Friday, 17 October 2014

British Sex Film Obscura: Can Jennifer Eccles ever forget King Kong and find true happiness?

Busty brunette Jennifer Eccles (aka Sally Goodman) was a mainstay of top-shelf magazines towards the end of the seventies. She also appeared in several 8mm shorts like Beach Orgy and Shower Lust which are relatively easy to find. Regrettably the one 8mm short of hers that is proving tricky to track down is the one with the most unusual and perverse sounding premise.
Shot in the UK at the end of the 1970s, this hardcore short was released in Germany as School-Girl Traumt Von King Kong. A title which translates back into English as A SCHOOLGIRL DREAMS OF KING KONG, and casts the very un-schoolgirl looking Ms. Eccles as a woman with a unique sexual problem, best spelled out by this super 8mm box cover and plot synopsis (images: BGM)





As every other short film Eccles appeared in was directed by Russell Gay, and Gay was known to occasionally direct hardcore shorts for the German market it is reasonable to assume then that Gay was the auteur behind A Schoolgirl Dreams of King Kong. Can it live up to its title and second language English plot synopsis? Can it be any worse than QUEEN KONG? Maybe one day we will find out.

Outside of the 8mm film work Eccles’ other contribution to British sex cinema was providing the breasts for the cover of the big bust fetish magazine that Tony Maiden jerks off to in Norman J Warren’s Outer Touch (1979).


Sunday, 12 October 2014

British Sex Film Obscura: Tracing the Pattern of Evil


By the late 1960s George Harrison Marks’ reputation as a top glamour photographer, already cemented on home turf, had begun to spread to America. Swank magazine regularly commissioned and bought photosets from him back then through Marks’ American agent. Evidently Swank were sufficiently impressed by Marks’ work to dedicate an entire issue of their ‘glamor photography’ magazine to documenting the man, his business and of course his photos of nude ladies. A fire damaged copy of this 1967 publication exists in the gavcrimson archive. In reality Marks was beginning on the road to financial ruin, and would be declared bankrupt two years later. Not that you’d ever guess that from this publication, which with its references to Marks as a man ‘without cant or hypocrisy’, ‘the foremost photographer of the nude’ and ‘now in his early 40s, handsome, talented… he is in danger of becoming a legend in his own lifetime’ all must have done wonders for Marks’ never small ego, well maybe not the ‘early 40s’ bit.



Another American who took a shine to Marks’ work and his models was pioneering NYC fetish publisher Leonard Burtman. In fact Burtman took such a shine to Marks’ models that he later married one of them, a former Miss Hungary called Jutka Goz. Female domination was Burtman’s bag, and through his magazine ‘Bizarre Life’ Burtman had commissioned many British photo-shoots on this theme. A Marks taken photograph of Monique Deveraux in a PVC cat suit graces the cover of Bizarre Life No.10. Sensing a new market Marks began making 8mm shorts like Macabre and The Garden of Pleasure that introduced themes of female domination and scenes of bloody flagellation to Marks’ films.

The eventual outcome of all this American interest in Marks’ work was the offer to make a feature film for the American market, one that like the Burtman photo-shoots and the 8mm films, would cater to the hungry fem dom audience. While it is unclear who exactly put up the money for PATTERN OF EVIL, in his later years Marks was fond of implying that the American Mafia had a hand in it. “I was halfway through (Pattern of Evil) and I found out who I was working for, the ‘mob’” Marks told Psychotronic Video magazine in 1993 “halfway through filming they walked in. The bloke had a loud blue checked suit on, he looked like a comic from the old school. I took my agent aside and in all innocence, I asked him ‘is he in showbiz? He looks like a comic’. He said ‘yeah, he’s really funny, he’s got a gun in his pocket and he’s with the mob’”.

Having been made an offer he couldn’t refuse, Marks shot Pattern of Evil at his London studios around 1968. For the cast he rounded up an impressive Who’s Who of the era’s glamour modelling scene with Maria Frost, Cindy Neal, Yvonne Paul, Monique Deveraux and the Mrs Leonard Burtman to be Jutka Goz all appearing onscreen. Pattern of Evil also featured early appearances by the ubiquitous Nicola Austin, and Howard Nelson playing Arthur Vanderhorn, a character whose surname Nelson would inherit as a nickname soon after.

