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‘How to Undress in Front of Your Husband’: The exact opposite of a feminist film
01.19.2015
07:10 am

Topics:
Feminism
Movies
Sex

Tags:
John Barrymore
Dwain Esper

How to Undress in Front of Your Husband
 
The short film you’re about to take a look at is more than just a cheap, extraordinarily sexist exploitation film from 1937. Indeed, How to Undress in Front of Your Husband is most certainly that, but if you can put the stupidity of the attitudes expressed in the film aside momentarily, you’ll notice that it also happens to be surrounded by a bunch of weird, perhaps even interesting facts. Case it point: It involves the huckster distributer of Reefer Madness and his salacious screen writing wife, the film bears a mysterious similarity to a LIFE magazine article featuring photos of ex-burlesque stripper, June St. Clair made in the same year, one of the lead characters (such as there are characters) is the fourth wife of John Barrymore and the other lead character was an ahead-of-her-time suffragette.

I’m not a big fan of Internet lists, but I’m presenting the following one as a matter of expediency. Believe it or not, there’s a lot to cover here for a smutty little fourteen minute film.

1. How to Undress in Front of Your Husband is an exploitation film: To cut right to the chase, this movie is about a lecherous, camera-wielding Peeping Tom and two different women taking their clothes off in preparation for bed. According to the film’s male narrator, there is a right way and a wrong way for a woman to do this if she wants to properly entice her husband, and each woman demonstrates her pre-bed ritual as the narrator looks on through a key-hole. It’s really an awful flick, but notable if you’re interested in this particular fringe nook of filmmaking, truly the bottom of the creative barrel.
 
Reefer Madness Poster
A reproduction of an original Reefer Madness poster.
 
2. The Reefer Madness connection: How to Undress in Front of Your Husband was directed by Dwain Esper, the same fiendish mind who brought us everybody’s favorite joint-sploitation film, Reefer Madness along with Maniac, Sex Madness and Marihuana. Esper was a sleazy but fascinating persona. A serious snake-oil-salesman-type, he traveled around the country “four walling” his racy films in rented tents and theaters in order to work his way around the 1934 Production Code that wouldn’t allow his work to be distributed through conventional channels. In fact, the very title of the film may very well have been part of what was a typical strategy for Esper to get around movie censorship. By billing his screenings as “educational,” as in WE’RE HERE TO EDUCATE YOU ABOUT THE HORRORS OF OPIUM!!!!, he and others like him could attempt to pass off their salacious materials as important public service announcements. After taunting entire towns with tantalizing “Adults Only” promotions, Esper would screen whatever piece of smut he was pitching for a few days, count his money, pack up his gear and get himself the hell out of Dodge, preferably before the town’s morality police could do it for him.

Esper’s wife Hildegarde Stadie, herself an ex-carnival performer who in her younger years often posed nude with a python around her neck to entice people into buying her Uncle’s cure-all tonics, wrote How to Undress in Front of Your Husband as she did many others in the Esper repertoire. Neither of them actually wrote Reefer Madness, by the way. Esper simply bought the film, originally funded by a church group with the intention of legitimately steering people away from the deadly smoke. Esper realized how much of exploitative payday would come from screening the very bad but very “shocking” movie. You can read three Esper screenplays in Marihuana, Motherhood & Madness from 1998.
 
Dwain Esper
Cinemaniac Dwain Esper
 
3. The LIFE article: Interestingly, an article, also from 1937, appeared in the February 17th issue of LIFE magazine depicting almost the exact scenario of the Dwain Esper film and pictures from the article have circulated around the internet over the past few years. Promoting one Allen Gilbert who was ostensibly trying to get the word out about his “Manhattan School of Undressing,” the article shows two different women in the act of preparing for bed, one clumsily, the other, ex-burlesque stripper June St. Clair, gracefully. The conceit of the article is that because of rising divorce rates, women needed to place to go where they could learn to be more sensual when getting ready to slip into bed with their husbands. No mention is made of the husband’s role in the pre-bed ritual, although, due to reader demand and, in some cases, outrage, a subsequent issue of LIFE included an article with men in the same scenario. It seems almost impossible to imagine that the article and the film below weren’t somehow related, although I can find no evidence to substantiate that claim.
 
