Friday, February 27, 2015

Short Film: Help! My Snowman Is Burning Down (USA, 1964)

Here's quaint piece of Surrealism from the 1960s that once walked away with award nominations, including for an Oscar.  (Contrary to what is said all over the web, it did not win: it lost to Larry Sturhahn's Casals Conducts: 1964.) 
"An absurdist farce, with music by Gerry Mulligan and Bob Brookmeyer"; and, as the final credits of the short say, "The accident [...] was written produced and directed by CarsonDavidson." Davidson, as far as we can tell, though a productive filmmaker, only ever made one feature film: the unknown The Wrong Damn Film (1975),* starring Barry Bostwick.
In Help! My Snowman Is Burning Down, the gent in the hat is played by Bob Larkin, also found in bit parts from films ranging from Putney Swope (uncredited, 1969 / bouncing boobs & song) to Friday the 13th Part XI: Jason Lives (1986 / trailer I / trailer II). The exotic dancer is played by Dian Robertson, about who we know nothing. Do you? Please let us know.
Over at Oddball Films, they explain the short as follows: " Help! My Snowman Is Burning Down stands out as wholly unique in the annals of Academy history, for no nominated film can stake a claim to being as truly experimental and immersively engaging as Carson Davidson’s surreal masterpiece, melding Magritte with Duchamp, but maintaining its own perverse American sense of humor." More cute than substantial, less meaningful than entertaining, Help! My Snowman Is Burning Down is a fun blast from the past that, at about 9 minutes in length, doesn't overstay its welcome.


*According to TV Guide: "This sophomoric satire on politics came out in the wake of Watergate. Badly bungled from beginning to end, the film received only a few showings before mercifully disappearing without a trace."

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tank Girl (USA, 1995)


Based on the comic character created by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin, this movie is one of those films that works much better on video than it ever did in the cinema when it first came out (and couldn't help but fail to meet fan-boy/girl expectations).
Supposedly the studios butchered director Rachel Talalay's final version of Tank Girl, re-editing it to fit what they thought the public wanted, so perhaps one shouldn't castigate Talalay too much for her seemingly weak control of the material. Still, she was never really all that memorable of a feature-movie director — her other big screen credits being the less than impressive Ghost in the Machine (1993 / trailer) and the 6th Nightmare on Elm Street film, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991 / trailer) — and definitely seems more at home on the small screen, where she has remained (very busy) since Tank Girl came out and, well, tanked.
Now, twenty years later, Tank Girl reminds one a bit of Michael Sarne's Myra Breckinridge (1970 / trailer), another big-budget period piece that works more in spite of itself than anything else. Even Talalay's annoying tendency to pad her film with snippets from the original Tank Girl comics recalls Sarne's technique in Myra Breckinridge of inter-cutting incongruent scenes from old Hollywood films — a technique that works better in Sarne's now enjoyably dated plane wreck of a movie.
Lori Petty, like Thora "Super Star" Birch an actress with personality long in search of a career — anyone ever see Bates Motel (1987 / trailer), Route 666 (2001 / trailer) or Cryptid (2006 / trailer)? — takes to her character like a fish takes to water. Perfectly cast as the ultimate party girl, a shaven-headed punkette with more oneliners than pubic hairs, she obviously loved making this film and that definitely helps carry the film. Seeing her in action leaves one happy that the long since forgotten but then hot young actress of the time, Emily Lloyd, was tossed from the project. In turn, to look at the next name of the time, Malcolm McDowell, who started his career as a counter-culture favorite in such movies as If... (1968 / trailer), A Clockwork Orange (1971 / trailer) and O Lucky Man! (1973 / trailer) before sliding into eternal pay-the-rent mundanity — Does he say "No" to anything? — recreates his cut-and-dried megalomaniac bad guy characterization that he has come to specialize in since he derailed his semi-mainstream career with Caligula (1980 / trailer). Neither good nor bad, McDowell simply fits the role, which can also be said of Ice-T (3000 Miles to Graceland* [2001] and Tara [2003]) as the mutant kangaroo T-Saint. Sure he's fun, but then, so are all the other mutant kangaroos; casting him had less to do with any stroke of brilliance than it did probably with the hope of free publicity (much the same reason John Waters cast Traci Lords in the Talalay-produced John Waters' film Cry Baby [1990 / trailer], a great film that lives and breathes novelty casting).
* For some strange reason, the review of this flick is the most-read review on this blog — and has been for at least four years.
 
The story of Tank Girl? Well, imagine a motor-mouthed, high-sexed Mad Max with a vagina driving a tank while drinking cocktails, who, between changing outfits, teams up with mutant kangaroos — "bohemians dedicated to sex, poetry and partying," according to The Washington Post — to fight Big Business. Years from now — 2033, to be exact — on a world in which Bruce Willis failed to stop Armageddon (1998 / trailer), the comet has long since crashed into the planet and left behind a scorched earth in which water is the most valuable commodity. Caught illegally siphoning water by the Water & Power Company, Big Bad Boss Kesslee (McDowell) has all Tank Girl's friends at her home base wiped out but, for some strange reason, takes her prisoner and forces her to work in the mines. She hooks up with Jet Girl (an at-the-time unknown Naomi Watts, of Undertaking Betty [2002]) and falls in love with a tank (thus becoming "Tank Girl") before the two babes both escape. Hearing that her favorite little girl Sam (Stacy Linn Ramsower) wasn't killed in the W&P's raid but was instead sent to a brothel, Tank Girl's maternal instincts kick in and she sets out to save the little girl, an action that leads to a fabulous Cole Porter sing-along dance routine, probably the highpoint of the film and an example of how hilariously off the wall the film could've been.
Were the action a success, the film would've been much too short and neither Tank Girl nor Jet Girl would've hooked up with the Rippers, the group of mutant kangaroos who first can't decide if they should kill the two or bonk them, but finally team up with them for the big showdown against Kesslee and the Water & Power Company — and a lot more weirdness that, oddly, often seems like weirdness-lite. Still, no film can be all bad when the main character tends to say such wonderfully politically incorrect things like "You gotta think about it like the first time you got laid. You gotta go: 'Daddy, are you sure this is right'?" (A joke that would surely no longer make the final cut of any movie made today.)
Tank Girl is not a particularly intelligent film, and falls flat on its face much too often, but it does have a spunk and liveliness that makes it oddly appealing — in no small part thanks to Lori Petty. Good for a go with a six-pack, junk food and some sinsemilla.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

