If heaven were like this it would get crowded mighty fast.
We don't believe in angels, but if we did this is pretty much what we'd want them to look like. This photo shows heavenly adult film actress Shauna Grant, who, like several other ’70s and ’80s adult film actresses, we've featured before. One reason we do it is because we see a line that extends from pulp all the way into porn via the former's focus on sex. Though authors were not generally able to write explicitly about it at the time, sexual gratification was the prime motivator for many pulp characters. You also see it where pulp intersects film noir, but serious legal risk prevented filmmakers of the ’40s and ’50s from exploring the themes deeply. The pulp influenced literature of the ’50s, and the films of the ’60s pushed the envelope more, but were still constrained by censors.
Around the time Grant was making her debut in porn in 1982, directors en masse were beginning to rework pulp and film classics into thrillers with sex centrally placed. 1981's Body Heat and The Postman Always Rings Twice, 1982's I, the Jury and Cat People, 1984's Against All Odds, and 1987's No Way Out, are just a few examples. The trend continued through 1990's The Grifters, 1994's The Getaway, and beyond, with all these films making clear what was only hinted in source material dating back to the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s—guys will go to almost any length for sex. For real world proof of that, scroll down to yesterday's Barcelona orgy story. But usually it isn't just sex that gets fictional males in trouble—it's amazing sex. If it were just vanilla sex they wouldn't lie, cheat, steal, and murder. No, it's sex that blew their fuses. So that thread weaves neatly into porn, because porn was designed to implant concepts of sex that average people had never experienced—even if the experiences shown were not reality, but something more like performance art. Grant was one of the art's most popular practitioners. And she fits with our ideas about pulp for another reason too—she's freighted with pulp-like tragedy due to dying early via suicide today in 1984, two days after shooting herself in the head. We have a couple of other Grant items that might interest you, here and here.
American sex stars make a big splash in Japan.
As promised earlier this month, below we have more adult film posters from Japan for U.S. based productions. We're pretty proud of these because you simply won't find them anywhere else, or if so certainly not in the quality you see here. And we have at least a hundred more.
Neon Nights, 1981, with Veronica Hart.
Fiona on Fire, 1978, with Amber Hunt.
Sex Asylum 4, 1993, with Christy Canyon.
Little Orphan Dusty, 1978, with Rhonda Jo Petty.
Co-Ed Fever, 1980, with Annette Haven.
Barbara Broadcast, 1977, with Annette Haven and Harry Reems.
Insatiable II, aka Insatiable Part 2, 1984, with Marilyn Chambers.
Breaking It, 1984, with Traci Lords.
High School Memories, 1980, with Annette Haven.
On White Satin, 1980, with unknown poster star. We were able to visually identify all the main performers in this film and none of them seem to be the person shown here. This is not unusual for a Japanese poster. Their makers occasionally used the most photogenic person rather than the top-billed performer, but in any case we don't know who this is.
All American Girls in Heat II, 1983, with Shauna Grant.
The porn industry welcomed her with open arms. Two years later she was dead.
Above is a cover of Variety magazine published today in 1984 reporting the death of porn starlet Shauna Grant the previous month. Born Colleen Applegate in Minnesota, she became a top-earning adult film performer over her two-year career in Los Angeles, but was also a heavy cocaine user and was ambivalent at best about her work. In fact, despite her popularity with the paying public she sometimes had difficulty acquiring roles because directors were well aware that she had no zest for what she did and they believed it showed in her performances. But her lack of enthusiasm wasn't just for her work—it was for her entire life, which was fueled by cash and parties, but also filled with hangers-on, bad men, and dodgy friends.
At some point she contracted herpes, and though many accounts assume it came from her career, it's just as likely she got the disease from her many outside-the-industry acquaintances, considering the incredibly high infection rates among the general public. In any case, with a drug habit and an STD, as well as an abortion and a broken relationship weighing on her, not to mention a career that she was ashamed of, Grant shot herself in the head with a .22 rifle on 23 March, and appeared posthumously on the Variety cover above. We chose the photo below because she seems so isolated in it, even lonely. A while back we shared an amazing Japanese poster with her, which you can see here, and we'll get back to more promo material from her later.
She'll Grant your deepest wishes.
Japanese promo poster for the American porno flick Glitter, with an image of star Shauna Grant, 1983. Grant was considered one of the most beautiful adult actresses of her time, so we've provided some evidence below. One of porn's most infamous cautionary tales, she committed suicide by shooting herself in the head with a rifle a year after this film was released.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1939—Five-Year Old Girl Gives Birth
In Peru, five-year old Lina Medina becomes the world's youngest confirmed mother at the age of five when she gives birth to a boy via a caesarean section necessitated by her small pelvis. Six weeks earlier, Medina had been brought to the hospital because her parents were concerned about her increasing abdominal size. Doctors originally thought she had a tumor, but soon determined she was in her seventh month of pregnancy. Her son is born underweight but healthy, however the identity of the father and the circumstances of Medina's impregnation never become public.
1987—Rita Hayworth Dies
American film actress and dancer Margarita Carmen Cansino, aka Rita Hayworth, who became her era's greatest sex symbol and appeared in sixty-one films, including the iconic Gilda
, dies of Alzheimer's disease in her Manhattan apartment. Naturally shy, Hayworth was the antithesis of the characters she played. She married five times, but none lasted. In the end, she lived alone, cared for by her daughter who lived next door.
1960—Gary Cooper Dies
American film actor Gary Cooper, who harnessed an understated, often stoic style in numerous adventure films and westerns, including Sergeant York, For Whom the Bell Tolls, High Noon, and Alias Jesse James, dies of prostate, intestinal, lung and bone cancer. For his contributions to American cinema Cooper received a plaque on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is considered one of top movie stars of all time.
1981—The Pope Is Shot
In Rome, Italy, in St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul II is shot four times by would-be assassin Mehmet Ali Agca. The Pope is rushed to the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic to undergo emergency surgery and survives. Agca serves nineteen years in an Italian prison, after which he is deported to his homeland of Turkey, and serves another sentence for the 1979 murder of journalist Abdi Ipekçi. Agca is eventually paroled on January 18, 2010.
1957—Von Stroheim Dies
German film director and actor Erich von Stroheim, who as an actor was noted for his arrogant Teutonic character parts which led him to become a renowned cinematic villain with the nickname "The Man You Love to Hate", dies in Maurepas, France at the age of 71.
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