Thursday, May 16, 2019

Hwasango / Volcano High (Korea, 2001)

The 9th highest grossing Korean film of 2001, this overly long teenage-oriented martial arts action comedy is available in two versions: a relatively short recut hip-hop version released in 2004 by MTV (featuring the voices of Snoop Dogg [of Bones (2001)], Method Man, Lil' Jon, Big Boi, and Mýa), which clocks in at only around 80 minutes, and the Korean and international version, which is around a good 40 minutes longer. We caught the international version, so the music was heavy metal instead of hip hop and the dubbing voices unknown and of no importance.
The non-plot is easy enough to follow, but is in the end utter nonsense and of no importance, and is little more than the merest of excuses to link together different scenes of varying success.
Basically, bleached-blonde Kim Kyung-soo (Jang Hyuk), the movie's nominal hero, is expelled from yet another school and sent to Volcano High, an institute of education in which little education occurs and the various fractions of students are at war. A mysterious lost manuscript of great power is also sought by many, including the nefarious Vice-Headmaster Hak-sa (Hee-Bong Byun of The Host [2006 / trailer]). He ends up calling in the movie's true heavies, Mr. Ma (Jun-ho Heo of Demon Empire [2006 / scene]) and the Five Teachers, a gang of super-powerful disciplinarian instructors, who aim to bring order to the school any way possible… Can Kim save the day by mastering his powers and freeing the school of the bad guys without once again being expelled? And will he get the girl, Yoo "Icy Jade" Chae-yi (Min-a Shin)? Like, who cares? We sure didn't.
In its uncut form, Volcano High screams for being circumcised, despite also exuding the odd feeling that it is less a solo movie that a heavily condensed cut of a TV series. It is one of those rare flicks that is both too long for what it offers but likewise too short for everything that transpires to truly make sense. In the end, however, it is arguable that the disparate narrative with its excess of unnecessary characters really doesn't need to make sense since it is such an obvious excuse for simply linking together diverse visual and verbal jokes, martial arts and magical fight sequences, and once-amazing but already dated CGI interludes.
Somewhere in the mess that is Volcano High there also seems to be some sort of political subtext — it is, after all, notable that the film, which advocates anarchy and an order-is-evil attitude, should come from a country like Korea, which is laden heavily with both social and legal regulations — but one is hard-placed to say that the subtext can in any way be taken seriously. Intellectual, Volcano High is not — hell, it isn't even mildly intelligent.
On the plus side, the movie does have some humor, as there are occasional flashes of intentional and mildly effective slapstick and situational comedy. Regrettably, much too often it is not the intended jokes that instigate the real laughter, but rather the messiness of all that found on the screen. More than once, scenes transpire that have no real sense of purpose and that function in no way to add depth to the tale, offer any character development, or advance the plot: they are simply there, sometimes saving face through a decent laugh or some visual acrobatics, sometimes falling flat and instigating a "Huh?" reaction.
Another plus, of course, are the fight scenes, which for the most part are heavily enhanced by CGI and veer squarely into the realm of fantasy sock-'em chop-'em. They are the whole point of the movie, the meat to the spindly bones that are movie's flimsy plot. Volcano High may not offer anything truly revolutionary in this department, and (as previously mentioned) sometimes the computer animation does look more than a little grey at the temples, but the mid-air acrobatics, slow-motion cartoony violence, and Matrix-like visible air movement are served in huge and excessive dollops — quantity, in other words, but of mixed quality.
The fact of the matter is that Volcano High should have been a good movie, at least for fans of flying sock-'em chop-'em fantasies capable of appreciating a change of scenery. The movie's scattershot narrative and now somewhat-dated CGI aside, Volcano High is basically a Chinese wuxia fantasy that has been moved from centuries past to modern day Korea and dressed in a Korean school uniform. Accept the new look, and the movie may entertain you despite all its flaws. But it also would also entertain far more effectively, and likeably, if it didn't overstay its welcome to the extent it does in its original, uncut form.
In that sense, the MTV release moves in the right direction by cutting a subplot or two and reducing the movie by 40 minutes: for as thin as the plot of the original version is, it also losses its tangents and changes direction once too often. A prime example in this regard is Jang Ryang, "the Dark Ox" (Su-ro Kim of Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp / Gosa 2 [2010 / trailer] and Vampire Cop Ricky / Heubhyeol hyeongsa na do-yeol [2006 / trailer]), the oddly bulkless leader of the weightlifting club. For most of the movie he is set up as the movie's heavy, as the person that Kim Kyung-soo must and will eventually confront to save the day — but suddenly, out of the blue, the Dark Ox is replaced by Mr. Ma & the Five Teachers and himself becomes one the ultimately powerless masses at the school that the hero must defend. (The constantly mentioned lost magic manuscript, likewise, remains such an unused and unnecessary MacGuffin that it actually proves detrimental to the narrative.)
Ultimately, despite its massive hometown success, Volcano High is not a very good movie. Terrible, it is not either, especially if you like wuxia or Wachowski Sisters movies. More than anything else, it is simply a mildly entertaining and somewhat interesting failure.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Dolls (Italy/USA, 1987)