Based on appearances Pattern of Evil had less to do with Marks’ usual output and a greater kinship with NYC ‘roughies’ of the Madame Olga and Mike Findlay variety, the type of films that would be Pattern of Evil’s chief competition once its shady investors brought it back home with them to New York. With its scenes of sadism, a murder, Marks’ models in leather and a climactic session on a rack, Pattern of Evil stood little chance of being passed by the UK censor. Not that this stopped Cinema X from featuring it as the centrepiece of their ‘cinema macabre’ issue (Vol 3, No.2) making Monique Deveraux their cover girl for that issue and running this article on the film:





Retitled FORNICON for its eventual US and Canadian release, the ‘solid year of court battling to get this sexy little film past the American censor’ mentioned by Cinema X was also played up as a major selling point in the US press book and poster campaign. Similarities in its lengthy US legal woes and that of the 1968 cause celebre ‘I Am Curious Yellow’ are understandably also made in the press book and poster. With the distributor clearly hoping that Pattern of Evil would repeat that film’s controversy and resultant big box office.





Fornicon pressbook synopsis:

“John Webley (played by Paul Holcombe), a sexual-obsessed playboy who becomes involved with a series of beautiful women, is a young P.R. executive with a big cosmetic combine which is controlled by Madame LaBanca, an imperious female who takes her sex wherever she can find it, male or female. (Madame LaBanca is played by Rena Bronson, London's top model.)

The company plans to introduce a sensational new perfume on the market to be called Formula-69. It becomes apparent, however, that someone is determined to steal the formula, and to kill John at the same time. During an unusual "sales meeting" at Madame LaBanca's palatial home, John introduces a beautiful blonde (played by Cindy Neal) who will be featured in their advertising campaign. She does a suggestive striptease, and at the conclusion whispers the slogan: "I'll take everything off... except my Formula-69."

When John arrives home that evening, he discovers his wife's body in their bed. Scotland Yard suspects him of the murder, but they do not have enough evidence to hold him. He sets off to find his wife's killer. The climax of the film is a wild costume party which takes place in the dungeon-like basement of Madame LaBanca's home. John suggests that all of the guests play a new form of "Truth Or Consequences," and his prime suspect, Greta Marr (played by Monique Devereaux) is placed on a medieval torture-rack in an effort to extract the truth from her. She breaks down, names the killer, and John is cleared.”


Fornicon stills: courtesy Rio Movie Posters





Fornicon playing at a North Carolina Drive-in, July 1971 (image: Chateau Vulgaria)





Fornicon playing in Canada with an Isabel Sarli film (image: John Charles)



Canadian Fornicon advertising : courtesy Rio Movie Posters


In 1975 the film was re-released in the states under the title ‘DON’T CHANGE HANDS’.


A surprise revelation during my delving into all things Pattern of Evil is that the film did receive a belated release in the UK, but as predicted several years earlier by Cinema X, only on the ‘membership only’ club cinema circuit. Under its American Fornicon title it played for a week at the Compton club in January 1974.





The arrival of the hardcore porno chic era in America, heralded by the release of Deep Throat in 1972, rendered soft sex items like Marks’ film archaic, but Pattern of Evil had one last date with the big screen. At the end of the 1970s it joined the ranks of The Sex Thief, Loving Feeling and The Pornbrokers as British films to have hardcore scenes inserted in them for American consumption, when it was released with porn inserts under a fourth title ‘BLUE PERFUME’.

Marks’ director credit is obliterated from the Blue Perfume advertising, which credits one Charles Vienna as director. Mr. Vienna presumably being the man responsible for the hardcore footage which was filmed in NYC. As well as a release in the NYC area, IMDB reports that Blue Perfume played in Chicago in June 1979. In spite of being 11 years old by this point and a hardcore insert job, Blue Perfume garnered a mostly positive response from the NYC adult film press, quotes from which are all over the poster.

 


Blue Perfume pressbook synopsis:

“THE STORY: "You can take off everything except, Blue Perfume"

On an early morning, John (the ad manager of a perfume company) is waking to a busy day. His sleeping wife Susan rolls over and the day begins with a bang. When he arrives at the office, he waits for Dawn Star (the Catherine Deneuve look alike) whom he wants to use to promote the company's new formula, Frangrance 69.

