Modern Pulp Jul 13 2022
GOLDMAN STANDARD
A beautiful old poster turns out to be a beautiful new poster.


Yes, we just showed you a nice Japanese poster for Laura, and here we are again with another promo, this one French made and very striking. There's more than one French promo for the movie, but this is a special one. It's signed by the artist—Goldman. At first we were unable to find his first name, though we did immediately find another poster he created. That piece was for Orson Welles' 1946 drama The Stranger, so at that point we were thinking Goldman was an overlooked talent from the golden age of cinema.

We used all our internet mining skills and learned, according to an auction website we visited, that Goldman's poster for The Stranger was for a cinematic re-release that occurred much more recently than the 1940s. That meant Laura was probably made for a re-release too. We soon determined that both The Stranger and Laura were screened in France in August 2012. The Cinémathèque Française, which isa venerable film society housed in a building designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry, each year offers a slate of vintage and restored films, often focusing on one or several filmmakers. In 2012 Otto Preminger, director of Laura, was one of filmmakers being honored, along with Welles, Manoel de Oliveira, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and others.

So, if we've gotten all this correct—which is no guarantee—the poster we thought was a rare piece of vintage promo art is actually a rare piece of modern promo art. And to think we always complain about modern promo art. So, okay, for the moment we're silenced, because this is excellent work. Still, though, we couldn't find out about Goldman. The internet is often heavy on noise and short on signal. With well known Goldmans out there ranging from Emma to Oscar to Sachs, we can't isolate our Goldman no matter what keyword/quotation mark/Boolean trick we try. But maybe the answer will turn up later. It often does.

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Modern Pulp Jun 12 2022
CLASH BY NIGHT
Caught between a rock and an ugly place.


A few days ago we wrote about the 1950 film noir Night and the City, and our poking around led to the discovery that the Blu-Ray edition comes with a box cover by one of our favorite modern artists Owen Smith. He first came to our attention because he painted covers for the Daniel Chavarría crime novels Adios Muchachos and Tango for a Torturer, and we see that he remains a unique stylist, perhaps even a modern pulp master. His depiction of star Richard Widmark trapped between tough guys Mike Mazurki and Stanislaus Zbyszko captures the essence of the movie without being an actual scene from it. We like the choice.

While Night and the City revolves around wrestling, it seems that Smith has been busy with another ring art—boxing. He's created quite a few works along those lines, and we've uploaded several below. We'd say he has the subject of men who've had the snot beaten out of them pretty well conquered. Finally, since we brought it up, we'd like to recommend—for adventurous readers—the aforementioned Chavarría novels. Due to our time living in Guatemala and traveling around the region we developed an interest in all things Cuba. He brings that island to life in a way few authors do. Read what we wrote about him here, and see more Smith here and here.

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Modern Pulp May 21 2022
PLAIDING HIS CASE
Something old, something new.


This is something a bit unusual. It's a life-sized promotional cardboard cut-out for 1982's film noir-sourced comedy Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, which starred Steve Martin and Rachel Ward. We thought of this film recently due to Martin's new Agatha Christie-influenced television mystery series Only Murders in the Building, which we watched and enjoyed. We first saw Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid years ago, long before Pulp Intl. and all the knowledge we've gained about film noir. We liked it much better during our recent viewing.

If you haven't seen it, Martin uses scores of film noir clips to weave a mystery in which he stars as private detective Rigby Reardon. Aside from Ward, and director Rob Reiner, his co-stars are Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart, Burt Lancaster, Barbara Stanwyck, Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner, Cary Grant, and many others, all arranged into a narrative that turns out to be about cheese, a Peruvian island, and a plot to bomb the United States.

The film's flow only barely holds together, which you'd have to expect when relying upon clips from nineteen old noirs to cobble together a plot, but as a noir tribute—as well as a satirical swipe at a couple of sexist cinematic tropes from the mid-century period—it's a masterpiece. If you love film noir, you pretty much have to watch it. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid had its premiere at the USA Film Festival in early May, but was released nationally today in 1982.

