Sunday, January 31, 2021

Movie Play Ad of the Week: SECTION 8 (1971)

Live performances of SECTION 8, Andy Milligan's stage play about homosexuality in the military (written under his Gerald Jackson pseudonym), began on May 25th, 1971 at the Jewel Theatre, one of Chelly Wilson's all-male porn cinemas.
Although SECTION 8 ran for several weeks, Wilson wasn't interested in letting Milligan stage another show in her 3rd Avenue movie house, so the following year his next explicit production, COCTEAU, was mounted at the Players Theatre. Film versions of that and also BLACK MIRROR, a play by Welsh actress Jackie Skarvellis (THE BODY BENEATH, THE RATS ARE COMING - THE WEREWOLVES ARE HERE) that Milligan directed at Bastiano's Studio around the same time, were announced in Back Stage but there's no evidence that either show was ever captured on film.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Endangered List updates!

We have several new Endangered List entries that have been waiting in the wings for a while, but before we post those we thought we'd better do a quick recap of last year's finds.
Vinegar Syndrome's Black Friday 2020 sale unveiled a double feature Blu-ray from AGFA pairing THE DIRTY DOLLS and THINGS TO COME, two films on our Endangered List which we also screened in Austin as part of the Endangered Fest (March 23, 2013) and Endangered Fest II (February 20, 2015), respectively.
In fact, it was during that first Endangered Fest that we introduced contemporary audiences to Craig S. Denney's THE ASTROLOGER, and the big surprise of the second Fest was finding out that THINGS TO COME is partly comprised of softcore footage from the Austin-shot SEXUAL FANTASIES U.S.A. (1973).
Ten years ago this week we did an Endangered List post about TOWING, and we followed it with a Movie Ad of the Week entry seven years later. The so-called comedy is now available to view on Amazon Prime.
Case File #43, EDEN CRIED, was filmed in 1965 but premiered on June 7, 1967 at the Ritz Theater in Newburgh, NY, the hometown of co-star Carole Holland. A release through the Walter Reade Organization didn't happen, and by the time the film was submitted for an MPAA rating in summer 1971 it had been re-edited and updated with smartass narration by a Jack Nicholson soundalike who makes fun of the movie. A 16mm print of this version is now available from Sinister Cinema.
Gary Kent's SECRET PLACES, SECRET THINGS was found a few years ago, but we finally got around to watching it in '20. It's a good, episodic softcore drama (with some humor) that its producer, Mike MacFarland, remade a decade later as PINK MOTEL.
We followed that up with WATCH OUT FOR THE BUMMER, a warning we unfortunately didn't heed. The less said about this bummer, the better.
We weren't at the Pandemonium Picture Show at the Skyline Drive-In in Shelbyville, IN last September, but TOS contributor Marc Edward Heuck made it out for that event and reported that one reel of HAPPILY EVER AFTER (Case File #149) was shown in the dead of night, along with a collection of rare soft-X trailers, "after most of the less hardy souls had gone home."
More news from Indiana: our friend Don Zessin called one night with a full report on AIN'T THAT JUST LIKE A HONKEY, which he described as one of the worst movies he's ever sat through. We were under the impression this was a Wildman Steve standup comedy performance film, since the ads referred to it as "the party record movie," but even as grim as that sounds, the truth is much, much worse. This is actually a black-and-white, Florida-shot nudie first released in 1968 as CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL...
...the CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL in the ad above, not the one below...
...which is a 1966 reissue of LOLA'S MISTAKE, the adults-only version of THIS REBEL BREED (1960) with the added nudie footage. We know of at least two other titles for that, but CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL was a new alias to us and - as of tonight - not filed with the IMDb. Anyway, we'll clean up that mess another time, perhaps as a Movie Ad of the Week (unless another subscriber gets to it first). Now back to that other CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL, the subject of this Variety article from May 15, 1968...
...the one that did big business, earned great grosses and was held over in New York, Miami and Providence, according to this ad...
Eight years after it was made, with midnight movies all the rage, there was an attempt to turn CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL into a "spoof" as detailed in this Boxoffice item from Apr 28, 1975...
Apparently that version failed to catch on with the cult crowd, because the lone booking we were able to find was in Blytheville, Arkansas in February 1976... producer/director Charles Harder turned his attention toward black filmgoers next, hiring Miami-based comedian and radio personality "Wildman Steve" Gallon to appear in comical interruptions that were then sprinkled throughout this moth-eaten sex "spoof"...
...or "sort of black-humor laugh-in" as it's referred to in the above Boxoffice article from June 28, 1976...
...and voila! - "Laff riot of the year!"

