Movie A Day!: Vinegar Syndromed

I was hoping to post this last night but getting back to work and having to work in the warehouse really laid me out. So I’m a day late. One day this blog might get back to it’s regular weekly posts. I know you are all worrying about it. Welcome, let’s have a look.

As promised last blog, I spent my staycation catching up on Vinegar Syndrome smut and sleaze. So it’s a mixed bag for those of you who hate this stuff. For those with a taste for the bad, it’s a real treasure trove.


247 08/11 A Touch of Genie (1974) 3.5/5   One of sexploitation legend Joe Sarno’s early hardcore efforts ends up being something that porno rarely is: adorable. It’s a skid-row version of I Dream Of Genie as seen through the eyes of Woody Allan with tons of Jewish humour and a self awareness to the porn industry at the time it was made. To the point where the humour ends up overshadowing the hardcore. A fun little film that won’t be for everyone but for fans of the genre is a bit of fresh air.


248 08/12 Matinee Idol (1984) 3.5/5   This one finds exploitation legend David F. Friedman writing a story about the trials and tribulations of producing adult films. It’s got a great cast but what sets it apart from standard hardcore fair is there’s a sense of fun to this that’s more in tone with the softcore features he used to make. The story comes first, and it mostly works.


249 08/14 My Chauffeur (1986) 2.5/5   It’s the 80’s and sex-romp comedies are still all the rage! Only this one isn’t really a sex-romp, it doesn’t seem to quite know what it is. A hip Valley Girl type gets the call to be a chauffeur and really sticks it to the patriarchy of old men at the Chauffeur club. Each job is an excuse for wacky shenanigans. There’s boobs. Penn & Teller get a chance to do some business that never really works. None of it really works. Maybe I’m too fussy. Or I’m jealous that she’s all hot over the rich jock asshole. 


250 08/14 Afternoon Delights (1980) 3.5/5   Early hardcore feature from Shaun Costello about a group of guys at poker night sharing stories about their ex-wives. It’s all an excuse for vignettes, but what elevates it from the usual is the vignettes are wonderfully sleazy and there’s a bitter-sweetness to the scripting. It doesn’t hurt that the cast is packed with all stars.


251 08/15 Snapshot (1979) 3/5   A nice little suspense thriller from Australia finds a young hairdresser swept up into the modelling world all while being stalked. It’s never knocks your socks off, but isn’t a bad film to spend your time with and a not bad example of a more straight film from the Ozploitation scene.


252 08/15 The Wire Season 2 (2003) 4/5   The second season picks up where the first left off with the unit in tatters and a new focus: corruption on the docks. The expansion of scope while continuing the story started in season 1 is really striking and well done. The politics are maddening and will change your worldview. It really is the best crime show in the history of television


253 08/16 Slave of Pleasure (1978) 4/5   This one is a sleazy gem of a film about a private eye investigating the disappearance of a housewife that got swept up by white slavers. It’s the kind of cheap, grimy hardcore that scared everyone back in the day, and it’s entertaining as hell since they really go for it. It doesn’t hurt that it has legendary sleazeballs like Jamie Gillis in it.


254 08/18 My Master My Love (1975) 2/5   Sometimes low rent sleaze is simply sleaze, which is the case here. Darby Lloyd Rains stars as a Mistress who’s business is interrupted by the arrival of her little brother. Aside from an appearance of Annie Sprinkle there’s nothing much of note to this one and it manages to be a bit of a chore.


255 08/19 Teenage Masseuse (1975) 2.5/5   From the same filmmaker as My Master My Love and just as cheap and low rent. I give it half a star more mainly due to Bobby Astyr being so hilariously over the top as the abusing dominant. The story works better too, a bored housewife gets swept up into a massage parlour. It’s good for what it is but nothing to recommend.


256 08/21 Red Roses of Passion (1966) 4/5   Vinegar Syndrome’s Sexploitation series kicks off with this Joe Sarno stunner. A woman relies on a psychic who is more witch priestess than flim-flam to get back at her stuffy relatives that she lives with. It plays more like a nightmare than a sex film, with that odd feeling more associated with David Lynch as opposed to David Friedman. It plays very strange, and if this is setting the tone of this series, it’s going to be a real knockout.

There it is. Back to normal for me and my movie watching. I’m going back to the subtitled films. Try to clear the docks since October is coming, and you know what that means.

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Movie A Day! 141-151: Sprout Wings Super Soul Brother!

So much for getting the blog under control. This one looks longer than it is, but it’s still pretty long. I watched some double feature stuff that hit around the five film marks and didn’t want to split them into two blogs. So you get a little extra and I’ll try to get this thing back to the fives next time.