How to Undress
The right way for a woman to undress in front of her husband according to a 1937 article in LIFE magazine.
 
How not to undress
The wrong way for a woman to undress in front of her husband according to a 1937 article in LIFE magazine.
 
4. John Barrymore’s fourth wife: Yes, the lead role the film went to Elaine Barrie, alcoholic actor John Barrymore’s fourth wife at the time. Famously, a youthful Barrie (she had the last name of Jacobs at this point) kindled her relationship with Barrymore through a letter asking for an interview with the aging Svengali actor who was in the hospital attempting to dry up at the age of 53. Barrie continued to “interview” Barrymore, and the two eventually married in 1936. Their relationship was a press free-for-all (Barrie was 30 years younger than Barrymore and their relationship began when Barrymore was still married to his third wife) and the Espers were almost certainly capitalizing on her new-found national attention when they cast Barrie in the roll of the ideal wife in How to Undress in Front of Your Husband. The film’s narrator vocally ogles and hubba-hubbas his way through Barrie’s downright scandalous-for-1937 appearances in the film as she sensually quaffs her hair, applies pre-bed perfume, rolls down her stockings and shimmies out of her clothing while strategically never becoming completely nude. The purveyor of the pervy voiceover is of course pleased. “She not only knows how to get a husband, but how to keep him,” he says.

5. The suffragette: Last but not least, one of the most interesting things about this weird little piece is the appearance of former stage and vaudeville actress, Trixie Friganza. She plays the role of the not-so-sensual clothes remover; the representative of “how not to undress in front of your husband,” and the narrator says some truly vile things about her while she goes through her supposed pre-bed ritual. Really, it’s cringe–inducing and mean-spirited. Friganza, a large woman, seems to have made career out of poking fun at her own size, but she was also an outspoken women’s rights activist often using her public notoriety to speak about the arts and for economically downtrodden. She was progressive for the time, even keeping her maiden name and continuing to work after marrying in her early life, a fairly bold statement in the early 1900’s. Friganza’s on screen appearance in How to Undress in Front of Your Husband was one of her last, as she ended her film career in 1940 due to complications with arthritis. After a long career she died in relative obscurity in 1955.

So there you have it, everything I know about the oddball film. For better or for worse, here’s How to Undress in Front of Your Husband in all its schlocky glory.  It skips just a tad at the beginning, but extensive Internet searching yielded this as the best copy. 
 

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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‘Gay Semiotics’: Hilariously deadpan taxonomy of San Francisco life in the 1970s
01.16.2015
08:53 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Queer
Sex

Tags:
Hal Fischer


 
Post-Stonewall. Pre-AIDS. Thus is defined a period, which we can for convenience also term “the 1970s,” that has special significance for homosexuals in the United States. The genie of liberation, especially sexual liberation, had been loosed from its magic lamp, but the devastating toll of plague had not yet made its mark. Under those circumstances, while still enjoying or enduring marginalization in society, homosexual males could engage in behavior that was at once highly promiscuous and yet highly coded. The task of melding one’s own interest in, say, cowboys or sports and more generic signifiers of homosexuality created the possibility of a developed taxonomy of gay life. That is, you could be “gay” but of the butch/leather/jock/urbane type, and so on. During this time, it’s safe to say that many homosexuals became highly attuned to such signifiers.

Into this situation wandered a photographer named Hal Fischer, who published a monograph in 1977 with the provocative title Gay Semiotics based on pictures taken in San Francisco, especially Castro Street and Haight Ashbury. In it Fischer presented straightforward photographs of aspects of homosexual garb, etc., complete with explanatory labels, quite like a museum exhibit.

