Rock's Cheapo Theatre of the Damned

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Cancel me if you must, but you can't erase the dirty movie discourse I've unleashed on this forum. It's like Pandora's Box, but if what sprang out when you opened it was an endless wave of private parts.
I guess I can't cancel everyone on this forum, so I'll let you off the hook





As for Jet Li, he's unfortunately a pretty big blind spot for me, as I've associated him (maybe incorrectly) with the rise of exaggerated wirework, which I'm not really a big fan of, so I've stayed away for the most part. (Same reason I'm kind of so so on the universally beloved Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.) I should correct this at some point.
I have hd This film on my books a while, bacause i have enjoyed his Hollywood films through the years. And Jackie Chan of course. Kiss of the Dragon, Danny the Dog, Rumble in the Bronx, Who Am I.

Jet Li fighting the «twins» in Kiss of the Dragon (Cyril Raffaeli as twin number 1.) and Jackie Chan Fighting two guys on top of a sky scraper, in Who Am I. I have loved these type of fight scenes all the way up to Donnie Yen fighting 10 black belts in Ip Man.

As for once Upon a Time in Cina, that did have some similarities to Crouching Tiger, specially the last half hour. And it is obvious that they stand apart from the traditional Martial Art films. There were a few beautiful scenes. for example from a training session on the beach. But it is clear that the main focus was builing up to some good fight scenes. It is not a visually pleasing film in any way. Then it is better to check of some old samurai movie from your list.
If i was to recommend some older Martial Art to someone new to it, i would certainly still go to Bruce Lee pre Hollywood, and the action comedies that Jackie mad with Sammo Hung and the guys pre Hollywood.



Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
Rock, you're trying to usurp the throne of the King of Kinkiness.

You're trying to take it away from me!

I'll not let you! It belongs to me!

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the kinkiest of them all?

Obviously, it's me, @Mr Minio!!!
__________________
停止使用谷歌翻译,你这个失败者!



Tak, are you gonna sit there and take this? Or are you gonna watch a ****-ton of pornos and review them all to show Popcorn what's up?
*sighs and blocks out porno binge for November*



I think this may be a good time to examine how conservative the "porno" banner might be in the big picture. As Rock said, "a film with sex scenes". Should these be lumped in with the more utilitarian mopknob demonstrations? I doubt it. We should maybe move beyond the idea that sex scenes, in and of themselves and penetration be damned as a lonely dog, should constitute pornography. We should consider how this acceptance only plays into the presumptions of those who would wish to regulate such things. It's past time to liberate the erotic from the pornographic.



Hey Rock, have you ever seen Encounters of the Spooky Kind? For some reason I thought you had. I think that's a martial arts film you'd enjoy.
Well, depending on subtitle quality. Subtitles matter a lot for comedy.


And fwiw, looking a few pages back, I have seen Carny... it has been 10 years though, so I don't remember much about it. I'm sure people started to describe a scene, there's be a 50/50 chance some part would come back to me.



Vinegar Syndrome has a region free Blu ray under their Staff Picks section (releases they like from other labels). It's a bit steep, but if you wait for a sale (like I did) it might be less painful.


https://vinegarsyndrome.com/collecti...n-mondo-vision

Like Cap, I think when I looked back in the spring for a friend, the MondoVision version of Possession was going for over 200, making me think it was out of print (I fortunately had my own copy from years ago). Between the recent rise of showings of it at local theaters and seeing VS selling the rights makes me think VS bought MV or bought the rights to it. But, IDK.



Blue Steel (Bigelow, 1990)



