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 fingers 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 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
Sexcapade in Mexico
(1973, dir. William de Diego)
We're not all that sure of Novak's involvement here, but as the website Strange Things Are Happening says, Novak "also produced the documentary Prostitution Pornography USA and hardcore films made by Carlos Tobalina including Last Tango in Acapulco (1973), Sexcapade in Mexico and Sexual Kung Fu in Hong Kong (1974)." So, for the benefit of the doubt, we'll include the movie here. Still, our doubt is big, for STAH gets a few things wrong in that sentence: For one, while this film here is a Hollywood International Pictures movie, Sexcapade in Mexico is not a porn film; rather, far more, it is a late-day softcore (if graphic) roughie. Likewise, while Novak did indeed co-produce and/or release a couple of Tobalina films from Tobalina's production firm Hollywood International Pictures, and more than one site lists Last Tango in Acapulco and Sexual Kung Fu in Hong Kong as among those movies, we could find no conclusive secondary evidence that Sexcapade in Mexico is one such movie.
Sexcapade in Mexico was, as far as we can tell, the second and last directorial project of occasional cinematographer William de Diego; his first directorial turn was Dead End Dolls (1972, poster below). (He had previously done the cinematography for the Golden Turkey The Las Vegas Hillbillys [1966 / scene] and later did the same for the Novak-distributed Hitchhike to Hell .) Scriptwriter Dan DiStefano went on to write for TV, even penning a dull TV horror flicks entitled Covenant (1985 / trailer) and Nightmare on the 13th Floor (1990 / first 9 minutes). The music supervisor of Sexcapade in Mexico was no less than Buddy Feyne (9 June 1912 — 10 Dec 1998), the lyricist behind Tuxedo Junction and Jersey Bounce.
Adam & the Ants —
Sexcapade in Mexico:
Lyrics by Buddy Feyne —
The Manhattan Transfer does Tuxedo Junction:
Women in Prison Films saw this obscure movie: "[...] The nuts and bolts of Sexcapade in Mexico revolve around Traci (Cynthia Thornell) and her boyfriend, Mike (Steven Johnson who resembles a homely David Cassidy). A late night grab-ass session lands the precocious teen in hot water with her angry mother (Christiane Roth) who, for some reason, is dubbed with a Bela Lugosi accent. [...] Meanwhile, Mommy Dearest is engaged in some extra-marital mayhem with her younger lover. Traci comes home early one day and discovers Mom smoking on her lover's ham like a crackpipe. [...] Traci packs her belongings up and heads to Mexico for some south-of-the-border sleaze with Mike. After a few too many pitchers of Sangria, they decide to tie the knot. [...] While hitching, our lovebirds cross paths with a trio of evolutionary rejects. [...] There's the hulking leader, Leonard (Louis Ojena of The Love Butcher [1975 / full film in 3 minutes]), cackling Ed (who never shuts up), and Ross, a big rubber-faced vegetable with stink eye. The chuckleheads drive to a deserted cabin and beat Mike senseless. Traci is subjected to some gruelling molestation while Mike is folded up like an accordion. But the newlyweds eventually escape and Mike Morphs into Charles Bronson. It's payback time! [...]."
As of the writing of this entry (31 Oct 2014), the full film with its "hairy bushed Mexican Hookers with old gross ugly skinny guys with saggy ballz" is available here oneline at Youtube.
Rape in Mexico —
4 NSFW Minutes of Sexcapade:
Supposedly aka Jungle Sex, Super Sisters, and Vicious Virgins. Denmark-born director Henning Schellerup (3 Jan 1928 — 12 May 2000) came to the US in 1952, was naturalized in '57, and began working in film in '68 as an assistant cameraman on the David F. Friedman film Thar She Blows (1968). He was primarily active as a cinematographer (of such classics as Silent Night, Deadly Night [1984 / trailer], Kiss of the Tarantula [1976 / trailer] and everyone's favorite, Planet of the Dinosaurs [1977 / a trailer]), but he also directed an occasional TV movie or super-cheap 42nd Street flotsam like the mostly forgotten Blaxploitation flicks The Black Alley Cats (1973, looked at later), Sweet Jesus, Preacherman (1973 / trailer) and this movie here, The Black Bunch. He ended his career doing religious documentaries and Christian films and eventually retired to die in Utah.
The Black Bunch
(1973, dir. Henning Schellerup)
Schellerup's "Blaxploitation" movies tend to have an oddly home-made look to them and have remained notably — some might say rightfully — obscure. Women In Prison Films reiterates the only plot found online: "Four African village women, sole survivors of a mercenary massacre, swear vengeance. They join an unsavory party of bounty hunters on the trail of a millionaire's kidnapped son. The women seduce the bounty hunters but fail to obtain their weapons. [...] A pouch of diamonds is introduced into the script, and almost everybody ends up dead."
