Wet Dreams (1974)

Genre: Art-House Soft Porn

This is a compilation of shorts which were originally commissioned by a wealthy Dutch man on the topic of wet dreams. These shorts were made by a number of directors, notably one of the pioneers of modern pornography, Lasse Braun, who is credited here as Falcon Stuart.

These shorts wouldn’t be considered arousing, but are more experimental in nature. This isn’t to say they are pretentious - on the contrary, each short is unique and entertaining.

Notable shorts in this compilation are Contrasts by Max Fischer and Lee Kraft which includes two mixed race couples - one partner is white and the other black. Shot against a plain white background, the couples seductively caress each other’s bodies. This short was stylish and sensuously done.

The Happy Necrophiliacs by Lasse Braun is a funny one about an American tourist visiting Amsterdam who is taken by two girls to a room and stripped naked on a bed. The two girls then both simultaneously take it in turn to bounce up and down on him whilst having sex. This results in the American having a heart-attack and dropping dead (literally). With the guy now limp, the girls simultaneously ride up and down on his pointing up feet. All of this is accompanied by a jaunty country and western song.

Deep Skin by Max Fischer gets up really close to the body parts of a couple as they make love (no penetration) and throughout the short you never see their entire bodies – just a giant nipple or tongue filling the whole screen.

A Face by Max Fischer is similar in idea to Andy Warhol’s short Blow Job (1964) where the camera is fixed stationary on the subjects face, allowing the viewer to watch the facial expressions as the subject reaches orgasm. Compared to Andy Warhol’s, Max Fischer’s short is executed in a much more sensual way as you watch the girl reach orgasm.

The Private World of Hans Kanters by Hans Kanters consists of the camera studying closely the paintings of this Dutch artist whose paintings are the equivalent to a pornographic Hieronymus Bosch painting.

The Banner by Lee Kraft consists of film shot in reverse of a mass of writhing painted naked bodies which slowly come together to create the American flag.

The Plummer by Lee Kraft is an entertaining silent movie satire with a very horny Charlie Chaplin.

As well as Lasse Braun, another notable director profiled is the Serbian director of WR: Mysteries of the Organism (1971), Dusan Makavejev, who contributes the short Politfuck which, as the title suggests, has a political/sexual theme. He is credited under the name Sam Rotterdam.

This compilation was acquired by French businessman Francis Mishkind who owned the Alpha theaters and distribution circuit and released it in Paris in 1974. The Alpha France logo at the beginning of the film will be recognizable to anyone who has watched quality French porn from the Golden Age of Porn during the 1970’s.

Many of the shorts don’t have dialogue, but the ones that do have only a limited amount and are either in French or Dutch with French subtitles. On the whole, this doesn't detract from the viewer's understanding of these shorts. The only one I did have problems with was Nicholas Ray’s The Janitor which was very talky and hardly anything else.

This compilation is very much a timepiece of those times and is definitely worth tracking down. This is porn for art school students.

Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)

Genre: Italian Giallo

I love Italian giaollos!

The film opens with a group of people sitting around enjoying a party. This is the type of party they have in 70’s Italian giallo movies where everyone sits around looking very moody in 70’s designer clothing listening to a groovy Hammond organ jazz record while one girl, who is intoxicated by her drink, does a slow seductive striptease.

The people are all guests of George Stark (Teodoro Corrà) who is a rich industrialist and he has invited them to stay at his home on his own private Mediterranean island. One of the guests is Prof. Gerry Farrell (William Berger) who has discovered a formula that is worth a fortune. George Stark and the others are putting the pressure on Prof. Farrell to sell his formula, but he refuses.

After his refusal, the body count starts to pile up. Someone within the group is a murderer, but no one knows who.

Being directed by Mario Bava (BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, BAY OF BLOOD) you are guaranteed a film of craftsmanship – with beautiful camera work and everything being stylish, but supposedly Bava wasn’t happy with the finished result as he had little control over the project.

As far as plot goes, this was the weak part of the film. I’m used to giallos not necessarily being too logical, but this one has some fairly major flaws in it and I was actually quite confused by the ending. This sadly lets the film down in a big way.