141 04-27 Supersoul Brother (1978) 2.5/5
“Wild Man” Steve takes a page from Rudy Ray Moore’s DOLEMITE playbook and tries to make a his own blaxploitaton action comedy. He fails in almost every regard. Steve plays a wino who gets picked up by a couple of thieves to be injected with a super serum so he can be used to rob a jewel safe. It’s dirt cheap, the acting is atrocious, but it does have it’s charms as both a spoof on THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN (the original title, and the one on the print on Vinegar Syndrome’s DVD is THE SIX THOUSAND DOLLAR NIGGER) and for the gusto of Wildman himself who tries his darn-dist to spin straw into gold and fails pretty much completely. A hell of a time capsule, and as the first in Vinegar Syndromes collaboration with the American Genre Film Archive, it’s going to be fun to see what they bring out next.


142 4-28 A Life In Dirty Movies (2013) 3.5/5
A pretty good documentary on Joe Sarno, one of the first and best of the sexploitation filmmakers at the dawn of the genre. This one mostly deals with Sarno at the end of his life trying to get one last film financed. I would of preferred more of an overview since I can only imagine some of the stories he has, but what we do have in here is still interesting. Having people like John Waters, Jamie Gillis and Annie Sprinkle on hand to discuss Sarno and his work also helps to keep the film moving. Now we need someone to tackle restoring Sarno’s surviving films.


143 4-30 Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers (1980) 3/5
Les Blank skips the profiles of people and goes straight to food and music with this one. It’s a history of garlic, showing many of the ways it is prepared as well as the folklore. Some of the fanatics come off a bit hippie dippy and crackers, but it is a fun watch. Since it’s literally about the food, this one is missing the heart found in his other pictures.


144 05-01 When Taekwondo Strikes (1973) 3/5
A pretty good chop socky feature starring Angela Mao about Koreans revolting against Japanese rule. Lots of different styles of martial arts are in view, and it also features Jhoon Rhee, known as the father of American Taekwondo. So there’s lots of fun to be had in this one.


145 05-02 Little Miss Innocence (1973) 2.5/5
146 05-02 Teenage Seductress (1975) 2.5/5
This is a pair of softcore features from Chris Warfield that Vinegar Syndrome put out in their DRIVE-IN COLLECTION. The first features a pair of hippie girls who shack up and torture an older music executive when he picks them up hitchhiking in LA. It’s the most porn-y of the two since they emotionally abuse him with constant sex, and it’s as sleazy as it sounds. TEENAGE though downplays the sex to be more messed up dramatically as it features a woman who is out to find her father that skipped out when she was born, in order to sleep with him and try to ruin his life that way. Did I mention it was messed up? Anyway, the pair are actually pretty decent watches since they play more serious than the usual goofy that is sexploitation, and are looking great in these DVD restorations.


147 05-02 Escape From New York (1981) 3.5/5
John Carpenter’s cult classic features a breakout role for Kurt Russell who stars as Snake Plissken who in the future dystopia of 1997 has to retrieve the President of the United States who has crashed into the prison island of Manhattan. It makes zero sense, but Carpenter and Russell totally pull it off. I don’t love this one as much as others, but I have no knocks against it, it delivers and the cast featuring genre legends like Lee Van Cleef and Isaac Hayes doesn’t hurt either.


148 05-02 Champagne For Breakfast (1980) 3.5/5
Chris Warfield again, this time with a later porno chic effort that manages to work. The script, about a guy who plays gay in order to get a job as a chauffeur/bodyguard to a young woman who has recently become vice president of an ad agency, genuinely works on it’s own both dramatically and as a comedy. The actors, featuring stars like Leslie Bovee, John Leslie and Kay Parker all have the chops to pull it off, they could of cut the sex out and still had a decent late seventies comedy. A short comedy though since ther is a ton of sex in this one, which makes the story working aspect of it all the more unusual. Typical of everything they put out, the Vinegar Syndromes presentation is top notch.


149 05-03 Sprout Wings And Fly (1983) 4/5
150 05-03 Julie: Old Time Tales of the Blue Ridge (1991) 4/5
151 05-03 My Old Fiddle: A Visit with Tommy Jarrell in the Blue Ridge (1995) 4/5
Another trio of documentaries from Les Blank. SPROUT features fiddle player Tommy Jarrell, in his eighties when it was shot, telling stories of life in the Blue Ridge mountains (nearly all of them about whisky and death), and playing a ton of amazing fiddle songs. It’s a brilliant piece of work, and Jarrell is one hell of a storyteller. This Les Blank blu-ray set just never fails to please. JULIE was shot at the same time, and is a short film featuring Tommy’s older sister telling stories and singing a couple of songs, while MY OLD FIDDLE is more of Tommy playing and talking. As a whole, they are not only a entertaining films, but a record of a lost time.

See? It wasn’t so long and at least the movies were varied eh?

Movie A Day!: 347-354 – November is Here

It’s finally November! You know what that means? No more horror films! Okay, there’s still horror films, but it’s mixed with the usual Samurai and porno. Yay!