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: FURY OF ROAMING MONK (1981)

The Taiwanese martial arts movie YOU FANG HE SHANG (1980) a.k.a. SHAOLIN MONK FIGHTS BACK and THE WANDERING MONK, was released to U.S. theaters by Unifilm International beginning in 1981 as FURY OF ROAMING MONK.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Mystery Movie Solved! FARMGIRL FANTASIES (1980)

Back in April of 2010 we posted about an unknown Troma release titled FARMGIRL FANTASIES that had received an R rating in September 1980 but contained a lot of bogus credits in its advertising, including "Music by The Fertilizers" and "Photographed in Farm-O-Vision."
It took us almost 11 years, but we finally tracked down a pressbook with a plot synopsis...
...which enabled us to identify FARMGIRL FANTASIES as an R-rated cut of Mac Ahlberg's JUSTINE AND JULIETTE (1975), which had been released in a hardcore version as SWEDISH MINX by Cambist Films in 1977.
After 15 years of running Cambist, president and co-founder Lee Hessel closed the company in 1978 and brought SWEDISH MINX and CRY UNCLE! to Troma, where he also was an associate producer on their R-rated hit comedy WAITRESS!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: TO BE A ROSE (1981)

Filmed in the fall of 1973, William A. Levey's TO BE A ROSE - starring sexploitation starlet Sandra Dempsey - got picked up for distribution by Cinemation Industries in 1974, retitled THE PROSTITUTE, and submitted to the MPAA (which gave it an R rating). It was scheduled for a February '75 release that got pushed to June and then vanished from the schedule shortly before Cinemation filed for Chapter 11 in September. Company president Jerry Gross defaulted on loan payments of nearly $1.5 million the following March and two banks foreclosed, selling off Cinemation's library of 54 films at public auction (Sam Sherman's comments about that can be read here). Cannon acquired worldwide rights to the film at the 1981 Mifed Film Market and promoted it with this full-page ad in the October 14, 1981 issue of Variety. We don't know if the 1982 release from Cannon happened, but when Trans World Entertainment issued TO BE A ROSE on videocassette in 1988 the print that was used began with the Cinemation Industries logo and ended with the MPAA R rating tag.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Mystery Movie Solved! HUMDINGER!!! (1976)

Back in November, trusted Temple of Schlock correspondent Mike MacCollum took a break from bombarding us with PSYCHED BY THE 4D WITCH research to send out a text message in which he asked "Hey, is HUMDINGER!!! still a Mystery Movie?" We knew it was still a mystery to us, but we couldn't recall doing an actual Mystery Movie post about it (or other unknown quantities from Hemisphere Pictures, such as HANKY PANKY and WILLING WIVES). After a couple of minutes searching the archives we ascertained that we hadn't, and that Mike must've spotted the title in our PENTHOUSE PLAYGIRLS review, so we texted back "It sure is! Why, what have you found?" Within minutes we had the solution -- but before we share it with you, let's quickly recap what this HUMDINGER!!! business is all about.

HUMDINGER!!! debuted in U.S. theaters sans an MPAA rating in April 1976, but received a swift and fraudulent makeover in July to become CAPITOL HILL SECRETARIES after Representatives Joe Waggoner (D-Louisiana) and Allan Howe (D-Utah), in two separate incidents, were arrested for soliciting undercover police officers posing as prostitutes.

The co-feature, CONGRESSIONAL PLAYMATES, was a re-titling of the aforementioned Erwin C. Dietrich piece of crap PENTHOUSE PLAYGIRLS.