(Spoilers) Whether one sees Dolls as director Stuart Gordon's secondary or tertiary horror outing hinges on whether you consider when the movie was made or when it was released. Gordon actually shoehorned this odd little horror movie in between his first two Lovecraft adaptations Re-Animator (1985) and From Beyond (1986 / trailer), but ended up releasing it after the latter.
Considering how different this movie is to those two visceral and over-the-top blackly humorous gore films, it is perhaps not surprising that Dolls was a commercial flop — most fans of his two earlier horror excursions were surely put off by this film's lack of excessive blood and carnage and its oddly childlike view of horror. But it should be a self-evident fact that just because a film is a commercial flop doesn't mean it isn't good. And while Dolls is far from a perfect film, it does have its moments and is, in the end, far from a waste of time. In fact, some people will find it pretty damn good — as we did.
Dolls flits by at a relatively gaunt 77 minutes, and is far less a roller-coaster ride of unexpected money shots ala Re-Animator than it is a leisurely paced, almost old-fashioned tale that takes a bit to get started but then doesn't overstay its welcome. The script is less than waterproof, due in part to the overall almost fairytale simplicity of the narrative, but then the movie also follows a somewhat childlike logic in which flaws of simplification (such as blood being explained away as spilt paint, a thieving but lightly packed woman who has a flashlight at hand, and adults as one-dimensionally nasty as Cinderella's or Hansel & Gretel's stepmothers, to mention but a few) almost seem acceptable. Within the movie itself, the topic of the child inside is broached more than once — and, arguably, this movie is perhaps best enjoyed by people who still have a bit of child, or at least a child's grasp of horror, inside them. Indeed, if an underlying message can be gleaned when watching Dolls, it is perhaps less "don't be evil" than "don't lose your inner-child".
The basic setup of Dolls is one of the oldest of horror films, and can be found in films probably from before Edgar G Ulmer's classic Black Cat (1934 / trailer) to long after the cult must-see, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975 / trailer): a variety of people get stranded in their vehicles on a dark and stormy night and take refuge in a distant house inhabited by mysterious people who aren't exactly what they seem.*
* In terms of short films, the rainy night in a strange house scenario (minus the cars & mysterious hosts) is already present in our October 2018 Short Film of the Month, Segundo de Chomón's The Haunted House, which is from 1908.
In the case of those stranded, we have the neglectful father David Bower (Ian Patrick Williams of TerrorVision [1986 / trailer], The Last Resort [2009 / trailer], Growth [2010 / trailer] and Dire Wolf [2009 / trailer]), wicked stepmother Rosemary Bower (Carolyn Purdy-Gordon of Castle Freak [1995]) and little daughter Judy Bower (Carrie Lorraine); two obnoxious hitchhikers, the Madonna-wannabe Isabel (Bunty Bailey) and her punkette friend Enid (Cassie Stuart of Afraid of the Dark [1991 / trailer]) and Slayground [1983 / trailer]); and the goofy nice guy Ralf Morris (Stephan Lee [11 Nov 1955 – 14 Aug 2014] of The Pit and the Pendulum [1991 / trailer], Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go to College [1991 / trailer] and Ken Russell's China Blue [1984 / trailer]). As for the mysterious people who aren't exactly what they seem, we have the elderly toymaker Gabriel Hartwicke (Guy Rolfe [27 Dec 1911 – 19 Oct 2003]) of the kiddy fave Mr. Sardonicus [1961 / original trailer] and Retro Puppet Master [1999]), among others, and his wife Hilary Hartwicke (Hilary Mason  [4 Sept 1917 – 5 Sept 2006] of the classic Don't Look Now [1973 / trailer], Haunted [1995/ trailer] and I Don't Want to Be Born [1975/ trailer]).
Creepy and not without a few dead people, the filmmakers are at least smart enough to offer a few likeable characters in Dolls — and as befitting a fairytale, they ride off to what one assumes is happily ever after. That so few survive the night is primarily due to the fact that all but Ralf and little Judy have not only lost the openness and innocence of childhood, but they also all (but R&J) have hidden or unscrupulous agendas. It is the innocence of the two babes in the house o' horror that precariously carries them through the night as the rest of the cast (but for the two hosts) become bodycount.
In the case of Judy, she goes through the night with far greater aplomb than perhaps would be expected of a child her age, were it not for an early scene, perhaps the goriest of the movie, in which she fantasizes the bloody demise of her spiteful (un)parental units at the hands of her mutated, previously tossed away (by wicked stepmother Rosemary) teddy bear. It is a scene that straddles humor and horror, for as ridiculous as the concept of a killer teddy bear might be, the scene does tip into (phantastic) gore.
Other effective scenes of horror include Isabel's death, which easily garners a few "ows" and cringes — and the sight of unknown giggling forms crawling upward under the sheets of Rosemary's bed is a sight/experience one would not want to experience one's self. (Her demise is later used for a blackly humorous scene of one-sided conjugal desire.) A later scene in the attic, when Enid finds Isabel, also offers a truly nightmarish sight that might well sneak into some people's dreams, and it is not difficult to understand why it also influenced the film's original poster image (a pictorial variance of the original scene that is less disturbing than the scene itself).
The dolls are surprisingly effectual in presence: well-made and detailed to the minute, they truly come alive in Dolls, far more so than those found in the subsequent Puppet Master movies that this film so obviously inspired.* Whether gnashing fangs or simply reappearing en masse on a shelf, they seldom seem a purely ridiculous threat, even when played for laughs (as is the demise of the cowboy and a scene of judgment).
* See, for example, our review of Retro Puppet Master (1999) and Curse of the Puppet Master (1998), perhaps two of the worst films of that franchise.
Dolls is definitely not a movie that will appeal to many, despite all its plus points. As befitting a film about dolls, one needs a childlike openness to fully enjoy the film, as it is very much a kiddy horror film but with some gore. And that, in turn, is what makes Dolls oddly inappropriate for those of the impressionable age, particularly those easily frightened or prone to nightmares. But the movie remains an enjoyable excursion into idiosyncratic horror for those with an open mind and a bent for the less mundane and consumerist kind of movie, or even simply a penchant for fairytale-like narratives. It's definitely different, and that alone makes it a movie worth watching.
An extra that has little to do with the movie:
Bunty Bailey, the obnoxious Madonna wannabe Isabel in Dolls,
is also found in the music video to a-ha's classic 80s pop tune, Take On Me.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Babes of Yesteryear – Uschi Digard, Part V: 1971, Part II