They are due at Madame La Bianca's (directress of the firm) for his presentation. At La Bianca's we meet Greta Mars, her slave and other members of the board. Madame is worried. It seems someone is trying to sabotage the plant in order to keep the new scent off the market. John concours with her, relating the attempts on his life earlier in the day. He is anxious to get on with his presentation, hoping that Madame will like Dawn well enough to use her as the Frangrance 69 girl. By the time Dawn is finished, everyone is convinced. While dismissing John, Madame mentions a masquerade party that evening at her country estate inviting him, Susan and Dawn.

Susan, while cleaning house, is surprised by the ringing of the doorbell. La Bianca has arrived (unexpectedly but not unwelcome) with riding crop in hand. There ensues a session of lovemaking that one is unlikely to forget. After she leaves, Susan falls asleep exhausted, only to awaken and find someone in her bedroom, who strangles her. John arriving home and finding his love dead, promptly calls the cops, who don't quite believe his story.

He goes to Dawn for consolation and to talk about his concern for his own life and that of the company's. Between the bed, bath and the bed, Dawn leaves little time for John to worry. She does suggest they go to LaBianca's masquerade and see if they can figure out whodunit. As in everything she does, Madame throws no ordinary party . . . no one is above suspicion and John suggests a game of "Truth or Torture" on the rack. As in all good mysteries, we will not divulge the perpetrator. Suffice to say that a hot time is had by all until …”


Sadly Blue Perfume would be Pattern of Evil’s last stop on its long and turbulent journey from 1968 British softcore to 1979 American hardcore film, and neither the original version of the film nor its hardcore insert alter ego ever made it to home video. Its 1979 re-release, and the presence of beefcake in the hardcore insert footage, did however earn Pattern of Evil the distinction of being surely the only Harrison Marks film to ever be reviewed in a gay men’s publication.

For the last word on the subject then, we go back to 1979 and Gay Scene’s take on Blue Perfume:

“‘Blue Perfume’ written, produced and directed by Charles Vienna is a hilarious film. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be a funny film.

Billed as an English-American co-production, the main part of the film was shot in London, the orgy (closing scene) shot in NYC. The film opens with a bang- sex bang that is, but ends with a thud. It’s all about a new perfume, Fragrance 69 that ad manager, John, is promoting. John’s wife is found murdered and later that night, before her body is even cold, he’s screwing model Dawn Star (don’t you just love the names of porno stars?) and laughing it up, it’s all terribly British, you know and the plot is so ridiculous that I won’t bother to reveal it here.

The big orgy party features numerous New York porn regulars, Dave Ruby, who was GAY SCENE’s plaything of the month, is quite active in this sequence. He’s the big, muscled, hairy-chested guy with a beard. Peter Halcombe, as John, is a new-face who is well-hung and knows what to do with it.

There is some overly long sex play in a sunken tub, with lots of suds, a rubber ducky, a toy whale and a toy submarine that the camera lingers on from time to time. I kept wondering if the photographer was influenced from seeing too many Shirley Temple films!”

Sunday, 5 October 2014

British Sex Film Obscura: Le Cas Estrange De Dr Jekell Et De Miss Britt Marie


This crudely drawn but eye-catching advert for DR JEKELL AND MISS HYDE appeared only once in the back pages of the June 1971 issue of Continental Film Review, after which superb director Svengali and the tantalising Britt Marie were never heard from again.

1971 would turn out to be a busy year for gender-twisting adaptations of Jekyll and Hyde. Stateside L. Ray Monde directed ‘The Adult Version of Jekyll and Hide’, in which a smarmy Dr Jekyll transforms himself into an attractive blonde who castrates sailors and makes lesbian advances on Jekyll’s wife and mistress (too hot for the British censor, Monde’s film was eventually shown at UK ‘membership only’ cinema clubs in 1974). Closer to home Hammer Films came up with ‘Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde’, released several months after Svengali’s Miss Hyde made herself known and available to the readers of Continental Film Review.

It is unclearly whether ‘Aphrodite Featurettes’ were related to ‘Aphrodite Films’ who distributed a number of Greek exploitation films such as Dark Alleys to UK cinemas in the late 1960s and early 70s, however the typeface used for the two companies’ names is remarkably similar.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

RIP Lynsey De Paul



Genuinely gutted to hear that my second favourite diminutive 1970s blonde with unfortunate political leanings has passed away (my no.1 being Mary Millington of course). Cassette tape versions of her albums ‘Love Bomb’ and ‘Taste Me, Don’t Waste Me’ take pride of place in the gavcrimson archive, and are no doubt due for a trip off the shelf in the next few days by way of a tribute.