If you are a gore hound, you may be also disappointed as most of the murders take place off screen, but what is great is how each body is hung up in plastic in a giant walk in freezer. The other guests nonchalantly wonder who might be next. If it was me there amongst that group, I would be going berserk with fear, but not so much for this group of cool swingers.

The music is a real treat for late 60’s early 70’s groove with an interesting soundtrack comprised of a mixture of Hammond organ and the occasional sitar all nicely composed and arranged by Piero Umiliani.

The music and stylish visuals are, to me, what makes this film and this is helped in no uncertain terms by some beautiful actresses. Eurobabe fans will not be disappointed as all the actresses are serious eye-candy, especially Italian favourite Edwige Fenech who performs a frenzied dance number in gold lame bell-bottoms and matching brassiere or hanging-out (literally) in various states of undress.

Talking of style, the house the guests are staying in, which belongs to the rich industrialist, is the height of 70’s décor. Wow, this is the sort of pad I would love to have, plus throw in a few eurobabes, too, some Hammond organ groove and a bottle of Cinzano Rosso.

If music and stylish visuals is what you enjoy, then this giallo would be for you, otherwise it’s not the best giallo, nor is it the worse.


Gate of Flesh (1964)

Genre: Japanese Sexploitation / Pinku eiga

One prostitute to another:

“Disease and babies are our enemies.”

It’s the post World War II years in Tokyo and the city is gripped with poverty and famine. In the market slums around the occupying US Air force base, bodies are regularly stretchered out either dead from starvation or murder.

In this cruel wretched environment a group of prostitutes team up together, sleeping at night in a derelict abandoned building. Their code of honor is that they won’t have a pimp and if one of them should give her body for free, the others can severely physically punish her.

There’s a new girl in the area , Maya (Yumiko Nogawa), and she joins the group, but it isn't long before she is raped by some US servicemen and dumped on the perimeter of the base. The investigating military police aren’t too concerned and leave her lying there.

A black American priest accompanying them feels differently and stays to help her.

One day the atmosphere is shattered by the scream of a man. It’s the voice of a US serviceman who’s just been stabbed. With no time to lose, the US military police go into the slums to search for the perpetrator, Shintaro Ibuki (Jo Shishido), a tough animalistic ex-soldier.

Shintaro receives a bullet wound from the military police, but he's able to find a place to hide and recuperate with the prostitutes in their abandoned building.

With his strength and power, he becomes the group’s leader and Maya and another girl fall for his macho charms (if you could call them charms).

Once Shintaro has fully recovered, he returns to his life of petty crime and in the evenings returns to the prostitutes where he drinks and has sex with them.

Things finally come to a head when Maya gives her body to him for free as the love between the two begins to blossom. The other girl, who also liked Shintaro, becomes jealous and exacts revenge with the help of the rest of the group on Maya and Shintaro.

This film is really good. Directed by Seijun Suzuki, who during this time was working at the Nikkatsu Studios, which was Japan’s oldest studio, with some of the best film technicians under their wings. With such great technical recources at his disposal, Seijun Suzuki has created a film of pure movie craftsmanship.

The camera work is lovely, with a backdrop of ruined Tokyo cluttered with shanty towns sprawling amongst the bombed out ruins. The colour of the film is brought out vividly with lots of lurid reds and greens and he uses a great technique of superimposing one image over another - all of this done on a B-movie budget.

But this is not safe viewing – this is Japanese exploitation and even for its age it can be quite strong at times. There’s plenty of nudity, sex and the punishment for the girls who give their bodies for free is to be hoisted up naked and whipped viciously by the other members of the group. Also included was the real slaughter and dismemberment of a cow. All of this caused controversy on the film’s initial release.

Jo Shishido as Shintaro Ibuki is excellent as he huffs and gruffs, shouting orders to the girls. He dominates them all by his sheer physical presence.

As a side note, Jo Shishido’s career had begun in 1954, but it didn’t really take off until he had plastic surgery on his cheeks to make them bigger in 1956. He was described by some people as looking like a chipmunk.
The girls are easily identified by the colour of their dresses which stay the same throughout the movie. Each girl is also introduced in a camera shot saturated by their denoted colour.