Babes of Yesteryear: a wasted life's irregular and PI feature that takes a look at the filmographies of the underappreciated actresses cum sex bombs of low-culture cinema of the past. Some may still be alive, others not. Our choice of whom we look at is idiosyncratic and entirely our own — but the actors are/were babes, one and all. (Being who we are, we might also take a look at some actor cum beefcake, if we feel like it.) 
As the photo and blog-entry title above reveal, we're currently looking at the films of one of the ultimate cult babes ever, a woman who needs no introduction to any and all red-blooded American hetero male whose hormonal memory goes further back than the start of the 80s: the great Uschi Digard.* 
* A.k.a. Astrid | Debbie Bowman | Brigette | Briget | Britt | Marie Brown | Clarissa | Uschi Dansk | Debbie | Ushi Devon | Julia Digaid | Uschi Digaid | Ushi Digant | Ursula Digard | Ushie Digard | Ushi Digard | Alicia Digart | Uschi Digart | Ushi Digart | Ushi Digert | Uschi Digger | Beatrice Dunn | Fiona | Francine Franklin | Gina | Glenda | Sheila Gramer | Ilsa | Jobi | Cynthia Jones | Karin | Astrid Lillimor | Astrid Lillimore | Lola | Marie Marceau | Marni | Sally Martin | Mindy | Olga | Ves Pray | Barbara Que | Ronnie Roundheels | Sherrie | H. Sohl | Heide Sohl | Heidi Sohler | U. Heidi Sohler | Sonja | Susie | Euji Swenson | Pat Tarqui | Joanie Ulrich | Ursula | Uschi | Ushi | Mishka Valkaro | Elke Vann | Elke Von | Jobi Winston | Ingred Young… and probably more. 
As The Oak Drive-In puts it: "With her long hair, Amazonian build & beautiful natural looks (usually devoid of make-up), nobody seems to personify that 60's & early 70's sex appeal 'look' better than [Uschi Digard]. She had a presence that truly was bigger than life — a mind-bending combination of hippie Earth Mother looks and a sexual wildcat. […] She always seemed to have a smile on her face and almost seemed to be winking at the camera and saying 'Hey, it's all in fun.' Although she skirted around the edges at times, she never preformed hardcore…" 
Today, Uschi Digard is still alive, happily married (for over 50 years), and last we heard retired in Palm Springs, CA. To learn everything you ever wanted to know about her, we would suggest listening to the great interview she gave The Rialto Report in 2013. 

Herewith we give a nudity warning: naked babes and beefcake are highly likely to be found in our Babes of Yesteryear entries. If such sights offend thee, well, either go to another blog or pluck thy eyes from thee... 

Please note: we make no guarantee for the validity of the release dates given… or of the info supplied, for that matter.

Go here for
Uschi Digard, Part I: 1968-69
Uschi Digard, Part II: 1970, Part I
Uschi Digard, Part IV: 1971, Part I


The Egyptians Are Coming
(1971, dir. Donald R. von Mizener)

A lost film supposedly featuring Uschi Digard. Though listed on filmographies everywhere, no one seems to have ever seen it — does it even exist? Who knows, but since we could not find a poster or VHS cover to the movie, enjoy another random Uschi magzine cover instead...
 
The director, Donald R. von Mizener, a lawyer by profession, directed one other movie, Mule Feathers aka The West Is Still Wild (1977). An obscure Don Knotts and Rory Calhoun western comedy, there are multiple incongruent plot descriptions to be found on the web, including the grammatically questionable "A roving preacher traveling the countryside in the company of a hilarious talking mule (voice by Don Knotts) and stumbles upon a search for hidden gold treasure that turns into a close encounter with an angry, grizzled Rory Calhoun (Motel Hell [1980])."
Co-scriptwriter of The Egyptians Are Coming, William Mitchell, like the movie he supposedly scripted, has never been heard of again.
Donald R von Mizener Radio Show 
on KIEV, 1989:


The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio
(1971, writ. & dir. Corey Allen)


"It's not his nose that grows!"

Co-written by Chris Warfield (29 March 1927 – 1 May 1996), who also co-produced the movie as "Billy Thornberg", the name he used as director, writer and/or producer of a number of Golden Age porn films.
And could it be? If the imdb is correct, he's the man the pneumatic Eve Meyer [13 Dec 1928 – 27 Mar 1977], pictured below from her 1955 Playboy centerfold, married after divorcing Russ Meyer — a "fact" we haven't been able to confirm elsewhere. (Is someone's nose growing?)
Both Chris Warfield and Pinocchio's director Corey Allen (29 June 1934 – 27 June 2010) began as small-time actors, with Allen even having a speaking part in Rebel without a Cause (1955 / trailer). Unlike Warfield, however, Allen eventually segued into TV and wrangled his way into a long and successful career as a TV director.
 
