Friday, January 30, 2015

Short Film: Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty (Ireland, 2008)


Here's a cute little black comedy from Ireland that garnered some attention when it came out — it was even nominated for an Oscar as Best Animated Short, but lost out to Logorama, our Short Film of the Month of June 2011. 
Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty was directed by Nicky Phelan via Brown Bag Films http://www.brownbagfilms.com/, Dublin, with producer Daragh O’Connell. 
GrannyO'Grimm's genesis is that as a character of comedy sketch by comedian Kathleen O'Rourke. Nicky Phelan caught the act and thought it would make a nice film. O'Rourke wrote the script and once supplied the voice — and there you have it: a cute black comedy about a loving (?) granny who terrifies her granddaughter with a meandering version of Sleeping Beauty that no impressionable young child wants to hear before going to sleep.
Needless to say, the short has been screened all over the place and has received lost of nominations and awards. And now it has the honor of being A Wasted Life's Short Film of the Month for February 2015.
Enjoy.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

R.I.P.: Harry H. Novak, Part XII: 1976–77


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 Dec 1923 — 14 Feb 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 Harry H. Novak 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



Ceremony — The Ritual of Love
(1976, dir. Fred Sand)

Not to be confused with the 1965 mondo documentary Ritual of Love, poster below, about which we could find nada.
In general, Harry Novak wasn't to verbal about his activities in the hardcore branch, but he was active there, too, as a producer, distributor and an occasional director (as "H. Hershey"). Aside from working together regularly with the "Ed Wood of porn", Carlos Tobalina, whose firm Hollywood International Film Corporation of America (HIFCOA) was extremely active in making cheap hand-helpers, Novak also was active in triple-X with his firm Valiant International Pictures.
In the case of this triple-X movie here, an online search at US Copyright Office (done 7 July 2014) revealed that Harry Novak and Valiant International Pictures applied for a copyright to Ceremony — The Ritual of Love, which is good enough a reason for us to take a closer look at it.
Many of the movies for which Novak applied for the copyright, he did with some guy named Burt Steiger, a fellow exploitation film producer and the man behind such noteworthy trash as auteur Albert Pyun's Vicious Lips (1986 / see below) and the Rudy Ray Moore (17 Mar 1927 — 19 Oct 2008) vehicles Rude (1982), Disco Godfather (1979 / trailer) and Petey Wheatstraw (1977 / a fan trailer).
Music Number from Vicious Lips (1986) — 
Mary Ellen Quinn sings Light Years Away:
"Fred Sand" is a either pseudonym or one-load-wonder, for he never made another film under that name. Scriptwriter Dean Rogers, on the other helping hand, wrote many a visual aid, including the supposed Novak production Cry for Cindy aka Abduction of Cindy (1976 / full NSFW movie) and pornos of little or lesser or greater fame, such as SexWorld (1978) and Dixie Ray Hollywood Star (1983 / first NSFW 11 minutes) — the latter with Cameron Mitchell in a non-sex role.
The plot of Ceremony — The Ritual of Love? Well, on porn sites across the web they say: "During a wedding, we flash back to some of the sexual escapades between the people attending the ceremony. This film has it all — steamy group sex, threesomes, nasty interracial couplings, lesbian vignettes and anal escapades! Set amidst the free sex era of the '70's, this is one wedding to attend!"

Among the genitals seen in action are those of heavenly-breasted Desiree West, seen above, (aka Azure Té, Dee Marshall, Jo Jo Gumm, Fat Lee, Rayha Teresee, Desirée West, Desirée, Dee Dee Willing, Patty Lester, Desire West, Desiree, Pat Lee, Patricia Lee, Pat Desado, Susie Sung Lee), 35DD-24-36, of Spirit of Seventy Sex (1976 / a few NSFW hairy minutes) and Sweet Savage (1979 / dull SFW scene), among many films; one of the first female African American porn semi-stars she, regrettably, was usually only given supporting roles. In Ceremony — The Ritual of Love, she plays a stereotypical black housemaid named Mae and bonks a hirsute Tim (Jeff Lyle) under the eyes of the house mistress (Sharon Thorpe of Love Slaves [1976 / full NSFW movie or Desiree West's 14-minute scene]). Among those in Ceremony — The Ritual of Love whose genitals we do not see for a change is John Seeman, of the classic what-the-fuck fuck film Hardgore (1974 / full NSFW movie); he plays the minister.
Kristine Heller, who stars as Nikki, the bride-to-be, and can be seen in Mary! Mary! (1977 / full NSFW movie), Tobalina's The Ultimate Pleasure (1977 / NSFW movie) and the "classic" 7 Into Snowy (1978 / NSFW lesbian scene), died in 1989. According to Luke Is Back, her former boyfriend, former porn lead and now porn director Paul Thomas, said: "She had a big problem between her Catholic upbringing, and her thing in porno. She had some problems and left the business. Ever hear of the Elizabeth Clare Prophet group? She joined a cult in southern California. I went down and followed her. She quit the cult then went back dancing for the Mitchell Brothers just for the money. But she would study her religion at night. I hadn't talked to her for years and found out she committed suicide about ten years ago." 



Kidnapped Coed
(1976, writ & dir. Frederick R. Friedel)


Trailer to
Kidnapped Coed:
Aka Trouble, Date with a Kidnapper and House of Terror. Any resemblance to James Hadley Chase's book No Orchids for Miss Blandish or any of the movies the novel inspired — No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948 / trailer below), Don't Ever Leave Me (1949), La chair de l'orchidée (1975 / scene) and The Grissom Gang (1971) — is possibly intentional. Auteur Frederick R. Friedel went on to write and direct the horror film Lisa Lisa aka California Axe aka The Virgin Slaughter (1977), also fingered by Novak, and the comedy My Next Funeral (2000 / trailer), not fingered by Novak and already forgotten.
Trailer to
No Orchids for Miss Blandish:



Critical Condition, which says the movie is "competently-made and good for a quick viewing", explains the plot: "Eddie Mattlock (Jack Canon, also seen in Maximum Overdrive [1986 / trailer] and Weekend at Bernie's [1989 / trailer]) kidnaps pretty, young coed Sandra Morley (Leslie Ann Rivers, also seen in Reform School Girls [1986 / trailer] and Guilty as Charged [1991 / a trailer]), the daughter of wealthy industrialist Franklin Morley (the voice of director Frederick R. Friedel), and hopes to hit the jackpot by demanding a large ransom for her safe return. Eddie and Sandra are about to have an event-filled 48 hours. Their first stop is a seedy hotel where Eddie plans to hold Sandra until the ransom is paid. Little does he know that the hotel has been taken over by a pair of psychos (Larry Lambeth [9 April 1938 — 7 Dec 2011] of The Electric Chair [1976] and Hot Summer in Barefoot County [1974], and Jim Blankinship), who barge into their room, beat and tie-up Eddie to a chair and force him to watch one of them rape a tied-up Sandra on the bed. Eddie frees himself and shoots the two psychos in the balls. He then takes Sandra to an abandoned barn, somewhere on the backroads of the Carolinas, where they are interrupted by four old biddies on a bird-watching expedition. We learn why Eddie is kidnapping Sandra: He needs the money to keep his wheelchair-bound mother (Gladys Lavitan) in a nursing home. Pretty soon Eddie and Sandra fall in love and must deal with a shotgun-wielding farmer and a crazy old coot with a pitchfork. Sandra freaks out when she sees Eddie kill the old coot and she runs away into the arms of a blind man (Skip Lundby). Eddie catches up and calms her down. He then calls his mother to tell her that he and Sandra are in love and are going to get married. His mother's response: 'You're no good, just like your father. Damn you! Damn you!' Eddie and Sandra pick up the ransom and then go to a bar, where they drink, dance and do impressions to celebrate their love and good fortune. Their good fortune doesn't last too long as three punks rush into the bar, rob everyone and steal Eddie's car, which contains the ransom money. The End."
Full Movie —
Hot Summer in Barefoot County (1974):
TV Guide likes the film, saying that its "an engaging drive-in movie that suggests little-known filmmaker Frederick R. Friedel is no small talent" and that "this low-budget psychodrama [...] transcends its exploitation trappings with sufficient personal vision to make you wonder about the career the filmmaker could have had with more luck and resources. [...] Though occasionally draggy, the film's everyday mundanity nonetheless strikes a chord [...]. The decent cinematography likewise has moments of unexpected loveliness for a B-picture. While not quite a lost gem, this movie's a worthy diamond-in-the-rough. Shot in North Carolina [...]."
According to Brian Albright's book Regional Horror Films 1958-1990, "In 2007, Friedel re-edited Axe (1974) and Kidnapped Coed into a new [short] film called Bloody Brothers which recast Canon's characters as twins. He also made a [short] film called Squish! (2007 / trailer) with his wife Jill Jaxx." (According to Fab Press, "Squish! is the moving tale of an escaped mental patient who hides out in a factory full of huge industrial presses!" Bloody Brothers, in turn, is about "Psycho twins separated at birth embark on separate, simultaneous, violent sprees across the North Carolina landscape, all the while closing the distance between each other, and their inevitable respective fates.") Singing instructor Jill Jaxx plays a waitress in the Linda Blair exploiter, Savage Streets (1984 / trailer below).
Trailer to
Savage Streets (1984):

 



Rattlers
(1976, dir. John McCauley)


Trailer to
Rattlers:
Novak was there as executive producer and distributor. Director John McCauley co-wrote Rattlers with Jerry Golding; 12 years later, in 1988, McCauley finally directed another movie, the equally forgotten horror flick Deadly Intruder (Danish trailer); he might also have appeared as a "Farmer" in the 1992 movie The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag (1992 / trailer). According to some sources, Rattlers is in the public domain.
According to lazarillo from Denver, Colorado, and Santiago, Chile, Rattlers is "The Plan 9 of killer snake movies," while Final Girl says "Oh, Rattlers, I can't help but love you. You're not 'good', but who cares? You epitomize the 1976 drive-in experience, and sometimes that's all that really matters to me. [...] You feature a scienceologist (Sam Chew of Time Walker [1982 / trailer below] and Scarab [1983 / trailer]) and a photogologist (Elisabeth Chauvet) engaging in battles of the wits concerning women's lib... before they fall in love and have a romantic night dancing and making out by a fountain in Vegas. You feature amazing toupees, a love theme, whiny divorcées getting offed in the bathtub, long stretches where nothing happens, Army cover-ups, nerve gas... and yes, rattlesnakes — but only a lethargic few, craftily edited to give the appearance of a hostile many. Yes, Rattlers, when I watch you it's like I'm somewhere else entirely — watching a crappy movie under the stars instead of a ceiling."
Trailer to
Time Walker (1982):



Critical Condition followed the plot: "Any PG-rated film that opens with two little boys getting bitten to death by a den of rattlesnakes in the Mojave Desert can't be all bad. Or can it? The Mojave Police Department bring in herpetologist Tom Parkinson (Chew) and photographer Ann Bradley (Chauvet) to help in the investigation. More deaths occur (an entire family killed by the snakes during dinner time; a plumber has a snake crawl up his pant leg; a lady taking a bath gets attacked by snakes crawling out of the drain) and our intrepid duo still cannot figure out why the snakes are attacking in such a vicious manner until they visit the local U.S. Army base and meet the dastardly Colonel Stroud (Dan Priest of Moon of the Wolf [1972 / a trailer] and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer [1998 / trailer]). It seems the Colonel has been dumping an experimental nerve gas, called CT3, in an abandoned mine without authorization. The gas is leaking, causing the snakes to go on a murderous hunting spree. Fearing a cover-up, Tom and Ann investigate the Colonel and the tight security at the base. When two Army soldiers [...] are savagely killed by the snakes, a drunk Army doctor (Ron Gold) bucks the Colonel's orders and helps Tom and Ann. This leads them to the abandoned mine and the main den of killer rattlesnakes. After they are attacked by the snakes in their tent and Ann is bitten, Tom goes after the Colonel. The Colonel kills the alcoholic doctor and goes to the mine to cover-up his crimes. After a brief shootout, the Colonel blows himself and the mine up with a hand grenade, trapping the snakes and ending their assault. Or does it?"
The Full Movie —
Rattlers:





Tanya
(1976. dir. Nate Rogers [as "P. Duncan Fingersnarl"])


"Every soldier needs his piece!"

And every exploitation filmmaker needs his timely topic: the trial of Patricia Campbell "Patty" Hearst, nee "Tania", began on January 15th of the year Novak tossed this movie into the grindhouses, 1976. Prior to becoming known for her appearances in John Waters movies, as some might remember, Patty Hearst was one of the US's most famous kidnapping victims and sufferers of the Stockholm Syndrome: a newspaper heiress, she was snatched by the left-wing urban guerrilla group called the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) and in no short order changed her name to "Tania" and joined the cause.
Rogers' low-budget softcore comedy is surely the first movie made to capitalize on the case, and its basic plot echoes the reality, as the current (9 Dec 2014) plot description found at Wikipedia reveals: "The lead character, Charlotte Kane (Maria Arnold, as "Trish Avis", of the retarded Meatcleaver Massacre [1977 / trailer], Ed D. Wood Jr.'s 'Necromania': A Tale of Weird Love! [1971 / scene], Tom DeSimone's Prison Girls [1972 / trailer below] and the infamous Angel Above — The Devil Below [1974 / trailer audio]), is [the] 20-year-old heiress of a newspaper mogul. She is kidnapped by five sex-crazed pseudo-revolutionaries who call themselves 'The Symphonic Liberation Army' [...]. Charlotte is quickly converted to their cause and changes her name to Tanya."
The synopsis fails to note that more than anything else, Tanya and the rest spend their time screwing.
Trailer to
Tom DeSimone's Prison Girls (1972):

prison girls von grindhouse-Horror-Movies
As far as we can tell, neither director Nate Rodgers nor scriptwriter Charles Townsend (assuming that's a real name) ever made another movie.
Grimly Fiendish, which finds this version of the Patty Hearst story "more enjoyable than that ridiculously boring Paul Schrader version", concedes: "Even with that said, the movie doesn't have much of a plot. The movie begins with a long-haired newscaster who's reading an introduction to the film with the script wide open. [...] After we see the guy reading off the script, we cut to the plot, which alternates between sex scenes, and scenes of the group talking politics. It goes like that, back and forth, until the end. The sex is half softcore, half hardcore. No blowjobs, no visible penetration, but the muff-diving is pretty much real. [...] Only negative is that one of the terrorists that has sex is a slightly over-weight, balding redhead dude that gets it on with almost every girls. Some people just shouldn't fuck on camera."
DVD Talk and DVD Verdict are both of the opinion that "the vast majority of this film's 78 minute narrative is nothing but naughtiness. At first, it's the SLA members who get it on in various racial and lifestyle permutations. [...] But once Charlotte turns Tanya, and horny, it's nonstop nookie for everyone. Tanya uses sex to keep the group together, to get what she wants — even to pass the time of day. There is so much fake forking going on here that it's almost impossible to see a point beyond the porking. Yet Charles Townsend's script does try for a little Airplane! (1980 / trailer) style irreverence. A smarmy TV anchorman cracks jokes at the movie's expense while we experience another sequence of slap and tickle. There is even a surreal scene involving Cinque ("B.B. Hinds"), some Raid, and the oppressors that 'bug' him. [...] In essence, a film like Tanya signals the decided death knell for exploitation. Pushing the boundaries of softcore to the very limits, and occasionally stomping right over them, movies like these want to compete directly with their pure penetration counterparts. Unfortunately, without the XXX factor, they come off as ludicrous and lame."
The SLA leader Cinque ("B.B. Hinds"), and fellow SLA member Priscilla Stall (Susan Ayers as "Melodie Hartnet"), both of whom had non-existent film careers, only seem to have appeared in one other movie, the 3-D extravaganza Black Lolita (1975), aka, in its truncated non-porn version, Wildcat Women.