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Modern Pulp May 17 2022
HER MAJESTY'S DISSERVICE
Of all the different types of queens, I had to be the damn queen of S&M.

Maybe Junko Mabuki wasn't the queen of Nikkatsu Pictures' roman porno cycle, but she was certainly one of its major figures, and oh, the ordeals she went through in her fifteen films. This poster that has her looking like she somehow got stuck inside Batman's mask was made for Dan Oniroku hakui nawa jigoku, known in English as White Uniform in Rope Hell and—unfortunately—All Women Are Whores. We couldn't locate the movie, which caused us to breathe a sigh of relief. But if you want to know what Mabuki was all about, cinematically speaking, the films of hers we have watched include (English titles only) Female Teacher: Rope Hell, Female Beautician Rope Discipline, Secretary Rope Discipline, and Blazing Bondage Lady. Those titles should answer any questions. We also watched her in Hell of Roses, which, while its title seems to suggest a thematic and tonal change from Mabuki's usual fare, is also about ropes. Dan Oniroku hakui nawa jigoku premiered in Japan today in 1980.

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Modern Pulp Apr 10 2022
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED
She's arrived on this earthly plane to love you to death.


We said you'd see sexploitation star Laura Gemser again sooner than you thought, and here she is—or at least here's an interesting depiction of her—on a poster made in Turkey to promote her film Ateşle Oyun. That translates as “game with fire,” but the movie was known in English as Divine Emanuelle and Love Camp. There's no Turkish release date, but we're talking about it today because it premiered today in 1981 in West Germany, where it was released as Die Todesgöttin des Liebescamps, or “the death goddess of love camp.” Death goddess, eh? That doesn't sound fun, but we'll get to that in a minute.

As you can see in panel two, the West German promo is nothing to write home about, which is why we decided to focus on the Turkish art. It's signed by an illustrator named Ömer Muz. We looked him up and got many hits, but with no way of knowing whether any of them were the Muz we were seeking. A few of them were artists, and one was even an art director in movies back in the early 1980s, but final identification eluded us.

Die Todesgöttin des Liebescamps was written, directed by, and co-starred Christian Anders, an Austrian musician/singer/composer and man-in-over-his-head in terms of technical ability. His character oversees a free-love cult on Cyprus called Children of Light. He's the servant of the Divine One, played by Gemser, who bathes in milk, parades around topless while flanked by an oiled up bodybuilder, and preaches an apocalyptic schadenfreude doctrine that sounds a lot like the Rapture. In her cult, you can give love freely, but cannot be in love. “Love for only one person is egosim,” she puts it. “When two people love each other they shut the world out. That's a sin.” Basically, that means the cult is an ongoing orgy. Rulebreakers get slapped around or whipped. Gemser even whips herself occasionally. She's a true believer.

The plot kicks into gear, sort of, when one of the cult babes decides she wants to leave and is instead thrown off a cliff by the oiled up bodybuilder guy. There had to be a dark side to all this sex, and that dark side is you can check in anytime you like but you can never leave. We next learn that the police have become suspicious about missing cult members and have inserted an undercover operative who's poking around even as Gemser tries to indoctrinate an heiress and soak her down for her fortune. Will the undercover cop learn the truth of the cult? Will Gemser expose him? Will she expose herself? On the latter score, fans will be satisfied, rest assured. But for objective film buffs, we have to tell you that, like most Gemser efforts, this flick is terrible.

But it's also significant because there's bizarre trivia associated with it. Most notably, David Koresh has a small role. You perhaps remember him? As the leader of the Branch Davidian cult he sought to create a new lineage of world leaders, had sexual partners as young as ten years old, and finally died in 1993 with seventy-five disciples during a fire that broke out at the cult's compound during an FBI raid. On top of all that, writer director Anders propagated various conspiracy theories in books and interviews. The lesson is don't take a movie script too seriously. Especially a sexploitation script. Die Todesgöttin des Liebescamps premiered today in 1981.