‘Sugar Me’ is the super-sexy 1972 hit she is likely to be remembered for first and foremost, I defy anyone to watch her performance of the song on Musikladen without falling in love with her just a little bit. Follow up ‘Getting a Drag’ is despite its conservative and reactionary tendencies the female equivalent of The Kinks’ Lola, and its equal in terms of comedy value “I found that I had kissed a mister just as pretty as a sister and its getting a drag” complains De Paul. ‘Doctor,Doctor’- hard to dislike a mainstream pop song that finds a way of working references to ‘incurable disease’ and ‘instinctive copulation’ into its lyrics. ‘Sugar Shuffle’ and ‘Sleeping Blue Nights’ find LDP singing the soundtrack of those who spend their nights doing the zombie walk in search of true love. ‘Dancing on a Saturday Night’ was later murdered by Arthur Mullard and Hylda Baker on their Band on the Trot album “what a shocking sight, dancing on a Saturday night” indeed.

For a journey to the kooky side of the De Paul repertoire, there is the fabulous ‘Just Visiting’ which sees LDP tackling the same themes of human evolution and space travel in 3:19 that it took Stanley Kubrick over two hours to come to grips with in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ending with De Paul powerfully proclaiming “I'm not your maker, an angel or a saint divine, not your creator, giving you a holy sign. I am a spaceman, and I'm just visiting the earth. You are an apeman, and I've been visiting you, ever since your birth.”

If you’re looking for people with unlikely career side-lines, fast forward to the early 1990s and check out her excursion into the world of the female self-defence video. Conceived to help women fight off muggers and rapists ‘Taking Control’ finds De Paul taking on a series of brutish men who look like they’ve stepped off the set of a Cliff Twemlow film, only to be kicked in the balls by Lynsey De Paul. ‘Taking Control’ proved De Paul to be quite the Cynthia Rothrock on the quiet, a career in straight to video action films was perhaps a missed opportunity. With her death, the magic of the 1970s now feels that just bit more farther away, sigh.

RIP Lynsey De Paul, never to be forgotten.


        

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

British Sex Film Obscura – The Arnold Louis Miller film nobody knows

For the first in a series of blog posts we here go one step beyond this blog’s usual coverage of British sex films so unpopular and despised that only a handful of people have seen or care less about them, in order to focus on films that have fallen even deeper into the realms of utter obscurity. To the degree that not even I have ever had the chance to see them.

I have mixed feelings about proclaiming this bunch ‘lost’ films, having witnessed others weep over titles at the time assumed to be long gone like Legend of the Witches and London in the Raw only for them to turn up on telly or DVD a few months later, and partly due to my own efforts 8mm fare like Sex is my Business, Dolly Mixture and Wild Lovers, plus the trailer for Come Play With Me have all been salvaged from the British sex film graveyard in recent years. Still a growing feeling of pessimism creeps over me with regards to the fate of the films that will be covered in these posts. These titles, I fear, may have long ago sailed away on a one-way ticket to the island of lost cinema. Of course I’d be only too happy to be made a fool of and for everything covered in these posts to turn up on DVD and Blu-Ray next week, but realistically I fear stills, plot synopsises and reviews from the time might be the closest we’ll ever get to see these ones.

So on with the detective work, we kick off with THE HEAT OF BURNING BODIES a film covered in Cinema X Vol.2 No.8, and apparently nowhere else. It’s a latter day collaboration between Arnold Louis Miller and Stanley Long, the former acting as director, the latter his cameraman. Judging by the Cinema X coverage Burning Bodies saw the duo return to the subject matter of their earlier London-themed mondo documentaries, only this time with fictional connecting scenes about a married couple exploring the seedier side of the west end for lust and profit.

