No movie–porno or otherwise–gets made without some fancy behind-the-scenes work of agents who deal with whining stars, demanding directors, pompous producers, and–rarely–nice guys like me.
Consider Elliot’s feats:
- Lining up a nightclub whose owners didn’t mind their quarters hosting the mess of a massive orgy.
- Finding a lecherous audience through The Berkeley Party Hotline who accepting $1 each to sign releases allowing use of their images.
- Hiring professional musicians to record the songs he’d written for Deviations, playing his synthesizer and soothing the inevitable clashes of creative musical egos.
- Casting, including the debut of one of my all-time favorites, future porn Hall-of-Famer Shanna McCullough.
- And, finally, offering his photographic talents and the stud skills of his own scrawny self. (My girlfriend observed, “He’s big in only one place.”)
Joe Elliot gave something more to the making of Deviations: his heart and soul. The movie provided a platform for exercising his passions for music, photography and sex with pretty girls.
The ingredients: Funky nightclub on the uneasy border between Berkeley and Oakland; rowdy crowd of leering voyeurs; enough video, lighting and sound equipment to turn the place into a snake pit of foot-snagging cables. And, of course, the “Deviations” themselves: four young ladies ready to screw their butts off in the name of erotic art.
What could possibly go wrong?
For obvious reasons, I allowed no alcohol. But the skunky aroma of pot smoke soon filled the club. Some things you just can’t control. Especially things that come from “Berserkely.”
When I asked Joe Elliot who our security team would be, he replied, “Rudy.”
“Rudy? Just one guy?”
“Rudy will be enough.”
I doubted that. Until I met Rudy, an African-American mountain of muscle. His massive presence assured good manners like a deity from Smash-face Hell .
The music went well. The ladies had practiced enough with the recorded soundtrack to actually appear to be hitting the right frets, drumbeats and synthesizer keys. As noted in the previous post, Shanna McCullough’s flawless lip-synching fooled the audience into thinking that the group was actually performing the songs.
The dancing was as wild as I’d hoped. A bare-bottomed girl ripped the shirt off a gentleman whose grin indicated he didn’t mind sacrificing the garment. Women thrust themselves before a distortion mirror, making boobs and butts burst forth like 3-D explosions. Willem Lowen danced with a boa constrictor curled around his torso. (He managed one of America’s largest vivariums, the source of both his boa and Shanna McCullough’s.)
One lady, transfixed by the snake, was about to touch its probing tongue with her own, until the watchful Joe Elliot rushed up to tell her to back off. He was lawsuit phobic after being sued by a stoned woman who, during one of his many parties, had crashed through his patio glass door.
Passionately involved with every detail of Deviations, Elliot–a natural worrier–was more hyper-vigilant than usual. I, on the other hand, slipped into my detached, director mindset that protected me from Oh-My-God anxiety. A patina of calm is necessary for both battlefield commanders and over-reaching pornographers.
Keeping a cool head helps you think better. Like when a couple of porn-hero wannabes complained to me that all Connie Lindstrom wanted to do was fellatio. They wanted more.
( From SKINFLICKS) The fiance of blonde Scandinavian beauty Connie Lindstrom gave her genital herpes just before her debut in Deviations. She was embarrassed about revealing to her screen partners the reason she was limited to fellatio, so I told them, “In the script,Connie’s character only gives blow jobs.” In gratitude for my explanation, she gave me virtuoso performances.
There are problems a director can’t experience. Like when a lanky (in all anatomical parts) Charles Manson look-alike called Animal leaped onto the stage to tryst with Adrienne Bellaire and Robyn Everett.
He had hitch-hiked from a commune in Oregon just to perform in the movie. As Adrienne later told me, “He probably didn’t have time to bathe.” Both Adrienne and Robyn manged to hide their repugnance. Real troupers, those girls.
Deviations became one of the top five best-selling adult videos of 1983.
Next Post: How three movies I made in 1985 became officially child pornography.