The Black Bunch:
Set in South Africa but made in the USA, and since the Novak catalog was removed from Something Weird, pretty much unavailable. Over at imdb, the ever-resilient lor from New York City says: "Put simply, this feature film goes through the motions of presenting titillating content so lamely that it left my sensibilities parched, like waking up with such a dry mouth one cries out for some water. Only pleasant surprise was the casting of one of my favorite vintage porn stars Norman Fields in the leading role. [...] The balding guy is wearing a horrible wig that makes him very difficult to recognize, especially since this is a softcore porn film and his large dick is barely glimpsed on screen. He plays Pepe Russo, sort of a great white hunter, helping our other hero played by 'William Victory' [...] hunt for an industrialist's missing son in Darkest Africa. It's all shot in Darkest California, with four busty, constantly topless (and frequently bottomless) leading ladies as the title Bunch pretending to be African natives. They've survived a massacre at their village by nasty mercenaries. Also on hand are a couple of Black boys from the States, injected into the trek so that some traditional blaxploitation jive talk can spew forth. The whole purpose of the exercise is to stage tedious and repetitive sex scenes, including lots of mixed-combo action, that might have been more entertaining had this been one of Fields' usual XXX assignments. [...] The four titular leading ladies (I couldn't resist, how can you blame me?) are extremely untalented. One of them dances around a couple of times, inadvertently revealing her day job at some bottomless joint in Compton. [...]."
The Devil's Garden
(1973, writ & dir. Bob Chin)
More than one source claims Novak picked this flick up for distribution; we have our doubts, but who are we to argue? We have likewise read that this is a softcore film and a hardcore film; seeing that it was directed by Chin — the inspiration for Burt Reynolds' character in Boogie Nights (1997) — we would imagine a hardcore version is not unthinkable.
A number of websites online say: "Released by Harry Novak, shot on location in the West Indies and brimming with local color, The Devil's Garden overflows with an eerie black-magical mood and floods the senses with erotic scenes of near explicit sex. When, following the voodoo ritual, Sandi (Sandy Carey of Time Walker [1982 / trailer] and The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio [1971 / scene / trailer]) wakes up in bed with her husband (Lawrence Edwards), and you're tempted to grumble that it's all just another it-was-only-a-dream ending… don't. Instead, watch Sandi breathe a sigh of relief on hubby's joy stick as you sing along with the Deviate: 'Oh, Sandi, baby, go do that voodoo that you do so well…' Besides, there's another surprise in store for us after the sex. Isn't there always?"
Mondo Stumpo points out the film's best aspects: "Pioneer pornographer Bob Chinn [...] went to Jamaica to make this weird sex-horror opus. And I mean weird. [...] Inept on every level, the film is compulsively watchable thanks to ex-film school graduate Chinn, an enthusiastic ham-fisted auteur who actually tries to make a movie instead of a flimsily constructed series of sex scenes. The music's weird, the sex is weird (St Jermaine [John Paul Jones of Resurrection of Eve (1973)] wears a Balinese mask and screams like a monkey with its ass on fire) and the film is filled with flashbacks and flashbacks within flashbacks. For us connoisseurs of the smutty, the inane and the truly insane, it's a pathologically watchable treat."
David Huber at AV Maniacs says: "Ineptly directed, clumsily edited, and woodenly acted, this soft-porn feature directed by Bob Chinn is still a keeper for me due to one extended nude scene. [...] To be blunt, I like dark-skinned women with big boobs. [In the case of The Devil's Garden, Deborah McGuire,* seen here to the left, who 'smack in the middle of the movie (...) undresses and writhes around naked for about 10 minutes.'] The movie pretty much sucks. It stars Sandy Carey, Sandy Dempsey, and even Bob Chinn himself. There's lots of bizarre sex scenes, including a guy who has sex wearing a tribal mask while screeching like a chimpanzee and/or an elephant, and Sandy Carey in a bondage scene sucking people's feet, and stuff like that. It's all very surreal, and [...] very dreamlike (if your dreams suck and contain lotsa softcore sex); in fact it turns out to be a dream... or is it? [...] My recommendation is that if you like a Pam Grier-type of woman, this is for you. If your tastes run elsewhere, then I would skip The Devil's Garden unless you like foot-sucking bondage, which many of you might anyway."
* Married to Richard Pryor from September 22, 1977 to August 1978, she is perhaps best remembered today as SuperEula in Russ Meyer's Supervixens (1975 / trailer). Who knows where she is now...
The Devil's Garden was, at one point, distributed as a double feature with Jean Brismée's The Devil's Nightmare (1971).
The Devil's Nightmare (1971):
(1973, writ & dir. Bethel Buckalew)
More softcore hixploitation from Buckalew and Novak, the latter who produced and distributed the movie, which can currently be found at this very NSFW porn website; rest assured, you see a lot of breasts and balls and limp wieners in Laß jucken im Heu, as the movie is called in German. The music is once again from Harold Hensley (3 July 1922 — 15 Sept 1988) and Hal Southern (1919 — 15 July 1998), two real down-home boys who supplied the music a number of Novak and/or Buckalew corn semi-porns.