Stills from material originally shot for Miller’s Primitive London (1965), namely the S&M themed ‘Taming the Wild One’ striptease scene, which illustrates the Cinema X piece, indicates The Heat of Burning Bodies may have joined together the newly shot fictional footage with material the British censor had snipped out of Primitive London in 1965. The ‘Taming the Wild One’ scene having been removed entirely from Primitive London’s original theatrical release, despite artwork inspired by the star of the scene, Casino de Paris dancer Anne Delyse, featuring heavily in that film’s ad campaign and poster. Cinema X issues of the period were frustratingly undated but based on the other films covered or mentioned in the same issue; CRY OF THE BANSHEE, FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON, Pasolini’s MEDEA, 1969 or 1970 would have been the publication date, and by association when The Heat of Burning Bodies was put together.

On account of the film making use of material censored from public release only five years previously, and new scenes of ‘passionate amorous demonstrations’ my theory is that The Heat of Burning Bodies was designed to bypass the censor and be directed released onto the ‘membership only’ club cinema circuit which screened un-certificated films. A suspicion strengthened by Cinema X crediting Compton films as the production company, Compton having been a pioneer of the club cinema scene since the very early 1960s.

‘If’ –and admittedly it’s a big ‘if’- The Heat of Burning Bodies did indeed play the membership only cinemas of the early 70s it would have given cinemagoers a belated opportunity to see Anne Delyse’s ‘Taming the Wild One’ antics. For the rest of us it would be nearly another 40 years before we’d finally get to see the wild one in action when the Delyse scene was restored to Primitive London for its 2009 DVD release.





Original Cinema X text: “The Director, Arnold Miller, and his trusted cameraman Stanley Long, have gone all out on the subject of London in the glowing, exciting musical ‘London By Night’ in a manner for which we can give credit to the Italian directors of five years ago, and have put together a rich reporting job on various attractions, stripteases, sexually symbolic –or at least suggestive- dances, and other material of this kind. In order to make their work a little different from their Italian masters, however, they decided to bestow an emblem of conspiracy over everything, thus giving the film a connecting thread which would hold it together. Thus the picture resolves around a couple-husband and wife – who intend to exploit the nightlife of London to their own advantage, their own pleasure and excitement. The wife and husband are played, respectively, by Beatrice Kotter and Gert Einert; and in these pages you can make their acquaintance during a moment of their complicated and passionate amorous demonstrations. One of the numbers which director Miller and his cameraman found most striking during their ‘raid’ of shows in operation in London was the one entitled ‘sadism’. A little too vague, in your opinion, and more comical than dramatic? Well, all perversions are comical for those who are lucky enough to be normal. Use your imagination as to the interpretation.”


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Tigon’s Dirty Pick-Up: Wrong Way (1972, UK release 1981)


(In a rarity for this blog, this post looks at a title from across the pond, worthy of a mention here due to the Tigon connection and as an example of the kind of film our sexploitation seeking forefathers would have checked out alongside the home-grown tits and bums efforts)

“Do I have a very bad video copy here or does one of the actors in this film appear to have a green ass” is the infrequently asked question you may find yourself puzzling over during Ray Williams’ 1972 American sexploiter Wrong Way, worryingly the answer is actually the latter. I’m far from the first person to note similarities between Williams’ film and The Last House on the Left, which extends to beyond the casual. Not only do the two films centre around two teenage girls failing into the hands of a gang of sex criminals, but both serve up comic relief filler in the form of two knuckleheaded cops, both score graphic sexual assault scenes to downer folk music, and both cut between one of the girls’ parents expressing growing concern about her safety and the grim abuse being dished out to their offspring. It all feels more than just mere coincidence, but exactly who saw each other’s film first remains a question mark, keeping in mind both films were made in 1972.

Wrong Way does however increase your respect for the upsetting power of Last House on the Left, when you see the basically same material that in Wes Craven’s hands made for a thought provoking film with considerable shock value, here serve as fodder for a sweaty, droning softcore quickie.

 

Cast members are predictably unknowns, likely hiding out under comedy false names (Laurel Canyon, Candy Sweet, Forrest Lorne) and with few connections to other films. The exception to the rule being Ron Darby- who had quite a career in soft and hardcore films of the period, with a resume that included Flesh Gordon, Satan’s Lust, Terror at Orgy Cast and the faux-British sex film The Hand of Pleasure. A highly unattractive actor- pockmarked faced, suffering from some kind of skin condition and no great shakes in the size department- Darby is naturally at home here amongst Wrong Way’s cast of uglies. Onscreen Darby generally plays the carnal clown card, a sort of Californian Robin Askwith if you will, his very funny overacting in Satan’s Lust is a career highlight in that respect, but here Darby gets to play it straight for a change as the second in command of a hippie cult, who gets shot in the balls for his troubles.