In Blue Steel, Ron Silver plays a great example of a movie psycho. Movie psychos, like real life serial killers, have patterns and obsessions, sometimes sexual, that manifest in their crimes. Silver here is obsessed by the heroine played by Jamie Lee Curtis because she's a cop who killed an armed robber in front of him, gets a sexual thrill from waving around the gun he stole from the crime scene, and likes his victims to face him when he kills them. Movie psychos, unlike some real life serial killers, magically emerge as psychos based on a single triggering event, in this case the aforementioned killing of the armed robber. Movie psychos also tend to be supernaturally good planners, and Silver here has a knack for setting up situations to look as bad as possible for Curtis when she tries to investigate him. One reliable trope for showing the audience the extent of the movie psycho's depravity is by showing him (or her, but in my experience it's always been a man) in the nude. I recently saw this in Angel, where the killer scrubs himself with his private parts facing a window with no curtains, and there's a version of this trope in Die Hard 2, which has William Sadler practicing naked martial arts within the first few minutes (perhaps the best known example). Silver here picks up a hooker and right after we cut to him rubbing her blood all over his body while he's standing outside in the buff. I point all this out not to knock the movie for being cliched but to say that Silver plays his role with enough verve to make it a non-issue. Perhaps the most novel element in his characterization is his day job as a commodities trader, predating American Psycho in linking finance to psychopathy. It's less forcefully developed here, but there is a correlation drawn between his excitement both on and off the job.

It goes without saying that Curtis is excellent as well, but as Roger Ebert suggested in his review, her casting brings with it certain associations. Obviously the killings in here invite a comparison to her early slasher movies, but so does the gender subtext. The misogyny here isn't coming from the killer (who seems to be an equal opportunity murderer), but the condescending police culture Curtis brushes up against. (An early scene has her browbeaten for her indignation at hearing a colleague tell a crass joke about an accident involving a hooker.) This movie predates the recent cultural awareness about police accountability, and it seems to be very much on the heroine's side when she's questioned for allegedly cavalier behaviour in the line of duty, but we also get the sense that she wouldn't be under the same scrutiny were she a man. The abusive marriage of her parents feels like a clumsy attempt to link multiple strands of misogyny, but it does interestingly frame policework as a power fantasy, giving the heroine a sense of control she lacked when her father beat her mother.

On that front, the movie seems astute about the aesthetic, even erotic qualities of a police uniform, heightening the implied sensuality of suiting up sequences in action movies when juxtaposing such scenes here with the villain's fetishization of the heroine. And obviously, there's the eroticism around gun fetishism in such movies as well, first made explicit when we see the villain producing the gun from his crotch during a bathroom break. With these qualities in mind, I couldn't help but think of William Friedkin's Cruising as an influence, and there are scenes here that borrow the blue-heavy look and nocturnal ambience of the nighttime scenes in that movie. (This movie has substantially less sexual content, but that it gets most of its nudity through the aforementioned naked psycho trope seems like a deliberate choice.) And like that movie, this is held together by muscular direction by Kathryn Bigelow, who produces some of the same visceral qualities that would come to fruition in her next film Point Break, and concludes in a thrilling shootout that makes interesting use of the realities of early morning foot traffic.




King of New York (Ferrara, 1990)




As both films are violent crime films with drug lords as protagonists, it's hard not to compare King of New York with Scarface. Both films have been sometimes misread as endorsements of their protagonists' actions. Brian De Palma's film paraded symbols of wealth in front of the viewer with the understanding that you can't indict something without depicting it, but renders its main character as a monstrous grotesque with nary any principles to speak of, so that anyone paying attention (especially to the ending), should know that he's the bad guy (something he even calls himself at one point). Abel Ferrara's film is more subtle on this point. As played by Christopher Walken, Frank White is distinguished from his competitors, who are either unrepentant racists, child traffickers or slumlords. ("I never killed anybody that didn't deserve it.") You see, White wants to help the community by using his proceeds to save a hospital in an impoverished neighbourhood. Is this man really all that bad?

Putting aside that his relentless murdering and flooding the community with drugs will likely counteract the good done by the hospital, the movie is pretty clear to the extent he's pushing the same exploitation he claims to be against, staffing his operation with mostly black foot soldiers to do his dirty work. There are two scenes, one in which his troops greet him menacingly in a hotel room before breaking into celebration, and one in which he turns the tables on an attempted mugging in the subway, that pointedly play on white anxieties about being intimidated by black men. When his lead henchman confronts the sole black cop in the movie, the two pointedly exchange racially charged insults, the movie suggests that this systemic racism doesn't exist on just one side of the law. And in presenting the ethnic mix of the different criminal organizations in the movie, Ferrara extends this kind of critique to the city at large.