The Video Vacuum, which calls the film "pretty funny", explains the plot: "A redneck moonshiner (Patrick Wright [28 Nov 1939 — 9 Dec 2004] of Maniac Cop [1988 / trailer], Track of the Moon Beast [1976 / trailer], Graduation Day [1981 / trailer / full movie] and Devil's Ecstasy [1977 / 3 minutes]) gets his kicks by 'shucking' the corn of his freshly legal neighbor's daughter Dolly (Sharon Kelly [aka Colleen Brennan] of Delinquent School Girls [1975 / trailer] fame). Since the moonshiner's son Junior (John Tull) has a cow-fucking problem, dear old dad figures that a roll in the hay with hottie Dolly will cure him of his farm-animal inclinations. Unfortunately, Junior ties a bell around poor Dolly's neck, makes her moo, and fucks her cow style. Afterwards, Pops beds down another red-headed cutie (Sandy Carey from Deep Jaws [1976 / scene]) and convinces her (along with her appropriately slutty sister) to give Junior a whirl in the sack and Junior promptly fizzles in bed due to premature ejaculation. In the end, Junior professes his love for Sassy Sue, the family cow and his folks take the news surprisingly well."
in Sassy Sue:
DVD Drive-In says "Sue has no plot whatsoever, but this doesn't stop it from being an entertaining series of vignettes with some damn beautiful women. [...] This film does feature a semi-hardcore sex scene at the climax of the film, where Sandy plays with Junior's member (found here)."
Deep Jaws (1976):
Moonshiner Patrick Wright's only known Directorial Job —
A Scene from Hollywood High (1976):
(1973, dir. John Hayes [as Harold Brown])
German title: Hemd hoch oder ich schieße ("Lift Your Shirt or I'll Shoot"). Director — and occasional scriptwriter, editor, producer, occasional actor — John Hayes (1 March 1930 — 21 Aug 2000) does another movie for Novak (here as producer "C. Roger Hillery"); aka Bust Out, there is supposedly both a hardcore and softcore version floating around out there. Henning Schellerup did the cinematography — and, contrary to some on-line reports, is not director "Harold Brown". Convicts Women is not to be mistaken with Chris Robinson's Thunder County aka Convict Women aka Cell Block Girls, which hit the grindhouses a year later (1974 / see below).
Amazon says: "You know the world is spinning out of control when none other than Candy Samples herself plays a Sunday school teacher (!?!) chaperoning Rene Bond and a bevy of 'high-school' beauties (Angela Carnon, Lynn Harris, and Becky Sharpe) on a trip to the countryside for their senior class picnic in Convicts Women (a.k.a. Bust Out), a Harry Novak smut classic from the seventies. The God-fearing, Bible-quoting Miss Samples and her fellow teacher, Tom (Myron Griffin), are along to see that the girls 'have a good time... but in a Christian manner.' Fat chance, right? Also in the country, at the same time as the picnickers, are two escaped convicts, Zach ("Ralph Wain") and his buddy, Buddy [forgotten Golden Age perennial working stiff, Rene Bond's boyfriend Ric Lutze,* of Ed Wood Jr.'s Necromania: A Tale of Weird Love! (1971 / full NSFW movie), seen here to the left, who worked on a number of Novak films]." As almost every other website mentions, "it does not take long for them [the horny convicts] to meet up with the high-school girls. Their hunger for female flesh soon becomes uncontrollable so they take Brown and his students prisoners and they all hole up in a deserted ghost town."
Trailer to Chris Robinson's
Thunder County aka Convict Women (1974).
* Anyone know whatever happened to him?
Over at imdb, JSwallowX1 of Ireland seems to have expected more from the movie he calls "complete trash": "I hope to [...] save anyone who has any intentions of watching this torment [...] — although I doubt many people will come across this film. It doesn't appeal to me, this kind of movie, but I know that it does appeal to a small minority. About forty minutes of the seventy minute running time is hardcore sex scenes that look very realistic, and probably are in saying that. This gets extremely repetitive, because if I wanted to watch porn I would have just watched porn! The acting is as wooden and eccentric as you could expect. [...] The ending is atrocious, and comes along after a completely random orgy involving all the cast. [...]. It has no merit whatsoever, has no suspense, drama or even a decent pace or sense of purpose. It's just sex scene after sex scene and becomes extremely repetitive by the end. Not my cup of tea but if you're a fan of this sort of thrash by all means give it a shot, you won't be disappointed."
John Hayes' many other craptastic movies of note are Five
Minutes to Love (1963 / trailer),
End of the World (1977 / full movie)
Grave of the Vampire (1972 / see below), Baby Rosemary (1976 / trailer),
Garden of the Dead (1972 / full movie)
and The Photographer (1974 / trailer).
The full movie (while it lasts) —
Grave of the Vampire:
A Taste of Hell
(1973, dir. Basil Bradbury & Neil Yarema)
"Half corpse ... all killer. He led a handful of guerrillas against an entire army ... on a doomed mission of revenge!"
