The Rape Films of Porn’s Golden Age

Today’s “gonzo porn” includes many categories of women subjected to brutal sex.  But these are cheap and dirty “wall-to-wall (sex only, no story)” videos.  They can’t compare with the big-budget 35-millimeter epics of the 1970s and early 80s that featured elaborate production values and intricate stories that involved debasing women in the grossest possible ways.

The audiences for these theatrical films were angry, sexually-frustrated men who comprised a large portion of that era’s “raincoat crowd.”

My duties as film and tape manager at VCX, Inc., included supervising the transfer of these films to videotape.  Among these pictures were the following “classics”:

(Passages from SKINFLICKS are in italics.)

In Alex DeRenzy’s Pretty Peaches (1978), real-life mental patient Desiree Cousteau plays a car accident amnesia victim who’s raped by the men who hit her. A quack doctor treats her amnesia with enemas. She’s gang-banged at a job audition.

At Compact Video, I supervised the transfer of Defiance, with underaged (16 year old) Jean Jennings gang-raped by the staff and inmates of an insane asylum; Expensive Tastes, in which a prostitute plays decoy to help bust a gang of rapists; and The Seduction of Lyn Carter, in which future rock singer Andrea True plays a housewife with a compulsion for further and further debasements from kinky sex researcher Jamie Gillis.

A Dirty Western (1975) featured a gang of outlaws raiding a ranch and raping the owner (Barbara Bourbon) and her daughters.

In Waterpower, Jamie Gillis (You want kink? He’s your man.) played an enema rapist.

After I left VCX, my new business partner Joe Loveland (a nom de porn) gave me a tape that his S and M protege Stephanie Bonds wanted to emulate:  The Mitchell Brothers’ Never a Tender Moment starred Marilyn Chambers suspended by wrists and ankles while butch lesbians beat her with whips; hung upside down while they insert all of a dildo the size of a baby elephant’s leg in her rectum.

b & w pictures from authorhouse 001
Serena (Blaquelord) in All the King’s Ladies

Before she appeared in my video feature All The King’s Ladies, Serena had retired from porn after a shoot that nearly led to her death. In Mai Lin Versus Serena (1982), a filmed contest to see which actress could take on the most men, the compliant masochist was penetrated not only by forty or more studs but by the microbes they carried. “My doctor said the germs ganged up,” Serena told me. “My belly swelled up like I was pregnant.” Delirious from septic shock, she spent months hospitalized with severe pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)–epidemic in the wake of the libertine ’70s. The filmmaker didn’t even send a get-well card.

“It’s a unique irony,” wrote the historian (Jim) Holliday in the 1990s, “that under Nixon’s presidency adult films were rougher than they are currently.”

Yet, even after home video brought an influx of female viewers in the mid 1980s, there remained an audience of disgruntled men who made best-sellers out of videos like Biff Malibu’s Gang Bang Girls series.

Today’s misogynist porn can’t match the budgets of yesteryear, but it’s just as brutal.  Anti-porn academic, Gail Dines, rails against this gonzo genre, blaming it for corrupting the sexuality of all American men.  Dines has produced one of the most inadvertently hilarious jeremiads against porn that I have ever read.

Next post: Pornland by Gail Dines: A Primer for Perverts

 

 

 

Lords, Lies and Videotape Part 3: G-Spot Sensation

Part 3

From SKINFLICKS:

Chapter 12

The Goddess

Curiosity about this sensational new star brought me to the Mitchell Brothers’ O’Farrell Theater early in 1985 to see their film The Grafenberg Spot. What I saw convinced me that my career in erotic movies wouldn’t be complete without shooting a Traci Lords picture.

A porno theater is the last place you’d expect to see male bonding. The men sit as far away from each other as possible, ashamed of their masturbatory intentions. They don’t dare draw attention to themselves with vocalizations–only a few heavy breaths now and then. But, for one brief moment, Traci Lords created a bond among these lonely men.

The scene was on a cabin cruiser that rocked to a three-some of Traci, Rick Savage and Harry Reems. The first ripple of response from the audience came with the sheer delight Traci took in slapping Rick’s erection around between her breasts.

Then, while Reems and Savage performed double vaginal penetration, something that was as much a Traci trademark as The Pout rang through the theater: the hyperventilating Traci Lords Love Call.

