Young cats and old tricks.
Sure, we just had a cat related movie on the website earlier this week with Cat Girls Gamblers, but cat tropes were popular with schlock film producers, so here we are again with a Japanese poster for the U.S. sexploitation flick The Black Alley Cats, about a group of abused women who fight back using fists, firearms, and generally fierce attitudes. It starred Sunshine Woods, Sandy Dempsey, Charlene Miles, and Johnnie Rhodes, and it was so bad it was the only film three of the four ever acted in. Dempsey had a cinema career already, lucky for her, so she survived what was an all-time stinker. But—and you knew there was a but—as bad as the the movie is, it's also, totally by accident, very funny. After opening in the U.S. in 1973 it premiered in Japan today in 1974.
Edit: Uschi Digard, who has a bit role in the movie, stars on the poster in the karate gi. That's another catch for regular Pulp reader Herman. What eyes that man has!
Russ Meyer and Co. do it in the desert.
Above is a Japanese poster made for Cherry, Harry & Raquel, on which the local distributors splash that magical English word “Sex.” Twice we've discussed this practice and shared examples, here and here. The movie is one of numerous exploitation efforts from Russ Meyer, who graced American grindhouse cinemas with such dubious classics as Wild Gals of the Naked West, Motorpsycho!, Mondo Topless, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Cherry, Harry & Raquel deals with a bordertown sheriff and his sidekick who smuggle marijuana, and are instructed by their drug boss to kill a former partner who's gone into business on his own. The hunt-and-kill operation goes wrong, as the prey quickly becomes the predator. In Meyer's hands the film is something of a desertified hallucinogenic short, intercut with random scenes of nudity and seduction to stretch it to feature length. The sexual content is mostly played for laughs, and none of it is erotic. At least as far as we were concerned.
It was the poster and Meyer's name that drew us, and we were also a bit curious to check out b-movie legend Charles Napier in one of his earliest roles, but none of what we saw impressed us. When Meyer was on his game his movies could be entertaining. Faster Pussycat and Valley of the Dolls are both worth a watch just for their self-conscious silliness. But unless you're a Meyer completist, we recommend skipping Cherry, Harry & Raquel. It opened in the U.S. in 1969, and eventually reached Japan today in 1976.
Jennings goes after big game in mid-1970s schlockfest.
Incredible though it seems to us, Truck Stop Women will be the 745th movie we've reviewed on Pulp Intl. And we never meant to do any. But writing reviews, commentaries, et al, gives us more latitude, legally speaking, to use all the imagery we upload. Tumblr doesn't have to worry about that. It's too sprawling, too decentralized, and ostensibly protected by a user agreement (which everyone ignores anyway). But as a dedicated website we don't have that luxury. So here we are with review 745, Truck Stop Women, which we watched solely owing to the participation of cult star Claudia Jennings.
Jennings was entertaining in efforts ranging from the swamp rat adventure 'Gator Bait to the futuristic dystopian thriller Death Race 2000. Here she's placed into another b-movie sub-genre—the hi-octane road adventure, which would beget such Americana as Smoky and The Bandit and The Dukes of Hazzard. She plays a New Mexico truck hijackerworking for her criminal mom, whose operation is coveted by two mafia goons. The titular truck stop women, along with a few of their truck stop men, decide to resist this attempted takeover. The wonderfully named Lieux Dressler is one tough mother—unsentimental, opportunistic, and willing to battle to keep what's hers and her daughter's.
If the movie were a pure actioner, and Dressler and Jennings had been given 70% of the lines, the filmmakers might have had something good here. But with bluegrass backed sexual interludes and comedy riffs that mostly fall flat, this is not a movie we imagine Jennings was proud of. In fact, she's probably too good an actress to be subjected to its low grade parade of campy trucker tropes, but you take the work when it comes.
The good news is threefold—the movie improves as it veers farther away from its initial slapstick tone, the sexual vignettes, while dumb, do include Jennings, as well as the uber-stacked Uschi Digard, and the action scenes throughout are well staged. If you're a Jennings fan, her presence will suffice to get you to the end, but you'll certainly be thinking how much better this could have been. Truck Stop Women premiered today in 1974.
The queen of sexual torture takes her talents to the Middle East.
Today is the day we finally complete the trifecta of Ilsa movies with Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks, for which you see two Japanese posters above. The movie premiered in the U.S. in March 1976, and opened in Japan today that same year. The Japanese titles of Western movies are sometimes like lists of ingredients. The translation of アラブ女地獄 悪魔のハーレム is “Arab hell devil harem.” Even with that clear warning, Japanese audiences—who aren't fazed by much—must have said, “These Yank filmmakers are fucking crazy.” Which is to say that the Ilsa trilogy is among the most irredeemable sexploitation cinema ever produced, the type of stuff that will never, ever be made again, at least not in the U.S., where every instance of cinematic nudity is a political event. Generally, we decry that, but only when it keeps realistic and healthy sexual interactions from being shown onscreen. Harem Keeper is not healthy. Not on any level.