R.I.P.: Harry H. Novak, Part XIII: 1978–79


12 January 1928 — 26 March 2014

"When I was a kid, my Daddy told me, 'There's a buyer for everything.' And I lived to find out that he was right."
Harry H. Novak



Harry H. Novak, alongside David F Friedman (24 December 1923 — 14 February 2011) one of the great (s)exploitation kings of the last half of the 20th century, died 26 March 2014 at the age of 86.
A detailed career review of all the projects that the deceased Sultan of Sexploitation foisted upon the American public would be Sisyphean task at best and hardly possible, as no full and unequivocal list exists. What follows is a review of the films that we found that, for the most part, probably had Novak's involved somewhere along the way — and some that may not have. It is definitely not a complete list, and definitely not infallible, it is merely culled from sources reliable and unreliable that we found online. We also in no way suggest that the given release dates are the correct ones, they are merely the first ones we found.
If you know any we missed, feel free to send the title...

Go here for Part I
Go here for Part II: 1956-64
Go here for Part III: 1965-66
Go here for Part IV: 1967
Go here for Part V: 1968
Go here for Part VI: 1969
Go here for Part VII: 1970
Go here for Part VIII: 1971
Go here for Part IX: 1972
Go here for Part X: 1973
Go here for Part XI: 1974-75
Go here for Part XII: 1976-77



Thoroughly Amorous Amy
(1978, directed by Charles Webb)

Like so many porno films, the title is a burlesque of a mainstream movie, this time around the Julie Andrews' movie, Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967 / trailer).
Did Novak finger Thoroughly Amorous Amy? Dunno for sure, but over at AV Maniacs, a dude lists it and a few other Something Weird porno flicks of the Bucky Goes to the Movies series as Novak releases, and as we know that some of the listed are indeed Novak flicks, we'll give this one here the benefit of doubt and include it — although, in truth, we couldn't find any other reference that tied the two together and thus have big doubts that Novak had anything to do with this lightweight film from the Golden Age (though it is true that he and director Webb did work together on other projects).
The career of director Charles Webb — aka Chuck Angel, Charles De Santi, Charles De Santos, Charles DeSantos — spanned from the mid-Golden Age to the video age, and none of his films are considered "classics", though this one gets a bit more positive feedback than most of his others. Somewhere online, some dude named Cartman explains whom the movie might appeal to: "Ah, when porn films had theme songs! Not to mention lots of hair, polyester, bad dialogue and love handles. The titular star is rather cute in a fifth grade teacher sort of way. The rest of the cast... not so much. Couples might like this. Those seeking quick onanism should look elsewhere."
Jason S. Martinko's The XXX Filmography, 1968-1988 has the details to the complicated plot: "Amy (Tracy O'Neil) jogs through the streets of San Francisco and is followed back to her apartment by eight guys. She only manages to take on three of them. Her husband calls (Peter Johns of Wanda Whips Wall Street [1981 / NSFW trailer]) and says he's returning home from a trip. She services him, as well as a black policeman (Mick Jones), a vacuum cleaner salesman (Rock Steadie), the neighbor (Paul Thomas) and so on. It ends with an orgy including amyl nitrate sniffing."
The music to Thoroughly Amorous Amy is an early job by Rick Nowels, who began his career with movies like this and Charles Webb's The Liberation of Honeydoll Jones (1977, see Part XII) — he even appeared in a small part in Charles Webb's Honky Tonk Nights (1978, poster below) — but now works as a producer for big names. (Madonna, anyone? Lana Del Rey? Santana? Nelly Furtado?) We all have to start somewhere.



Little Orphan Dusty
(1978, dir. Bob Chinn & Jurdan Alexander)

AKA Dusty I and Jaws of Delight, the latter supposedly for a VHS release. In the case of this porno movie here, an online search at US Copyright Office (done 7 July 2014) reveals that Valiant International Pictures applied for a copyright to this movie — good enough a reason for us to take a look at it.
Dusty I is an early John Holmes (8 Aug 1944 — 13 Mar 1988, born John Curtis Estes) flick directed by the early industry legend Bob Chinn (aka Daniel Hu Song, Daniel Husong, Danny Hussong, Harry Who, Sparky Shayne, Robert Husong, Robert Chinn, Robert C. Chinn, R. Hussong, Wizard Glick, Bob Chin, Bob A. Lain) and the less-legendary Jourdan Alexander (aka Jack Wolfe, Jacov Jaacovi, Jordan Alexander, Jaacov Jaacovi). Chinn, born in Hawaii, USA, as Robert Husong on May 10, 1943, attended Santa Monica College and UCLA's film school and began making porn with his first (and uncredited) film, a "hidden camera" mockumentary entitled Sexus in Paradise (1970), which he also wrote, produced and narrated.
Chinn, who created the popular "Johnny Wadd" porn franchise starring John Holmes' mammoth meat — possibly including any of the following titles: Johnny Wadd (1971), Flesh of the Lotus (1971), The Blonde in Black Lace aka Johnny Wadd & His 13 Caliber Weapon (1972), Tropic of Passion (1973 / full NSFW hairy movie in 6.5 minutes), Fulfillment aka Johnny Wadd Does 'em All (1974), The Danish Connection (1974 / song), Tapestry of Passion (1976 / full NSFW film), Tell Them Johnny Wadd Is Here (1976 / in 12 minutes), Liquid Lips (1976), The Jade Pussycat (1977 / full NSFW film), China Cat (1978 / NSFW scene), Blonde Fire (1978), and The Return of Johnny Wadd (1986) — was, of course, the obvious inspiration behind Burt Reynolds' character "Jack Horner" in Boogie Nights (1997 / trailer). (Holmes also appears credited as "Johnny Wadd" in Rings of Passion [1973], Hot Summer Night [1974], Dear Pam [1976], Candi Girl [1979], and Honey Throat [1980], among other films, but the characters he plays are named differently.)
Trailer to
Wadd: The Life & Times of John C. Holmes (1998):