Outside of his TV work, The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio is one of only three feature films Allen ever directed, the others being Thunder and Lightning (1977 / trailer), with Charles Napier in a small role, and the laughable disaster flick Avalanche (1978 / trailer).
The cinematography was done by cult director Ray Dennis Steckler (25 Jan 1938 – 7 Jan 2009), bad-film auteur extraordinaire. Uschi shows up for a few breast-heavy moments in Pinocchio, playing a lesbian named Lilly, with a man's voice. She's even credited on some posters. This seems to be the only movie the guy playing Pinocchio, Alex Roman, ever made; the name has since been taken by an unattractive, long-donged, twinkie Italian bottom living in Britain.
Edited trailer to
The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio:
At All Movie, Clarke Fountain offers the following synopsis: "This is a bawdy burlesque version of the famous fairy tale. Instead of Gepetto, the old-man woodcarver, we have Geppeta (Monica Gayle), an apparently frustrated and nubile young virgin. Geppeta carves Pinocchio (Alex Roman) for herself as a gorgeous young hunk. Geppeta's fairy godmother, a blonde played by Dyanne Thorne, magically transforms the young stud Pinocchio into a living man, who is quickly brought to work in the local whorehouse as a prize stud and exhibitionist. Nothing — not even sex — is taken seriously in this lighthearted, semi-pornographic offering."
For that, Teenage Frankenstein says, "For all the talk of the softcore films of the era being more innocent, this feels tawdry and sleazy despite being less explicit than the eventual hardcore boom."
Scene with
Dyanne Thorne & Alex Roman:
Rock!Shock!Pop! was likewise not impressed: "Not the most interesting 'adult' film you'll ever see, this one has its moments but is, for the most part, fairly lackluster. The best thing about it is Dyanne Thorne (seen below not from the film), who is actually pretty amusing as the fairy godmother. She's well cast, frequently naked, and clearly in good spirits here, giving her all and delivering an enthusiastic performance. Uschi is underused, but it's fun to see her in the small part she's been given. Karen Smith looks great but her character [Mabella] is a cliché, while Monica Gayle follows suit she looks great, but Gepetta, despite being the female lead for the most part, just isn't that interesting. The film puts too much stock in Alex Roman. He looks the part, he's handsome enough and in good shape, but he has no charisma at all and winds up sinking the film."
Back at All Movie, Robert Firsching would beg to differ, saying: "This cute softcore burlesque is worth seeing for the cast alone. Director Corey Allen takes a rowdy, Benny Hill-type music hall approach to the comedy, which isn't to everyone's taste, but has its moments. […] Dyanne Thorne makes a great Fairy Godmother, and a running joke has her accidentally making her own clothes disappear each time she waves her magic wand. Alex Roman is funny and charming as Pinocchio, although by the end of the film — when he's wandering around with a five-foot-long blanket-covered organ in a baby carriage — one gets the feeling that he will never work again. Rat-faced Eduardo Ranez is great as the smarmy JoJo, and later turned up in Cafe Flesh (1982 / scene). […]"
While we don't know the year that The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio was screened at the Nebraskan Grand Island Drive-In Theatre, we definitely find the quadruple-feature saliva-inducing. The New Adventures of Snow White aka Grimm's Fairy Tales for Adults (1969 / trailer / full bad film) is a German sexploiter from director Rolf Thiele (7 Mar 1918 – 9 Oct 1994) that features, among others, Walter Giller; Cinderella 2000 (1977 / trailer) is a tacky sci-fi musical (!) exploiter by the fabulously Z-grade filmmaker Al Adamson (25 July 1929 – 21 June 1995 [murdered]), who also made the disasterpiece Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971); and Alice in Wonderland (1976 / full film), directed by Bud Townsend (17 Oct 1921 – 19 Sept 1997), the director of Nightmare in Wax (1969), is a Golden Age attempt for an upscale musical porn movie. (Go to the Rialto Report for Alice in Wonderland: What Really Happened.)
By the way, the title song to The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio, entitled Oh My Pinocchio, is sung by Kathy Cahill, someone you've never heard of but who was an original members of an easy listening singing group you've never heard of, The Doodletown Pipers... a fact we mention just so that we can embed one of their songs below. Sleep well.
The Doodletown Pipers sing
Blowing in the Wind (1967):


The Exotic Dreams of Casanova
(1971, writ. & dir. Dwayne Avery)
 
Since Harry Novak was the executive producer of this movie, we took a look at it back Part VIII of his R.I.P. Career Review, where we cobbled the following together:
Aka The Young Swingers — but not to mistaken with the family music film from 1963 of the same name (poster below).
Over at Letterboxed, jeff rouk calls this movie "absolutely crazy": "A sort of Inception (2010 / trailer) meets Flesh Gordon (1974 / trailer below) with the sci-fi replaced by a surreal courtroom 'drama'. It starts out as a period piece. Casanova bedding a beautiful woman. Then it turns out that it's Joe Casanova (a descendent of the more famous 18th-century Italian), and we're actually at a swingers party arranged by, um, Santa Claus. Well, a guy named Bastor (Jay Edwards) dressed as Santa (for the entire movie). After an extended and already rather surreal orgy sequence (including whipping and whipped cream, a man in a fez and a camp man watching some lesbians, a man dressed as Robin Hood (John Vincent of The Psycho Lover [1970 / trailer], The Cult [1971 / trailer] and Flesh Gordon) in a swing and a sailor dropping soap in a shower... I could go on), Joe Casanova (Johnny Rocco of The Joys of Jezebel [1970 / first 2 minutes]) bumps his head while (literally) swinging. This then leads to a dream / fantasy courtroom scenario for the rest of the movie, itself littered with dreams / fantasies within the dream. Of course this leads to the ultimate redemption of Joe (this is a movie with a moral to it!), but it does become a bit difficult for a while working out what is real and what isn't, especially as the cast all dress the same wherever they are (or are undressed in many cases) [...] In the end, I think I actually quite liked it, without really meaning to."
The no-budget poster above, obviously enough, incorporates artwork by the great Tom of Finland, whose tales seldom featured hot gals. [The Barrel Theatrette of Melbourne no longer exists; it's now a Chinese restaurant.]
Lots of Uschi Digard — billed here as "Bridgette" — which always makes a film more enjoyable.
Uncensored Trailer to
Flesh Gordon:
At My Duck Is Dead, which never credits their sources, they quote someone unknown as saying "For a sexploiter, The Exotic Dreams of Casanova exudes a fair degree of flair, thanks to impressive costumes, Earl Marsh All's art direction, the meaty musical score by Vic Lance (Mantis in Lace aka Lila [1968 / trailer]), and Sam Ryven's cinematography, which pulls out all the stops to prevent the proceedings from ever becoming boring. Easily one of the classier offerings of sex and sin from distributor Harry Novak, The Exotic Dreams of Casanova is well worth a nocturnal visit."
 