But we digress. This was the second installment of the Ilsa trio, and all starred Dyanne Thorne. She reprises her role as the cruel dominatrix Ilsa, and this time she's in charge of a sheik's harem. She rules this desert roost with utter cruelty, indulging in random acts of corporal punishment, and assisting her boss as he derives both income and pleasure from auctioning kidnapped women to wealthy pervs. Ilsa and the sheik discover that their little set-up has been infiltrated when they catch a spy sent by the granite-jawed Max Thayer, who later himself arrives on the scene and is quickly a prized guest in Ilsa's bed. We could get into the major subplot involving war with a rival sheik, but suffice it to say that the entire plot is just an excuse to string together set pieces featuring vile faux-violence and silly faux-sex. How low does the movie sink? At one point Ilsa uses her incomparable creativity to implant a harem girl with an explosive diaphragm that will detonate during intercourse. It's no electrified dildo (see installment one), but it's close. Yes, Ilsa is cruel as hell, but it's nothing excellent sex won't cure. That's right up Thayer the Layer's alley. He works his way to Ilsa's creamy center, at which point she decides to switch allegiances and betray her sheik. Will she get away with this outrage? Well, we've already mentioned there were three Ilsa movies and this was the second, so theoretically, she gets away with it. On the other hand, she died at the end of the first movie, so you never know. Regardless, without putting too fine a point on it, this is a terrible movie. But the participation of porn actress Colleen Brennan, nudie model Uschi Digard, and blaxploitation beauties Tanya Boyd and Marilyn Joi as Ilsa's usually-topless enforcers, make this worth a guilty watch. Just don't let anyone know you did it, or you might lose your job, your friends, your family, and even your cat—and cats generally don't give a fuck. But that's how bad this flick is. We have a ton of promo images below. Some came from an interesting French-Canadian website called Cinepix. You can check it out here.
Digard and friend discover they're a wrestling match.
This curious photo shows Swedish softcore actress Uschi Digard and American porn actress Candy Samples posing for a photo with a wrestling theme, which was a strange little niche of the nudie market. In fact, it was a niche of the Super 8 home movie market too, which is why you can find loops of these staged clashes for sale even today. We don't particularly dig wresting pix or movies, but to each their own, right? Another niche Digard and Samples filled was the titanic boob market, as both were famous for their endowments. Digard became a star in sexploitation movies, working with directors such as Ed Wood and Russ Meyer. You don't have to pay auction prices for vintage loops of these two squirming and wrasslin' with each other. If you look you can find some online, uploaded to YouTube et al. We have seven more shots from this session below. These date from 1971.
Edit: we got an email from our friend Herman: "Sorry, but I've got to call an audible on this one. Uschi, yes, Candy, no! I don't know who she is but she is not Candy Samples. I've looked and don't find her with any of Russ Meyer's groupies. Uschi & Candy were among his favorites to hang with Kitten Natividad, his companion during the 80s and early 90s."
Thanks for writing in, H. As you probably already know, we call these mistakes, when they happen, internet replication errors, and you can't spell irritated without i-r-e. Basically, how IREs work is one website gets something wrong, so everyone else does too because nobody bothers to confirm the info. If enough sites repeat the mistake, error literally becomes fact. We've caught numerous IREs and thus avoided adding to the chain of incorrect info, but sometimes one slips through. Now we think this blonde wrestler could be Kyra Dyba Young, and she's about as obscure as it gets. But we can't say 100% it's her. For now, wrestler 2 goes in the unidentified bin.
Sex Stars System uncovers erotic cinema around the world.
Here's a little treat for Monday, because Mondays are universally acknowledged to suck. Above is the cover and below are a ton of scans from the cutting edge cinema magazine Sex Stars System, which billed itself as “Le Magazine du Cinema Erotique.” It was published out of 55 Passage Jouffroy, in Paris, France, and for a while it was the top magazine with reviews and features on the new, sexually liberated mainstream cinema of the early 1970s, and the new pornography of the same era. Because porn was taken seriously as an art form back then (hard to imagine, we know) certain magazines discussed and critiqued the films and regarded the performers as equal with those in mainstream cinema. We talked about this phenomenon with Cine-Revue a few years ago. Sex Stars System was similar, but much edgier, as you'll see.
On the cover and in the centerfold you see Croatian born star Sylva Koscina (a mainstream actress), and elsewhere you get Emmanuelle Parèze (porn), Dany Carrel (mainstream), Valérie Bosigel (mainstream), Karin Schubert (both), Catherine Spaak (mainstream), Ornella Muti (mainstream), Chesty Morgan (porn, obviously), Marilyn Monroe (mainstream, though some scam artists claim she was the other too), et al. They don't make magazines like this anymore, because they don't make cinema like this anymore. Sex in U.S. movies is strictly taboo, unless, generally speaking, the actors keep their clothes on. You do see it on cable television, however, though such shows generate reams of online criticism about how terribly wrong it is (we agree, however, that more sex and nude scenes need to be filmed from the vantage point of the female gaze). In Europe, as always, things are a bit more liberated.