A WWII flick set and shot in the Philippines, internationally distributed by Valiant International Pictures, straight to VHS in the USA: A Taste of Hell is a rare foray by Novak into pinoysploitation. Director Basil Bradbury, "one of the greatest big game hunters of all time" (and builder of the Double-D Ranch), had previously done cinematography for Bruno VeSota's Invasion of The Star Creatures (1962 / trailer) & Ted V. Mikels' directorial debut Strike Me Deadly (1963 / trailer), helped produce Peter Perry's great Honeymoon of Terror aka Ecstasy on Lover's Island (1961 / see below) and the unknown Dragstrip Riot (1958 / trailer), and went on to act in King Monster aka Mystery of the Golden Eye (1976) before disappearing. Neil Yarema (1933-12-09 — 1993-11-06), as far as we can tell, never did another movie after this one.
Some website calls the movie "more Filipino-style war exploitation. John Garwood (of Cleopatra Jones ) stars as a tough soldier helping out the underdog guerrillas in the jungle. Bad guy Vic Diaz ("the Filipino Peter Lorre", of Vampire Hookers [1978 / trailer], Black Mama, White Mama , Blood Thirst [1971 / full movie] and so much more) manages to kill off all his men and disfigures Garwood, leaving his face resembling an extra-cheese pizza that someone dropped in the dirt. Meanwhile, tough guy William Smith (of Moon in Scorpio [1987 / trailer], Merchants of Death [1988 / full movie], Memorial Valley Massacre[1989 / full movie], Grave of the Vampire [1972 / trailer], Uncle Sam (1996), Maniac Cop [1988 / trailer], Rumble Fish [1983 / trailer], Conan, the Barbarian [1982 / trailer], Scorchy [1976 / trailer] and much more) is a soldier of fortune fighting the good fight and falling in love with a native girl. Eventually the two men join forces to take care of Diaz and his soon-to-be dead army."
Trailer to Honeymoon of Terror
aka Ecstasy on Lover's Island (1961):
Savage Cinema rates the movie "100% Weird" and says "The finale of the film is the best": (Spoilers!) "The militia led by [William] Smith enters the army base leading to one of the cheesiest war scenes in all of film history. Garwood saves his former love from the Japanese base when he dresses up like one of the generals and sneaks into the camp. Smith, who secretly has feelings for Garwood's girlfriend, sees her walking away with one of the Japanese soldiers and shoots him on sight. As he runs over he sees that not only was the soldier not one of the Japanese, but that it was his best friend Barry. Then to make matters even worse Maria, Garwood's girlfriend was shot in the midst of the gunfire. Leaving his secret lover and best friend dead at his knees, he looks up in agony only to be gunned down himself. Then after everyone is dead and the base is filled with the blood of many brave soldiers, the hunchback returns to see that his friend Jack is dead, the 'Witch' is dead, and Maria...who he also had a crush on...is dead. Whoa! What an ending!"
Sound exciting? Well, Comeuppance Reviews sees otherwise, saying: "A Taste of Hell is a very slow, boring, and dull turkey of a film. [...] Will Maria be saved? Will Lowell go behind enemy lines and save the day? Who is that freakish dude with the machete? Will you die of utter boredom? Who can tell? [...] It is a total slog, it commits the biggest sin of moviemaking: it is boring. [...] Sadly, A Taste of Hell is a jumble of nonsensical mush. In a bad way. There is too much unfocused talking and love-bits, not enough action or Major Kuramoto, the things that would have saved it. It is unclear who the characters are or what they want. Quickly, the audience does not care either. [...] Additionally, it is insulting to the audience, because the last 5-7 minutes of the film has the action and violence you have been craving. You CANNOT make the audience wade through 80 minutes of NOTHING and then expect them to be happy with a few bullet hits and a guy falling out of a guard tower. [...] It all ends with the onscreen title '...and Satan smiled'. It is as confusing as all that came before it. It really could have used that type of insanity earlier on. Sometimes confusing can be good — the obvious example is Night of the Kickfighters (1988 / trailer) — but here it's not. Avoid A Taste of Hell."
The second Henning Schellerup "Blaxploitation" flick Novak had his fingers in; this time around there is some cream with the black coffee. Denmark-born director Henning Schellerup (3 Jan 1928 — 12 May 2000) came to the US in 1952, was naturalized in '57, and began working in film in '68 as an assistant cameraman on the David F. Friedman film Thar She Blows (1968). He was primarily active as a cinematographer (of such classics as Black Samson [1974 / trailer], Chesty Anderson U.S. Navy [1976 / excerpt] and everyone's favorite, Planet of the Dinosaurs [1977 / a trailer]), but he also directed an occasional TV movie or super-cheap 42nd Street flotsam like the mostly forgotten Blaxploitation flicks The Black Bunch (1973 / see above), Sweet Jesus, Preacherman (1973 / trailer) and this movie here, The Black Alley Cats. He ended his career doing religious documentaries and Christian films and eventually retired to die in Utah.
The Black Alley Cats
(1973, dir. Henning Schellerup)
"Look how free my breasts are. Touch them."
Schellerup's "Blaxploitation" movies tend to have an oddly homemade look to them — see the title card below — and have remained notably (some might say rightfully) obscure.