The illegal download site forumophilia explains the plot to Little Orphan Dusty: "Dusty (Rhonda Jo Petty) is a runaway teenage girl who gets attacked and gang-raped by a group of savage motorcyclists [led by Turk Lyon (12 Aug 1947 — 12 Dec 1990) of Hardgore (1976)]. She gets taken into the household of a sympathetic artist named Frankie (Holmes) whom she falls in love with, but has problems adjusting to his artistic and social lifestyle. Dusty and Frankie decide to get married, but the bikers haven't forgotten her and plan to crash the ceremony to commit more mayhem." 
Little Orphan Dusty is sometimes deemed a women's revenge flick ala They Call Her One Eye (1973 / trailer) or I Spit on Your Grave (1978 / trailer) because of all the rapes and shoot-out final, but the film glorifies rape more than it does criticize — Dusty even gets her rocks off when raped, despite her pleas of "No! No!" She also gets fisted by the only female biker of the gang, an act that Dusty later does to herself when reminiscing about the rape.
The former popularity of Rhonda Jo Petty (above) is undermined by the current unfamiliarity of her name, but then she did retire relatively early in her career. As ericaboyer.com explains it: "Rhonda Jo Petty entered the porn biz in 1978, and was immediately promoted as a 'Farrah Fawcett' [see below] look-alike. Mainly because she had long sandy blonde hair, and wore it like Farrah (a lot of girls did at that time), it sure wasn't because she looked like Farrah. Anyway, as a result, her first starring role in Little Orphan Dusty made that film a box office hit, but after that, many people discovered, she couldn't act. She looked good, with a great body, awesome rack & nice ass, but she couldn't be counted on to carry a film very far with her non-existent acting abilities. So for the bulk of her career in porn, she was a supporting player. That where she worked best, a scene or two in a film she could pull off with her sexual abilities. She was a down & dirty strumpet, with a mouth like a sailor. She liked to screw for the cameras, plain & simple. She shined much better in straight scenes than in lesbian scenes. She did an occasional anal, and interracial scene, and that was her niche. Never was she to make the top tier during her career, but she cranked out over 100 features during her 9 yr stint in front of the carnal cameras, and became a bonafide legend."
A possible clue to her lackluster performances can be gleaned from Petty's own words at Golden Goddesses: "You know, I always felt when I was working that a lot of the girls were there to prove their sexuality. It would just be the biggest turn-off to me. I couldn't stand it. Some of them were really screwed up. They just couldn't wait to work and they loved it, and they were just idiots in my eyes. I saw it as a job and you were there to work. I always had a good reputation for showing up on time. I was always a good worker and there was never a problem. I did pride myself on that fact — I always suited up and showed up. My dad instilled really good work ethics in me." (According to her interview at pornstarscenter, he also began beating her when she was only 8 months old.)
In any event, in regard to the movie Little Orphan Dusty, the Crude Dude is of the opinion that: "The movie ultimately is more of an unconventional romantic drama than an ultra violet biker sleazefest [...]. Not sure if there was some intention to hint to repressed sexuality by the directors [...], but either way the rapes are politically incorrect, appearing to be erotic as if trying to arouse the audience with forced-sex fantasies (would make a feminist's head explode). [...] It's a really simple movie, just about two people with a turbulent yet loving relationship getting annoyed by bikers, some light comedy thrown in, especially at the end. A decent addition to a classic hardcore sleaze collection but definitely not the Holy Grail."
The full NSFW film can currently be found here at XHamster. Little Orphan Dusty spawned one sequel, 1982's Little Orphan Dusty II, which seems to have disappeared.



Virgin Killer / Trauma
(1978, dir. Alberto Negrin)

"Someone with a cock this big raped Angela Russo and threw her in the river!"
Inspector Gianni Di Salvo (Fabio Testi)
as he holds up his hands to depict size


Trailer:

Could it be? Did Novak have anything to do with this Italo-Kraut production? We don't know for sure, and nowhere online could we find anything that links this flick with Novak — except for the JPG below of an issue of Boxoffice from 19 February 1979, which lists a film entitled Trauma as among the VIP films "Now available". (It should be perhaps mentioned that some of the films listed "Under production" — Miss Banana Split and Three Is Not Company — seem never to have been made, so the reliability of Novak's advertisement is open to question. Still, more than one website says that Novak had the US distributor rights to The Frenchman's Garden (1978), a Paul Naschy film, but simply never released it — a fate that may have happened to this movie here, too.)
But to return to Trauma: the only film so-entitled that we could find was this movie here, an Italo gaillo originally entitled Enigma rosso (aka, among others, as Orgie des Todes, Virgin Terror, Virgin Killer, Rings of Fear, Red Rings of Fear and Das Phantom im Mädchenpensionat), the most interesting movie directed by the uninteresting Italian TV director Alberto Negrin.
Trauma is the third and final film of Massimo Dallamano's unofficial "Schoolgirls in Peril" trilogy, which includes Dallamano's earlier and better-known giallos What Have You Done to Solange? (1972 / trailer) — the second-to-last Railto Edgar Wallace movie, we looked at briefly in Part III our RIP Review of Joachim Fuchsberger — and What Have They Done to Your Daughters (1974 / trailer). Dallamano, however, died before the filming of Trauma commenced, so Negrin was pulled in for the directorial duties. In the US, Trauma arguably belongs in the public domain.
Full movie:

Horrorview.com has a plot description: "A young girl's body is found in a river. The victim is [...] a student at St Theresa's private school, and a member of a group of young girls known as 'The Inseparables'. A medical examination of the body reveals that she has also been sexually assaulted before her death. Inspector Johnny DiSalvo (the great Fabio Testi, also found in Four of the Apocalypse [1975 / trailer] and China 9 Liberty 37 [1978 / trailer]), is brought in on the case [...]. The other members of The Inseparables soon begin to receive threatening letters from someone signing himself as 'Nemesis', and mysterious accidents start to befall the young girls. One is thrown from a horse after the horse has a dart fired at it, another falls down a flight of steps after tripping on some strategically placed marbles, and various other cast members are bumped off one by one. DiSalvo meets an unlikely ally (Fausta Avelli, also of Don't Torture a Duckling [1972 / trailer], The Cassandra Crossing [1976 / trailer] and The Psychic [1977 / trailer]) [...], and together they slowly begin to piece together the reasons behind the murders. It turns out that the girls have been moonlighting for an organization of rich businessmen, and have been attending various orgies in return for large amounts of cash and free clothing from a fashion shop owner. At one of these orgies, one of the girls was assaulted with a huge dildo, and this event was the catalyst to the string of murders...."
Hysteria Lives is of the opinion that "Alberto Negrin's film works pretty well on all levels. As a giallo it is especially successful, the central mystery unravels nicely and, for once, the denouement came as a real shock — and made perfect sense in retrospect. It echoes the classic gialli of the early 70s — despite the fact that it looks a little old fashioned when compared to what was coming out of America at the time, but it does benefit from employing all the best elements of the golden age of Italian thrillers. However, at odds with this is the film's resolutely grimy feel which mixes ultra-sleaze with classic imagery (black leather gloves left by a bed-stand as a throwaway red herring and the spooky Bava-esque close-ups of a statue of a nun's face in the moonlight) with voyeuristic shower room shenanigans (observed by a leering and disembodied eye utilising Argento-esque macros) and, in a jaw-droppingly tasteless moment, inter-cutting flashbacks from an orgy scene during an abortion. Clearly this was the way that the genre was heading — reaching a zenith of delirious debauchery with Mario Landi's Giallo a Venezia a year later (1979 / sex scene).
The score to Trauma is from the great Riz Ortolani (25 March 1926 — 23 Jan 2014), who among hundreds of movies of greater and/or lesser note also scored Gualtiero Jacopetti's Mondo Cane (1962 / score), The Virgin of Nuremburg (1963 / Italo trailer), Castle of Blood (1964 / trailer), Zeder (1983) and Cannibal Holocaust (Italy, 1980).
The Full Movie —
Castle of Blood (1964) :




The Frenchman's Garden
(1978, writ. & dir. Paul Naschy [as Jacinto Molina]) 

Fan-made trailer:

Aka Iberian Psycho, La Casa que Abre de Noche and El huerto del Francés. Like Trauma, the Italian film above, the questions that arise here with this Spanish movie are: Could it be? Did Novak have anything to do with this Spanish production? And as with Trauma, we don't know for sure, but the JPG of Boxoffice published 19 February 1979 — see Trauma — lists this Paul Naschy movie as "Now available", so it would seem Harry had it in his hands at one point. Temple of Schlock confirms this concept in their comment on this movie found at Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies, in which they state: "Harry Novak was the U.S. distributor of this movie, but he never gave it much of a release. There must be an English dubbed print of it somewhere in his archives."
Many a webstite, including Wikipedia, say that the movie is based on a true story, but which one we were not able to locate (the closest killers we could find to bare any resemblance to the tale are the US American females Lavinia Fisher and/or Belle Sorensen Gunness).
Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies says that "In his autobiography, Memoirs of a Wolfman, Paul Naschy devotes an entire chapter to two films from what he calls his most 'personal phase,' neither of which have been widely seen this side of the Atlantic. One is the tour de force El Caminante (1979 / full movie) [...]. The other is the even less well-known period-piece thriller, El huerto del Francés, also known as The Frenchman's Garden. Naschy himself counts this as 'one of my most emblematic and highest quality films,' and says he is proud to be able to include the movie in his lengthy filmography. [...] I can only guess at why Naschy considered this such a personal film, but I suspect it's because, for me, this is one of the most inherently Spanish films in his body of work. Set in Spain and detailing an actual historical event, the movie is scored with traditional Spanish guitar music and utilizes actual locations and costuming. Perhaps this along with the clearly dramatic rather than horror-focused nature of the role made Paul feel it was more his — his story, his history — or maybe he felt he was showing at last what he could do without the werewolf makeup or gallons of grue."
At imdb, Mario Gauci (marrod@melita.com) of Naxxar, Malta, sort of explains the plot: "The star plays the titular character quite sympathetically, and his garden is predictably used to bury the bodies of his various victims. At first, I thought these would be inconvenient girls, since he is not only depicted as a stud but runs an inn which serves as make-shift gambling-den and brothel as well (while also taking care of his lovers/prostitutes when they get pregnant)! His crimes — with a much older man for accomplice — relate to the former vice and lend new meaning to the phrase 'get-rich-quick scheme' (though, to be fair to Naschy's character, he was feeling stifled by the ruthless Spanish class system). The latter aspect, therefore, provides a mix of social commentary and black comedy — just as the combination of the anti-hero's illicit activities is ultimately what brings him down (having spurned a girl, who had hoped he would leave his bourgeois wife for her, she reports him to the authorities after stumbling upon his secret). The narrative unfolds in flashback, eventually culminating in the meticulously-presented garroting execution. Nudity and violence are prominent here but not overstressed. [...]"
Aside from murder, buried bodies, abortion, sex and nudity, The Frenchman's Garden also includes a flamenco-dancing midget and a homosexual subplot.