Ferrara's earlier films were very much set in a pre-clean-up New York, with The Driller Killer, Ms. 45 and Fear City bringing to mind the seedy, crime-ridden atmosphere of the "glory days" of 42nd Street. King of New York is set after that period, and feels like an attempt to grapple with the changing city. As we see White pal around with respectable high society, we suspect that the rot of the city has only been painted over. (White makes a dig at a reporter's sensationalized coverage of him during a friendly dinner, which seeing it now can't help but make me think of the way cable news emboldened a certain political figure while claiming to decry him through breathless, unceasing coverage during his rise.) Yet White is very much a part of the city he's trying to exercise control over, a point driven home by the finale set in both the subway and a traffic jam, the blinking signs representing the cleaner yet comparatively soulless new New York.

When I'd first seen the movie, I noticed the tension between genre movie and "respectable" movie concerns, and having seen more of Ferrara's work since then, the resonance of that tension rings stronger. The movie is certainly stylish, but in an early scene involving a murder of a rival in a green-lit phonebooth, it feels like the movie is killing off the nocturnal neon aesthetic popular in the previous decade, and by extension, the old New York. Much of the lighting of the interior scenes is a less confrontational golden hue, representing perhaps a more respectable form of wealth and status associated with the new vision of the city. The movie's most exciting sequence, an ambush by some off-duty cops taking the law into their own hands, is lit in bold colours that bring to mind the work of Dario Argento, and the horror connection is made explicit when a rival watches Nosferatu.

Are those flourishes just for mood? Maybe, but I think it helps draw attention to White's vampiric qualities in furthering the exploitation he claims to be against. That Walken has a pale demeanour, weird hairdo and strange vocal patterns leads us to believe that he very well could be drinking people's blood (and does so figuratively, if not literally). Of course, with his expensive black suits (something a vampire would likely wear), there's no denying that White looks kind of cool (always in movies, never in real life where you just look like a movie gangster), and the muted luxury of his wardrobe again plays into that cleaned up New York image while drawing a contrast with the louder, flashier wardrobe of Scarface's Tony Montana. De Palma's movie had a tremendous influence on hip hop, and Ferrara tries to force the connection here with the use of Schoolly D's music. The use of "Am I Black Enough For Ya?", a not entirely convincing stab at social conscience undermined by the presence of the early gangsta rap song "Saturday Night", even seems to parallel White's hollow justifications for his actions. The only time the movie bungles this balance is when it has White execute someone at a police funeral and drive away in a limo, which is supposed to demonstrate his impunity but feels like a really lame attempt at badass gangster ****.

Now, as for which film is better? Scarface is somewhere among my favourite films, and as it's the rare movie that operates at 11 for a three-hour runtime, King of New York can't match its ferocity. (Nor does it really try, opting for a moodier approach.) Yet Ferrara executes this with plenty of verve and a little help from a standout cast, particularly a maniacal Laurence Fishburne ("They're for the bullet holes, PU-TA!") and provides a rich portrait of and commentary on a city in flux.




Hey Rock, have you ever seen Encounters of the Spooky Kind? For some reason I thought you had. I think that's a martial arts film you'd enjoy.
Well, depending on subtitle quality. Subtitles matter a lot for comedy.
I sadly have not, and I just realized it wasn't even on my watchlist (I guess I assumed it was already there).


It's quite possible MKS has seen it, as he's the HK expert out of the RT-expats.



Rock, you're trying to usurp the throne of the King of Kinkiness.

You're trying to take it away from me!

I'll not let you! It belongs to me!

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the kinkiest of them all?

Obviously, it's me, @Mr Minio!!!
Fine, I'll put on some pants. Are you happy?



I think this may be a good time to examine how conservative the "porno" banner might be in the big picture. As Rock said, "a film with sex scenes". Should these be lumped in with the more utilitarian mopknob demonstrations? I doubt it. We should maybe move beyond the idea that sex scenes, in and of themselves and penetration be damned as a lonely dog, should constitute pornography. We should consider how this acceptance only plays into the presumptions of those who would wish to regulate such things. It's past time to liberate the erotic from the pornographic.
I've never been too hung up on labels. I think most of us know enough horror movies that aren't "horrifying", even by design, yet the genre seems a good enough way to categorize them.


