Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Lilith Likes to Watch - Sex Wish

Title: Sex Wish
Year: 1976
Starring: Harry Reems, Zebedy Colt, CJ Laing, Terri Hall
Director: Victor Milt
Synopsis: A man is shaken out of his contented, middle-class existence when his wife is raped and murdered by a crazed serial killer who has been terrorizing New York City. - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: Zebedy Colt and Harry Reems in a film together.

"I did it because I love you."

Consider your favourite porn star. Hell, let's be generous and add a second favourite porn star, along with a well known third porn actor. Now, consider a fetish you like. Finally, add something that would be an instant hard-no turn off. Something that would make your genitals turtle back into your body cavity.

Congratulations, you just experienced Sex Wish.

Harry Reems plays Ken, a man who's very much in love with his wife Faye, played by C. J. Laing. One day while Ken is at work, Faye is raped and murdered by the Night Walker, played by Zebedy Colt. Ken then proceeds to hunt down the Night Walker and also soothe his pain through sex.

Now, this has the makings of something great. Unfortunately when the Night Walker rapes, he takes on the persona of a babbling child. It's disturbing and annoying and I think Colt is doing it for the sake of  performance art but I'm 'not certain. I absolutely adore Zebedy Colt. He's my favourite male performer just thanks to sheer charisma and cleverness. And to his credit, if I wasn't told it was Colt, I wouldn't have known. He does disappear into the role during the couple's rape scene, so I guess that's a credit to him.

But the infantile rapist isn't the only role Colt plays. Oh, no. When he rapes, he's child-like, but when he murders, he is filled with hatred and disgust. He's suave and meticulous and full of rage and this is what I wanted the movie to be. He has a walking stick, a cane-sword. That's my fetish!

There's a pretty good scene between Colt and Terri Hall, and frankly, I wanted more of it.

The sex scenes were fine. Reems seems like a very attentive lover, and it looks like he tries to make sure his female partner is enjoying herself. That's nice to see. I like that.

The movie builds to a foot chase and then a final confrontation where The Night Walker shares his baffleing motivations for his crimes.

If this was in the hands of, say, Radley Metzger, Gerard Damiano, or even Colt himself, this might have worked better, ot not have been so incredibly off-putting.

Good for those who like to view an entire body of a performer's work, those who like roughies, or Reems superfans, but nothing worth seeking out otherwise.


NEXT TIME: Happy Birthday, Canada! In honour of Canada Day, we're going to watch Exotica.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Lilith Likes to Watch - Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Title: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Year: 1970
Starring: Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Marcia McBroom
Director: Russ Meyer, Written by Roger Ebert
Synopsis: Three girls come to Hollywood to make it big, but find only sex, drugs and sleaze. - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: It was written by seminal movie critic Roger Ebert.
"Come into my den, said the spider, etcetera..."

This Tuesday, influential film critic Roger Ebert would have be 77 years old. If I might be so bold, every single one of us internet reviewers, critics, bloggers and hot-takers owe Ebert a debt of thanks. He paved the way for all of us, no matter if we write take downs, rants or think pieces. He, and his compatriots like Gene Siskel and Leonard Maltin proved that critique is a valid form of writing and discussion.

A lot of critique is met with "Well, I'd like to see you make a book/movie/art/clothes.", and yet still many people counter with "You don't have to make a thing to critique it.", which, yes, is true.


Bitch, Roger Ebert wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls!

So, does it get a thumbs up, or thumbs down?

We begin with an opening text that tells us that this is not a sequel to Valley of the Dolls. Which is good, because I've never seen Valley of the Dolls.

This movie is about several people who have their own personal issues and adventures. There's the three girls in an all-girl's singing group. We'll call them Singer, Bassist and Drummer. Then there's their manager who has a thing for the Singer.

7 minutes in and we're treated to our second song. Is this a musical? Not exactly, there are break for the band to sing songs and the movie basically becomes a very dry music video, filled with super-imposed images.

Singer finds out from her aunt Sarah that she's owed an inheritance, and some guy named Rocky tries to manipulate her into asking for more, so Singer tried to manipulate Sarah's financial adviser.

Meanwhile, they get more famous and the manager boyfriend gets all pissy. He falls in with a skeevy porn star. Porn Star dumps him, and he fights Rocky, then goes to Bassist's house and they get high. They wake up together in bed, obviously having slept together. She kicks him out.

Bassist catches the eye of another woman, a fashion designer. Bassist tells fashion designer that she's pregnant. Bassist goes for an abortion, takes one look and the stirrups on the bed and screams. We cut to a shot of custard or soup or something and I think she got the abortion but I'm not sure.

Drummer meets a nice law student, cheats on him, and the dude she cheats with is a violent dick who breaks into their house and Drummer has to threaten him with a knife to get him to leave.

