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




Working for the Mafia’s Porno Odd Couple

They each wanted the other dead.  But neither would kill the other because that would piss off the powerful capo regime who had forced them into partnership—even if that partnership was driving “the biggest Mafia porno outfit on the west coast (FBI quote)” into bankruptcy.

I got my job at S & L Distributors through a double-cross  that helped another pornographer retrieve a stolen editing machine, and he, in turn, got me hired.  His advice: (Passages from SKINFLICKS are in italics.) “You can’t get in the door without my recommendation,” Robby said. “And whatever you do, don’t ever try to screw these people. Don’t even think about it.”

I thought I had been hired to shoot porn movies and was eager to show my filmmaking skills. But that corrosive partnership got in the way.  One boss, Tony, wanted to sent me out right away to shoot a loop series. (Loops were short films, sold in series’ of six.) But his partner, Marv, wanted to continue simply as a middleman for other producers. 

         “Duke, we gotta get into production.” Tony staged the arguments in the middle of the warehouse, so we all could hear. “Every piece of film we buy for $5 is money we’re wastin’. Say we buy 500 pieces; that’s enough money for us to shoot a series.  Then we print up 3000 of a number. That’s 18,000 pieces, Marv.”
        Tony said we could sell them all.  Phil the bookkeeper told me that volume meant $40,000 net profit.  I could easily shoot two series a month (as Robby had in S & L’s early days).
        It grated on Tony to hear Teddy Gaswirth boast of his “12 new series in the can” and how one of his 27 race horses “paid a $70 exacta last week.”  Teddy drove a new Mercedes annually; Tony’s  battered old 280SL sat dormant in the warehouse.

So why wasn’t I out shooting?  What was Marv’s problem?

I was to learn of  Marv’s secret agenda, entangled with the murky history of the forces behind S & L:  a history of treachery, blood feuds, prison sentences, and murders.  As the partners argued, I didn’t shoot; I sat.  But my time wasn’t wasted.  Tony ordered me to screen “every number in the place,” to educated myself about what was on the porno market. (Details of these films—some highly illegal, such as the infamous Animal Lover—are described in SKINFLICKS.)  I also had plenty of time to take notes–secretly. Very secretly.  If anyone suspected I was keeping a journal of my experiences at S & L, I would have been promptly fired—or worse.

Future entries will describe S & L’s crew of  “Mafia poor relations,” how I saved my bosses from a major bust,  and how the company used piracy and mob muscle to become rich with their VCX adult video line.  I will also recount my scariest moments, when I was falsely accused of ripping off the company and faced death threats.