I can’t remember ever seeing this exact tone before, so deadpan and dry that the material is effectively turned inside out. Taxonomizing people isn’t necessarily the nicest impulse in the world—think of racist representations of African-Americans in the 19th century or Nazi depictions of Jews in the 20th…. Less harmfully, think of countless spreads in MAD Magazine that are funny and harmless but still not necessarily so nice. Nobody likes to be defined to that extent, one can almost hear the pushback…. “Hey, I’m gay and I don’t care about red handkerchiefs!” or whatnot. However, at this point in the development of gay culture, it seems that the trinkets had taken on iconic value within the culture and this winking look at it was most likely seen as funny and not malign.

We’ve supplied some of the more amusing pictures and captions here, but you can see the entire (I believe) book at the Queer Cultural Center. The book is hard to find and currently sells for $500.
 

BLUE HANDKERCHIEF
Handkerchiefs signify behavioral tendencies through both color and placement. A blue handkerchief placed in the right hip pocket serves notice that the wearer desires to play the passive role during sexual intercourse. Conversely, a blue handkerchief placed in the left hip pocket indicates that the wearer will assume the active or traditional male role during sexual contact. The blue handkerchief is commonly used in the treatment of nasal congestion and in some cases holds no meaning in regard to sexual preferences.

RED HANDKERCHIEF
Red handkerchiefs are used as signifiers for behavior that is often regarded as deviant or abnormal. A red handkerchief located in the right hip pocket implies that the wearer takes the passive role in anal/hand insertion. A red handkerchief placed in the left hip pocket suggests that the wearer plays the active role in anal/hand insertion. Red handkerchiefs are also employed in the treatment of nasal discharge and in some cases may have no significance in regard to sexual contact.
 

EARRING
An earring in the right lobe may suggest that the wearer prefers to play the passive role during sexual activity. Conversely, an earring in the left lobe may signify active behavior on the part of the wearer. Unlike the other signifiers, however, Right/Left placement of the earring is not always indicative of Passive/Active tendencies on the part of the wearer. Furthermore, the earring or stud is often adopted by non-homosexual men, thus making the earring the most subtle of homosexual signifiers.
 

KEYS
Keys are an understood signifier for homosexual activity. A key chain worn on the right side of the body indicates that the wearer desires to play a passive role during a sexual encounter. Conversely, keys placed on the left side of the body signify that the wearer expects to assume a dominant position. Keys are also worn by janitors, laborers and other workers with no sexual significance intended.
 

AMYL NITRITE
Amyl nitrite is a prescription capsule drug used in the treatment of angina pectoris (heart disease). Amyl nitrite, or “poppers” as it is known in slang terminology, is inhaled through either the nose or the mouth. After inhalation the user experiences a quickened heartbeat and the sensation of blood rushing to his head. Amyl nitrite is especially popular on dance floors and immediately prior to sexual climax. Since Amyl Nitrite is available only by prescription, manufacturers have created a number of commercial substitutes as well as a variety of inhalers. Although Amyl is used by heterosexuals, its immense popularity among gays has earned it the title “The Gay Drug.”
 

STREET FASHION
BASIC GAY
 

STREET FASHION
JOCK
 

ARCHETYPAL MEDIA IMAGE
WESTERN
The western or cowboy prototype is identified by articles of clothing: cowboy or western boots, jeans, flannel or western style shirts and in some instances hats. When the image appears in gay magazines the settings are usually barns, corrals or fence posts. The cowboy represents the frontier and a male-only society. The machismo qualities of the western archetype are vigorously exploited by advertising. Modern cowboys are used by the media to play up masculinity and sexuality in ways that are subconsciously understood by the gay populace.
 

ARCHETYPAL MEDIA IMAGE
LEATHER
The leather prototype is the most easily recognized look. Black leather items include everything from hoods to jackets, pants, caps and underwear. Accoutrements include motorcycles, chains and various sexual items. In the gay media black leather becomes a symbol for the unknown or untried. It is entirely, vehemently, macho in appearance. While the other archetypes have their roots in myths accepted and celebrated by the culture-at-large, the leather cult, like its straight counterpart is rooted in non-acceptance and non-conformity.
 