Witness me, little ones! Are my abdominals not out of this world?

Bring forth the divine ointments and sexual lubes!

I and my slippery, steroid enraged servant shall now engage in the holy rite of hot raw sex. You may want to rewind this part a few times.

I came here to find myself, and she gives me this room. Feels like she's mocking me.

There's something to find right under these holy raiments, little lost blonde one.

Divine One, I prefer this female version of myself. Diversity is good and all, but we're a matched set. Hope you're okay with that.

Throw them both into the pit of eternal-despair-without-hope-of-redemption-or-surcease! Hmm... probably need to shorten that name. And who forgot to order the lube for today's orgy? Throw him in the whatever pit too!

I'm a cruel goddess, it's true. But behold the everloving fuck out of this!

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Modern Pulp Feb 27 2022
HELL'S BELLE
No matter which direction she's going we'll tag along.


The first thing we did when we saw this interesting cover from Éditions de la Brigandine for Benjamin Rupert's 1980 novel Lubrique à Braque was try to figure out what type of motorcycle this was. It's a Kawasaki, but the logo is reversed because Brigandine must have decided they liked the rider going from right to left rather than the other direction. That's when we took a look at her and recognized French film star Annie Belle. That's her for sure. No mistaking those eyes. She remembered to wear her helmet for this spin, which is commendable, but she's forgotten anything resembling outerwear. Also commendable. We don't know where she's going but it'll be a place of romance and adventure. Just watch one of her movies and you'll see. La notte dell'alta marea comes to mind. Bonus: that one also has Pam Grier. Or you could watch Laure. Bonus: that one has Emmanuelle Arsan. Or you could even watch Velluto nero. Who's the bonus in that? None other than queen b Laura Gemser. All three movies are pretty bad, truth be told, but they're also amazingly fun. Your entertainment week is now set.

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Modern Pulp Feb 2 2022
HER STRANGE DAYDREAM
It was just her imagination running away with her.


This bondage themed poster for Tetsuji Takechi's Hakujitsumu 2, aka Daydream 2, promotes the third iteration of a film he first made in 1967, then remade in 1981. It's labeled “2” because the first movie was a drama, while the second was x-rated. This version is x-rated too, so it's the second porn outing for the title, hence number 2, though it's really number 3. Hope that makes sense. However you number it, it's similar wine in a different bottle, as director Takechi keeps his remake of a remake highly erotic, while going more hallucinatory. Kyōko Aizome, star of the previous version, is joined by the lithe and beautiful Chizu Kirinami, and she gets the central role as a woman who spirals into a citywide erotic hallucination. We won't bother to detail the plot, because you can get that info at our previous write-ups here and here.

It's clear that Takechi, with a hit on his hands in version two, decided to simply swap Aizome out of the starring role and pass the torch to Kirinami. And why not? She's really lovely. She spends almost the entire movie without a stitch on, even when rappelling over a balcony or wandering the streets of the quasi-reality she's stuck inside. As for you Aizome fans, don't worry—though relegated to a supporting role, she's plenty visible, performs some very carnal scenes, and even wears the assless bondage outfit you see on the poster. Below, because we figured you'd enjoy it, she wears nothing. Kirinami's film career consisted of two movies, which means there isn't much promo imagery out there on her. The monochrome shot will have to do until we turn up something better. Hakujitsumu 2 premiered in Japan today in 1987.

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Modern Pulp Jan 15 2022
THE DEFIANT ONES
Gladiatorial combat is all fun and games until the gladiators decide you're the one who needs killing.