NSFW Gangrape Scene from
The Black Alley Cats:
The Black Alley Cats was written by a possibly pseudonymous "Joseph Drury", whose only other known credits are the scripts to the X-rated neo-noir Night Pleasures (1976) and Schellerup's directorial debut, the possibly lost movie Dr. Carstair's 1869 Love-Root Elixir (1972 / NSFW trailer). According to trashgang, over at imdb, this flick was once thought lost, "Until it came out on VHS in Greece. So I had to hunt down a copy and caught one, English spoken with Greece subtitles. But still it's a hard one to find. [...] The movie takes 81 minutes to watch and let's say 79 minutes of the movie a naked chick is walking around. It was advertised that it would be a revenge movie, but no, it isn't. It's all about having sex in all ways. Sometimes really getting funny. When the raped girls go for revenge they call themselves the Black Alley Cats, walking around in some leather jackets and one girl just have panties on, nothing else underneath. [...] There is no blood at all, even when one of the girls is hit by a bullet. [...] There has been said a lot about this flick, watch it if you can catch it, you really will have a laugh sometimes and you also will notice that it was made pre-AIDS. A typical flick of that era. And remember, be aware of the bushes..."
Of the titular four Black Alley Cats, Pamela (Sunshine Woods), Vivian (Sandy Dempsey), Marsha (Charlene Miles) and Melissa (Johnnie Rhodes), Sandy Dempsey, seen below (not from the film) and who reportedly died in a boating accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 1975, was the only non-one-film-wonder.
The soundtrack was supplied by too-unknown-to-have-ever-been-forgotten Californian Jazz man Jack Millman, who among his copious activities in music also spent a brief period doing soundtracks for semi-porn, porn and bad films, including this one and Schellerup's Dr. Carstair's 1869 Love-Root Elixir and The Black Bunch. Ubiquity says: "Jack Millman, aka Johnny Kitchen, had a hand in many interesting, obscure and highly collectible records from the 1960s and 1970s. Producing, composing, recording, editing, releasing, licensing — you name it, Millman did it. The records he touched had an eclectic range from psychedelic rock to Latin jazz, and several include editing techniques that can only be described as an early incarnation of sampling in music. The Victims of Chance, Blues Train, The Crazy People, The Trio of Tyme, The Pros, The Tarots, Jeremiah, and even (Frank Zappa protege) Larry 'Wild Man' Fisher were some of the acts connected to Millman. Based in Los Angeles he was called-upon by multiple people to make tax shelter records, and provided musical content for the Condor, Mira, Mirawood and Crestview labels amongst many others."
But to get back to The Black Alley Cats, Bleeding Skull seems to have liked it, saying: "You can make a successful statement through research, planning, and communication. You can also make a successful statement through bottomless karate. [...] This movie is invincible trash. It is un-fuckable-with. It is vigilante costumes consisting of black leather jackets, no pants, and nylons without panties. It is a soundtrack that is mostly a drum solo. It is social reform in the guise of black boobs being pushed into white faces. It is the rare no-budget 1970s sexploitation movie that encourages expectation, surpasses it, and destroys the need for explanation. [...] The Black Alley Cats falls somewhere between the no-fi production values of Road of Death (1972 / trailer) and the over-the-top sexuality of Deadly Weapons (1974 / see below). But it's spicier and grimier than both of those movies. And even less sensical. It's plotless, shapeless, and without structure, feeling like four reels of highlights without a through-line. [...] The Black Alley Cats is relentlessly entertaining. It's constant nudity, stupidity, and fun-loving pessimism. The dialogue is incredible ('A bunch of fucking gamblers are running number games and such — let's stop 'em!'). Plus, writer Joseph Drury and director Henning Schellerup [...] made an attempt to imbue their sleazy rape-revenge movie with a socially responsible core. They also imbued it with someone saying: 'Look how free my breasts are. Touch them.'"
Jack Millman presents
The Afro-Soultet's Afrodesia:
We took a look at auteur Carlos Tobalina, the "Ed Wood of Porn", aka Troy Benny aka Bruce Van Buren aka Jeremiah Schlotter aka Efrain Tobalina, when we took a look at his unspectacular 1987 hardcore hand-helper Pulsating Flesh (full NSFW film) in Part VII of our Harry Reems R.I.P. Career Review. The movie was not a highpoint of Reems' career.
Last Tango in Acapulco, a soap opera — excuse, us: drama — (made anywhere from 1970 to 1975, depending on the website*) is no longer simple exploitation, it is a full-fledged fuck film, though not all scenes are as in close-up detail as others. The Last Tango in Acapulco is available in full NSFW glory, but dubbed in Italian, here at x-hamster.
* As late as May 20, 1976, the X-rated Last Tango in Acapulco was advertised in The Milwaukee Sentinel (page 8, part 1).
TCM reduces the plot to one sentence: "A young woman (Becky Sharpe) who is sexually abused by her father (Keith Erickson) as a child grows up to be a prostitute." A full, scene-for-scene description can be found here at One-Sheet Index — unexpectedly enough for a Golden Age porn film, Last Tango in Acapulco has a happy end.