BONDAGE DEVICE
MEAT HOIST
 

Cover

via Tombolare

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Have sex and lose weight at the same time with Sexercise
01.16.2015
06:44 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Sex

Tags:
fitness
exercise

11sxcrs123.jpg
 
For couples who want to shed a few extra pounds without getting out of bed there’s a new “rhythm method” of love-making which will help them “work up a sweat between the sheets.”

The UK’s second largest health and beauty retailer Superdug has just released a free download of a 22-minute track called “Sexercise” that is intended “for couples looking to get athletic in the bedroom.”

The track was produced by a group of fitness experts who analyzed the sex lives of 2,000 British couples and discovered the average length of a UK sex session was 22minutes 48seconds. With this in mind they created a track full of changes in tempo and beat intended to encourage couple’s fat-burning love-making sessions. The track has a “warm-up” intro for foreplay before gradually increasing the beat for an explosive climax.

An average love-making session can burn up 101 calories in men and 69 calories in women, and is a lot more fun than going to the gym.

At the launch of “Sexercise” head of retail health at Superdrug Cari Newson said:

“Over the years, the many health benefits of sex have been well documented, from beating stress and relieving pain, to bringing couples together and boosting confidence, as well as, of course, as a form of aerobic exercise.

“We commissioned this track as a fun way to show the health benefits an energetic love making session can have. It’s an easy way for couples to incorporate exercise into their daily routine, but just remember to always practice safe sex.

“Whether it’s advice on sexual health, family planning or weight management, our in-store healthcare experts at Superdrug are available to offer free advice to help customers with their health and wellbeing goals in 2015.”

If this floats your boat then you can download the track here.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Playgirl on the Air’: Unintentionally hilarious 1984 ‘video magazine’ for the ladies
01.13.2015
02:47 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Sex

Tags:
Playgirl


 
Despite its lad mag namesake, Playgirl magazine was founded entirely independently of Hef and his bunnies. In fact, the publication’s original target audience was second-wave feminists, those liberated ladies of the early 1970s that founder Doug Lambert believed were aching for the corniest kind of equality: pictures of naked “himbos” in between articles on abortion rights and Bella Abzug! Of course, Playgirl never really took off the way its counterpart did. The magazine is still going as a quarterly, but it has always circulated as much if not more so among gay men than women, who perhaps prefer their porn a little more subtle and discreet, and their lifestyle magazines a little less hokey.

Nonetheless, Playgirl has left us with some absolute treasures in its attempts to capitalize off of the modern woman, and you need only to watch this 1984 “video magazine”—again, an attempt to emulate similar projects by Playboy—to be reassured of its entertainment value. In another flailing attempt to brand the liberated lady lifestyle, the video combines on-the-street interviews, fashion/lifestyle editorial-style shorts, political segments and yes, fabulously corny softcore. Probably not SFW—there’s no frontal nudity, but you might die of shame.

Celeb appearances include Mark Harmon (who was then a big deal on St. Elsewhere), centerfold Steve Scott (later porn star Mark Davis), and even Geraldine Ferraro and future San Francisco mayor Willie Brown!
 

 
Via Network Awesome

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘It’s a vaNgina’: Watch these children’s reactions when they learn about sex for the first time
01.07.2015
12:12 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Sex

Tags:
kids
the birds and the bees


 
Here’s a pretty amusing video of befuddled kids learning about sex for the very first time on camera. One kid was already hipped to the birds and the bees to his father’s shock (his older brother told him), but others were convinced babies came from the butt or from “some kind of hole here like an igloo.”

Another kid shouts at his parents, “Don’t say THAT AGAIN!” 