Director Seijun Suzuki was an ex-Japanese soldier himself during WW2 and his dislike for the US military is shown in this film, either by Shintaro stabbing the serviceman because “he had it coming” or the general behaviour of the US servicemen as they use and abuse the girls, to the final shot of the US flag flying over the ramshackled shanty town.
This is a great film and as been released as part of the Criterion Collection. I urge you to see it – this is what cinema is all about.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

Genre: Japanese Anime

I love Japanese anime and this movie is no exception.

Makoto is a tom-boyish teenage schoolgirl who admits to not being cleaver, but not stupid either.

One day while alone in the science classroom, she slips on a small walnut shaped object and falls backwards onto the ground. As she hits the ground she is catapulted through a weird psychedelic effect.

Later that day when riding her bicycle home at great speed down a hill, she suddenly crashes over the barriers of a railway crossing and into the path of an oncoming train. Again, Makoto falls through the psychedelic effect and finds herself back home a few days earlier.

Trying to understand what is happening to her, she tries to trigger the same effect again. Finally she realizes that she literally has to physically leap and crash into things to allow herself to fall through time.

Once she’s mastered the technique she is flipping backwards and forwards doing all the things she’s wanted to do such as sing karaoke for ten hours, only eat the meals she likes and pass the school exams.

Makoto has two male friends, Chiaki who is a bit of a joker and Kousuke who enjoys practicing baseball.

While Chiaki is taking Makota home on the back of his bicycle, he tries to ask her out on a date, but Makota panics and leaps through time to avoid giving an answer.

With Makota leaping through time to better herself, she inadvertently affects the people around her in a negative way. This leads to things becoming very complicated and it all comes to ahead when Makota finds she can’t leap through time anymore and Chiaki reveals his big secret.

This is such a good movie. It really shows how we should seize each day as it comes and make the most of it so that we aren't left with any regrets. This is reinforced throughout the film the phrase “Time waits for no one”.

Technically, this film is amazing with stunning lushus backgrounds full of incredible detail. The movement of the characters, although basic in many ways, looks as though they had originally been shot using live action and then recreated in animation. What I mean by this is little things such as when a character shuts a sliding door and it jams slightly or when another character stumbles slightly when going to retrieve a baseball.

The story takes place during a sweltering hot summer and you can literally feel the heat in the pictures and this is accentuated by a soundtrack rich with grasshoppers and summer insects.

If you like the work of Japan’s great animation director Hayao Miyazaki who created such classics as Spirited Away (2001) and Howl's Moving Castle (2004), then you are sure to love this film.

You can find out about the DVD here.


Helltrain (1977)

Genre: Naziploitation

Also known under the title Love Train for SS, this is a French/Spanish co-production in the sleazy WW2 naziploitation genre that was so popular during the 1970’s.

It’s 1941 and Ingrid Schüler (Monica Swinn) is a nightclub singer who is having affairs with all the top generals in the Third Reich. Excitement breaks out in the nightclub one evening when it’s announced that the German’s have invaded Russia. This prompts Ingrid to sing a celebratory song and strip off for the audience.

Ingrid is informed that she is going to be in charge of a train which is going to act as a moving bordello and the prostitutes who will work on it will all be volunteers from high ranking German families. The plan is for all these girls of finest Aryan stock to supply their services to the German officers on the Russian Front.

Ingrid and her lover Schmitt
Once Ingrid takes up her new role on the love train, her personality changes and she becomes a cruel disciplinarian. There is one girl she particularly likes to bully and with the help of one of her lovers, Schmitt (Erik Muller), who is a chisel-featured SS Captain, they have fun humiliating her. This is a bizarre scene where the girl is on all fours and Schmitt is riding her around the room singing a rhyme and spanking her backside with a riding crop.

The girls soon settle into the work of satisfying the officers’ needs, when they are interrupted by a radio broadcast announcing a failed assassination attempt on the Fuhror. The radio broadcast explains that some conspirators have been captured, but others are still being searched for.
Sandra Mozarowsky as Greta

Then the doors burst in as squad of stormtroopers enter to arrest the officers who are in the company of the girls and charge them as the missing conspirators.

The train heads further into newly occupied territory where it stops to pick up some female prisoners who will also work as prostitutes on the train. One of the prisoners, the beautiful Greta (Sandra Mozarowsky), is an old friend of Ingrid’s.