For his write-up on this film in the book The XXX Filmography, 1968-1988, which credits the film to Tobalina and Harry Novak, author Jason S. Martinko obviously didn't bother to watch the movie and only writes: "This film is a spoof of Last Tango in Paris starring Marlon Brando.** This is the only film known to feature actress Linda Tobalina. Carlos Tobalina also appears in a non-sex role." (Tobalina often appeared in a variety of non-sex supporting roles in both his own films and those of others, even gaining an AFAA award for Best Supporting Actor in 1976 for his fully dressed appearance in Bob Chill's Tell Them Johnny Wadd Is Here). Among the working meats in the movie is bisexual lust bucket Bill Cable (2 May 1946 — 7 March 1998), seen above, whose career spanned from Athletic Model Guild to Colt to Playgirl and from gay and straight porn to Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1975 / trailer). He died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.
(1973, writ & dir. Carlos Tobalina)
** Great grammar: Martinko basically writes that Marlon Brando stars in Last Tango in Acapulco, not Last Tango in Paris.
Tell Them Johnny Wadd Is Here
in 12 minutes:
Please Don't Eat My Mother
(1973, dir. Carl Monson [12 Sept 1932 — 4 Aug 1988])
Aka Glump, Hungry Pets and Sexpot Swingers. OK, tell the truth: is the concept of a borderline hardcore remake of Roger Corman's Little Shop of Horrors (1960) really all that more obtuse than the concept of a star-studded, full-color musical remake of Little Shop of Horrors (1986 / trailer)? What we really wonder is why Corman didn't sue — or was the original already in public domain in 1973?
Scriptwriter Eric Norden had gotten away with plagiarism before, like when he rewrote African Queen (1951 / trailer) as a low budget western, Charles Marquis Warren's Copper Sky (1957). Director Monson also headed other Novak pies: The Takers (1970) and A Scream in the Streets (1973), among other stuff. The special effects are from Harry Woolman (10 April 1909 — 27 Oct 1996), who also worked on The Incredible Melting Man (1977 / trailer), The Slime People (1963 / trailer), Evilspeak (1981 / trailer) and Dr Black, Mr Hyde (1976).
We call Please Don't Eat My Mother "borderline hardcore" above 'cause, as Johnny La Rue's Crane Shot points out, "Please Don't Don't Eat My Mother falls into that odd strictly-seventies' category of sex film that's too graphic for an R rating, but, lacking penetration shots, is not quite dirty enough to qualify as pornography." But though lacking in penetration, it has other charms: Movies About Girls says "[Director] Monson's trademarks were bright, vivid colors, ugly actors and uglier production design, and awkward sex scenes randomly crow-barred in whenever possible. All of those are in ample evidence in Please Don't Eat My Mother, an absurd soft-core reworking of Roger Corman's infamous three-day wonder Little Shop of Horrors (1960)."
Dr Black, Mr Hyde (1976):
Full Movie —
Roger Corman's Little Shop of Horrors (1960):
Movies About Girls also go on to give us a full bio on the movie's lead man, Buck Kartalian (seen below, in a photo from his website, in top bodybuilding form & after a Brazilian): "Buck was born in Detroit, in 1922. He grew up in New York City and was drafted into the Navy during World War II, where he served on a Destroyer in the Pacific. After the war, Buck became a bodybuilder. He won the Mr. New York contest, and was a Mr America runner-up. Later on he became a professional wrestler, and was a fan favorite on the regional circuit. One day, he tagged along with some actor friends he knew at the gym and blundered into a blind audition. He got the role, and was quickly bitten by the acting bug. Although he is well-known for his low-budget exploitation films, it should be known that Buck has appeared in many high-profile and well-loved films and TV series, including Cool Hand Luke (1967 / trailer), Myra Breckinridge (1970 / trailer), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972 / trailer), and 70's Saturday morning kid-classic The Monster Squad (1976 / trailer). [...]"
All Movie give the plot to a film they liked: "Rubber-faced goon lead Buck Kartalian is hapless Henry Fudd [...]. Fudd spends his lunch hours happily gnawing sandwiches and getting daily eyefuls of live porn at the local lovers' lane, fueling his sexual frustration and desire for love. The lonely nebbish buys an unwanted plant from a gay florist (Art Hedberg) when he hears it whisper sweet nothings to him in a sexy female voice, bringing it back to the house he shares with his nagging mother (Lynn Lundgren, whose only other known appearance is un-credited as a beautician in Straightjacket [1964 / trailer]). However, this carnivorous plant's demand for food increases as Fudd provides it (her?) with hamburgers, stray dogs, and eventually, mom herself. The flirtatious flora's teasing overcomes Fudd's good sense, and he finds himself abducting various fornicating couples at gunpoint to feed his hungry plant, which has grown to gargantuan proportions and develops an appetite for a mate as well as daily meals. There's plenty of near-hardcore sex to be seen in this no-budget comedy [...], but Please Don't Eat My Mother is fairly balanced between skin and laughs, even if the film doesn't go all the way with either. Kartalian is believable as a dimwitted, middle-aged mama's boy; cult porn starlet Rene Bond (below) is among the victims of the plant's voraciousness; and director Carl Monson can't resist making an appearance as a Peter Falk impersonator ('Officer O'Columbus'). Please Don't Eat My Mother is one of the more peculiar softcore parodies to come out of the early '70s, just strange enough to be worth seeing, even if willful stupidity is its only virtue."