The non-embeddable trailer can be found here at EroProfile.


The Godson
(1971 writ. & dir. William Rotsler)

Uschi plays someone named "Faye" — and makes it onto the [censored] Japanese poster above, which we found at One Sheet Index.

Since Harry Novak "Presented" this movie, we took a look at it back Part VIII of his R.I.P. Career Review, where we cobbled the following together:

Supposedly a.k.a. Head Strong, Headstrong and, in Germany, as Blutjunge Mädchen — Hemmungslos, under which title it was released there in 1975 as a porno flick, once again by Germany's very own Sultan of Sleaze, Alois Brummer (12 May 1926 – 4 May 1984).
AV Club bitches that The Godson follows "Novak's early-'70s formula: A few minutes of gangland tough talk in some featureless office gives way to extended scenes of simulated sex, with the principals positioning heads and legs precisely enough to avoid an X rating. Then the crooks hook up and talk some more before the next buxom distraction wanders in....."
The Grindhouse Database was also not impressed by the movie: "What we got here is a soft-core porno which follows the adventures of mob enforcer, and the Don's godson, Marco Santino (played by Jason Yukon, who packs a nifty afro and sideburns). Marco's currently stuck in the brothel business and has dreams of moving up in the organization. All the while, he gets it on with the clients and we see the clients get it on with the customers. [Excuse us? Are clients and customers not the same thing?] That's all the plot really. Of course, there's an eventual showdown between Marco and a rival in the end, but the outcome doesn't really matter 'cause you'll be bored and won't care. Might not be hard to believe, but despite alllllll the skin and allllllll the sex, this flick is really tedious."
The great website Pulp International also didn't really like the movie, complaining that "The Godson is just a sexploitation flick with bad direction (William Rotsler), bad scripting (William Rotsler), bad editing (William Rotsler), and astoundingly bad acting (everyone)." […]
But for that, they also note the movie's positive aspects: "Uschi Digart and the awesomely beautiful Lois Mitchell appear in this film, super hot Debbie McGuire from Black Starlet (1974 / full movie) and Supervixens (1975 / tv trailer) gets a bit of screen time, and legendary sci-fi writer and firebrand Harlan Ellison (27 May 1934 – 28 June 2018) pops up briefly. Also, some of the film was shot at Ellison's bachelor pad." Indeed, supposedly an un-credited Harlan Ellison (27 May 1934 – 28 June 2018) is in the orgy scene as "Guy with Barbara (Jane Allyson) and Brunette"; he stays dressed. That's him below, having fun on set.
Not to be mistaken with the dated and overly cool French Alain Delon film, Le Samouraï (1967 / trailer), which was at one point released in Australia and the US as The Godson (poster below).


The Godchildren
(1971, writ. & dir. Robert E. Pearson)
Aka Hawaiian Split. A mafia movie, and an early mockbuster — long before the term was even coined — riding on the coattails of, natch, The Godfather (1972 / trailer). Interestingly enough, The Godchildren hit the cinemas first.
Robert E. Pearson (31 Jan 1928 – 4 July 2009) went on to direct two further exploiters, The Devil and Leroy Bassett (1973 / a trailer) and Claws (1977 / full movie) before eventually returning to Kansas to become a painter. The painting below is an example of his work. Some people might remember Claws from when it was re-released as Grizzly 2 so as to ride on the success of William Girdler's Grizzly (1976 / trailer), which was itself a riff on Jaws (1975 / trailer).
Letterboxd has a plot description that sounds like a DVD blurb: "A mob courier (Christopher Geoffries) is given the responsibility of transferring drugs from California to Hawaii. What he doesn't count on is his backstabbing girlfriend (Sandy Carey) hiring an assassin to steal his stash."
J4HI says that this "real obscurity" is "exploitation fun wallowing in the world of drug dealing, loose women, organized crime, torture, double crosses and more. Complications arise in a lucrative scheme of running drugs between Los Angeles and Hawaii. The standout here is the unknown Lindsey Hillard as a cold-hearted hitman. He's a little like Dennis Weaver in Touch of Evil (1958 / trailer) with Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men (2007 / trailer). Worth checking out."
Divine Exploitation, which calls the movie "freewheeling, convoluted exploitation filmmaking of the highest caliber," says, "Now, for the Ushci Digard fans out there who will watch this for only one reason. She's not in it a lot. There's a scene where Johnny hooks up with this oddball character by the name of Bobby Lee O'Toole (John F. Goff) who has two lovely ladies in tow, Lady Chatterley (Kathy Hilton) and Lady Godiva (Rene Bond). They all go back to Bobby's place for much naked frolicking and have so much fun that they have to contact Swedish Massage expert Lotta Cuze (Uschi Digard) to fix Rene Bond. Naturally there is much naked and rubbing of skin, but you're looking at about five minutes of film tops."
Unexpectedly for a film of this ilk, the film ends with a bang instead of a gang bang.
At least in some locations, The Godchildren was released on a double bill with Fernando Di Leo's Slaughter Hotel (1971 / trailer below), a.k.a. Asylum Erotica and Cold Blooded Beast and, of course, by its original Italian name, La bestia uccide a sangue freddo, starring Klaus Kinski.
Trailer to
Slaughter Hotel (1971):