I remember learning about sex for the first time when I was around six years old. My mother told me on Christmas Eve night. She also told me there was no Santa Claus. Thanks, Mom! I recall feeling a bit skeeved-out and immediately ran upstairs to ask my father if any of this was true. Of course when I asked him he said “No! No! Where did you hear this?” I replied “Mom told me.” He then said, “Well it’s true.”
 

 
Via Jezebel

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Syn & Synthesizers: Fake 70s-era pr0n magazines for men who love their synths
12.24.2014
09:46 am

Topics:
Music
Sex

Tags:
Synthesizers


 
I’ve seen these amusing synth / nudie mag images floating around Tumblr and Pinterest for sometime now, but never knew who was behind them. Now I know: Artist Rachel Laine created these fictious “naughty” magazine covers for the Bedroom Cassette Masters project. (Music in-the-style-of lo-fi, cassette-based, bedroom-recorded demos.)

I was asked to imagine a series of seventies-era magazines aimed at young men seriously into synthesizers and electronic organs which would all betray their sexist origins by their covers!

Damn, I really wish these were the real deal. I’d be on eBay buying ‘em up in 3…2…1…

Titles and article text written by Simon Holland (the mastermind behind the project) and Dave Williams. 


 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Psychedelic sex education video for kids
12.23.2014
07:06 am

Topics:
Drugs
Feminism
Sex

Tags:
drugs
drag
kids
kids tv
sex education


 
I’m staunchly supportive of early sex education, I’m certainly all for childhood body positivity—especially in these days of surgical and Photoshop fantasy—and I also don’t think the efficacy or value of children’s programming should me measured by its appeal to adults—sometimes kids shows are visually and aurally lurid to compete with a clamorous world (also, a lot of kids just have bad taste at that age). However, the body positive kids’ sex education web show “Baby! Love Your Body!really challenges my allegiance to a carefree and liberated vision of childhood. It’s intended for children as young as three, but maybe it shouldn’t be?

Borne of energetic French feminists “Fannie Sosa” and “Poussy Draama” (who—shocker—both belong to an art collective called School of No Big Deal), “Baby! Love Your Body!” is what happens when the impetus for cultural liberalism—apparently at all costs—supersedes all instinct for appealing to a popular audience. It starts with a value-neutral tour of vaginal slang, with all your favorites included. Then it makes a quick left turn with two people dressed up as raver vaginas. From there we see some confusingly metaphorical portrayals of sex and masturbation interpreted with erratic dancing, and then it just completely abandons narrative with a “Through the Looking Glass” love canal adventure. Yes… someone enters a vagina and a psychedelic journey ensures.

There is only one episode so far, but it’s been done in English and in French—I’ve blessed you all with the disorientingly English-dubbed version below. The tone is manic with the sort of exhausting, heavy-handed enthusiasm and good cheer that afflicts so much children’s programming these days, but I could see kids responding well to it even if I didn’t. I give Fannie and Poussy a hard time, but in spite of some some absurdly prudish backlash, I think the show could actually be useful—if parents can handle the acid-trip presentation. For those of you who might prefer a more sedate teaching tool—may I suggest a nice, sterile anatomy textbook, preferably in Danish.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Sit on my Face’: Pro-pr0n protest goes all Monty Python outside of Parliament today
12.12.2014
10:20 am

Topics:
Activism
Crime
Sex

Tags:
protests


 
If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and check out the hashtag #pornprotest on Twitter, it’s the best thing on the Internet right now. It seems that Parliament has recently been messing with what you can and can’t do in adult videos, and right-thinking individuals on the scepter’d isle came out in numbers today to protest the legislation.
 

 

 

 

Photo by Ms Slide @sliderulesyou
 
More pics from today’s protest after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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PETA inflicts ‘indecent’ billboard-sized facial on unprepared town
12.09.2014
10:37 am

Topics:
Activism
Advertising
Animals
Sex

Tags:
PETA


 
The cheeky introduction of sex into other subject matter has long been a staple of advertising that seeks to use word of mouth and/or media reverb to make its impact. Everyone enjoys a good chuckle at a banana positioned to resemble a willie, for instance, and why not? It’s all a lot of fun, the banana lobby is happy, and everybody wins. However, sex in advertising can also be a bit of a tightrope walk, as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recently learned.