We've featured master fantasy artist Frank Frazetta a few times, so it seems only fair that we feature the yang to his yin, Peruvian born legend Boris Vallejo. Here you see his art on a promo poster for Naked Warriors, which is better known as The Arena, released this month in 1974 starring another legend, Pam Grier, along with occasional co-star, the lovely Margaret Markov. We've talked about the movie twice, shared its Italian and U.S. promo art, and shared rare promo images of Grier once or twice, or maybe even three or four times, as well as a beautiful centerfold of Markov. All of that imagery is worth a look.

Vallejo's art is a nice fit for a tale of enslaved gladiators pitted against each other eventually defying their sadistic masters to fight for freedom. He painted when Corcorde Pictures acquired the rights to the film from MGM/UA for a VHS release in 1988. Concorde/New World was formed and run by schlockmeister Roger Corman, and that explains the black wedges at the top and bottom of the promo. When you do thingson the cheap as a matter of course like Corman did, tilting the art in an inelegant way to make the two figures fit a door panel format seems logical. We can imagine him: “Just lean the fucker left. Who cares about the blank spots?” And indeed, who does, really?

In addition to a great piece of art, as a bonus we've also uploaded some Arena production photos we found scattered around the internet over the years. Most of them were shot by Italian lensman Angelo Frontoni, whose work we've admired often. As it is a lusty sort of movie, some of the shots are a bit lusty too. We had these sitting about and didn't have a real good excuse to share them until today, so from the good old days of ’70s sexploitation behold: Grier, Markov, Lucretia Love, Maria Pia Conte, Rosalba Neri, and others in barely-there gladiatorial gear—and sometimes less. We can't say the film is perfect, but it's definitely worth a watch.

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Modern Pulp Nov 21 2021
GAMES TEACHERS PLAY
The classes are challenging, but the extracurriculars are really hard.


The high school that looks normal on the surface, but is a nest of sexual perversion underneath. It's a premise Nikkatsu Studios never missed a chance to trundle out for audiences, and here it is again in Kairaku gakuen: Kinjirareta asobi, which is known in English as Pleasure Campus, Secret Games. Yuri Yamashina is a teacher at Tokyo Public High School who has a group of recalcitrant seniors, including the star of this flick, the lovely Ayako Ôta, along with the equally lovely Rie Katihara (left and right on the poster respectively). The plot evolves from teacher-student conflict, to secret chemical formulas, to public hypnosis, with many weird stops between, as befits a roman porno flick.

We can't really describe the bizarro plot, but the feel of the movie can be summed up by one sequence. A disobedient Ôta is restricted to the school's chemistry lab while a group of administrators in a nearby conference room decide whether to expel her. One of the panel slips away on the pretext of using the bathroom, but instead attacks Ôta in the chemlab. Meanwhile, some minutes later, another member of the panel decides he needs to use the bathroom, but instead heads to the chemlab. The previous admin has leapt out the window to avoid being caught, and admin two sees Ôta half naked and continues the assault. A third admin says he needs to use the bathroom, goes to chemlab where admin two has just fled out the window, finds Ôta naked and tied to a table, and continues the assault... and so forth.

All the wrestling and leaping out of windows plays like a Benny Hill sequence on acid, with more spazzing, yelling, and pratfalling than a sane mind can witness. We recognized that this serial sexual assault is supposed to comedic, but the laughs didn't come for us. Possibly that's due to cultural blindness—not being from Japan, the humor doesn't cross over. So for that reason, we'll let a Japanese commenter on Filmarks review this one for us. Translated, he wrote: “If this happens to me, I hate it so much that I want to die, but since it is a movie, I almost laughed to death. That's what absurdity is.”

There you have it. Kairaku gakuen: Kinjirareta asobi is an absurdist comedy based around ideas about sexual desire and authority. We take seriously our efforts to understand the roman porno genre, just as we work to understand all yesteryear's enormously popular genres of international film, from Italian giallo mysteries to Mexican lucha libre actioners, but as far as we're concerned it's time for another break from watching these roman porno flicks. Our stand-in from Japan wrote, in so many words: It's just a movie. We get that, so we'll be back to this genre at some point. Some point months from now, after our heads are clear. Kairaku gakuen: Kinjirareta asobi premiered in Japan today in 1980.
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Modern Pulp Nov 2 2021
SEX KITTEN
The black panther returns.