The Only House in Town
(1971, dir. "Flint Holloway")

"Flint Holloway", otherwise a.k.a. Ed Wood, Jr. — the mind does indeed boggle: Uschi in an Ed Wood movie! Long thought lost, it was found sometime around 2002, an event that eventually even found mention in The New Yorker. To what extent The Only House in Town is based (or inspired) the Ed Wood book of [almost] the same name, we do not know.
The website Medium, in any event, was moved to say, "Compared to the innocent delights of Plan 9 (1959 / trailer) or even Necromania (1971 / ten hand-censored minutes), it is a challenging, ambiguous work. More a tone poem than a narrative, with a wildly tenuous approach to story, character, and setting, The Only House in Town is Ed Wood's Last Year at Marienbad (1961 / trailer below)." Uschi, as "Mishka Valkaro", may or may not play a house madam, but she breaks the fourth wall often enough as she tells her tales of sex.
Trailer to
 Last Year at Marienbad:
The blogspot the-mad-doctor-of-cult-movies has a blow-by-blow description of a movie seemingly divided into two parts: the first, a male & female gangrape of a woman who, in good (soft and hardcore) porno fashion begins to dig it, and the second with Uschi introducing "several short stories which are acted out by the previously seen six cast members, all of which feature Uschi totally nude and very involved in the hot and heavy action."
According the blogspot Dead 2 Rights, and as supported by the advert below (which, like the book cover image above comes from that site), points out that "footage from the film was turned into some 8mm loops available through mail-order called Lesbian Love and 4 Girls & 3 Men Orgy."
They go onto to say, "As in the Steve Apostolof films of the 1970s, the orgy scene here drones on and on. Ed is very limited in terms of what he can show in a softcore movie, so mostly we see a lot of writhing around with actors grinding their pelvises into one other. There is no scripted dialogue here, though someone does shout directions from off-camera. (A typical command: 'Do that again!') This doesn't sound like Ed's voice. Could it have been Ted Gorley? Whoever it is makes the mistake of referring to Uschi Digard by her real first name: 'Touch Uschi's breast!' Boom microphones and their attendant shadows are both in evidence."
As the ads above and below attest — all cribbed from the blogspot Dead 2 Rights — the movie even got screened in theaters. Unluckily, according to the Mad Doctor of Cult Movies mentioned above, "Uschi Digard later has gone on record as saying she has no memory of appearing in this film."
And as mentioned at more than one website, including Adult DVD Talk when the movie came out Ed Wood reviewed it pseudonymously Wild Screen Reviews Vol. 2, 1st Issue (1970), saying: "The Only House in Town is one of those rare films that makes me glad I turned down a bright future as a shoe salesman and became a reviewer. This is more than just a good film — in many ways it may be a great film. [...] The Only House in Town is about lust, rape, crime, hate, sex, love, money, death, blood, lesbians, orgies, whores, bootleggers and ghosts. It is also the story of a house and what that house does to people's minds. The house is old and rundown, the paint is peeling and the place is ready to fall apart. A group of young hippies are living in the place since the rent is cheap and the house is away from the rest of the town."
At the dearly departed Georgian New Glen Art Theatre, nee Glen Theatre, The Only House in Town was paired with an unknown movie entitled, at least there, Fantasy of Love. At the former Danish World Books and Flicks at 410 Main Street, Racine, Wisconsin, with an equally unknown title, Venice Night. We assume without proof that the Kentuckian Cinema "X" Mini Theatre of the ad is the one once found in Newport, Kentucky,; there, Wood's flick was screened with yet another unknown title, Woman's Companion. But at the now-demolished Alhambra at 2121 E. Third Street in Dayton, Ohio, The Only House in Town screened with the early and now apparently lost Lee Frost (14 Aug 1935 – 25 May 2007) movie, Captives (1969), a pseudo-Danish softcore roughie. The Mini Vue in Albuquerque came and went without leaving any traces, but Fred Baker's "intriguing low-budget underground feature" Events (1970 / a trailer below) is easily available today. 
A trailer to
Fred Baker's Events:


Private Eye's, Public Display
(1971, dir. Unknown)

No poster online, no information a lost film, it would seem, so check your attic. As no source lists the film's length, it feasibly could simply be a loop. But until it is found, we will never know for sure whether it's a feature-length film or not, or whether there is a typo in the title or not. (Who knows, maybe the real title is The Private Eye's Public Display, or Private Eyes, Public Display.) Till then, enjoy a random photo of Uschi instead.


Skin Flick Madness
(1971, writ. & dir. "Bluth Blaine")