Only one day after it was put up, PETA was ordered to take down an “indecent” billboard poster in Nottingham after a request from the Notts County Football Club. The poster, which was appealing to consumers to stop using dairy products, had been placed just outside the club’s playing arena.
 

 
The billboard read, “Some bodily fluids are bad for you” and a photo of a woman having experienced the, ahem, “aftermath of a sex act,” as one report delicately phrased it.

PETA has defended the billboard by calling it “cheeky,” but some pedestrians disagreed. As a local resident named Richard Brown said, “It’s clear what they are doing but I think it’s a bit naughty. I’ve got a seven-year-old daughter and young people aren’t stupid, they can read and it’s not great that they can see things like this that are indecent.”

The billboard was the only one of its type in England;  PETA commented that it used the location because it was “suitable.” Damian Irvine, commercial director at Notts County, said: “Once the content of this advert was identified we informed advertising company Space Outdoors who agreed the content was not in keeping with our community and family-focused values.”

via Arbroath

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The Count goes hardcore in ‘Dracula Sucks’
11.24.2014
07:54 am

Topics:
Movies
Sex

Tags:
vampires
Jamie Gillis


 
If one had to name one literary character from the past 200 years that has influenced numerous films, short stories, books, pieces of music, commercials and even video games, there is one strikingly demonic figure that should immediately pop into mind. That’s right. The man himself—Count Dracula.

Bram Stoker’s character—who was not, apparently, based on the historical Romanian warlord Vlad the Impaler—has appeared in nearly every cinematic genre, ranging from horror (natch) to westerns and even comedies. Another genre that the most epochal vampire has graced is adult film, which also might be the least examined. The big standout on that small but notable list is 1978’s Lust at First Bite aka Dracula’s Bride aka Dracula Sucks.

Combining explicit sex and Dracula is the veritable chocolate with the peanut butter. The real shocker isn’t that there is a hardcore version of Stoker’s tale but that there are not more adult films based on his character. The very nature of Dracula, a charismatic monster riddled with polluted sexuality, makes him the perfect seductive villain for erotica of any stripe.
 
Extra from a Ratt Video? No. It's one of Dracula's Brides.
 
The title alone of Dracula Sucks might bring to mind something heavy in the groin but light in the brains department, but there is actual substance to this version, albeit in a deliriously strange way. Directed by Philip Marshak and with industry notable William Margold chipping in on writing duties, Dracula Sucks begins with Richard (Richard Bulik), the nephew of Irene Renfield (Pat Manning) and, you guessed it, the son of the Renfield. His aunt has taken him to a castle retreat in rural California to be in the care of the brother and sister team of the Sewards, Arthur (John Leslie) and Sybil (Kay Parker). He’s arrived to receive treatment for his night terrors, which will soon grow exponentially as the voice of his dead father starts to call to him.

This ghastly force leads him to the body of Dracula (Jamie Gillis). Richard follows his daddy’s instructions and removes the stake out of the corpse, only to quickly find out that the voice pulling him the whole time was not his father’s but Dracula himself! This puts him over the edge and faster than you can say “Ballad of Dwight Frye,” Richard is all bug-eyed, emitting noises of the insane and making the insect world his own personal buffet.
 
The Son of Renfield
 
Meanwhile, Dracula is introduced as a new neighbor to not only the Sewards, but to their non-patient residents, including dear friends Lucy (Serena, looking like the living embodiment of a Vargas girl) and Mina (Annette Haven), as well as their respective suitors, Dr. Bradley (Mike Ranger) and Jonathan Harker (Paul Thomas.) Things go from strange to stranger to strangest as a wave of infected sexuality and blood starts to sweep through the asylum as Dracula hones in on Mina, with whom he has fallen in love.

