Skin-Flicks - Lilith Likes to Watch

Title: Skin-Flicks
Starring: Tony Hudson, Sharon Mitchell, Jamie Gillis
Director: Gerard Damiano
Synopsis: A young director is a struggling filmmaker making hardcore features for the mob. His latest feature, he hopes, will be his big break into the world of “mainstream” film-making, but will the mafia allow him to realize his dream? - Via Letterboxd.
Lilith's Notes: More Damiano genius.

"I'll love you if you hurt me."

Oh Damiano, you've done it again.

What starts out as a generic film about "the biz" slowly transforms into a rumination on the seedy nature of the industry. It Trojan horses the viewer into confronting the illicit behind the scenes darkness of the movies we so readily and willingly consume.

Harry (Played by Tony Hudson) is a director of adult films. He's a little more of a visionary than your typical smut-smith and seems to want his performers to be comfortable. To finance his flick, he gets in bed with the mob. Al, (Played by Gerard Damiano) is the mobster who wants results for his investment, and is constantly pressuring Harry to provide a quick turn around for the movie.

Harry meets Susan (Played by Sharon Mitchell) and is smitten by her.

Norman (Played by Jamie Gillis at his most odious) also meets Susan and makes impolite advances until she walks away and he calls her terrible names and says racist 70s shit.

Harry and Susan develop feelings for one another and in a surprising moment of raw honesty, Susan breaks down just how much she wants to be with him. It's pure Damiano script, echoing the introspection of Memories Within Miss Aggie and the desperation of The Devil In Miss Jones. It was here where the film starts to take a turn from being a basic movie about making movies to something worth absorbing.

Susan and Harry have sex and the staging is fun. Susan teases a collared Harry with a sheer scarf, pressing it over his face as she kisses him while he tries his damndest not to touch her. At one point Susan is laying along Harry's body and manages to wet the stiletto heel of her shoe with her own juices while still wearing the shoe on her foot, then makes Harry suck it clean. Well, that's a novel idea. Never seen that before.

I'm going to digress of a moment and talk about the music. When Harry is directing for his movie, or in a love scene, the music is an airy piano ballad, or jazzy. But, when it's action at the request of the mafioso, the music is typical 70's porn chugging music. That's just another layer of the subtle commentary in a not so subtle cinematic escapade.

After being spurned by Susan, Norman abducts her, ties her up, and violates her. It's a slow process, with Norman leisurely using a razor to cut away her panties and bra. He abuses her and forces her to say and do things and she tearfully complies while begging for Norman to stop.

Harry gets a phone call from the mob boss, who is once again demanding to know where the movie is and Harry just laments that all he needs is an ending.

And the film ends.

What succinct commentary. There’s no resolution. In fact, I’m not sure Harry ever finds out what happened to Susan. It never ends. More than that, the degeneracy and debauchery just keeps going on. You can tell that this film is semi-autobiographical, and Damiano must have seen some shit. Between the mob ties that financed his own films, and the whirlwind of gross that surrounded Linda Lovelace, he was a man possessed of insider knowledge of the industry. He probably had to find a way to purge some of the grime from his system.

And he gives us Skin-Flicks, a confession hidden behind a cute, poppy 70's porno romp title. While the audience sits down to watch a dirty movie with the hopes of being able to squirt out a little pleasure, Damiano puts forth a truth that no one was prepared for. It doesn’t end, it doesn’t stop, and even after the viewer is done with the experience, and leaves it behind and forgotten, this greasy machine we call the porn industry keeps going.

Best Moment: That shoe moment was pretty epic.

Worst Moment: There was a sex scene at a party that was very porn-y and I considered maybe I had made a mistake in watching this...


Until next time, my voracious voyeurs. I’m Lilith, and I’m always watching.

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