We're back into French sexploitation today with this poster for Baby Cat, which starred Israel born actress Shulamith Lasri, aka Julie Margo. The title, which is what the movie played under in France, is probably meant to be an allusion to the English word “pussy.” If so, the French filmmakers missed their target, since cats of any age can be called pussycats. But we couldn't make an allusion in French under pain of torture, so we'll give them a pass. We watched this only because Margo had aroused our curiosity with her outing in 1976's Emanuelle nera n° 2. She starred in that as Shulamith Lasri, her real name. Most websites haven't made the connection that Lasri and Margo are the same person. IMDB, for instance, has separate profiles for each, and Wikipedia's entry on Emanuelle nera n° 2 (Black Emanuelle 2) expressly states that it was the only film in which Lasri appeared. Well, now the truth is out.

In Baby Cat Lasri/Margo plays a jaded Paris model with two boyfriends—one a hustler, and the other a one percenter. The rich boyfriend won't commit, and we can't imagine why he would, since he's a fashion magazine publisher and hangs out with beautiful women for a living. But this annoys Margo, so she teams up with the hustler to stage a fake kidnapping and try to pry loose a ransom. Unfortunately, her one percenter catches wind of the plot and sticks her in a basement to consider the error of her ways. This accomplished, he flies off for a photo shoot to the French/Dutch island of Saint Martin with a bevy of skinny models (among them Corinne Corson, Eloïse Beaune, and Sylvie Schmidt) who mostly wander around topless in the tropical heat. Having spent some time on Saint Martin, we can tell you that the toplessness brings a touch of reality to the proceedings. We don't see Margo much during this middle stretch of the film, but she'll get loose from that Paris basement soon enough.

Margo isn't classically pretty, but she has a flawless body any woman would sell her soul and everyone else's to have. In Emanuelle nera n° 2 she was referred to as a panther, and amusingly, here four years later a completely different set of filmmakers beat the identical drum with lines like, “Hey, she moves just like a cat. A black panther.” We get it—Margo is exotic as far as European filmmakers are concerned, but any questions about her feline qualities are moot for us, because she can't act. Like, at all. She took a four-year break after Emanuelle nera n° 2, coming back to make three more films, of which Baby Cat is the last. It was probably good she stopped. Hell, it was good this movie stopped. Watching Margo work that body of hers was enjoyable, and the Saint Martin exteriors brought back lovely memories for us, but for you, beloved pulpsters, Baby Cat is a movie you can probably bypass. It premiered in France today in 1983.
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 18
1920—U.S. Women Gain Right To Vote
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified despite heavy conservative opposition. It states that no U.S. citizen can be denied the right to vote because of their gender.
1958—Lolita is Published in the U.S.
Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita, about a man's sexual obsession with a pre-pubescent girl, is published in the United States. It had been originally published in Paris three years earlier.
August 17
1953—NA Launches Recovery Program
Narcotics Anonymous, a twelve-step program of drug addiction recovery modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, holds its first meeting in Los Angeles, California.
August 16
1942—Blimp Crew Disappears without a Trace
The two-person crew of the U.S. naval blimp L-8 disappears on a routine patrol over the Pacific Ocean. The blimp drifts without her crew and crashes in Daly City, California. The mystery of the crew's disappearance is never solved.
1977—Elvis Presley Dies
Music icon Elvis Presley is found unresponsive by his fiancée on the floor of his Graceland bedroom suite. Attempts to revive him fail and he's pronounced dead soon afterward. The cause of death is often cited as drug overdose, but toxicology tests have never found evidence this was the case. More likely, years of drug abuse contributed to generally frail health and an overtaxed heart that suddenly failed.
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