One on board the train, Ingrid has all the girls line up in their underwear and gives a speech:

Nazi pony riding
“I urge you to maintain your body in the most perfect condition… Your beauty is your weapon in the holy crusade to establish all over the world the rule of the master race.”

As the train continues its journey, it is invaded by a group of sex starved German infantry men who try to rape the girls and then they are followed by a group of sex starved partisans. Because the partisans spend all their efforts on raping the girls, they don’t realize that German reinforcements have arrived outside and they are all gunned down on leaving the train.

There is one really weird scene which involves footage of a ferocious tank battle which has obviously been taken from another movie because even the colour of the film stock is different to the rest of this movie.
The new recruits

In the midst of this tank battle we cut back to the exterior of the train where two girls run out and help save a wounded tank commander. On returning to the train, the train merrily goes on its way.

Viewing this scene, you are left wondering how in the midst of this battle can the train just sit there unharmed and eventually move off. With all the swastikas painted on the side, it must have been a huge target for miles around.

Eventually the train is brought to a stop in a small town where the girls hear another radio broadcast, this time saying the Americans and Russian are surrounding Berlin.

Having a spanking good time
The girls leave the train and are left to fight for their own survival. With the American army (these are the worst stereo-typed American soldiers you would expect to see) in view, the girls have to make some tough decisions.

Considering that other films in the naziploitation genre tend to wallow in sadistic depravity, Helltrain is relatively mild. The only deviance seems to be spanking, and I think this must have been the producer’s own fetish because we have a couple of spanking scenes, plus one member of the partisans rides a girl like a horse similar to the earlier scene with Schmitt.

Ingrid explains to Greta that she is in charge
This is low budget stuff with much of the girls’ hairstyles and underwear being 1970’s and not 1940’s. The acting is terrible, especially when people are shot, but saying that, Erik Muller is good as Schmitt the SS Captain.

Sandra Mozarowsky, who plays Greta, is beautiful, but sadly committed suicide the same year as this film was made at the tender age of 18.

Directed by the prolific French director Alain Payet, the script seems to have more holes in it that my old socks, but it’s still nevertheless an interesting and fairly amusing entry in what is usually bottom of the barrel entertainment.
An American Soldier


Up Pompeii (1971)

Genre: Saucy British Comedy

Lurcio (Frankie Howerd) is a slave in ancient Roman Pompeii. Whilst out shopping for female slaves and other essential supplies for his master’s orgy that evening, he runs into the Roman general, Bilius (Lance Percival), causing Bilius to fall from his horse. Lurcio’s basket of supplies is knocked over in the commotion.

Lurcio picks up his supplies and returns them to the basket, but doesn’t realize he has also picked up a scroll dropped by Bilius.

Prosperus Maximus (Bill Fraser) and his beautiful wife Voluptua (Norwegian pin-up model and actress Julie Ege) are the rulers of Pompeii. Bilius was to bring them the scroll which outlines their plan to assassinate the Emperor Nero (Patrick Cargill) when he makes his visit to Pompeii in a few days time. It is up to Bilius to find the missing scroll.

Bilius' attempts to retrieve the scroll are further complicated when the scroll gets mixed up with another scroll belonging to Lurcio’s master, Ludicrus Sextus (Michael Hordern). It is not long before Lurcio and Ludicrus Sextus find out about the planned assassination attempt.

Because Ludicrus Sextus and Lurcio know too much about the plot, the conspirators decide to murder them. Meanwhile, on his arrival in Pompeii, Nero finds out about the plot and he wants revenge. Lurcio gets caught up in the middle and has to desperately play off the conspirators against Nero for the sake of his own survival.

“…And there’s an au pair if ever I saw one.”
I really enjoyed this film. If you like corny British comedies in the style of the Carry On films, then you would love this one, but compared to the Carry On films, Up Pompeii is much more risqué. It's jam packed full of sexual innuendo and really corny gags, but you can't help laughing for the sheer audaciousness of it all.

“He’d forget what sex he was if he didn’t tie a knot in it…. That is if he could find his handkerchief.”

Based on the popular British TV series of the same name, Frankie Howerd as Lurcio is great. Regularly he would stop mid-story and speak to the camera directly to inform the viewer of the story details.

