During the ad, the guy actually pierces a girl’s arm to show “the power of suggestion.”
Here’s a trailer for Marihuana, a drug I’m sure was taken copiously while making the film. But I site a review I did last year that referenced the trailer, “So much has been written about this absurd film, as well as others like Reefer Madness and Assassin of Youth that I really don’t have to add too much more. But seriously it’s way over the top with it’s anti-drug message.”
Honestly, though I had forgotten Marihuana featured full frontal nudity.
Here’s a clip of a woman doing a hula striptease, amongst other strip routines. The snake girl is the most unique. This is just a commercial letting people know about the history of the penny arcade peep show.
Here’s a trailer for… I have no clue. Some Hispanic movie that mixes sexuality with religious torture from what looks like the 30s. Pretty shocking for the 30s, if true. A little kid saves his… mother?… from being raped, by stabbing her attacker once in the shoulder with a penknife. He naturally dies, she asks “What have you done?” like he did something bad and didn’t just save her from being raped, and then she’s hung nude by the arms begging God to give her strength. The title appears for literally half a second, “The Lash of the Penitente.” Well, I’m gonna have to see that at some point.
Here’s some nude bathers getting undressed. That’s the extent of these clips. The title of one clip is Hide Away Gal’s… Hide Away Gal’s what? Fix your grammar 75 year-old penny arcade peep show!
Here’s a trailer for the film The Flesh Merchant, in which a girl is dragged into the world of nude modeling and sexual slavery. Unfortunately, it’s shown in a good light for the first half of the trailer and the music stays the same, which sounds like the theme to a bad love story. And they literally spoiled the end of the film at the end of the trailer!
Here’s a trailer for the wrestling woman film Pin-Down Girls. They only show photos and girls working out, very little actual wrestling.
The opening of that trailer made me laugh. “Shocking! But! True!… Curfew Breakers!” A. That’s a bad title. B. Really, it’s that shocking and crazy? I literally though it was going to be a monster movie when I saw the open moments.
Here’s a trailer for the Ed Wood film Jailbait. Not a whole lot to say here, looks bad, but since it’s Ed Wood, I know it is.
Here’s a trailer for the film Malamu. It’s literally just an exploitative National Geographic style documentary on Africa with topless natives.
Next is a trailer for the film Vice Dolls. The announcer seems to be trying to explain prostitution without saying anything.
Here’s a a thing about monsters and equates Pay TV to “the monster in your living room”. It’s actually pretty funny.
Ooh, and ad for a spook show! I love the concept of spook shows and talked about them at length last year.
This is a creepy trailer. We look through a large keyhole to see The Smut Peddler. He looks like his face is covered in cheese, warts, and cheesy warts. He also sounds like the stereotype of Shylock. I will say, this is a fairly decent trailer for a movie that looks like crap. I may have to see it at some point. This film even calls itself an exploitation film. I can’t remember another film that actually does that.
Actual line: “One eye is for amateurs. You’re not an amateurs!”
This trailer for this next one is nothing special, except the announcer sounds like he’s trying to sell sex to college professors with his flowery language. The film is called Strange Rampage. It says I’ll never forget it. I already have.
Ooh, this next one’s in color! Fancy! The film is about “underage women who seduce older men, taken from the records of juvenile court.” There’s a name for that, it’s called statutory rape and I don’t what to see a sexploitaiton film about it! The film is called the Young Seducers and the title card is over a photo of a woman’s bush. It’s gross.
Here’s a cartoon to get people to go to the lobby and get a snack. I like this ad.
This is a trailer about swingers on an island called Sex and the College Girl. Apparently, they couldn’t afford a title card.
Finally, here’s a horror-ish one set in Hell, though it’s just really an excuse for a bunch of stripteases. The film’s called Orgy of the Dead. *looks it up* Oh, it’s the Ed Wood film. Weird that they don’t show or credit Vampira or Criswell.
Here’s that damn trailer for the sexploitation film, The Psychic again. Check out my review of it from a few days ago.
And here’s the trailer for Just For the Hell of It. Again, check out my review of that crappy film.
Now here’s the trailer for She Devil’s on Wheels, an HG Lewis movie about kick ass female bikers… why haven’t I watched this yet?!?
Now, here’s a trailer for probably the highest budgeted film thus far, Escape From Women’s Prison. Women in prison is actually a fairly big subset of exploitation films, though I haven’t seen many of them. This one looks like it could be okay to watch. It looks like it at least has a plot and some action. Plus it’s an 80s film.
There’s a trailer for the film Jail Bait Babysitter. That’s a bad title. The trailer is also badly edited and the lead woman (who’s 17, so depending on your state, legal) looks differently in each shot.
Here’s another women in prison film, but with a twist. It’s women in prison… in space!!! What a fun, bad concept. The costumes, props and sets all look so damn cheap! And a worm alien just popped out from in between that woman’s legs. The end of the trailer looks like the intro for a bad 80s show set in space, even though that goes on for too long. It ends with a woman saying, “Welcome aboard, Kitties.” No title is given. Luckily, the credits for the first Sleazemania tape are next, and they say the title is Prison Ship, directed by Fred Olin Ray (FOR’s middle name is actually spelled Olen, but is misspelled in the credits). It actually looks watchable-ish, though I probably will never watch it.
Anyway, that’s the first Sleazemania. I had fun watching it, though I think I’ll save my full comments for the film until I’ve watched all three at the end of the month, so stay tuned!
Tomorrow, I’ll review Hammer Films’ The Vampire Lovers!