Some of the qualities that attract me to these pornos seem unrelated, or even antithetical to their genre, but at the same time that genre seems like a good enough way to refer to them, in light of their overall use of tropes. I consider it a descriptor more than a judgment.



I have hd This film on my books a while, bacause i have enjoyed his Hollywood films through the years. And Jackie Chan of course. Kiss of the Dragon, Danny the Dog, Rumble in the Bronx, Who Am I.

Jet Li fighting the «twins» in Kiss of the Dragon (Cyril Raffaeli as twin number 1.) and Jackie Chan Fighting two guys on top of a sky scraper, in Who Am I. I have loved these type of fight scenes all the way up to Donnie Yen fighting 10 black belts in Ip Man.

As for once Upon a Time in Cina, that did have some similarities to Crouching Tiger, specially the last half hour. And it is obvious that they stand apart from the traditional Martial Art films. There were a few beautiful scenes. for example from a training session on the beach. But it is clear that the main focus was builing up to some good fight scenes. It is not a visually pleasing film in any way. Then it is better to check of some old samurai movie from your list.
If i was to recommend some older Martial Art to someone new to it, i would certainly still go to Bruce Lee pre Hollywood, and the action comedies that Jackie mad with Sammo Hung and the guys pre Hollywood.
I like Bruce Lee (who doesn't), but would say that he's a better screen presence than some of his movies, even the ones I think are pretty good. (Ranked: Enter the Dragon > Way of the Dragon > Fist of Fury > Game of Death > The Big Boss) My preference for martial arts cinema has been mostly Shaw Brothers. I had the opportunity to see a few of them in the theatre and would very much recommend the experience. I used to be indifferent to seeing a movie at home vs the theatre, but it's really something else to see an entire audience react together to one of these movies. There's one moment during the Eight Diagram Pole Fighter where the crowd went completely silent and then burst into applause in unison.


And yeah, love Jackie, and I think his use of wirework (limited, mostly for emphasis) is a lot more my speed. I even like a handful of his western films. The Foreigner uses him differently than anything I've seen from him previously, The Protector has some nice mid-80s sleaze, and The Big Brawl, while not doing complete justice to his talents, at least gets his essence. And Rush Hour might be hackwork, but it's the kind of sturdy studio filmmaking that's feels lost to the ages (compare it to Rush Hour 3 and the terrible action in that movie and you can see the difference).



Corruption (Watkins, 1983)




This review contains mild spoilers.

"I believe in business. I believe in honouring my contracts. I believe without honour, all business becomes quite useless." Jamie Gillis says this as he looks out the window of a skyscraper. In this building, in this room, some kind of deal is going down. Sinister figures sit around the table as they inform Gillis of his negotiating position, disabusing him of any illusions about having any leverage over the transaction. The specifics of this deal are never told, but a certain dread hangs over the negotiations. Next we see George Payne enter a different building, one whose interior seems both sparse and lined with junk. There’s a woman behind a desk, played by Samantha Fox. He approaches and asks who she is. “I’m the woman behind the desk.” Not very helpful. He informs her that he’s here to pick up something. He proceeds to go through three rooms, each presented as some kind of test, the objective of which is unclear. The first: “Could you rely on yourself?” The second: “There’s always a trade-off.” The third: “Will you renounce love?” The details of what transpires in these rooms can be deduced pretty easily (in short: ****ing, sometimes with oneself), only that they are presented with a coldness that undermines any eroticism their explicitness might inspire. As the tests end, Payne seemingly gets what he was looking for, a nondescript briefcase, but there’s no indication of relief.

Gillis returns home with his girlfriend Tiffany Clark, looking to unwind after his meeting, but the sense of unease doesn’t lift. Their relationship is assessed in brutal directness. Like his dealings in the office, it’s a transaction and not much more.