Untamed
(1979, dir. Ramsey Karson) 

OK, we think Novak may have had something to do with this porn flick. Why? According to our online search at US Copyright Office (done 7 July 2014), Harry Novak applied for a copyright to a movie entitled Untamed, and this is basically the only movie so titled that we could locate that was made before 1984 that would fit Novak's oeuvre and style — good enough reasons for us to take a look at it.
Scriptwriter and director Ramsey Karson (aka Roger Kramer & Richard Kanter) seems to have entered the exploitation biz in 1968 working for David F. Friedman, for whom he wrote and directed Thar She Blows (1968) and The Ribald Tales of Robin Hood (1969 / scene); Untamed is, as far as we can tell, his last and perhaps least-interesting directorial effort, though thereafter he did do some assistant director work on mostly low budget slime — The Boy from Hell aka Bloodspell (1988 / see below), Cold Steel (1987, with Sharon Stone), Hunter's Blood (1986 / trailer), and the legendarily terrible Evils of the Night (1985 / trailer) — before slipping off the map.
Full Movie —
The Boy from Hell:

Over at Rame.net, which proffers that the film could be called "a plotless crotch opera", fills out the narrative: "[...] Another quality film which unfortunately goes into the 'you cannot do this anymore' category. It is a vignette feature with wrap-around footage of Paul Thomas & Kay Parker. [...] The now-prohibited aspects of this movie are: A scene where John Seeman [of Hardgore (1974)] does not successfully stave off the carnal cravings of his 16-year-old stepdaughter (who does not appear to be that young); and a scene in which Nancy Hoffman (who does appear to be quite young — but this isn't stressed by the dialogue) is dominated, & ultimately penetrated, in a lesbian bondage sequence. The wrap-around plot has Paul Thomas being a private detective who is touring bookstores to publicize his new tome in which he describes some of the cases on which he had worked. Kay Parker asks him about the cases which he could not include — these are the vignettes — at one point Thomas puts Kay Parker in handcuffs while describing a story...." Yawn. It would seem that the poster is the best thing about the flick.
Among the other receptacles and protein sticks found in Untamed are Jon Martin (aka Joe Wilkes, Jacky Clark, Jon Martinstein, Frank Michaels, Jerry Hull, Jerry Hess, Jeffery Stern, Rolly Evans, Bill Eastman, Ray Marlin, Jerry Jordan, Jerry Ross, Jon Marlin, Jerry Putz, John Morton, Ari Adler, Robert Metz, Mickey Rivers, John Martin, Jon Marten, Terry Blass, Paul Justin, Lyle Stewart, L. Stewart, John M, Jeffrey Stern, Jerry Heath, Jerry Barr, Jerry Smith, Fred Anton, Eric Marin, Mike Richard), who supposedly directed A Sweet Sickness (1968) and can be seen somewhere in the background of To the Limit (1995), and Abigail Clayton, who, credited as "Gail Lawrence", plays Rita and loses her hair (and life) in the original version of Maniac (1980 / trailer).
Opening shot and credits of
A Sweet Sickness:




One Way at a Time
(1979, dir. Alan B. Colberg)

The title, of course, a takeoff of the then-popular TV sitcom, One Day at a Time (1975-84); the poster may claim a "Howard Wolfe" as director, but the name is merely another pseudonym of producer/"scriptwriter"/editor Alan B. Colberg (aka Allen Colberg, Nala Grebloc, Alan Coldberg, Alan Colberg, Danielle de Nueve, Rene Deneuve, Arcen Ciel, Alan Colberg, Aaron Colberg and more), as is, we assume, the name credited on the poster as the scriptwriter, "Oscar Blair". The "Big John Holmes" on the poster plays the part of "Helmut", while Tony Bond plays the character "J.C. Holmes" — what intelligent meta-humor. 
Alan B. Colberg was/is not known for having made quality porn, which is not the oxymoron it sounds like (see anything by "Henry Paris", for example). Our online search at US Copyright Office (done 7 July 2014) revealed that Novak (or rather, Valiant International Pictures) attempted to copyright this flick, so we guess he also had something to do with it.
Jason S. Martinko's The XXX Filmography, 1968-1988 reduces the plot to: "A working mother (Aubrey Nichols) and her two daughters (Lisa K. Loring and Mimi Morgan) live active sex lives. It features the song, 'One Way at a Time' written by Freddie Red and sung by Candida Royalle."
Pre-Cert.co.uk offers a bit more detail: "When mother ['Ann'] looks as good as her two ravishing daughters ['Barbara' and 'Julie'], you can bet there is trouble ahead. After mother leaves for her job the two girls hop on their mopeds to look for some action. They are young and anxious, and it doesn't take long for them to find trouble. There is a never-ending line of virile young men, including the legendary John Holmes, who are very insistent about helping the young sisters find sexual release they are searching for. Not only guys, in fact a very comely female partner takes time out of her game to make it 40-love with one of the sisters during a break in the action..."
Mimi Morgan (the daughter "Julie") made her film début playing one of the three Eves — the one before the car accident — in the Mitchell Brothers' classic (and intriguing and hot) porn movie with a plot, The Resurrection of Eve (1973), which, as Carnal Cinema rightly notes, "is not as technically polished as some of the later Golden Age movies, but it remains one of the most involving films of its type."
Also found in One Way at a Time is the drool-worthy bisexual "Johnny Hard", found in many a straight and gay fuck film (aka as Howard O'Leary, Ricky Bradley, Johnny Harden, Gene Carrier, Johnny Hardon and Johnny Hardin); a good-looker of length and girth and self-sucking and fucking capabilities also found in B&W gay beat-sheets, he made it to the centerfold of Playgirl (September 1980) before disappearing to NYC and Paris to start a career as a serious fashion model (that's him below, now known as "Howard O'Leary"). O'Leary has for some years now — around the time the modeling offers began to dry up — raised the question of whether or not he might be the real father of Athina Roussel de Miranda, otherwise known "Athina Onassis" of, yes, the Onassis Family; O'Leary claims to have impregnated Christina Onassis "at a party in 1984 thrown by Thierry Roussel, the owner of First Model Agency in Paris." (Check it out.)