Aka Spirit of the Dead and The Horror of Death and Experiments, it is the only known directorial effort of cinematographer Peter Newbrook (The Black Torment [1964 / trailer], Crucible of Terror [1971 / trailer], Incense for the Damned aka Bloodsuckers [1970 / trailer] and Corruption ). We were rather surprised to see, over at Mondo Digital, this British film listed as a Novak-fingered movie, as we never knew he had anything to do with it. But indeed, Valiant International Pictures even renewed its US copyright in 1986, according to the US Copyright Office.
In any event, we saw and reviewed this movie way back in 2007. For our full review, go here or click on the title above.
Among those who die in The Asphyx, by the way, is the character Giles Cunningham, played by Robert Powell of the highly enjoyable Ken Russell movie Mahler (1974).
Full Movie —
(1973, dir. Peter Newbrook)
Dracula's Virgin Lovers
(1973, dir. Javier Aguirre)
Aka Dracula's Great Love, Cemetery Girls, The Great Love of Count Dracula and more; original title El gran amor del conde Drácula. One would think that connecting Harry Novak to a Paul Naschy film would be harder than playing "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" with Obama,* but it ain't so, Joe: in 1983, Valiant International Pictures, Inc. (otherwise known as Harry Novak) reapplied for their copyright of the film on the basis of "English dubbed soundtrack: Valiant International Pictures, Inc., employer for hire / New Matter: English dubbed soundtrack added to original motion picture".
*According to the Oracle of Bacon, "Barack Obama has a Kevin Bacon number of infinity" — unless you count TV appearances, and then it's two.
So, obviously enough, Novak may not have been cozy with Naschy, but he was involved ever so distantly with this film directed by Javier Aguirre, a productive Spanish filmmaker who made a total of three films with the great Paul Naschy: this one, El asesino está entre los trece / The Killer Is One of Thirteen (1976) and El jorobado de la Morgue / Hunchback of the Morgue (1973 / see below). Dracula's Virgin Lover is one of those films that tends to divide the few who have seen it, but it did make the short list of the ever-trustworthy Goregirl's "TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1974".
Harry Novak, by the way, has a Bacon number of three (> Machisimo: 40 Grave for 40 Guns  with Bruce Gordon, > Timerider: The Adventure of Lynn Swann [1972 / trailer] with Fred Ward, > Tremors , with Kevin Bacon).
The plot, according to Phil Hardy at DB Cult: "The story is set in 1870 and tells of a Mr Wendell (Paul Naschy) who turns out to be the Count and vampirizes a group of travellers who take shelter in a dilapidated nursing home near his castle. In love with one of them (Haydée Politoff of Le regine / Queens of Evil [1970 / see below]), he decides to abstain from the blood, preferring to wait for her consent."
The Hunchback of the Morgue:
They Shoot Actors Don't They says "It's hard to say what you see more of in Dracula's Great Love, boobs or candelabras. But the combination of the two definitely sets the tone of the film — gloomy, gothic, brimming with forbidden desire. I thought this was going to be a very different kind of movie during the opening credits, which repeat a sequence of a man falling down some stairs in slow motion about 20 times. The sequence became so abstract and near psychedelic by about the 15th repetition that I wondered if the film itself would get all kooky and trippy with ye olde Dracula. In fact, even though there's more sex in this than in the average Hammer film, it otherwise feels quite the same."
Queens of Evil (1970):
The Mark of Naschy tends to agree, sayin that the movie is "played to the perverse hilt by Naschy and bevy of beautiful Euro-actresses under the guidance of one of Naschy's best directors — Javier Acquirre. Acquirre's traveling shots of the forest and mists are beautifully done, and the entire film is steeped in a decayed, sensual atmosphere that is splendidly hallucinogenic in effect, an invocation of an other-worldly existence, separated from the rest of the humanity, where vampirism is an infectious disease that is both welcomed and feared. Somewhat surprising, considering his short stature and pugilistic body shape, Naschy comes across as a strong Dracula, helped by the flavorful doppelganger nature of his role: the mysterious but kind Dr. Wendell, who sets up house at a former sanitarium close to the deceased Count's ancient castle, and the spiritually reincarnated Dracula, a sadistic yet ultimately romantic character of cruel fate. In the later portion of the film, Naschy delights in this evil vampiric role, playing the part with altered, pulled-back hair (or toupee), blackened eyebrows, and minimal but highly effective makeup. The final denouement, which comes, perhaps, a bit too suddenly, is a first for a Dracula movie. A must-see for Naschy fans, as well as all lovers of macabre sensuality."