Manager boyfriend who doesn't know what a manager's job is, tries to kill himself on live television. He ends up in a wheelchair.

Bassist, Fashion Designer, Rocky go to Z-Man's place, and then they all dress up in Superhero costumes and take peyote while the Sorcerer's Apprentice song plays. I think Z-Man fucks Rocky but it's unclear. Then, Bassist and Fashion Designer go all soft-core. Z-Man, calling himself Superwoman, tries to proposition Rocky. Things escalate and Z-Man goes on a murder spree.

It's fine, though because, with death comes life and Manager Boyfriend can walk again!

The film ends with a voice over full of victim blaming and slut-shaming and pretty gross views on same-sex relations.

Boy, this was a tough one, folks. I’m lost as to what this movie was trying to say or achieve. It has gained a reputation as being sleezy but its so dull. I was expecting a 70's version of Showgirls or something. Something gritty and some sort of wrong but I just got a bunch of rich people at various parties.

I really think something was lost in development. The plot is all over the place, there's no through line, terrible flow, confusing editing and scenes just fucking end.

I won't be so dramatic as to say this throws all of Ebert's reviews into question, he just wrote the screenplay and co-wrote the story. Anyone in Hollywood can tell you the writer has the least say in the final product.

This is one of the worst films I've had to sit through. 1.5 stars because I did go "heh" once or twice. There are a few nice costumes, and one really lovely shot of Fashion Designer in a lace robe, silhouetted against gauzy window dressings.

I want to say I'm not mad at it, I'm just tired, but then I remember the last few minutes of the movie and yeah, I get a little peeved.


NEXT TIME: Save me from the banality, Zebedy Colt! Next week, Sex Wish for real this time.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Lilith Likes to Watch - Melody in Love

Title: Melody in Love
Year: 1978
Starring: Britta Glatzeder, Sascha Hehn, Claudine Bird.
Director: Hubert Frank
Synopsis: Melody arrives on Mauritius to visit her glamorous female cousin. Her sexual awakening begins there as she becomes fascinated with the island, the beautiful sexually liberated cousin, the cousin's lover and other characters. - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: I saw it once with a friend when I was a kid. It burrowed itself into my memory like a forgotten, faded dream.

"Melody in love, you've found your way."

I've made it a well-known fact that, when I was younger, way too young for such movies, I used to sneak and watch them. Melody in Love was one such movie. A friend of mine was sleeping over and it was on tv. We sneakily watched it. All I remembered was the theme song and ...a blood ritual?

This movie became an elusive treasure. Something obscure and a little hard to find. I managed to acquire a VHS copy of it, because I have friends who love me.

I remember it being far more sexual. I don't know if my young mind conjured up myth or if the VHS is hacked to bits. I suspect it's the latter.

The film begins with Melody frolicking in the sea with a horse. Why? Why was the horse in the sea? Is it a sea horse? There's a story here and I want to know what it is. It is never revisited.

Melody is a young girl who goes to an island to stay with her glamorous cousin. We're told her cousin is glamorous but really she comes across more as a try-hard cougar. She looks like the author's photo of a cheesy bargain bin romance novel.

Melody goes skinny dipping in cousin Rachel's pool and is peeped upon by a local boy. Melody is scandalizes but Rachel says it's no big deal. Then they talk about love and Melody opines that she'll never find anyone to love.

The two women go for a walk in the village and Melody is attacked by a man. Another man comes and attacks the man who attacked Melody. One of the men kills the other man and the police come and no one cares.

Then, two women dance naked in front of an Indian statue.

There is one pretty shot of Melody holding a tree with the shadows from palm fronds fluttering over her face, the lighting is all gauzy and very 70's. It is the only lovely shot in the film.

Meanwhile, three female high school students who want to fuck their biology teacher try to figure out where he went for holiday. The main girl, Angela, becomes a tertiary character in the film.
Rachel and Alan, the friend of the vacationing biology teacher frolic in the pool. This sequence is so silly that makes the pool scene in Showgirls look a little less embarrassing than we all remember.

We cut to the least sexy shower ever. Around this time, it looks to me that Melody has changed actresses. I know she hasn't, but she looks different to me and I don't know why.

Up until now there's been nudity, teasing, rolling around, kissing and stroking of thighs. Please show me something!

No one in this movie wears clothes that fit. All the women are wearing things that are falling down their shoulders or are being tugged open by the tropical winds.

Then Melody says she sees the man who attacked her and killed the other man and I completely forgot that happened because, really, this movie is four movies in one and I've only mentioned two of them. The other involves deep sea divers looking for treasure, and the other one something about helicopter pilot? Also, there's a volcano.