Dracula Sucks has to be one of the stranger approximations of Stoker’s classic tale that I have ever seen. There’s a strain of goony humor that is undercut by a genuinely eerie ambiance. It is an unwell universe where the dysfunctional out-rules the healthy and that includes a large part of the medical staff.  From the incest between the Sewards, the character of Henry (Margold) who, when not assisting the doctors, has a fixation on apples and ends up raping Irene and the fact that Van Helsing (played by character actor heavy Reggie Nalder) manages to out-creep Dracula, there are no real character safety zones here. On top of that, there is the striking image of the Count’s handmaidens, who look like glamorous ghouls who just escaped Hell’s war zone, creeping across the asylum grounds at night. Speaking of startling visuals, there’s also a doozy of an image where Dracula has a vision upon meeting Lucy. The vision in question is a solarized shot of him urinating on her while fire is chroma-keyed into the shot. It is completely infernal, messed up and striking in a witchy-psychedelic piss type way.
 
Jamie Gillis is Dracula
 
While there are some obvious liberties taken with the story, which makes the film about on par with 99% of the rest of the Dracula-centric titles, there is one key element that it nails from Stoker’s source material better than most. Keeping in mind that the novel was written in the Victorian era by a man who was very much an upstanding byproduct of it, the sexuality in the book is tame. It’s highly doubtful that any eroticism in Stoker’s text was ever intentional, since vampirism plays out more like a metaphor for venereal disease than anything else. So amping of the sexuality factor to include a communicable disease is perfect for the material. The fake vampire teeth used here is pretty jarring. Not because they look authentic, in fact, far from it. But it’s that line where something looks so artificial that it takes on an even more alien and bent look. (Anyone who has seen the Count Yorga films will know exactly what I am talking about here.)

The cast is good and features a veritable who’s who of adult film in the 1970’s. John Holmes even appears in a small supporting role as “Dr. John Stoker,” who ends up having his equally famous member get bitten by a female vampire. (Surely a scene that will have 8 out of 10 guys running to the hills!) The acting, as a whole, is really good, with the usually frosty Haven making a likable Mina. Richard Bulik makes an interesting Renfield, with his performance going from decent Dwight Frye cosplay into something more genuinely unhinged. However, like other vampire films before it, the real stars of the show are the hunter and the hunted.
 
Johnny Wadd: Vampire
 
Nader, whose career spanned from working with Hitchcock in The Man Who Knew Too Much to playing vampire Kurt Barlow in the first adaptation of Stephen King’s book, Salem’s Lot, is typically remarkable here. One has to wonder what was going through his mind while making Dracula Sucks, since established “straight” actors typically didn’t usually appear in adult films, then or now. (One exception from that time period was Aldo Ray acting in the 1976 adult title, Sweet Savage. Also, neither gentleman dropped trow, though that would have been potentially spooky on a whole other level!) Then there’s Jamie Gillis as Dracula. Given that one of Gillis’ nicknames has been “the dark prince of porn,” it was only natural to have him here as the Count. His good looks and natural intense energy plays into the role perfectly. He’s more animalistic than say Lugosi or Lee, but retains the charisma that is typically associated with the role. Given that Gillis was a really terrific actor in general, it does make one wish he had more to do, but given that the literary Dracula only appears in a fraction of the text, it only makes sense to have him more as a shadow figure.
 
Reggie Nalder as Van Helsing
 
For the hardcore vampire film lovers, Vinegar Syndrome have released this on a sweet two-disc set that also includes the Lust at First Bite version, which is more traditionally edited and features more sex than blood. Interestingly, both Dracula Sucks and Lust at First Bite have two different endings, making it the sex-vampire equivalent of King Kong Vs Godzilla. (Ignore the fact that the dual-ending for the latter is a myth.) Naturally, Dracula Sucks is not going to be for everyone but for those who like their vampire tales weird, lurid, occasionally silly and ultimately memorable, then do check it out.
 

Posted by Heather Drain | Discussion
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