Sleazy Rider –a 1973 film that is in a similar mode to this- had a notably anti-establishment, cop hating rhetoric to it, but Wrong Way’s mindset is in comparison muddled and reactionary. Plenty of good old boy humour is in evidence, jokes about getting crabs n’ drinking beer are calculated to get the fellas cracking up at the local drive-ins. Hippie put downs are present and correct with longhairs portrayed as itinerant rapists and drug dealers, even a lame Manson-esque figure turns up towards the end of the film. “The good news is our men had to shoot one of the hippie rats…he got it right in the balls” enthuses the knuckleheaded cops over Mr. Darby’s demise. Sentiments suggesting a greater allegiance to the forces of law and order here, and a film that spits a giant ball of mucus in the direction of hippies. Despite that Wrong Way gawps long, if not exactly hard, at the hippies’ foul sexual deeds. Gang rape scenes go on and on, and on in this, but badly mimed rape scenes and limp tallywhackers from all concerned –Mr. Green, Green Ass included- constantly give the game away that no real humping was going on here. Just to get back to the topic of he of the green ass for a moment, it does occur to me that as the main gang rape scene takes place on and up against a green van, its possible that performing outdoor, simulated rape under the hot Californian sun might have caused some of the van’s paintwork to come off on our man’s ass. A likely reason for this unfortunate onscreen ailment, the mark of Wrong Way, betya he had a hard time explaining that to his old lady when he got home.

wrong way's brand of shame
 


Wrong Way never shies away from the fact that the verbal and physical abuse of women is meant as a constant source of amusement and arousal here. The occasionally inspired ugliness of the screenplay is best illustrated in a subplot that sees two white slave traders shooting up a woman with heroin and taking advantage of the merchandise before they sell her to a brothel across the border. “You mean you’d destroy a human being for a few lousy dollars” she protests, to which her captor cackles back “absolutely not, we’re nice guys, we’re gonna trade you for H”, and his equally mangy partner in crime contributes to the conversation “you’re a nympho, and you know it”. The subsequent threesome between these three lovebirds finds the woman –the person people had paid to see go nude- obscured under all the hairy, potbellied, male gooseflesh of her two co-stars, a reoccurring problem in Wrong Way’s gross sex scenes.

Although it has all the hallmarks of the kind of third rate, obscure as rocking horse shit film that never saw the light of day till video came along, Wrong Way did surprisingly have a British theatrical release as part of a porno triple bill package put together by Tigon in 1981. Eric Godwin, a kindly, well liked elderly gentleman had the job of buying the majority of Tigon’s American acquisitions at the time. Godwin was prone to voicing despair over the growing explicitness of the American product he was being offered during film buying trips to Los Angeles, not on account of any prudishness, but because of the inevitable problems it would give him with the British censor “they won’t leave us with anything left to show” he was known to complain.

Unlike many of Tigon’s porno acquisitions of the early 1980s, Wrong Way hadn’t started life as hardcore, but still proved Godwin’s worst fears correct when it came to the British censor who cut around 20 minutes out of it for the British theatrical release. Sure the later, uncut video release is the way any exploitation aficionado would therefore want to see this thing, but even with heavy cuts the sleaze impact of Wrong Way on the big screen must have made for a tremendous culture shock. Imagine Wrong Way blown up to the size of a bungalow, encountered in the intimidating atmosphere of a porno cinema, and at a time before video had yet to fully expose British audiences to the sub-amateur side of American exploitation cinema, with films like this hundreds of miles removed in terms of attitude and filmmaking skill to the Hollywood fare that a British audiences of 1981 would have been more accustomed to.

Video, bootleg DVDr, maybe laptops, are of course the only way we’ll get to see films like Wrong Way these days, but like the down and dirtiest examples of American sexploitation- Sleazy Rider, Sinner’s Blood, The Bad, Bad Gang, Golden Gate Pay-Off, et al- the deeply unerotic nature of the sex, the overwhelming hatred of women and the equally overwhelming sense that those behind the camera barely knew what they were doing, all succeed in holding the attention, overriding any impulse to turn away from the abyss.