Sissy's Hot Summer
(1979, dir. Alan B. Colberg) 
 
Another Alan B. Colberg movie; Jason S. Martinko's The XXX Filmography, 1968-1988 says the movie was filmed at the same time as One Way at a Time (see above), which of course explains the almost identical cast. Director/producer/scriptwriter/editor Alan B. Colberg shows up in a non-sex role credited as "Nala Grebloc". Currently, the full NSFW film can be found online here.
According to Media Bang, "Legendary exploitation cinema producer and distributor Harry H. Novak [...] launched Valiant International Pictures in the late 70s; this particular outfit distributed such X-rated porno fare as Sissy's Hot Summer, Sweet Surrender, and Leather Persuasion." Temple of Schlock, among others, is also of the opinion that Novak touched this movie. Who are we to disagree?
According to a thread at AV Maniacs, "Sissy's Hot Summer is OK. It's an XXX take on Three's Company and is presented as a TV show. The film was directed by Alan Colberg and features Candida Royally as the host (her segments are the best)." If Sissy's Hot Summer truly is a take on Three's Company, one could surmise that this movie is perhaps the final product of the non-existent movie entitled Three's Not Company listed as "Now in production" in the VIP advert in Boxoffice 19 February 1979 (see Virgin Killer / Trauma [1978]).
The current DVD release offers the following plot description: "This story is an X-rated take-off of the hit TV series about three roommates, Sissy (Sharon Kane), Janet (Mimi Morgan), and Jack (Tony Bond). Their cozy sexual threesome becomes endangered by eviction when they fall behind in the rent, so they must hustle the only thing they know how to do for money. What follows is a comical account of their sexual endeavors. Along the way, Jack and Janet meet a rich, kind socialite (Laurien Dominique [22 Sept 1956 — 23 March 1986]) and a teenage hustler (Jeff Scott), while Sissy finds an eccentric playboy (John Holmes) who thinks he's Tarzan and lives out his fantasy in the trees with her. After a day filled with hot erotic escapades, these three roommates find enough money to pay the rent, and more than enough new sensual tricks to keep their threesome hot for a long time!" Jesse Adams and Susan Nero show up as "Mr. and Mrs. Groper".
We could only find one review online, used everywhere: "Sissy's Hot Summer is an okay classic porno that plays decently with the 3's Company theme. It has some of the feel that makes classic porn fun, and the cast seems to have fun with it. Although it was fun to see Sharon Kane in her very early years, the movie's limitations seem a bit stronger. The scenes are all very short and although I know that sex in the real world for many people doesn't last nearly as long as it does in modern porn, here it seems shorter than ever. [...] The video looks like it hasn't been given any effort since it was shot nearly thirty years ago, and unfortunately holds it back beyond the dark lighting. I wanted to like Sissy's Hot Summer, but there just wasn't enough that was done well enough to really care about it much."
Sharon Kane (aka "Jennifer Walker") went on to become a porn superstar with over 600 films to her name, including Laura Keats' Crystal Force (1990 / monster sex), which utilizes the monster suit from The Terror Within (1988 / trailer) and The Terror Within II (1991 / trailer), and Michael Paul Girard's Body Parts (1992).
The Troma Production,
Body Parts (1992), in Full:




Frat House
(1979, writ. & dir. David Worth [as "Sven Conrad"]
Any resemblance to National Lampoon's Animal House (1978 / trailer) is purely intentional.
Once again, our online search at US Copyright Office (done 7 July 2014) revealed that Novak (or rather, Valiant International Pictures) attempted to copyright a flick entitled Frathouse or Frat House (the spelling changes in the two documents we found there). This movie here is the only one with the title released during the day and age Novak was active, so though we are not 100% sure, we surmise it could be this film — so let's take a look at it!
Jason S. Martinko's The XXX Filmography, 1968-1988 is terse when it comes to the movie, saying: "At Faulk University, the humor is slapstick and childish. Both the jokes and sex scenes leave much to be desired. Director David Worth (as Sven Conrad) also worked as the writer, cinematographer and film editor. It's also known as I Ata Pie and National Lamporn's Frat House." 
After working a few years as a cinematographer of now-forgotten no-budget stuff with great titles like 101 Acts of Love (1971), Is There Sex After Marriage (1973), Adultery for Fun & Profit (1971) and Marriage and Other Four Letter Words (1974 / 68 very slow NSFW minutes in French), David Worth made his co-directorial debut the year prior to Frat House with the culty horror movie Poor Pretty Eddie aka Redneck County (1975), featuring the great Shelley Winters in fine nuthouse form and Leslie Uggams as the woman in danger. The movie did not jump start his career, so to pay the rent he continued to do an occasional porn film as "Sven Conrad", none of which enjoy a lasting reputation.
Trailer to David Worth's
Poor Pretty Eddie:
Under his real name, David Worth has since carved a nice niche as a B-movie cinematographer and occasional director of primarily straight-to-DVD fare featuring has-beens, slumming second-tier or cult character actors, and loads of unknown foreign names; among the many fun and not-so-fun B and Z-films he directed are: Warrior of the Lost World (1983 / see below), Soldier's Revenge (1986 / trailer), Kickboxer (1989 / trailer) Lady Dragon I (1992 / trailer) & II (1993), True Vengeance (1997 / trailer) and, most recently House at the End of the Drive (2014 / trailer) and Hazard Jack (2014 / trailer).
Trailer to David Worth's
Warrior of the Lost World (1983):