Remember Angela? Well, after a sequence of weird bullshit, she meets up with Melody, Rachel and Alan and everyone has a night time beach party with drums around a bonfire and I think this is the scene my pre-teen brain told me was a blood sacrifice. I remember Angela hugging the tree. Knowing me I'm mixing up this movie and another one.

Then the volcano erupts and Melody and Alan make out against a tree. The volcano does not hurt them even then it's just right next to them.

So, what did we learn? Nothing. I don't think anyone learned anything in this movie. It wasn't exceptionally pretty, and it was totally directionless. I'm not kidding when I said it feels like four movies in one. Like I said in Italian Stallion, this is the softest of cores, but even Italian Stallion had a confusing BDSM scene. This movie is pointless, and yet, I'm not mad at it.

It didn't poke me in the nostalgia button, not really. Although I could think back to days where my friends and I would have sleep overs, whispering about being able to catch a glimpse of boobs on the television. I could get that effect from watching a Madonna music video.

No, I'm not mad at this movie because, honestly? I've seen worse.

But, some things are best left in the past.


NEXT TIME: I know I was supposed to review Sex Wish this week but I am away and Melody in Love just sort of was a surprise so either Sex Wish or Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. We'll see.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Lilith Likes to Watch - The Story of Joanna

Title: The Story of Joanna
Year: 1975
Starring: Jamie Gillis, Terri Hall, Zebedy Colt
Director: Gerard Damiano
Synopsis: A millionaire begins a sadomasochistic relationship with a naive young woman. - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: The debut of Terri Hall, directed by the director of classic pornos, Deep Throat and Devil in Mrs. Jones

"Every hole I have has been used. What's your specialty, ground glass in my douche?"

Marketing can be a powerful thing. While browsing around for what next to review, I came upon the striking poster for The Story of Joanna. I did a little bit of investigating and learned Zebedy Colt was in this film so instantly It was slotted in as the next watch.

The Story of Joanna is the typical tale of a rich, powerful man who wants to own his own naive fuckpuppet and punching bag. It has the same problems 50 Shades, The Opening of Misty Beethovenand The Image have. They're not tales of BDSM, they're stories of sexual slavery, of breaking people, it's not a sex fantasy, it's an abuse fantasy.

Joanna, for some reason that I cannot discern, loves the wealthy Jason, but he tells her he can't love her, but he will fuck her, isn't that nice of him? Because she loves him for no reason other than, maybe because he's rich, she agrees to submit herself to just being, and I quote, a cunt.

Jason abuses Joanna despite her protests. It's never a give and take between the two, she's begging for his love, not his pain or dominance, while he canes her, presuming it'll get her off.

Fortunately, Joanna is played by Terri Hall, a mistress of physicality as I had mentioned in my reviews of Through the Looking Glass and The Devil Inside Her. There's something she's able to do with her neck and shoulders that balances the line between fragile and obscene. It's a skill she has in this early performance of hers.

Then, of course, there's Zebedy Colt, playing the role of Griffin, Justin's ever faithful butler. Justin sends Griffin to pleasure Joanna and it by far the best erotic scene in the entire film. It's soft and gentle and caring. Afterward, Justin punishes Joanna for it.

The maid tends to Joanna's bruises and the two women pleasure each other in a scene almost as good as the Griffin/Joanna scene. There's also a sexy, clever dream sequence where Joanna is floating in black with disembodied hands reaching and roaming all over her body. These scenes feel like a different director took over.

Griffin gives Jason a massage, and blows him tenderly while Jason mentions he wants to make a spectacle of his own death.

Griffin shaves Joanna, and powder puffs her pussy and I flailed because that is fucking adorable and I love it. I'm a simple woman with simple joys.

Then, Griffin starts to haphazardly cut Joanna's hair and neither seem pleased by this. Griffin even pauses to have a tiny breakdown that's over in 2 seconds.  Joanna is dressed, and goes to Jason, who hands her a gun.

Joanna accepts the gun and starts to point the barrel under her chin without question. Jason takes the barrel, points it at himself and wraps his lips around it. Joanna pulls the trigger, tells Griffin to "get rid of that" and something about dinner.

That's it. That's the end. Joanna doesn't question any of it, but somehow becomes a cold bitch at the end?

The movie needed a final scene, where Griffin hands Joanna a letter from Jason, explaining that he couldn't love her because he was dying, but he appreciated her time, and attention, and says thank you and gives her all he owns. Something that explains to Joanna why she went through what she went through, something that provides closure.

This movie wants to be Misty Beethoven without the nuance, and even Misty's nuance was rather opaque. But when it's good, it's good and I'm happy. Giddy even. But that's all on the charisma of Colt and the scooped shoulders of Hall.


NEXT TIME: Why stop at one Zebedy Colt film? Next time, Zebedy plays a rapist-murderer in Sex Wish.