NSFW Trailer to
Wildcat Women aka Black Lolita:

Wildcat Women (1975) von bmoviebabe
Also to be seen somewhere, in her last movie role: former B-movie blonde Mary Beth Hughes (13 Nov 1919 — 27 Aug 1995), of The Women (1939 / trailer), Inner Sanctum (1948 / full movie), I Accuse My Parents (1944 / full moive), Highway Dragnet (1954 / full movie), The Lady Confesses (1945 / full movie), The Great Flamarion (1945 / full movie), The Ox-Bow Incident (1943 / trailer), and more.
According to the movie's imaginative credits, Tanya is based on a play called Take My Virtue But Not My Dignity which, in turn, was supposedly based on a novel called Daughter of an Empire, Mother of a Revolution by Broderick Turntwist. The director of photography, "Otto Focus", went on to do the photography for two later Novak porn movies Moments of Love (1984) and Inspirations (1983).



Woman in the Rain
(1976, dir. Paul Hunt)

Aka Murha sateessa. Novak handled the theatrical distribution of what may well be a lost movie, as there is nothing to be found online about it that in any way infers that anyone has seen it. That's why we didn't take the bother to look at it in our R.I.P. Career Review of the surfer Paul Hunt way back in 2011: we couldn't find anything about the movie online.
This time around, we fared only slightly better, though much of what we have to say is also only assumption, if based on clues. The foreign version above, at least, can be found occassionally as a VHS on ebay Europe. 

We were able to locate a plot description, in German, in Das größte Filmlexikon der Welt at Zweitazusandeins, where the movie (as "Damals im Regen", which means "Back Then in the Rain") is listed as being produced in 1983 and released on video in 1991. Their lean description, more or less translated, reads: "In an interview, a female singer tells everything about her relationship with her husband, who was shot dead years previously, and her lovers. Built upon flashbacks, the film narrates a flimsy story full of dramatic holes."
Paul Hunt pulled in a lot of people in the twilight of their careers for this movie, the most notable of which is the author Steve Fisher (29 Aug 1912 — 27 March 1980), an unjustly under-appreciated pulp author and later screenwriter whose oeuvre of novels demands rediscovery and re-appreciation; among many projects of note, Fisher wrote the novel (and worked on the screenplay) to one of the great, influential and oddly forgotten film noirs, I Wake Up Screaming (1941), a film we can only recommend.
Trailer to
I Wake Up Screaming (1941):
More than one website out there lists A Hell-Black Night as the AKA title of Woman in the Rain, and the poster far above, in some language unknown to us, also claims that the movie is a cinematic adaptation of Steve Fisher's crime novel A Hell-Black Night: A Novel of Terror, a cover of which we present below. The only online description of the novel's plot that we could find doesn't jive 100% with the film description above, but that isn't rare: "Kelly Saunders, a divorcee around whom and because of whom the murder would be committed, had climbed into her bed only an hour or so before, and for a while was unaware of the storm, of life, death, sex, her tormenting problems — of anything. Kelly was a beautiful blonde, not yet thirty-three years old. She had gone to bed before midnight because it seemed despite all her recent wild telephone calls and weird longer-range schemes not a single, solitary thing was working out."
Other career twilighters, desperate actors, and minor names in the film include actor/director Alex Nicol (20 Jan 1916 — 29 July 2001) of The Night God Screamed (1971 / full movie), Point of Terror (1973 / trailer) and The Curse of the Screaming Skull (1958 / trailer / full movie); Stanley Adams (7 April 1915 — 27 April 1977) of Act of Vengeance / Rape Squad (1974 / trailer); director/writer/actor Norma Foster (13 Dec 1903 — 7 July 1976), of The Deathhead Virgin (1974 / scene), Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948 / trailer), Woman on the Run (1950 / full movie) and Journey Into Fear (1943 / scene); TV character actor Ron Masak of Laserkill (1978 / trailer); TV comic actress Mary Frann (27 Feb 1943 — 23 Sept 1998) of the Tobe Hooper TV horror flick I'm Dangerous Tonight (1990 / trailer); Kyle Johnson of Brother on the Run (1973 / scene) and Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971 / Trailer from Hell); and TV actress BarBara Luna of The Concrete Jungle (1982 / trailer below).
Trailer to
Concrete Jungle:

 



Angels
(1976, dir. & writ. Spencer Compton)

Possibly not a Novak film, but some sites claim it was and Something Weird released it as a double feature with Getting into Heaven (1970) as part of their "Harry Novak Presents" series — so we say it it.
Aka as Frivolous Meadows, supposedly. Despite what the original titles (Angels) might seem to promise, however, we ain't talking sexy babes here: it's counter-culture humor time. As far as we can tell, it is also the only directorial credit of Compton, who went on to cowrite the screenplay to future hack auteur Ulli Lommel's Cocaine Cowboys (1979 / Andy Warhol). Compton co-wrote Angels with Richard Power and Drew Abrams, the latter of whom also acts in the movie. All three seem to have left the business soon after. (Could this man here — "he was a screenwriter and film producer" — be the same Spencer Compton?)
Over at imdb, only two people who have seen the movie deemed it worth writing about. One, sirarthurstreebgreebling II, calls the movie "a highly neglected 70's classic", while the other, movieman_kev from United States, says the flick is "unfunny, boring, pathetic and a waste of film" and explains the plot as "A black god (David Bryant of The Black Gestapo [1975 / full movie]) sends two hit-men to kill earthlings".
Trailer to
The Black Gestapo:
Blue Ray Authority, which points out the obvious — "[Angels] isn't suited for devout Bible-thumpers, but for fans of exploitation, it's a fun release. If you're offended by naked angels, a black God, or assassins serving a divine cause, then Angels is a lock to upset you" — offers a bit more plot detail: "The realm of heaven is as good as ever, but a slow death rate has caused a shortage in new arrivals. The world is filled with people on the brink of death, but for some reason or another, they manage to survive. In order to get things back on track, God has sent down angels to push those people over the edge, which ensures the ebb and flow of heaven remains intact and that's important. The latest assignment is two angels (former porn actor & current District Attorney for Cortland County Gus Thomas [nee Mark Suben] and Dan McCarthy)* charged with helping a psychotic cowboy named Tex (character actor Vincent Schiavelli [11 Nov 1948 — 26 Dec 2005] of Milo [1998] and much more), who is trying to murder Leon DeWilde (Drew Abrams), an artist. Leon is obsessed with death and has an immense fear of it, so it won’t be an easy task. Tex manages to off Leon's mime (Keith Berger, also seen somewhere in Automatic [1995 / trailer below]) and do some damage to his girlfriend (Marquita Callwood, seen below), but Leon himself escapes. But when a showdown looms and even God is on hand to watch, can Leon manage to stay alive?"
Trailer to
Automatic (1995):
We're unsure how a flick like this one can push any homophob buttons, but it did for whoever writes for DVD Verdict & Pop Matters, who obviously finds his latent homosexual tendencies threatening: "What in the name of nudity possessed Harry Novak, purveyor of rather solid soft-core sex farces and champion of the grindhouse grift, to release Angels? [...] Maybe Harry thought that, with the advent of Sheilds and Yarnell and Doug Henning, the world was ready for a movie co-starring wistful, effeminate manboys, one of which specializes in the deadest of ancient arts — the pantomime. Really, there is nothing here for or by or to remotely engorge the well-worn exploitation enthusiast. The scorecard of carnality is putrid. There is a half-topless shot thirty minutes into the narrative, and some completely under the cover horizontal handsprings at the forty-five minute mark. But the rest of the movie is like one big long inferred homosexual brain buster, since the film is chockfull of gay imagery, queer suppositions, and way too many sequences of well-muscled mime. Sure, this could all be chalked up to the mid-'70s retreat into an 'anything with anyone goes' attitude that seemed to welcome disco and its 54 feyness right through the velvet ropes. But the movie just makes no sense as a sellable item. It doesn't have anything novel or naughty to say about how the Lord works, either in mysterious or (as in this case) monotonous ways. And the avant-garde art angle of exploring entities on videotape the moment before they die sounds like a bad dream Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross once had. Kind of like a bong-hit version of Peeping Tom (1960 / trailer), Angels wants to say something cogent about accepting life after death via the Sony camcorder. Unfortunately, it does so with a Fire Island road company version of Godspell (1973)."
Trailer to
Godspell:

 



Cry for Cindy
(1976, dir. Anthony Spinelli [as Wendy Lions])

Trailer to
Cindy & More:
"Presented by Harry Novak" some years ago at Something Weird as a DVD-R release. Aka Abduction of Cindy. (The full NSFW Movie can currently be found at this porn site here.)
 
Under any title, a relatively early production from the productive porn filmmaker Anthony Spinelli, born Samuel Weinstein [21 Feb 1927 — 29 May 2000]. Spinelli was the younger brother of character actor Jack Weston (21 Aug 1924 — 3 May 1996), whom we best remember from Fuzz (1972 / trailer) and The Ritz (1976).
Trailer to
The Ritz (1976):

Spinelli's son, Mitch Spinelli, followed his daddy's footsteps and is now a productive producer of straight-to-DVD (if not straight-to-some-porn-tube) porn — but whereas daddy's films still had plots and storylines, sonny boy specializes in gonzo porn (titles such as 18, Legal and Latin [2004] and Anal University 12 [2003] reveal the auteur's favorite themes). A far cry from the Golden Age "classics" of daddy, which include Talk Dirty to Me (1980 / credit sequence), Nothing To Hide (1981 / edited trailer) and Dixie Ray Hollywood Star (1983 / NSFW scene).
 
In all truth, however, of all the movies Anthony Spinelli had anything to do with, we would say that his best movie — and the one that touched us the most and in a totally non-sexual way — was one of the first movies he ever "touched", Larry Peerce's moving and very sad independent racial drama One Potato, Two Potato (1964), which he produced (and appeared in) as "Sam Westen".
Clips to
One Potato, Two Potato (1964):
Cry for Cindy is notable for its downer plot — the lead character commits suicide and the events and fuck scenes leading up to it are told in flashback — and, of importance to some, for the adult-film debut of Amber Hunt, the centerspread and Hustler Honey of November, 1975, the issue below. (The film credits even state: "We would like to express our deepest Thanks to publisher Larry Flynt and Hustler Magazine for introducing us to our star, Amber Hunt.")
Hunt went on to do about 20 visual masturbatory aids — including the distasteful A Coming of Angels (1977 / NSFW movie, poster below) the original Candy Stripers (1978 / theme) and Shaun Costello's Fiona on Fire (1978) — and one non-masturbatory aid, Bare Knuckles (1977 / trailer below), before disappearing. Ericaboyer.net is of the opinion that: "This youthful looking stunner was one of the prettiest women to grace the 70s hardcore scene. [...] Although her acting talents were almost non-existent, Amber scored legions of fans [...]. Her tight little figure had curves in all the right places, and she knew just how to use her body to bring any fan to a boil."
Trailer to
Bare Knuckles (1977):
The plot of Cry for Cindy, which was written by Dean Rogers, who also wrote the previously looked at Ceremony — The Ritual of Love (1976), as more or less explained by Dries Vermeulen (dries.vermeulen@hotmail.be) of Brugge, Belgium, at Video Tramp: "Callgirl Cindy (Hunt) flies back after an out-call date with wealthy Arnold (Turk Lyon) and is immediately chastised by sadistic pimp Ben (Jack Wright) for holding out on her earnings. She claims she's supporting a sick aunt yet who should show up but destitute boyfriend Dennis (Fred James), the guy she's putting through medical school thanks to her 'modeling assignments' and who learns the bitter truth right there and then. Heartbroken, Cindy dolls herself up and throws herself out of the window onto the pavement below in an economically and effectively shot and edited sequence involving nothing more than a freeze frame, a spiraling camera and a shocked-reaction shot. Around her coffin, those who knew and loved her remember how kind-hearted hairdresser Anna became high-priced hooker Cindy. [...]"
Among the Golden Age willies seen spurting protein in the movie are the once regularly employed but now forgotten swords of John Seeman — aka Jethro Brunel, Big John Henson, Jeff Box, Jon Seeman, Rolf De Vrees, Robert Koll, Nag Analf, Jay Seemon, Roy Stells, John Simon, John Semen, John Reynolds, John Seemen, John Siman, Bob Stern, John Semany, John A. Seeman, John Seaman, John Toland, John Ocean, John Shipley — of the truly unique horror porn Hardgore (1974), and Ken Scudder — aka Ed Marrow, Michael Mench, Tom Sutter, Ken Marsh, Dick Counter, Ken Cotten, Ken Jackson, Ken Scutter, Kenneth Scudder, Ken S., Stuart Hemple, Rick Jackson, Kenneth Darwin, Larry Layperson, Ken Skudder, Ken Rudd, Kenny Cotton, Ken Cotton, Grant Lombard, Grant Stockton, Ken Scott, Ken Darwin, Ken Redd, Ken Struders, Terence Scanlon, Stuart Hempole — of the underground masterpiece Thundercrack! (1975). 
Both Hardgore and Thundercrack! are imperative viewing for fans of what-the-fuck fuck cinema.

A Scene from the "lost" masterpiece
Thundercrack!

We find it doubtful that a movie like this either went on to be adapted as a book or was based on a book, but during our online search for posters we did stumble upon the two covers below, which we just had to share as well. Vintage Sleaze will sell you either book (both from 1978 ) for $95 each.
Also, Vintage Sleaze says that "While it would seem 'Edward Mitchell' was a house-name first for Publishers Consultants/American Art's Captive Women Series and later Female Prisoner Series, the Edward Mitchell by-line appears in the mid-to-late 80s on some Greenleaf imprint books as well." Anyone know who he was/is?
 