Aka Girls in the Street and Scream Street, produced and distributed by Harry Novak. Critical Condition explains the plot: "It is mainly a hodge-podge of near-X sex scenes bumpered by some inane and badly-choreographed police action. A serial killer (Con Covert, 1935 — 1990, of Repo Man [1984 / trailer]) is knifing women at a local park. It is up to to local cops, Ed (Joshua Bryant [credited as John "Kirkpatric"] of The Curious Female [1970 / trailer] and Enter the Devil [1972 / trailer) and Bob (Frank Bannon) to track this psychopath down and arrest him. What they don't know is the killer is dressing up as a woman and walking away from his crimes undetected. It's quite obvious to the viewer that she's a he (it's quite pathetic, actually), but everyone in the film is fooled. The two cops must also deal with a peeping tom (who spies on two lesbians making love); a sicko who beats up his masseuse with his belt and a gang of thugs robbing a store. All of the action scenes (they are few and far in between) are lazily shot and one car chase scene has to be seen to be believed. The main selling point to this film are the sex scenes. [...] They are of the near-X quality (a Harry Novak specialty), showcasing both male and female full frontal nudity with a pre-disposed penchant for oral sex. I dare you not to laugh at the peeping tom as he slobbers watching the lesbians go at it. I double dare you not to laugh as one of the lesbians spots the peeping tom and make a phone call to the police while the other lesbian continues performing oral sex on her!! [...] If this synopsis make you want to run out and rent or buy this thing, be forwarned: It's boring as hell and seems twice as long than it really is."
(1973, dir Carl Monson)
"I hate women! You're rotten! Rotten! Ha ha ha ha ha!"
The Rapist (Con Covert)
The Temple of Schlock, which calls the movie "one of the most anti-cop movies I've seen in ages" disagrees about the last bit: "Well, it certainly looks as if shot on a low budget with a Kodak Brownie, although most of the acting is more acceptable than usual for this kind of thing. And it is fun in a weird way. The film may not be great art, and much of it looks put together by sick but harmless minds; it's a sleazeaholic's must-see, and at times, one can't help but wonder if anybody intended it to be taken seriously. It does exude raw energy, and I absolutely dare you to call it boring."
NSFW Trailer to
A Scream in the Streets:
The Sinful Dwarf
(1973, dir. Vidal Raski)
"I have more toys... upstairs!"
The Dwarf (Torben Bille)
Released in a variety of versions, including one with hardcore inserts; the truncated version originally released by Harry Novak in the US went by the title Abducted Bride. Either everyone was working under pseudonyms, or director Vidal Raski and writers Harlan Asquith (screenplay) and William Mayo (story) never made another movie — to which some out there would probably say "They made one too many." As 2,500 Movies Challenge says, "Now here's an odd, disturbing bit of euro-sleaze for you, a Danish exploitation film, shot in England with an all-English cast, that'll have your eyes popping out of their sockets. That is, if you can keep them glued to the screen long enough, and believe me when I tell you, the urge to look way while watching The Sinful Dwarf is a strong one!"
Severin has recently re-released the movie: "Severin Films is officially going to Hell — and taking you with them — with the first time ever in America DVD release of what may be the sleaziest film in EuroCult history: Diminutive former kiddie-show host Torben Bille [...] stars as the pint-sized pervert [...] in this towering achievement in graphic depravity, now fully restored from a 35mm print discovered hidden in a janitor's closet at the Danish Film Institute!" (The odd things that the Danes keep in their closets.)
Critical Condition — which says "This sleazy bit of exploitation is really rough stuff. You can actually feel yourself getting dirty as you are viewing it" — explains the plot, more or less: "This sick, sadistic Danish production could never be made in today's politically correct climate. It treats women like dirt, contains brutal torture scenes and is definitely not for the faint of heart. In other words, I loved it! Peter and Mary (Tony Eades & Anne Sparrow), a down on their luck couple, rent a cheap room on the top floor of a converted nightclub run by the sadistic Lila Lash (Clara Keller) and her deformed midget son Olaf (Torben [31 Oct 1945 — 22 July 1993, also found somewhere in the Danish sex comedy Agent 69 Jensen – I Skyttens tegn (1978 / full NSFW film)], who is a sight to behold). Lila and Olaf run a prostitution ring in the attic, where kidnapped girls are kept in check with unhealthy doses of heroin and nightly beatings. Mary notices a wide variety of faceless men entering the attic at all hours of the day and night and becomes suspicious. When she tells Tony what she has seen, he tells her to mind her own business because he is more worried about finding a job than losing the only place they can afford to stay. Lila and Olaf set their sights on adding Mary to their stable but first must figure out a way to get Tony out of the picture. Lila sets Tony up with a job in a toy shop run by a fat slob named Santa Claus (Werner Hedman, 6 April 1926 — 26 July 2005, the director of Agent 69 Jensen – I Skyttens tegn), which is actually a front for a heroin smuggling ring. Santa sends Tony (who is unaware of the illegal activities) to France, giving Lila and Olaf the chance to kidnap Mary. They leave a note in the room in which Mary tells Tony that she is leaving him. Meanwhile, Mary is chained naked in the attic, shot full of heroin and vaginally penetrated with the handle of Olaf's cane. She is then raped by one of Lila's customers. Tony returns from France and finds the note. Feeling dejected, he goes back to the toy shop to work off his worries. While working in the basement, he overhears Santa and Olaf talking about the heroin and prostitute operations...."