"It's only business."
"There's that."
"That and business don't mix."
"Who says they have to? But a man does have certain obligations."
Even in the bedroom Gillis can’t shake the sense that his debt is coming due. He spies on Kelly Nichols in a private moment, his girlfriend’s sister and perhaps the only character not caught in this sinister web. Gillis goes to his half-brother Bobby Astyr for help, and we meet him staring lasciviously at a stripper who gyrates robotically in a suffocatingly smoky bar (which Astyr refers to as his “humble sewer”). Turns out Payne double-crossed him and disappeared, but Astyr isn’t too happy to help, his cheerful demeanour barely masking the venom between the two of them. Still, he obliges, and takes Gillis to that same building we last saw Payne in. He urges a reluctant Gillis to look through a series of three peepholes, reminding Gillis of his position. ("I don't have to do anything." "Gotta meet certain obligations.") The first: a sexy shower scene, pretty routine stuff. The second: a BDSM scene, but underneath the gimp’s mask...Gillis? What’s going on? The third: is that a corpse? Is that Payne? And is he wearing clown makeup? “Open this ****ing door!”

Gillis tries to get some straight answers, but Payne, like Clark, like Astyr, reminds of his situation, insisting on a thank you (”for the sleazy show you put on?”) Gillis pleads: “I spent a lifetime getting what's mine, nothing more, nothing less.” Payne counters, laughing eerily: “Down here, it's the same as up there, or haven't you figured that out yet?” Gillis, seeing no other options, asks Astyr to clean up his mess. In the film’s climax, Gillis tries to distract himself by visiting his mistress Vanessa Del Rio, while Astyr handles the situation, but even this is futile. "I don't know what to do, they changed the rules on me." "The rules never change, only the people playing the game.” Like Gillis, we are never able to lose ourselves in this scene either, as the film foregrounds the awful fate of Nichols, the one innocent in the movie, and the brutal directness with which Astyr takes care of business. When all is seemingly over and Gillis once again has possession of what’s supposed to be his, we get one last, chilling reminder of his situation. Astyr called. “ He wanted to know what it felt like being his partner.” Freeze frame. Ominous music. Chilling laughter. End of movie.

To the extent that I can read a deeper meaning into Corruption, it strikes me as an expression of Roger Watkins’ uneasy feelings about filmmaking. (Such feelings were also evident in his best known film, Last House on Dead End Street, although the approach differs here.) There’s no denying that there are certain commercial demands one is forced to meet when making films at his budgets and in this genre, and every step of the movie reminds the hero of those “certain obligations.” Whatever deal Gillis has struck could be read as Faustian through implication, his co-stars (Astyr in particular) seen as demonic, and his arc viewed as a descent into hell. Watkins also was apparently not too fond of making pornography, and having been unsatisfied with sex scenes in earlier efforts like My Name is Lisa (likely because they might actually have been conventionally enjoyable), where he delegated their shooting to producer Dave Darby, he took over the reins here and produced something closer to his vision: cold, passionless, made in contempt of the idea that someone could possibly find this all arousing. But the movie has a power beyond that reading, thanks to its tremendous sense of mood, approaching almost horror, but having replaced the kills with graphic sex. (I realize for much of the above I’ve merely recounted the film’s events, but a lot of the effect comes from the precise tone it strikes.) The dialogue is elliptical and recursive, and the interiors defined by strong yet alienating colours, creating an effect not unlike the Black Lodge sequences in Twin Peaks. The cinematography by Larry Revene, shooting on Agfa film (apparently the first time the stock was used in the U.S.), captures the proceedings in the chilliest, eeriest light. The soundtrack adds to this icy veneer, cold synths set to a foreboding beat, with the mournful violins of a street view montage catching us off guard with their relative warmth. The actors almost uniformly hit the notes of unease required for their parts with great precision, Astyr and Del Rio in particular subverting any amiability they may have shown in other roles. If there is a weak link, I don’t think the film establishes the poignancy of the Nichols character sufficiently (a masturbation scene with a tender soundtrack is all we get before things go south for her), but a dearth of humanity is not entirely a weakness here, all things considered. Corruption is a film of tremendous bad vibes.