Confessions of a Frustrated Housewife
(1976, writ. & dir. Andrea Bianchi)
Aka Laura, Confessions of a Frustrated Wife and My Father's Wife; original Italian title: La moglie di mio padre. A relatively unknown effort by one of Italy's under-appreciated masters of sleaze, Andrea Bianchi, who has directed many more interesting films, including Maniac Killer (1987 / scene), Massacre (1989 / funny scene), Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (1981 / Italo trailer), Malabimba — The Malicious Whore (1979 / trailer), Strip Naked for Your Killer (1975 / trailer), Angel of Death (1987 / full movie) and more more more. His co-author for this drama, Massimo Felisatti helped script everyone's favorite, The Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave (1971).
 
Trailer to
The Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave:
We have major doubts that this flick was fondled in any way by Novak, but somewhere online John Harrison calls the movie "an enjoyable slice of Eurotrash from distributor Harry Novak", and who are we to disagree. (Besides, the statement is supported by someone at AV Maniacs.) Harrison goes one to explain the full plot in detail: "The 'frustrated housewife' of the title is Laura (Carroll Baker of Bad [1977 / trailer], Baba Yaga [1973 / trailer] and The Sweet Body of Deborah [1968 / trailer]), whose love life with her impotent husband, Antonio, (Adolfo Celi, the evil Largo in the James Bond flick Thunderball [1965 / trailer]), is on the rocks. Though they lead a jet set life, once the pair hit the sack, things go limp pretty fast. Worried about his manhood, Antonio discusses the problem with a doctor (Luigi Pistilli [19 July 1929 — 21 April 1996] of The Great Silence [1968], Bay of Blood [1971 / trailer], Tragic Ceremony [1972 / trailer] and A White Dress for Marialé [1972 / Italo trailer]) who (amazingly) recommends a dose of infidelity to freshen him up! The good doc even sets up Antonio with a young piece named Madga (Carla Spessato) who quickly gets his limp noodle working again. (She even refers to it as 'Mr. Battering Ram'!) [...] Enter Claudio (Cesare Barro), Antonio's handsome son by his first marriage, who returns to help dad run the business. Claudio senses the tension in the home and, when Antonio takes off on a business trip and asks Claudio to 'take care' of his stepmom, he's more than happy to oblige. Pretty soon, Laura and her virile stepson are getting hot and heavy all over the place. Naturally, Antonio figures out what's going on, disappears on a phony business trip, but returns early to spy on his wife and son through a peephole in the bedroom wall. Old Antonio must be a bit of a swinger (or an old-fashioned pervert), as he bursts in and proposes a threeway: 'Why not? Keep it in the family!' Disgusted, Laura storms out and heads for the ski slopes with a female friend, unaware that the spurned, quietly enraged Antonio is watching her through the telescopic sight of his high-powered rifle..."
First 45 Minutes of
Confessions of a Frustrated Housewife:

La moglie di mio padre (1976 English Language... von heapsoflovehide


 Lisa, Lisa
(1977, writ. & dir. Frederick R. Friedel)
 

Trailer:
Aka California Axe, Virgin Slaughter, California Axe Massacre and Axe; distributed by Novak. Auteur Frederick R. Friedel also directed the Novak project Kidnapped Coed (also 1976 — see above) and went on to write and direct the non-Novak and already forgotten comedy My Next Funeral (2000 / trailer below). In Europe, for some odd reason this movie can often be found on a four-film Lucio Fulci DVD alongside another Novak film, Zombie Child (1977 / trailer), and two "real" Fulci films, Nightmare Concert (1990 / trailer) and Demonia (1990 / trailer). Lisa, Lisa enjoys a certain amount of fame for being one of the many films once banned in England as a "video nasty".
Trailer to
Friedel's My Next Funeral (2000):
Lisa, Lisa — which, if we are to believe the current (22 July 2014) "Trivia" entry on imdb — was shot in 11 days and had so little film stock available that the option of retakes was not there — is one of those movies that seems to separate the masses. Popular enough to have both its own facebook page as well as more than one badly done, fan-made webpage, it also often instigates reactions like that of Critical Condition, which says "There's not much to recommend here. There's too much dizzying hand-held camera work, bad two-note piano music and not enough blood to qualify it as a must for gore hounds."
An opinion not shared by Women in Prison Films, which calls the movie "one of the most underrated, unheralded horror films ever made, and possibly the best film Harry Novak's Boxoffice International ever released. Terse, fast-moving, and scuzzy as all hell, and it makes you wish producer/director/screenwriter/actor Frederick Friedel made more than three movies."

An opinion definitely not shared by All Movie, which, in its less than accurate plot description, says: "Released originally under the title Lisa, Lisa, this seedy murder-fest was later re-titled during drive-in circulation then again for its video release in 1985 as The California Axe Massacre to capitalize on the hype of another new arrival to video, Tobe Hooper's cult classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974 / trailer). The film itself (actually filmed in North Carolina, not California) has little in common with Hooper's hit; the bloody revenge scenario is more reminiscent of Wes Craven's Last House on the Left (1972 / trailer). It involves a gang of grimy fugitives who hole up in the rural abode of a pretty but unstable young woman (Leslie Lee) and proceed to abuse her and her grandfather (Douglas Powers). [...]."
We here at A Wasted Life, however, see a closer kinship to the original I Spit on Your Grave (1978 / trailer below), but that film actually followed Lisa, Lisa.
Trailer to the original
I Spit on Your Grave (1978):
In any event, guy who does the badly done fan website actually saw the movie, and has a much more on-the-mark synopsis, from start to finish (Spoilers!): "Three killers lurk within a darkened room, waiting for their target to return home. When the unsuspecting victim opens the door, he and his companion are held at gunpoint and severely beaten by the trio; so severely that one of them dies while the other jumps to his death out the window. With his death hanging over their heads, the three men — Steele, the sadistic leader (Jack Canon); Lomax, the nerveless triggerman (Ray Green); and Billy, the youngest and least prepared to have just become a murderer (Frederick R. Friedel [seen below looking stupid]) — need a place to hide out for awhile. Driving around the back roads of a rural eastern community, they spot a market where they can pick up some supplies for their time underground. Inside the store, they show their ugly side as they throw food at the helpless salesgirl (Carol Miller of Caged Heat [1974 / trailer]), force her to undress, and finally place an apple on her head for target practice. Billy has been waiting for them in the car and becomes nervous about the gunfire he can hear from inside. Later on, they select an isolated old house to hole up in. It seems to be a farmhouse with little activity going on — a perfect place to avoid detection. They barge in and find a young girl, Lisa, and her grandfather who is paralyzed and spends his entire day in a wheelchair, unable to speak. The men make Lisa cook for them, and Lomax gets a great sense of sport by taunting the helpless old man. That night, Lomax is unable to sleep, because the sight of the young girl is too much for him. He sneaks out of his room and goes down the hall where Lisa is asleep. He then pounces on her and attempts to rape her. During his attempt, he is unaware that she has reached into her drawer nearby and produced a long straight razor. Without hesitation, she brings it down on the back of his neck, severing it almost completely. Screaming and gurgling in pain, she rolls him off of her. Lisa drags his dead body into the bathroom where she pushes him into the tub. She seizes an axe from the wall and chops him up into little pieces. She loads the various pieces into a trunk and begins to push it down the hall when she is interrupted by Billy. He offers to help, and she gratefully allows him to help her get the trunk up to the attic. Steele begins to get nervous, now that it has become very quiet all of a sudden. He finds Lisa, but she only tells him the others have taken a walk. Thinking little of it, and realizing there are no witnesses around, he decides to get some action for himself. Finding Lisa in her grandfather's room, he attacks her, tearing off her clothes while the grandfather's hand trembles in awareness of what's happening to her, but knowing he can do nothing to stop it. Lisa reaches out and grasps the handle of the firewood axe, and she struggles to bring it high above his head. Then in one moment she brings it crashing down, splitting his skull. Steele slumps to the ground, and Lisa finishes him off with a few good whacks. Billy returns after Lisa has cleaned up the blood and removed the body, and he is disturbed by his missing friends. Lisa tells him not to worry and brings him a bowl of red soup, as she feeds the same to her grandfather. Billy looks around the room curiously, until his eyes rest on a small pool of blood on a log in the fireplace. As he watches, a drop falls into it, then another. He suddenly notices a man's ring in his bowl of red soup. He stands up just as the mutilated body of Steele falls from the chimney into plain view. Unable to believe his eyes, and unwilling to accept that these two people in the room with him were able to commit this atrocity, he runs screaming to the outside just as a police car pulls up. One of the officers recognizes Billy, and orders him to halt. When he doesn't, they shoot him. Upstairs Lisa continues to feed her grandfather the red soup, apparently unaware of what she has just done."
Lisa, Lisa was produced (and edited) by the totally forgotten small-time regional schlockmeister producer / director / actor / special effects artist / man of all trades J.G. "Pat" Patterson, Jr, who helped bring unto this world such films as: H.G. Lewis's Moonshine Mountain ([assistant director / actor] 1964 / trailer), H.G. Lewis's The Gruesome Twosome ([associate producer] 1967 / trailer), H.G. Lewis's How to Make a Doll ([assistant to producer] 1968), H.G. Lewis's She-Devils on Wheels ([assistant to producer] 1968 / trailer), Albert T. Viola's Preacherman ([production manager / actor] 1971 / trailer), Boots and the Preacher ([producer] 1972 / trailer), The Body Shop aka Dr. Gore ([special effects/ writer / director / actor] 1973 / trailer below), William Girdler's Three on a Meathook ([special makeup effects] 1973 / trailer), The Electric Chair ([special effects / writer / director / actor] 1976) and William Grefe's Whiskey Mountain ([actor] 1977 / trailer). J.G. "Pat" Patterson, Jr — a man who worked only with the best, his career was much too short...
Trailer to
The Body Shop aka Dr. Gore
starring J.G. "Pat" Patterson, Jr.:

The Body Shop - aka Doctor Gore- 1973-Trailer 2 von pogox

 



Reflections
(1977, dir. Michael Zen)

In general, Harry Novak wasn't to verbal about his activities in the hardcore branch, but he was active there, too, as a producer, distributor and an occasional director (as "H. Hershey"). Aside from working together regularly with the "Ed Wood of porn", Carlos Tobalina, possibly as the firm Hollywood International Film Corporation of America (HIFCOA), he also was active in triple-X with his firm Valiant International Pictures. 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 it — good enough a reason for us to take a look at it.
Jason S. Martinko's The XXX Filmography, 1968-1988 lists the movie's production company as unknown, but for that he knows the plot: "Cousin Joan (Annette Haven, seen above) has come to visit for the summer. At the drive-in, she refuses to mess around with her cousin Bob (Paul Thomas), although his sister Connie (Kristine Heller [see: Ceremony — The Ritual of Love]) is having sex in the backseat. Bob becomes so frustrated that his sister masturbates him. It seems when they were kids, they all played doctor together. Eventually, Bob slips Joan a mickey (which she later reveals she didn't drink), and has sex with her while she pretends to be knocked out. It ends with the usual family orgy, but Connie gets revenge on Bob and Joan in an unexpected surprise." Bob's Mother, by the way, is played by Bonnie Holiday; she was pretty, she is dead [24 Sept 1952 — 15 Nov 1988].
Paul Thomas Sings in His Film Début —
As Peter in Jesus Christ Superstar (1973):
Carnal Cinema, which highly recommends Reflections, writes "This is very edgy stuff — made all the more disturbing by excellent performances by the three leads. Thomas, always one of the better male leads, and Heller excel as the degenerate siblings, while the role of the beautiful but untouchable cousin could have been written for Haven. [...] The subject of incest was actually explored — or should I say, exploited — in a number of Golden Age movies, most notably Kirdy Stevens' successful Taboo series. However, even leaving that to one side, there is a dark, transgressive spirit running through Reflections. For example, many of the costumes worn at the climactic party are undeniably grotesque. Indeed, this section features John Leslie being fellated by someone in a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-style mask. It's neither remotely erotic nor easy to forget. Shortly afterwards, one of the male guests goes to the toilet and finds another receiving a blowjob. The sounds of his urination are deliberately played against the images of a woman eliciting an entirely different form of penile discharge from her ecstatic partner. Of course, most shocking of all is the lengthy sequence in which first Thomas, and then Heller, penetrate the defenseless body of their unconscious cousin. Clearly this is very controversial material and everyone involved deserves considerable credit for participating in such a daring production."
Though a "William Dancer" is credited as the scriptwriter and producer, the real name behind the pseudonym is Daniel Cady — Novak distributed his production The Black Bunch (1973), among others — a producer who began his career in sleaze (Help Wanted Female [1968 / 8.6 minutes], among others) and went through Blaxploitation and horror (Grave of the Vampire [1972 / full movie] and Kiss of the Tarantula [1976 / trailer] among others) and numerous fuck films before, after his last known production, Maria Lease's horror movie Dolly Dearest (1991), like so many before him, disappearing.

Trailer to
Dolly Dearest:
Over at Excalibur Films they have a long bio on the director, Michael Zen, in which they say: "A graduate of the UCLA film program, Michael Zen never quite made it in mainstream Hollywood. Instead, he turned his attention to hardcore and became one of the industry's most innovative and creative talents. He uses his film school background to produce lavish, beautifully shot sex films, features that focus on story and character development as much as on pure sex. He's among the most-honored directors in the business and his films never fail to impress. [...] As time has gone on, Michael Zen films have become increasingly mannered and stylized, sometimes to the detriment of the actual sexual action. He always delivers gorgeous imagery, though, and while his films might not be to everyone's taste, Michael Zen has developed a following that will gladly tune in to his every erotic moment. He continues to shoot steamy sex films for the industry's high end companies, and is without a doubt one of the most important filmmakers in 90s porn."
What they fail to mention throughout the bio is that Zen not only started out in gay porn with the almost hallucinogenic Falconhead (1976 / NSFW trailer), but alternated between straight and gay directorial jobs until the end.