VidXpress has the plot: "It's the HOTTEST Frat at Faulk University, good ol' Faulk U! 'The guys back at the house want to live out all their fantasies before they graduate,' says one of the brothers in Frat House, thereby stating in a nutshell the theme of this hardcore laugh riot [...]. The I Phelta Thi fraternity certainly holds the record when it comes to goofing off. This particular group of guys never studies, seldom go to class and downright refuse to behave themselves. College is no place to further your education as far as they're concerned; this fraternity attends one class from morning till night — SEX EDUCATION. There is a constant battle among the I Phelta Thi guys to see how many girls they can pick up, how many times a day, and in how many different places. This comical epic comes to a head when the guys decide to throw a party at the Dean's house (John Boland [25 March 1937— 1 May 1986]) — and what a party this one is. Will the I Phelta Thi fraternity ever graduate? College is so much fun — do they want to graduate? For a rousing look at college life on the campus of Faulk University, see Frat House. Good ol' Faulk U will never be the same....and neither will you!"
Over at Pornonomy, Roger Feelbert gives the movie an A-; you can read the review here.



Heavenly Desire
(1979, dir. Jourdan Alexander [as Jaacov Jaacovi])

Scene:


"Baby, you're in the backseat of a Cadillac Brougham, that's as close to heaven as you're gonna get."
The Devil (Johnnie Keyes)

The film's tagline — "Get All the Heavenly Rewards Warren Beatty Had to Wait For" — reveals the then-current mainstream movie that inspired this once-forgotten, now re-appraised fuck-fest that was dusted off to be re-released as Seka's Heavenly Desire — The Lost Movie.
Heavenly Desire is a solo directorial project from the co-director of Dusty (1978), Jourdan Alexander. Born Yaacov Yaacovy on January 27, 1945, in Tel Aviv, Israel (and died September 24, 2008, in California), Jourdan Alexander — aka Jack Wolfe, Jacov Jaacovi, Jordan Alexander, Jaacov Jaacovi — seems to have entered porn in 1971 with the Western spoof A Fistful of 44s (1971); what he was doing between his last known direct-to-video movie, From China with Love (1994), and 2008, is unknown to us. Aside from featuring the not-yet-legendary porn star Seka, Heavenly Desire also features Johnny Harden aka Gene Carrier (seen below), and the popular Golden Age receptacles Serena and Hillary Summers — and, of course, Jamie Gillis (20 April 1943 — 19 Feb 2010), who seems to have been in every Golden Age porn film ever made.
This movie, like most of the X-rated movies looked at here in our Harry Novak career review, is one of many that, according to our on-line search at US Copyright Office (done 7 July 2014), Harry Novak, in the form of Valiant International Pictures, applied for a copyright to — as always, a good enough a reason for us to take a look at it.
The plot, according to Popcorn: "Two of adult film legendary leading ladies, the Platinum Princess Seka and the Siren of Sensuality Serena, headline the superb cast in this kinky, erotic 'deal with the devil' saga. This whimsical fable begins with the ladies playing good old 'dance hall whores' in the 1880s wild wild west where their lives are good — plenty of money, whiskey and horny cow hands — that is, until they get caught in the cross-hairs of an old-fashion shoot-out. Regaining consciousness sometime in the 1970s, they are confronted by a devilish Johnny Keyes who offers them a 'bargain'. They can continue their lascivious lifestyles enjoying endless sexual delights if they can prove they are completely unrepentant and deserving of his sinful presence. Keyes takes them to a sorority house where their challenge is to debauch the innocent coeds out of their virginity. Seka and Serena take on the task with unbridled abandon leading the naive girls into shameless and uncontrolled pleasure-seeking. When landlord, Jamie Gillis and his sex-craved secretary arrive to collect the lease payment, the scenario turns into total libido-driven mayhem."
Golden Sin Palace says "As I am not a big fan of Seka (I do not understand what was so special about her) my expectations were low. Luckily she is not the focus of the film and it's for the better. So the film focuses primarily on the two students and their boyfriend (Mike Ranger and Jon Martin). Aubrey Nichols, Eileen Wells and Liza Dwyer are also part of the female cast, Johnny Hardin has a dual role, rather amusing, and Jamie Gillis has a short role. [...] I found this movie rather enjoyable, but the final orgy is ridiculously long and badly filmed (which makes the scene rather boring). I am lucky enough to have a full version of this film, which is no longer available [...]. What has been cut [...] is a fisting scene between Serena and Eileen Wells & Dani Williams."
Elsewhere, rame.net calls Heavenly Desire "an ambitious film that mixes wild west and present day in a sometimes confusing plot that reminds this reviewer of a cheesy eighties teen film called School Spirit (see below). A laugh along (sometimes intentionally) sexvid [...]. Johnny Keyes looks the part as the Devil, dressed in pimp gear and wearing his trademark shark's teeth necklace. (He can't act though, nor can Seka.) Overall, A good 70s movie. Not the best, but well worth the rental [...]."
While it lasts, the full movie can be found at this NSFW website.
Trailer to
"a cheesy eighties teen film called School Spirit" (1985):

Ron Shy, aka Ron Ellington Shy, performed two songs he wrote especially for the movie, Heavenly Desire and Still We Made It; the Ron Ellington Shy Trio, which for awhile included the legendary bongo play Preston Epps, still performs today. We include this factoid only as a reason to include a song by Preston Epps...
Preston Eeps — Bong Rock:




Taxi Girls
(1979, writ. & dir. Jaacov Jaacovi)