347 11-01 Samaritan Zatoichi (1968) 3.5/5

The 19th film in the series is as good as the rest of them. Fantastic cinematography, style and music help make the same old plot work. That and the kickass sword play of course.

348 11-01 Wanda Whips Wall Street (1981) 3.5/5
I rarely revisit porn films, but Distripix re-released this one in it’s proper widescreen format and colour corrected and what not, so I gave it a shot. It was worth it since this one is a hell of a lot of fun. Veronica Hart (BOOGIE NIGHTS) stars as the title character, who moves to the big city and sleeps her way through a stock brokerage firm in a bid to take it over. Legends Jamie Gillis and a startlingly young and handsome Ron Jeremy are investigators brought in to stop her. It sounds like a typical porn plot, but director Larry Revine really mines it for comedy, sometimes at the expense of the actual porn. It manages to be legitimately funny and I was constantly reminded of the pre-code films from Hollywood’s golden age that has similar plots. Hell, Barbara Stanwyck pretty much owes her career to playing similar roles, it’s crazy that it took a film from the tale end of the “Porno Chic” era to mine such a natural genre honestly and not just exploitatively.

349 11-02 Man-Made Monster (1941) 3.5/5
This one is basically a Frankenstein retread, with Lon Chaney Jr. as the title monster. Chaney plays a man who seems to have an immunity to electricity, so a crazy scientist uses him to experiment on, zapping him so full of electricity he gets a death touch. It’s actually pretty good, and the movie is stolen completely by the pet dog that is best buds with Chaney prior to the experiments. That damned dog will break your heart, and it’s rare that a universal movie not named BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN breaks your heart.

350 11-03 Horror Island (1941) 2.5/5
This one is about a couple of schmucks who get involved with a treasure map and the search for pirate gold. They end up on a haunted island and there’s some shenanigans with a creep trying to stop them. It’s all played for yuks, and the mystery element is a bit shit so it never really works. Certainly a lesser film in the Universal Horror cycle. Let’s forget all about it and the fact that I hit another milestone type number, film 350, with another crappy movie.

351 10-07 Hearts & Minds (1974) 4/5
This one is a documentary on the Vietnam war, kind of. Instead of dealing with just the facts of the war, it deals more about how it came to happen and how it affected culture both in America and Vietnam. Made when the war was going and produced by the same house that put out “Easy Rider”, it’s obviously anti-war, but it’s never preachy or hippy dippy. Instead, it’s confrontational and quite shocking at times seeing some of the uncensored footage. It all adds up to being “good”, in the way that “Shoah” is good, but not really a great time. If that makes sense.

352 10-08 Jerry Lee Lewis – Live in Austin TX (1983) 4/5
This is an hour long performance recorded for “Austin City Limits” and captures Lewis at the top of his game. The Killer was always the guy from Sun Records that kind of got kicked around, compared to his label mates Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. It’s a shame, since he really is an insanely great entertainer, and you could argue that he is the definitive honky-tonk musician, effortlessly going from country to rock to gospel. Bonus is watching him play the piano, where he shows a dexterity up their with the best of the stride players.

353 10-08 I Love Lucy: The Complete Third Season (1953) 4/5
Not much to say other than this was another fun season. They kept the baby in the background, which is a good thing since forcing baby jokes into a sitcom that doesn’t require it is never a good thing. The high point is a 2 part storyline featuring Tennessee Ernie Ford as a lost cousin visiting the Ricardos. Ford is deadly funny as a stereotypical bumpkin, and his appearance really kicked the gang into overdrive.

354 10-08 Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle (1981) 3/5
I was kind of disappointed by this one, and I think it’s due to high expectations. It’s a title I had heard lots about, Sprinkle went from porn star to activist to feminist performance art, and all on her terms. This was the first film that she directed (co-directed really, with legend Joe Sarno), and while it’s kind of cute, it’s basically just a wall to wall sex film. Which is fine, but I expected more since she produced and wrote it. Which is stupid since it was made before all the above activism, performance art, etc. Anyway, it’s not terrible, I just expected it to be more.

There it is. Week one done. I hit a milestone, film 350, and it was crap. Since the horror challenge I’ve been binging on Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Agents of SHIELD, all those dumb tv shows that had the nerve to start while I was watching horror movies.I’m holding off on starting Gotham and Constantine. Constantine is probably going to be canceled so I’ll probably skip it entirely. Gotham I might get to once I catch up on SHIELD. The Flash can fuck off since I’m yet to watch Arrow, and I just can’t seem to get excited to watch Arrow.

Speaking of the scary movie challenge, I won it! I had the most watched, beat the next guy by 5 titles, due to him watching a bunch of TV horror that counts as less. So I get a bunch more movies to watch! Huzzah! See, there are actual rewards to watching all the movies, not just 3 weeks of diarrhea!

Dare to live your dreams people!