We aren't sure how long Sex Stars System published. It debuted in 1975. Also in 1975, or possibly 1976, a magazine called simply Stars System appeared. Stars System had a softer editorial approach and featured solidly mainstream cover celebs such as Jane Fonda and Romy Schneider. At some point it changed its name slightly to Star System and, thus rebranded, published at least as late as 1982, which seems to be longer than Sex Stars System was on the scene. The information online about these magazines is, as you can probably guess, a jumble, but we'll keep looking into it and maybe have something more concrete to report later. There's also a Star System celeb magazine around today, but it's Canadian and presumably unrelated. Many scans below, and we have a few more issues we'll post later.
Not only do they bite—the movie does too.
We’re pretty brave when it comes old sexploitation movies, but this one was really, really, really, really bad. Four students from some sort of adult girls school are raped one night when they’re out on the town and afterward they decide to fight back. They take martial arts, learn to shoot, dress up in black leather jackets (but virtually nothing else), hit the streets and beat the living shit out of the guys that attacked them. Revenge whets their appetites and, naming themselves the Black Alley Cats after their leather gear, they become urban vigilantes. There’s more to it—for instance a subplot involving illicit porn movies—but really the production is such a mess it seems rudderless. In tone it’s like a Japanese pinku flick, but not cleverly scripted, choreographed, shot, or edited.
However, there are a couple of things of note here: first, this may be the earliest reference to MDA in a motion picture, and yes, they’re talking about ecstasy, or MDMA, which was synthesized in 1910, made illegal all over the planet around 1970, became a popular party drug in the late 1980s and remains so today. Second, there’s a lot of muff on display here, both male and female. We differ at Pulp Intl. about muff. With respect to the female variety, one of us loves it, and the other doesn’t. But since the one who loves it is actually writing this entry, I’ll just mention that pubic hair is natural, which makes waxed or lasered pubes a fetish, not the other way around. Just getting that out there.
Anyway, Black Alley Cats is grindhouse of the rawest variety. It was originally rated X, and presumably still bears that designation. In a rational 2013 it would be re-rated an R, but that’ll never happen because nothing terrifies the greyhairs at the various ratings agencies around the globe like a visible black penis, and a big one at that. So X it is, whichmeans you can probably forget about getting the movie in your Netflix queue. But maybe that’s just as well. Black Alley Cats has some enjoyable aspects—notably Sunshine Woods, a supporting cast of hilariously irredeemable male sleazeballs, and those spectacular bushes (did we mention Sunshine Woods?)—but otherwise this is not a great effort. We have some murky stills below with actual—not made up—lines of dialogue. The movie premiered in West Germany under the English title Black Cats today in 1973.
“The third technique will be snatching the groin, destroying the groin, reaching in, ripping away. Ready? RIP!”
“No, don’t stop. Keep licking me.”
“Rub his body. You’ve always wanted to touch a black man.”
“Take your panties off. You’re not going to need them tonight.”
“What the fuck are them honky bitches doing here?”
“At least they don’t cheat food money from their own people.”
“That motherfuckin’ son of a bitch. What in the hell kind of doctor is he?”
He only seems mean until you get to know him.
When we first saw this poster for 1971’s The Godson, we were of course struck by its brutal nature. Then our realty filter kicked in and we realized that, though the art is a photo-illustration, an actress (Orita de Chadwick) probably wouldn’t sign up for that kind of abuse. Thankfully, our assumption was confirmed. The film frame used on the poster has been slightly but crucially altered to achieve a more violent effect. The reasons why an instance of sexual violence would be made to look even worse on a promo poster raises some disturbing marketing-related questions, but we’ll leave those for another time.
Moving on to the actual film, The Godson is just a sexploitation flick with bad direction (William Rotsler), bad scripting (William Rotsler), bad editing (William Rotsler), and astoundingly bad acting (everyone). It’s the story of an ambitious mafia thug played by Jason Yukon trying to succeed in his godfather’s organization, and it all goes wrong in the end and everyone dies. Is that giving away too much? Well, at least we saved you 90 minutes. We'll say this much for Rotsler, though—he did nothing halfway, as a visit to his website will illustrate.
Perhaps we should note that Uschi Digard and the awesomely beautiful Lois Mitchell appear in this film, super hot Debbie McGuire from Black Starlet and Supervixens gets a bit of screen time, and legendary sci-fi writer and firebrand Harlan Ellison pops up briefly (copping a feel of Mitchell, just below). Also, some of the film was shot at Ellison's bachelor pad. Does any of that make it worth watching? No. Besides, why bother when we've uploaded all the best parts for you? The Godson premiered in Japan today in 1972.
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