This seesaw of whistling inhalations and exhalations was best–if unflatteringly– described by my audio engineer. “It’s the sound of a Missouri mule on fast forward,” he said. As proof, he slowed the tape. Everyone in the mix studio burst into laughter. The alternating squeals and brays could have come out of the stables of a Sam Peckinpah western.

To the theater audience it was a Mozart concerto. I had just seen the movie Amadeus and had the weird notion that–like Mozart’s rival Salieri–I was listening to “the Lord’s music.”

Traci claimed her on-screen orgasms were real. In AVN, she said, “If the guys have to go through the job of getting a hard-on, I feel that in a sense the girl should get a hard-on too…I try to have a come-shot just like the guy.”

Porn queens’ claims of real screen orgasms are mostly hype, but Traci’s climax in The Grafenberg Spot made a believer out of me.

My seat was moving. I thought it was an earthquake. Then I realized that the fault-line ran from the knee to the crotch of the guy behind me. He wasn’t the only one masturbating. Though they tried to be quiet, the men were given away by the ancient seats, sqawking like censorious old prudes.

When the scene ended, the audience lapsed into a silence deeper than usual. Then someone breathed, “Wow!” Followed by “Yeah!” “Woooh!” Someone called out, “Encore!” And the men actually laughed.

————————–

Next: Lords, Lies and Videotape Part 4: A Tight Situation

 

Lords, Lies and Videotape Part 1: Questions

On the Larry King Show (July 14, 2003) Traci Lords made the following claims about her career in porn:

“I was stoned for about three years, from fifteen to eighteen…”

“In that three-year period, you know, I made maybe $40,000 or something.” 

KING: A picture, $40,000…

LORDS: No.

KING: Total?

LORDS: For three years, yes.

———————

Was Traci Lords a child-victim, drugged, exploited, and financially ripped off?

Or was she an opportunistic child-savant, wise beyond her years, using the porn industry as a fast-track to wealth?

Could the answer to both of these questions be “True”?

The Traci Lords story, as I saw it, had so many different facets, that trying to condense it all into a couple of blog posts would be impossible. So I have decided to post–in a series–the entire 24-page chapter from SKINFLICKS.

Instead of my usual pace of roughly one post a week, I will let no more than a couple days lapse between entries from this chapter.

——————————

Chapter 12

THE GODDESS
1986 – 1990s

“She’s perfect,” sighed lovestruck stud Tom Byron. “I mean, every girl in this business has some kind of flaw. Like she might be a bitch, or does too much coke, or has a saggy ass–something. But Traci…she doesn’t have a single fault. She’s perfect in every way.”

Except two. For one thing, she didn’t have a smile. Something in her cheek lines made it almost a sneer–a “snile.” Traci Lords’ second flaw was much worse; it nearly destroyed an industry. It caused busts, bankruptcies and losses in the millions. It brought a Federal push to throw most of America’s adult movie producers in prison.

It was commercial pornography’s worst scandal and it came at the worst possible time: with Attorney General Ed Meese urging anti-porn activism and the industry mired in the “Smut Glut.”

The news that porn’s top star was underaged “went through the industry like a plague through the Middle Ages,” said Adult Film and Video Association attorney John Weston. There was a scramble to remove hundreds of thousands of videotapes, films and magazines from circulation before the police could pounce on them.

“Coming as it does on the heels of the Meese Report,” Weston said, “it’s hard to believe the two are not related.”

“Talk about timing,” wrote Mitchell Brothers star Missy Manners in her Spectator column, “I’m not so sure it’s just a coincidence.”

For the Meese Commission, it was “proof” of their contention that child porn was a major part of the commercial industry.

Under Federal law, anyone connected with a Traci Lords shoot was guilty of a felony. Hundreds of grips, gofers and gaffers, as well as producers, directors, agents, writers, make-up artists and caterers faced long prison terms, loss of assets, and fines guaranteed to keep them poor for life.

“If the Traci Lords case is lost,” Weston said, “with the strictest liability of the law enforced, the government would then have the power to wipe out the industry.”

Was the industry at fault? Could a fifteen year old girl rise to the top of the porn world without anyone suspecting her true age? Was she sophisticated enough to bamboozle Penthouse, the U.S. Government, and the entire porn industry? To spend two years dashing from set to set, yet find time to invest her earnings wisely enough to be “set for life?” To beat alleged IRS and forged passport felony violations? And, finally, to parlay the age fiasco into Hollywood success?