Rituals
(1977, dir. Peter Carter [8 Dec 1933 — 3 June 1982)
 

Novak distributed and co-produced this beloved slice of Cannuck violence. Director Carter also made the drive-in filler High-Ballin' aka Trucker (1978 / trailer), starring Peter Fonda, and the popular cheapie sci-fi flick The Intruder Within (1981 / trailer). Rituals is available in any number of edits, with only the original Canadian one being uncut.
Trailer to
Rituals:
Brain Hammer has some of the details: "Rituals (a.k.a. The Creeper) was shot in 1976 but didn't see an American release until 1978. The film got mixed reviews (the acting was always praised) but was often dismissed as a Canadian Deliverance (1972 / trailer) knock off. The film has gone on to earn a cult following over the years, and one of the reasons this one is considered such a clas-sick is because it combines some incredibly beautiful wilderness locations and genuinely gruesome and unsettling violence. The film ramps up the tension until the final scenes, which are punishingly brutal. The highlight of the film is undoubtedly the legendary head on a stick shot, but the cauterization and burning scenes are also jaw droppers. For a 70s' horror flick this is some truly gruesome, realistic violence. Much credit must be given to the fantastic special make-up by Carl Fullerton (Friday The 13th Part 2 [1981 / trailer] & Part 3 [1982 / trailer]). The Creeper, when we finally get to take a good look at him towards the climax of the film, is one nasty looking bastard."
A Version of the Full Movie at
Internet Archives:

Brutal As Hell likes the "classic backwoods horror/slasher film set up: Toss a group of people in the backwoods and pick them off one by one until you reach the final showdown and to the victor… well the victor gets to live. That should be enough reward. Admittedly, that’s a rather simplistic way of looking at Rituals. After all, so many would-be filmmakers take this formula, run with it, and subsequently fuck it up beyond all recognition. Total FUBAR. Rituals mixes in the perfect balance of character, killer, suspense and gore to prove how truly good and effective this simple formula can be when done right."
They give the plot as follows: "This story surrounds five doctors on their annual reunion getaway who decide to head out into a remote Canadian forest for a six-day hike. Harry (Hal Holbrook of The Fog [1980 / trailer], Creepshow [1982 / trailer] and Girls Nite Out [1982 / trailer]) is the quintessential leader. DJ (Gary Reineke of The Clown Murders [1976 / full movie]) is the hot-headed trip organizer. Mitzi (Lawrence Dane of Behind the Wall [2008 / trailer], Darkman 2 — The Return of Durant (1995 / trailer], Happy Birthday to Me [1981 / trailer] and Bride of Chucky [1998]) will play the thorn in the side of Harry. Marty (Robin Gammell of Bells aka Murder by Phone [1982 / full film], Bone Daddy [1998 / trailer], The Pyx [1973 / full movie https://archive.org/details/ThePyx / trailer], Full Circle aka Haunting of Julia [1977 / full movie] and Nightmares (1983 / trailer]) is Mitzi's friend. A total drunk, but a good friend. And then there is Abel (Ken James of Psychic [1991 / trailer]), who probably shouldn't even be in the outdoors with all of his allergies and incompetence. The only way in or out of the remote hiking ground is by water plane and there is no chance of rescue should things go wrong. [...] It doesn't take long for things to unravel. Only the first day in, and when the men wake up they discover their boots have gone missing. [...] The guys tie plastic bags to their feet and begin to make their way through the treacherous forest, all the while being stalked by an unseen assailant who has laid out a path of intricate traps and dead-falls that will plague the men until they can't endure it anymore. Slowly the group unravels and Harry and Mitzi begin to lock horns and butt heads. If navigating a dangerous forest and fending off a psycho killer wasn't enough, the men can't help but turn on each other. Eventually everything culminates in a bizarre showdown with the killer [...]."

"The Creeper" of the movie is played by Michael Zenon, one of Rituals' assistant directors. Michael Zenon was once an extremely busy assistant director (with roughly 60 A.D. jobs to his name, including Diary of the Dead [2007 / trailer] and the original Gate [1987 / trailer]), but he began his career as an actor alongside Peter Falk (16 Sept 1927 — 23 June 2011) in the forgotten psycho-beatnik exploiter, The Bloody Brood (1959), "a well done b-movie [...] obviously made by people who had no idea about beat culture" (Playground of Doom).
The Full Movie —
The Bloody Brood (1959):

 



The Liberation of Honeydoll Jones
(1977, dir.  Charles Webb as "Charles De Santos")

As mentioned before: In general, Harry Novak wasn't to verbal about his activities in the hardcore branch, but he was active there, too, as a producer, distributor and an occasional director (as "H. Hershey"). Aside from working together regularly with the "Ed Wood of porn", Tobalina, possibly as the firm Hollywood International Film Corporation of America (HIFCOA), he also was active in triple-X with his firm Valiant International Pictures.
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 it — good enough a reason for us to take a look at it.
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 some (like Thoroughly Amorous Amy) get  a bit more positive feedback than others. The Liberation of Honeydoll Jones is not one that gets praised often, though it does sound fun. Going by the look of it, the movie is an X-rated return to the hixploitation films of
Bethel Buckalew. 
Though The Liberation of Honeydoll Jones has little to do with the Hollywood movie The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970), it does play obviously upon the title of the earlier mainstream release. The plot description found on the back to the recent Honeydoll Jones DVD release describes the film as follows: "Introducing trailer tart Victoria Winter! It's a sex laced Tobacco Road (1941 / full film), a slice of life on the ranch. It is also a rural, ribald Romeo and Juliet. Honeydoll Jones is above all a sensual turn on, but it is filled with many other wild elements. A cross between Macon County Line (1974 / trailer) and The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-85), this white trash tale stars the gorgeous Victoria Winter as the backwoods babe who does anything to leave the trailer park. Some superb and spacey scenes here with marvelous performances all around."
Soundtrack to
The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970):
Jason S. Martinko's The XXX Filmography, 1968-1988 adds some details: "Honeydoll Jones (Winter) lives on a squatter farm with her Momma (Shirley Stoler, 30 Mar 1929 — 17 Feb 1999, the star of the masterpiece, The Honeymoon Killers [1969 / trailer below]), Daddy (Dale Meador) and two sisters (Tracy O'Neil and Dianne Dale). She's in love with Bobby Jarvis (Blair Harris*), the neighbor's son. Daddy Jarvis (Garry Goodrow**) and the Joneses have been feuding for years, and her sisters tell her to leave him alone. Of course, the traveling salesman (Don Fernando***) wandering into the farmhouse bit is played up. At the end, she finally gets her man. Original music is performed by Rick Nowels."
Trailer to
The Honeymoon Killers:

* Aka "Bruce Murphy, Stephan Niels, Harvey Blair, George Du Bois, Bill Lewis, Blair Morgan, Arnold Black, Blaire Harris, Harre, Blair Rogers, Blair Morse, Blair Morris, Brendan Monet, Thomas Francini, Dave Hartman, Arthur Gray, Tim Long, David Blair, Blair Davis, Eric Blair, and Blaine Harris."
** As far as we can tell, this is the only adult movie that Garry Goodrow, who began his career in arty B&W fare like The Connection (1962) and The Moving Finger (1963), ever appeared in. His daughter in this movie here (feminist porn star Candida Royalle) gives him sloppy head; he kept his penis in his pants for the rest of his career, which includes small roles in movies like Cardiac Arrest (1980 / trailer), The Prey (1984 / trailer), The Lost Empire (1985 / trailer) and Once Bitten (1985 / trailer).
*** Fernando, primarily a supporting penis during his active film career (1977-2013), shot loads in over 400 films, including Mario Salieri's Dracula (1994), the art horror porn The Dark Angel (1983) and the highly obscure porno The Rites of Uranus (1975 / full NSFW movie) A recent tweet of his: "Not weighed 155 lbs or been slim since 1985! Available for porn stud work @ US$500 per scene. Call 1800OLD-STUD"




The Child
(1977, dir. Robert Voskanian)