As lor says at the imdb, Skin Flick Madness is a "transparently cheap compilation of porn loops." One can find it on DVD and all over the web, but it probably is really hardly worth the effort. Indeed, it was such a cheap production there never seems to have been a poster or any lobby cards. The cheapness of it production warrants the meagerness of the Hustlervod.com description of the movie taken straight from the DVD Uschi Digard Triple Feature 2, "Sandy Dempsey (11 April 1949 – 24 May 1975) fucks her boyfriend in a theatre while watching porn loops, including Uschi 69ing a busty young blonde (Phyllis Stengel)!"
Over at Rock!Shock!Pop! Ian Jane is a bit more detailed about the version he watched on Alpha Blue Archives' release, Sex and the Single Vampire Plus The Lost Films of Sandy Dempsey: "Up next is Skin Flick Madness, a fifty-one-minute long feature made in 1971. It starts off with a 'Suckit Films Presents' that then rambles off some interesting credits (Wardrobe by Ivan Beatoffski, Camera by Lester Lenscap) [...]. After that intro, we get some quick but welcome footage of the seedy side of San Francisco showing off some adult bookstores and theaters. Into one such theater we see a couple enter (Dempsey plays the female and is credited as 'Lotsa Titsa'; the male [Richard Smedley of The Night God Screamed (1971 / trailer / full movie), Blood of Ghastly Horror (1967 / trailer / full movie), and Brain of Blood (1971 / trailer below)] is credited as 'Bigi Dicki') and sit down to take in a film. He's hoping he'll get lucky, she's not impressed so he drinks a beer. One of the women in the 'movie within the movie' footage is Uschi Digard, who has some nice lesbian play time with a pretty blonde. Back in the theater, things are warming up a bit as Bigi Dicki gets Lotsa Titsa's top off. The next movie plays, it's some sort of strange Devil-Cult themed porno. It seems to do the trick, as it plays out Dempsey gets progressively more naked and then as the last movie plays out, they fuck. Not much of a story to this one at all but it's quick, fun and dirty. The location footage is pretty neat too but the cinematography is about as rudimentary as it gets. Still, Dempsey is in fine form here and anytime Uschi shows up it makes for a good time."
Trailer to
Brain of Blood (1971):
Skin Flick Madness is, not surprisingly, the only known movie ever made by "Bluth Blaine". Sandy Dempsey, by the way, born 11 April 1949, died roughly four years after this film hit the grindhouses in a boating accident in the Gulf of Mexico on 24 May 1975. 


Wild Honey
(1971, writ. & dir. Don Edmonds [1 Sept 1937 – 30 May 2009])

We took a look at this movie in Part IX of Harry Novak's R.I.P. Career Review, where we cobbled together the following:
Probably not based on the Midwood erotic novel of the same name (see below) written by "Don Karl", whose fabulous cover illustration is by the sadly underappreciated artist Paul Rader.
Wild Honey is the directorial début of Don Edmonds (1 Sept 1937 — 30 May 2009), former and occasional actor (for example: Beach Ball [1965 / trailer] and Wild Wild Winter [1966 theme song below]*) who, after this film, still did an occasional acting job (Home Sweet Home [1981 / trailer], for example) but concentrated mostly on writing, producing and directing — including some true sleaze classics: Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1975 / trailer) & Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976 / trailer). Other films we find of note that he touched: Skeeter (1993 / trailer, with Charles Napier), True Romance (1993 / trailer), Beyond Evil (1980 / trailer), Saddle Tramp Women (1972), Tender Loving Care (1973) and the Charles Napier vehicle, The Night Stalker (1987).
* Both these surfer flicks also happen to feature the dearly departed cult character actor, Dick Miller (25 Dec 1928 – 30 Jan 2019).
Jay & the Americans singing 
Two of a Kind from Wild, Wild, Winter:

Over at Shocking Images, they have a read-worthy interview of him in which he talks about Wild Honey: "I wrote a picture called Wild Honey, and that was the first film I ever directed. Something Weird has a tape of it. It's too bad, because I've seen their tape, and it's chopped up something terrible. The quality is fourth or fifth generation. I wish I could find the negative. Harry Novak has it, but he won't give it to me. He distributed the picture, and he won't even get on the phone with me. [...] It's badly chopped. [...] It was a normal length, ninety-minute movie. It did really well, actually, when we put it out. [...] Not hardcore, just the beginnings of naked stuff. In those days, just putting tits on the screen was a big deal. I wanted to be a little more flamboyant than that, but if you've ever seen Wild Honey, it's not a hardcore picture. It's a tits and ass film." (Including those of cult faves Bambi Allen and Uschi Digert — and speaking of Uschi, that's her below.)
Online, we found a blurb from Mike Accomando's classic fanzine, Dreadful Pleasures: "Released by Harry Novak, Wild Honey is the tender tale of Gypsy (played by healthy-looking Donna Young of Edward D. Wood Jr.'s Take It Out in Trade [1970 / trailer], Stephen C. Apostolof's Five Loose Women [1974 / trailer] and Al Adamson's The Naughty Stewardesses [1975 / trailer below]). After almost being raped by Daddy, she runs away from the farm and winds up in La La Land. Soon she is partying with a squadron of hippies led by a space cadet named Astral (Allan Warnick, seen somewhere in Mother, Jugs & Speed [1976 / trailer]) and The Two Jakes [1990 / trailer]). 'What's your sign?' he actually asks. They zone out on LSD. The meat of this softcore movie concerns Gypsy's rise to stardom. She poses for stag photos and is genuinely treated like a doormat by everyone. Then she lucks out and meets a lesbian Madam who sets her up as a high-priced call girl. Money. Apartment. New car. Gypsy's hit the big time. But it's not enough. She is insatiable now..."
 
Trailer to
The Naughty Stewardesses (1975):

Exploitation Retrospect is of the opinion that Wild Honey is a "Cinderella story gone horribly, horribly wrong": "A moral fable, disguised as a sexploitation roughie fashioned as a loose cautionary tale about why you shouldn't party with guys wearing black robes in the Hollywood hills, there is still enough here to make you ponder the true nature of morality, the decay of social mores; modern values and even to just blink and wonder 'what the hell' to yourself. [...] Wild Honey was trite, stupid and unrealistic but it did have varied thematic music for every setting and the flesh was excessive. I'll admit to one thing, this film was so damned random, switching between moral message and quasi-explicit action so frequently that I found myself not predicting what was going to happen next, something that hardly ever happens to me when I watch a film. Wild Honey was an aptly-named little flick that was sweet and sticky at first, but just when you start to enjoy its fleshy nectar it stings you at the end... does this look swollen to you?"