The cast are all great with many familiar faces from film and British TV, including Bernard Bresslaw playing Nero's Champion wrestler Gorgo, who is pitted against the hapless Lurcio, Michael Hordern playing Lurcio’s master Ludicrus Sextus, Roy Hudd makes a brief appearance and if you are British and was a kid during the 70's, you might briefly spot Play School presenter Derek Griffiths as a slave on the treadmill in the Roman baths.

This film is packed full of female eye-candy and also a surprisingly large amount of naked flesh is on display.

Julie Ege wears an extremely revealing dress in one scene in which she unwittingly seduces a blacked-faced Lurcio. On being found out as an imposter by her guards, Lucio explains:

“I just came here to give her a ticket for the eunuch’s ball.”

If you know your history, you’ll probably guess how the film ends, although there is one surprising scene afterwards which I thought was quite clever.

Directed by Bob Kellett, who would later direct Our Miss Fred (1972), which I previously reviewed here. Up Pompeii spawned two sequels, the medieval romp Up the Chastity Belt (1971) and it’s WW1 counterpart Up the Front (1972).

This movie is great fun and shouldn’t be taken too seriously… well how could it be?

The Witch with Flying Head (1977)

Genre: Asian 'Flying Head' Horror

Now, if you want to watch one crazy Taiwanese horror, you can’t look much further than The Witch with Flying Head. This one has it all…

As this film was in Mandarin and had no subtitles, this is what I’ve gleaned from the story:

There are three sisters and one day they are visited by an evil wizard, who is in fact a giant snake when he’s not in his human form.

He makes a demand to one of the girls and as punishment puts a curse on her. He does this by shooting some snakes out of his eyes which land on the ground and slither under the girl’s dress. The snakes then enter her you-know-where. Cut to a shot of the snake slithering around in her internal organs next to her beating heart.

Later that evening while the girl is alone, two serpent’s fangs suddenly appear protruding upwards from out of her mouth. Then her head lifts off from her body carrying with it her entrails, including her beating heart. The head then flies through the air and attacks two men out in the street. The head bites into their necks and drinks their blood before returning back to her body.

The sisters call in the help of two monks who perform rituals to remove the girl’s curse. These seem to be succeeding until the evil snake wizard appears and is able to kill the two monks using his magic and the help of the flying head.

The sisters move from their family home to a small shack near the forest. Meanwhile, the girl who is cursed falls in love with a young man and it isn’t long before she gives birth to a baby daughter. All of this happens in between the others having to regularly battle with her flying head when it flies off to drink human blood.

The daughter grows to a young child and is one night nearly killed by her mother’s flying head. She is only saved by one of the sister’s putting herself between the flying head and the girl and in doing so sacrifices her own life.

This all leads to a final showdown in the forest between the flying head, the evil snake wizard, the male lover and a good wizard.

This is a great movie and a great example of a Taiwanese horror. It is completely over the top with the flying head and the beating organs hanging from it, plus lots of real snakes either crawling on bloodied organs or being vomited out alive, lots of gore, and weird Taoist magic with laser beams being fired out of eyes and explosions.

This looks and feels like a Shaw Brother’s production with the story taking place long ago and interspersed with some kung-fu, but in fact it was made by a small production company. Sadly, because of this, all the original prints seem to have been lost and the only one available seems to have been taken from a bad VHS copy.

Although made in 1977, much of the music has been lifted from other more recent movies, notably The Black Hole (1979), Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Star Trek 2 (1982).

The lead is played by actress Chan Mei Wa, who has also appeared in other crazy period pieces such as The Magic Blade (1976) and Flying Guillotine 2 (1978). The evil snake wizard is played by Yue Feng, who made his fair share of bizarre martial arts movies including Return of the 18 Bronzemen (1976). You can view the trailer here.

Director Cheung Yan Git had a prolific career making 19 movies from 1971 to 1993.

I don’t know what it is about Taiwanese movies, they always seem a bit more far-out than their Chinese counterparts. If only someone could start hunting for good quality prints and releasing them with subtitles, there would be a crowd of hungry fans eager to see them.

In the meantime, try and find yourself a copy of The Witch with Flying Head. Even though it’s only in Mandarin, it’s easy to follow and very accessible. You’ll definitely be guaranteed an evening’s viewing like you’ve never had before.

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