Questions about adult “advisors” knowingly promoting a minor in porn went unanswered. Was she really a runaway from Ohio whose mother turned her in after seeing her picture in a TV special on the Meese Report? Or did she live in Redondo Beach with her mother who secretly managed her career?

Industry skeptics, including her agent Jim South, didn’t believe she was really underaged. They saw the whole thing as a ploy to prevent all existing Traci Lords tapes from competing with the products of her new company (shot after she supposedly turned eighteen).

What is the real Traci Lords story?

I caught a glimpse of it: My experience directing Lords and my trade with her business partners reveal a saga of mutual exploitation, of a driven, ambitious beauty hell-bent on getting rich, and of those who misused her and forced a devastating showdown.

——————-

Next: Lords, Lies and Videotape Part 2: A Star is Porn

(I will post no photos of Lords because her signature on release forms are not legal, since she was allegedly a minor using a false ID.)

 

 

 

 

Shooting The Perfect Gift: Hard Lessons Learned

Every movie you make teaches you something new. The shooting of The Perfect Gift–only my second video production–presented enough lessons to make me feel like a kindergartener taking Quantum Physics 101.

Lesson #1: Hire only professionals. (Text from SKINFLICKS is in italics.)

flyers and book cover 017(My business partner)Joe had written his swinger friends into the shoot…these sex party stalwarts became camera-conscious and couldn’t stay erect. Fortunately, the reliable Don Fernando stunt-cocked enough penetration close-ups to add hardcore to all the “sim” (simulated) action.

Joe’s excuse for his buddies was that they thought they’d be working with the dreamy-eyed star Dorothy LeMay, who’d cancelled due to vaginal injuries inflicted during a stage-show at the Mitchell Brothers’ O’Farrell Theater by Annette Haven’s over-zealous dildo work. Instead, the men were stuck with lanky, horse-faced Liza, another of the Bay Area’s Jill-of-all-sex-trades call-girls.

Lesson #2: For Every piece of Equipment have a Twin.

Shotgun microphones quit because of trampled cables. Our rich-boy videographer, Denny, hadn’t brought any backups….Torrential rains drummed the roof and windows, making audio–now recorded on weak in-camera microphones–unusable.

Lesson #3.  Pay Cash, not Promises.

Then Denny went on strike. He’d made a deal for six percent
of gross profits instead of cash. Now he concluded that the
miserable shoot would never make a profit and he wanted cash
instead. I was mad enough to punch him out, but I didn’t know
how to work his gear. We agreed to pay him cash.

Lesson #4: Realize that there are Worse Things than a F&*%ed-up Production.

On Sunday morning, something put the shoot into
perspective. In the continuing downpour, the 220-volt line
clamped into the main power box on the side of Joe’s house fell
off. The set went dark.

Standing in the water rushing down the steep hillside, I said a prayer.

Despite gloves and boots, the rain could create an unbroken surface of water from the box to my feet. A 220-volt zap meant instant death. I let the spring clamp snap onto the electrode and pulled my hand away just as a fat blue spark erupted. It felt wonderful to be alive. I wedged a bucket over the box to protect it.

Lesson #5: Choose Porno Business Partners whose only Interest is Making Money. 

Before I left for L.A., Joe made a comment that led to our
three-year business partnership. I’d complained about the hassles
of shooting porn, and Joe said, “I think you’re very fortunate. For
fifty years I’ve wanted to make pictures about sex.”

He had script ideas, a great location, and knew northern
California models. He wasn’t rich but had a few thousand to
invest. I had movie-making skills and access to distribution. We
discussed collaboration.

There was one caveat: Joe said, “If I can’t get laid out of the deal, then this venture isn’t worthwhile for me.”

Getting laid turned out to be the least of his problems.

Joe was finding that being a first-time porn director was like laying bricks during an earthquake; you put one up and two fall off.

And it’s even worse when you’re also trying to be an actor and have to get it up.

Next: Shooting The Perfect Gift, Part 2: Are things finally Going Right?  The House Built for Orgies.  Juliet Anderson’s famous BJ.  The Branded Slave Girl who freaks out Juliet.  And how to put your putz in porn but not your punum.