Poster thanks to emovieposter. Another film by Jourdan Alexander (as Jaacov Jaacovi) which, like most of the X-rated movies looked at here and as according to our on-line search at US Copyright Office (done 7 July 2014), Harry Novak, in the form of Valiant International Pictures, applied for a copyright to — as always, a good enough a reason for us to take a look at it. Like the next film down, Johnny Does Paris, Taxi Girls was adapted as a comic book in the 1990s.
A "classic" roughie — well, comedy, up until close to the end — of the Golden Age of porn, Taxi Girls went on to spawn three direct-to-video sequels (Taxi Girls Part II: In Search of Toni [1986], Taxi Girls 3: Killer on the Loose [1993] and Taxi Girls #4: Daughter of Lust [1994]), all by Jaacov Jaacovi.
Like Heavenly Desire further above, the then-mandatory lesbian fisting scene has been cut from the DVD re-release. Taxi Girls enjoyed slight infamy when it came out 'cause Cheryl Ladd "won $1,000,000 when she sued the producers of the adult movie Taxi Girls because it advertised 'starring Cheryl Ladd look-alike Nancy Suiter'" (see above). One doubts they ever paid out. Cheryl Ladd, in case you've forgotten, was part of that memorable non-masterpiece, Millennium (1989 / see below).
Cheryl Ladd in
Millennium:

Over at rame.net, "CJ Lines" explains the movie's appeal: "One of those strange 70s oddities that, despite a few serious production flaws and a disorganized directorial style that's leagues below the 'de facto' standard of the era, has a special charm to it that's rendered it something of a cult classic these days. Not just that but it's also one of very few films to feature the legendary, now-elusive Nanci Suiter [pictured below, not from the film], a stunning blonde with impressive acting talents, an incredible capacity for blinding sex scenes and a slow, sultry drawl that just made every line of dialogue she delivered sound luscious and inviting."
Jason S. Martinko's The XXX Filmography, 1968-1988 supplies the plot: "Nancy Suiter plays a clever prostitute who comes up with the unique idea of operating a taxi service that offers some real service. She's able to get her fellow prostitutes off the streets and also rakes in some money, until some dangerous competition starts to take notice."
Over at imdb, A. Nonymous says "Nancy Suiter was a phenomenon in the porn industry. She burst onto the scene in a small part in The Ecstasy Girls (1979 / full movie), then burned up the screen over the next few years before disappearing. She was a petite but absolutely gorgeous blonde, who put everything she had — and then some — into a scene, and she quickly amassed legions of fans. Then, almost as quickly as she came into the business, she left it. Rumors have circulated for years that she married a multi-millionaire who insisted that she leave the business, other rumors say that she got involved with heroin and cocaine, fell in with the wrong crowd, descended into prostitution and overdosed, others that she was either killed in an accident or murdered by a boyfriend/lover/pimp. Since no one knew much about her when she got into the business, and she apparently told co-workers nothing about herself, her fate will no doubt remain a mystery. A shame, as she was a breath of fresh air in an increasingly stale business." For more on her disappearance, watch the clip below.
The Lost Girls of 70s Porno 
starring Nancy Suiter:




Johnny Does Paris
(1979, dir. Charles Webb)

Japanese poster further below compliments to emovieposter. Aka as Open Invitation and Extreme Close-Up; Johnny Does Paris was the title for the movie's 1981 re-release. This movie, oddly enough seeing how little known it is — there is no reliable film synopsis or review of note to be found on the web — was adapted as a comic book in 1997. As the pressbook above shows, Harry Novak (as in "Valiant International Pictures") distributed the re-release. The flick is yet one of many by director Charles Webb (aka Carlos DeSantos Chuck Angel, Charles De Santi, Charles De Santos, Charles DeSantos, Lowell Pickett), who at least in some of his early films truly tried to make "serious" (porn) movies. (See, for example, his 1971 movie Crazy Cool, which he directed as "Lowell Pickett".)
Extreme Close-Up / Johnny Does Paris was filmed in Paris as a Gloria Leonard (born Gale Sandra Klinetsky; 28 Aug 1940 — 3 Feb 2014) vehicle; according to the Italo website John Holmes Story, Holmes "traveled with Gloria Leonard to Paris in 1978 to make Johnny Does Paris. 'The day we met,' she relates, 'he had this diva attitude, so I said, "I'm sorry, my dear, but this set isn't large enough for two prima donnas." He was a baby, really, and an egomaniac.' (Playboy 3/98)" [...] "Gloria Leonard remembers the day in 1981 that John visited her at her home in Los Angeles. He looked skinny and seemed 'all cock.' By 9 AM, he'd already freebased three grams of coke. When the porn actress returned from an errand, she found Holmes gone, along with $25,000 worth of jewelry, electronics and guns."
The illegal download site Hot Spicy Downloads offers the following plot description: "Everyone hides a secret sexual desire, but most of us aren't brave enough to actually satisfy these deepest longings. But Laura Farr (Delania Raffino, aka Barbara Bills [8 March 1943 — 18 April 1995]) is a different breed. Bored with her humdrum marriage, Laura decides to travel to France in order to expand her sexual horizons. There, she befriends the mysterious Marguerite Heller (Gloria Leonard of, among many films good and bad, The Opening of Misty Beethoven [1976 / sountrack] and Maraschino Cherry [1978 / soundtrack remixed]), an erotic photographer with a tantalizing taste for the sensually unusual. Before long, Laura is led into a world of European sexual delights where fantasy merges with reality and where a willing woman can blossom in the hands of virile studs and lustful ladies alike. In the eye-opening climax, Laura comes face to face with her true sexual self in a very revealing Extreme Close-Up."
Over at the blog Wonderland, Jill C. Nelson, the author of Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema, 1968-1985 offers some interesting trivia about the filming: "Leonard said [to me] that several people including cast and crew (about 22 in all) came down with the clap. They were on location in a small town at the time and had to go quietly in groups of two and three to the country doctor (so as not to alarm any of the locals) to acquire the antidote that was to be administered to the infected people. Holmes informed everyone he'd worked as a paramedic (technically, he had been employed as an ambulance driver) back in the '60s and offered to inject everyone with the cure, which he proceeded to do — including Leonard. She found it ironic."

To be continued ... next month.
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