Aka Zombie Child and Kill and Go Hide. Novak produced and distributed this period horror film set somewhere during the 30s in rural USA, the only known film of director Robert Voskanian, who went on to be the director of the fabulous Million Dollar Theater on Broadway in downtown LA for awhile.
Trailer to
The Child:
We here at A Wasted Life have seen The Child and, regrettably, we were less than thrilled by it, ending our review of the movie with the statement: "The Child — another bizarre, bad film that should have been better than it is while simultaneously actually being better than it is. Fans of early gore — as in: no CGI — will definitely find the film satisfying, as will purveyors of cinema obscura. Everyone else might be well advised to watch something else... like the original Night of the Living Dead (1968 / trailer / full movie), perhaps."
TV Guide gave the film, which it calls "a dull supernatural tale set in a remote woodland area", one star and a not exactly 100% on-the-mark plot description, so let's go to Amazon instead and read the plot description given by "cookieman108": "The film opens on a dark and foggy night, where we see a girl visiting a cemetery... she's got a basket with a kitty, and it's feeding time at the graveyard (lovely)... next we cut to the daytime, and we see a young woman named Alicianne Del Mar (Laurel Barnett) driving down a lonely, country road. Some car trouble forces her to hoof it through some fields, and she meets up with Mrs.Whitfield (Ruth Ballan). Turns out Alicianne has been hired by the Nordon family, neighbors of Mrs. Whitfield, to look after Rosalie (Rosalie Cole), the youngest child and the same girl we saw at the outset of the movie. Alicianne trudges to the Nordon's (who happen to live next to a cemetery), and we get to meet the clan, including the curmudgeonly father Joshua (Frank Janson), the older son Len (Richard Hanners), and finally little Rosalie. As Alicianne settles in, she becomes more and more aware of Rosalie's weirdness, particularly her fondness of going the cemetery at night, supposedly visiting her mother's gravesite. In reality, Rosalie's got some funky mojo powers that include, but aren't limited to, her to talking to the dead. In return for her friendship, they perform certain tasks for Rosalie, who seems to blame everyone for the death of her mother. At the insistence of Alicianne, Rosalie's father decides it's time to start exerting his parental control, telling Rosalie she's not allowed out at night any more, to which she scoffs at the old man, telling him he'll get his...and he does, along with a few others, in gruesome fashion, as Rosalie's 'friends' make the scene. Soon after Alicianne learns some horrible truths about creepy girl, she [and her now-beau Len] decides to split, but it ain't that easy, as Rosalie's friends seem numerous, determined, and hungry..."
The Child was written by Ralph Lucas, who that same year supplied the screenplay to James K. Shea's legendary Z-film Planet of the Dinosaurs (full movie) and, in 1992, the story to the totally — justifiably — unknown horror Zippereface (1992 / scenes). He's occasionally appeared in tiny parts in a number of films, including Fred Olen Ray's Beverly Hills Vamp (1989 / trailer), Ray's Mob Boss (1990 / trailer), and Andrew Leman's interesting art horror, The Call of Cthulhu (2005).
Trailer to
The Call of Cthulhu (2005):

 


Hitchhike to Hell
(1977, dir. Irvin Berwick [1914—29 June 1997])
 

Trailer to
Hitchhike to Hell:
More sleaze distributed by Mr. Novak. Hitchhike to Hell was the second-to-last directorial effort of Irvin Berwick, who followed Hitchhike with Malibu High (1979) — written, like this one, by John Buckley — before retiring his megaphone. Berwick, a former dialogue coach, has a limited if intriguing resume of directorial efforts. Aside from the two already mentioned, there are: his debut, the infamous Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959 / trailer); the religious sleaze flick The Seventh Commandment (1961 / trailer); the moralistic sexploiter Strange Compulsion (1964 / trailer); The Street Is My Beat (1966 / book cover below), which was converted into a Monarch Books novel by Carson Bingham (aka Bruce Cassiday [25 Jan 1920 — 12 Jan 2005]) in 1961, five years before the movie itself got released; and the possibly lost Ready for Anything! (1968). Berwick was very much a moralist: his films may have ladled out the sleaze and slime, but damned if all sinners didn't pay in the end.
 
NSFW Trailer to
Strange Compulsion (1964):
Bleeding Skull picked up on Berwick's didactic attempts and points out: "This is a movie with a heavy moral hand: Hitchhiking is dangerous. Don't ride with strangers. You can't make it in the world without solid parental figures. Bad parents have bad children. If you say mean things about your mama, you'll get killed. In one scene, a cop's wife reveals she's pregnant. 'Aren't you glad we're married? I don't want to be one of those unwed mothers.' The overt moral teachings in this movie turns it into an after-school special, though one with boobs. The lessons are tiresome and suck up some — though not all — the fun. Violence and nudity are limited, raping and killing mostly happen off camera. At times the movie really does feel like a lecture when all you want it to do is cut loose and be a classic psycho-mom-has-psycho-son-who-rapes-hitchhikers story. [...]"
B.S. fails to mention, however, that Hitchhike to Hell does leave you feeling a bit dirty even as it hammers in its messages — not many films, then or now, include the rape and murder of an 11 year old and, to take it a step further, a quick shot of her dead body in a dumpster.
Good ol' Critical Condition saw "this tight little exercise in sleaze": (Spoilers) "Mama's boy Howard (Robert Gribbin [who debuted alongside Zalmon King in Trip with the Teacher (1975 / full movie) and is also seen somewhere in Teen Lust (1979 / trailer) and Don't Go Near the Park (1979 / trailer)]) picks up hitchhiking women in his dry-cleaning van and tries to talk them out of running away by telling a story about his sister Judy and how she ran away and how his mother never recovered. When the girls disregard his story, Howard gets angry ('I'm gonna do Mama a favor!') and rapes and strangles the girls, dumping their bodies on deserted stretches of the road. Howard's homelife is equally depressing: He lives with his over-protective Mother (Dorothy Bennett) and spends his spare time building model cars (it must be the glue!). It's not that Howard kills every girl he picks up. If he can get them to say that they love their mother, he lets them go. Police Captain Shaw (Russell 'The Professor" [from Gilligan's Island] Johnson [10 Nov 1924— 16 Jan 2014]) hopes this is 'not some nut job like the Zodiac Killer, the Las Vegas Strangler or that psycho from Houston' as his investigation into the strangulations leads nowhere. Captain Shaw finally gets a break when Howard strangles a girl with a wire coat hanger from his van. He has his lieutenant (Randy Echols) pick up a hitchhiker, Pam (Beth Reis), and he tells her that there's a 'mental case' loose in the town. After calling Pam's parents and finding out they don't care ('They won't even send bus fare. It seems we're dealing with delinquent parents as well as delinquent children.'), Captain Shaw knows that only the police can save these girls now. After releasing Pam, Howard picks her up and strangles her, accidentally leaving his glasses at the murder scene. The glasses, along with the wire coat hanger, lead Captain Shaw closer to Howard. Meanwhile, Howard branches out and pick up a homosexual man who is hitchhiking through town. After determining that he also hates his mother, Howard kills him, wrapping a wire coat hanger around his neck. Howard's boss, Mr. Baldwin (John Harmon), warns him if his performance delivering and picking up dry cleaning doesn't improve, he will be fired. Howard's world starts falling apart as his job (and his only means of picking up hitchhikers) is in jeopardy and the police begin closing in. Howard picks up an 11-year-old runaway girl, then rapes and kills her (thankfully offscreen). This proves to be Howard's undoing as the police find a dry cleaning receipt clutched in her dead hand. The police pick up Howard at the dry cleaners without incident. We next see Howard clad in a straightjacket muttering to himself, 'I'm so cold, Mama'."
Aside from his movies, director Irvin Berwick also produced offspring; his son Wayne Berwick went on to direct the home movies The Naked Monster (2005) and Microwave Massacre (1983 / trailer)
Trailer to
The Naked Monster:



To be continued ... next month.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...