Mike's research turned up a Baton Rouge playdate in mid August '76 that was promoted with the newspaper ad below, which appears to be a CAPITOL HILL SECRETARIES ad with the HUMDINGER!!! title.
Further sleuthing by Mike uncovered a review by Sunday Advocate film critic Terence Adams, who went to see a movie called HUMDINGER!!! but instead got the CAPITOL HILL SECRETARIES title card attached to the head of - are you sitting down? - a dubbed European sex comedy set in 1814! And despite being lured in by a movie with the tag line "From Watergate to waterbeds," no one in the audience seemed to care when neither anachronism worked its way into a story that takes place in the immediate wake of Napoleon's defeat. From the plot details revealed in Mr. Adams' understandably confused review, Mike was able to identify the film as FRAU WIRTIN BLÄST AUCH GERN TROMPETE/THE LANDLADY ALSO LIKES TO BLOW THE TRUMPET (1970) a.k.a. SEXY SUSAN KNOWS HOW!, the fourth in a series of six Austrian-produced period costumers starring Hungarian actress Teri Tordai as Susanne “Sexy Susan” Delberg.

So that leaves two final mystery movies from Hemisphere Pictures, HANKY PANKY and WILLING WIVES, both of which first appeared in U.S. theaters in December 1976.
As for SMARTIE PANTS, we solved that mystery almost 15 years ago but multiple online sources still claim that it's the tenth installment of the “Schoolgirl Report” series of German softcore sex anthologies when it’s actually the fifth: SCHULMÄDCHEN-REPORT 5. TEIL – WAS ELTERN WIRKLICH WISSEN SOLLTEN/SCHOOLGIRL REPORT 5: WHAT PARENTS SHOULD REALLY KNOW (1973).

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: NEXT! a.k.a. THE NEXT VICTIM (1971)

In the early 1970s, several European productions were announced in the trades as coming soon from Gemini Pictures International. In addition to making their own films, Gemini acquired some completed European productions with the intention of starting their own distribution outfit, Gemini Releasing Corporation. For help in the U.S. market, they signed a deal with distributor Mel Maron to handle their pictures stateside through his Maron Films Ltd., but only two of the films -- Harry Kümel’s DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS and Sergio Martino’s THE SECRET VICE OF MRS. WARDH -- ever saw the light of day under this agreement.

THE SECRET VICE OF MRS. WARDH opened in New York on August 6, 1971 as NEXT! (above) and returned to area theaters four months later as THE NEXT VICTIM (below) on December 10, 1971.

The president and founder of Gemini was Howard J. Zuker, a producer under his birth name but more familiar to movie fans as a character actor under the pseudonym Zack Norman (ROMANCING THE STONE, CADILLAC MAN). If you read Variety in the '80s you'll remember his CHIEF ZABU ad, which ran for at least four years.
TOUCH ME NOT, a moderately engrossing potboiler starring Lee Remick that was filmed in Barcelona, was scheduled as the third Gemini/Maron release in March ‘72, but Maron filed for Chapter 11 in August of that year and the remaining Gemini films suddenly faced an uncertain future. Announced as an Avco Embassy pickup in late 1973, the U.S. and Canadian rights to TOUCH ME NOT were instead acquired by Wolf Schmidt’s Atlas Films sometime in 1974 for a first-quarter ’75 release. It was retitled THE HUNTED in '76 before its sale to television.
ZENABEL, a sexy action-comedy co-directed by Ruggero Deodato and Mickey Knox and starring Lucretia Love, John Ireland and Lionel Stander, was released in the U.S. as THE NAKED GENERAL by Starmaster International in 1974...
...but the others weren’t so lucky in that they bypassed American theaters entirely: LA PENTE DOUCE (U.S. title announced as THE SWEET DECLINE); L’ETREINTE a.k.a. GISELE (U.S. title announced as IMPULSION); the spaghetti western LA TAGLIA è TUA...L’UOMO L’AMMAZZO IO / THE REWARD'S YOURS...THE MAN'S MINE (U.S. title announced as EL PURO); the offbeat World War II story E I CANNONI TUONANO ANCORA/AND THE BOMBS KEPT FALLING (U.S. title announced as THE DARK OF THE DAY, then WHICH WAY DO YOU DIG?), starring Zuker/Norman, Martin Priest and Robert Woods; and most notably LE MOINE/THE MONK, written by Luis Buñuel and starring Franco Nero, Nathalie Delon and Nicol Williamson, which actually got released in Canada as a sexploitation pic titled CONFESSIONS OF A FEMALE MONK.