Red, White and Blue
(1971, writ. & dir. Beverly & Ferd Sebastian)
 
A.k.a., in Germany, as Call Girl Report; and in Australia, as Sexual Freedom USA. A documentary narrated by Robert Fitzpatrick (2 July 1937 – 23 October 2010) and co-produced by David F. Friedman.
Wikipedia doesn't bother with Ferd, but does have an entry on Beverly: "Beverly Sebastian is an American film director, writer, and cinematographer whose independent films in the 1970s and 1980s were predominantly exploitation pictures similar to the work of Roger Corman and other directors in the 1960s at independent studios like American International Pictures. Her husband, Ferd Sebastian, often co-directed with her. After directing Running Cool (trailer) in 1993, she and her husband retired to Florida. As of 2012, Sebastian runs the Greyhound Foundation, which saves Greyhound dogs retired from racing, gives them medical assistance, and trains them with prisoners." A 1999 interview of Ferd can be found here at Mondo Stumpo.
Their most famous film is undoubtedly 'Gator Bait (1974 / trailer below), which stars 1970 Playboy "Playmate of the Year" Claudia Jennings (20 December 1949 – 3 October 1979) and was followed by the less-amazing 'Gator Bait II: Cajun Justice (1988 / trailer). Jennings naturally didn't take part in the sequel: she died in an automobile collision on the Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, California when she was 29. Ferd, and possibly Beverly, has since found god and runs the website 2Jesus, which might explain why they dropped out of exploitation. We took a look at him briefly in our R.I.P.: Richard Hugh Lynch career review, for Lynch starred in their 1979 movie Delta Fox (full movie).
Trailer to
'Gator Bait (1974):

Depending on how you look at it, Red, White and Blue is either a documentary about porn in the US of A, or American porn pretending to be a documentary.
TCM sort of sees it from one side, saying: "Obscenity laws were somewhat vague in the late 1960s and early 70s. So in order to avoid prosecution, lawyers advised some pornographic filmmakers to present their films as documentaries. This film is one of the results of that advice, in which testimony in an imaginary Congressional committee uses footage from a pornographic film as an 'exhibit'."
Cinema Wasteland sees things abit differently, saying, "Beverly and Ferd Sabastian's documentary on Richard Nixon's silly, yet right up the GOP playbook, complete waste of time and tax payer money, Commission on Obscenity Reports, with (CW's mentor and free-speech hero) David F. Friedman as a main subject."
Over at the possible illegal download site Rarelust, we find out both why the film is now hard to get and where Uschi is found in it: "An incredibly rare film, the Sebastians decided to produce a documentary focusing on the sexual revolution and how it was affecting media and culture of the time. Sort of like a West Coast version of Gerard Damiano's Changes (1970 / trailer). You get to see footage of various sex trade personalities testifying before the Commission on Pornography (including Dave Friedman), behind-the-scenes footage of shooting 16mm softcore and one-day wonders, a casting session in an agent's office including Uschi Digard and other familiar faces (Debbie Osborne, etc.), and silhouette confidential interviews with publishers and distributors in the adult book and magazine industry. Fascinating from start to finish! SWV discontinued this after the Sebastians approached them with paperwork on owning the movie, and Ferd & Bev planned on releasing it on their own, but [...] nothing has come of that proposal."
The documentary includes film clips from, among other movies, the Friedman-scripted Trader Hornee (1970 / trailer), the influential classic I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967 /scene), and Quiet Days in Clichy (1970 / trailer).
Full Short Film —
Muscle Beach (1948):
Among the others that appear in the doc, the most notable names include Joseph Strick (6 July 1923 – 1 June 2010) and Barney Rosset (28 May 1922 – 21 February 2012). Strick was a documentary and art film maker whose intriguing projects included, among many, Muscle Beach (1948 /full film above), The Savage Eye (1960), and the unnerving Interviews with My Lai Veterans (1971). Barney Rosset, in turn, was the former owner (from 1951 to 1985) of the New York book publisher Grove Press and one of the great and influential advocates and warriors for free speech in America. The trailer below is to the 2007 feature documentary about him, Obscene.
Trailer to 
Obscene:



Information Processing (1971)
Less a documentary short than an educational film, though who know for whom, from CRM Productions.
CRM Closing Logo:
Uschi, fully dressed for a change, is one of the many party guests at the party at which the movie is set, going by the description found at OCLC World Catalog: "Using for its base a crowded, noisy cocktail party as observed from a control booth, [Information Processing] analyzes how people process information. Pretty girls and bizarrely dressed men, including some improvisational actors, demonstrate attention, language processing, long and short term memory, mnemonics, retrieval strategies, and problem solving."
One could well assume that the movie was "directed" by the movie's producers, the husband and wife team of Carole Hart (30 April 1943 – 5 Jan 2018) and Bruce Hart  (15 Jan 1938 – 21 Feb 2006). But if we're to believe 16MM Lost & Found, Bruce Hart made the film and Carole only contributed as producer. (Women never do anything.) The website also says, "The Harts were two of the original writers on Sesame Street, and are perhaps best-known for [producing] their award-winning album Free To Be…You And Me (opening credits)."
Bruce Hart, by the way, wrote the lyrics to Mama Cass's (19 Sept 1941 – 29 July 1974) non-hit One-Way Ticket, a fact mentioned only as an excuse to embed the song below.
"Mama Cass" Elliot singing
One-Way Ticket:


Coming eventually
Uschi Digard, Part VI: 1972, Part I
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