Her Name Was Lisa (Watkins, 1979)



The movie opens with a shot of Samantha Fox in a coffin. This is Lisa, and we know how her tale ends, so whatever happens next, a palpable sense of dread hangs over the proceedings. We flash back to when she was working in a massage parlour, “rescued” by photographer who thinks she’s much more high class than the dump she’s working in, and wants to shoot her. This seems at first like a fruitful collaboration (and this being a porno, one of the fruits of their collaboration is a sex scene), but then a certain unease sets in. The publisher upon whom the photographer is dependent for a living insists on meeting the new model. She falls into his orbit and things seem exciting at first (this being a porno, the excitement manifests in sex scenes), but he starts to assert control over her in disturbing ways, giving her pills and offering her up to be raped by his friends while he watches. Lisa seeks solace in booze and drugs. There is the hope of escape in a mysterious and beguiling woman played by Vanessa Del Rio, who first appears to her in sauna as if in a dream, but it turns out she too is looking to control Lisa and gets her hooked on heroin, and the story reaches its logical conclusion in the devastating final moments.

As Lisa, Samantha Fox gives a performance that perhaps has some rough edges and might not blend that smoothly from scene to scene, but effectively hits the notes necessary to make the film’s arc resonate. She’s confident and arrogant at first, but her weaknesses come to the fore over the course of the movie, and her final scene is quite moving. Fox was struggling with a drug addiction during the making of this movie (a not uncommon story among performers in the industry), and I wonder how much of herself went into her performance here. The movie also makes great use of Vanessa Del Rio’s most seductive qualities. This is person who can talk you into anything, and the shift from her being a source of warmth to the final nail in the coffin is convincingly unsettling. Apparently director Roger Watkins thought pretty highly of her as a performer, and they became close friends in real life and collaborated multiple times, including on a non-pornographic movie (Spittoon). It must also be noted that one of the actors in the rape scene is played by Bobby Astyr, who was Fox’s real-life partner and frequent co-star, and resembles Dan Hedaya. I have seen them have fun chemistry in the considerably lighter and more comedic Babylon Pink, but their scene here is credibly disturbing.

If this sounds incredibly downbeat for a porno, it may not surprise you to learn that Watkins (credited here as “Richard Mahler”) is best known for the incredibly scuzzy Last House on Dead End Street, the grindhouse flick about a group of low-budget filmmakers who graduate from making porn to snuff. (One can read Watkins himself into the characters in that movie and the photographer here, whose provocative work is presented stylishly but without comment.) This isn’t quite as forcefully unpleasant as that movie, but shares with it a strong nihilistic streak. Given the genre, it’s surprisingly sex negative, although I must say, as a straight male who finds Samantha Fox and Vanessa Del Rio quite attractive, some of the sex scenes are pretty freaking hot. (The rave review from Hustler Magazine - “Full Erection! 100%!” - is pretty ironic, considering the movie’s strong negative vibes, but also not inaccurate.) Watkins allegedly left these scenes to be shot by his producer Dave Darby, but they are energetically filmed and assembled and vary in effect from tender, to erotic, to outright despair. They’re also helped by the astute use of music (most if not all of which I suspect Watkins and Darby didn’t have the rights for), with inspired needle drops giving a real jolt to key scenes (an edgy photoshoot set to Kraftwerk’s “The Robots”, a BDSM-tinged threesome scored to a disco cover of “Gimme Some Lovin’”, a despairing sex scene in a heroin-addled haze set to “Dazed and Confused”). I’ve read that Watkins wasn’t in love with the idea of making pornography, but judging by this movie he was very good at it.




The Pink Ladies (Watkins, 1979)




This review contains mild spoilers.

Roger Watkins first delved into directing pornography with Her Name Was Lisa. It was apparently successful, and is in my humble opinion a very good film, but was perhaps a little too intense for producer Dave Darby, who insisted that Watkins make something a little lighter. The Pink Ladies was the result. For those familiar only with Watkins' most famous film, Last House on Dead End Street, it can be quite a shock to see something this lighthearted. While it doesn't contain any of the better known film's bad vibes and was apparently disliked by Watkins himself, it is not without its qualities. The opening credits show the main characters playing raquetball. They are framed individually, their shared space fractured as if to render their actions abstract, even if the leering gaze of the gym's attendant gives them a vague sense of connection. The hazy cinematography casts over this the feeling of a dream, and what follows does not rest strictly in the realm of reality.

The main characters are a group of friends who vary in the level of cattiness. The cattiest of the bunch is Samantha Fox, who played the lead in Lisa, followed by Robin Byrd, who played one of her abusers in the former movie, then Kandi Barbour, who's taken permanent residence in my head thanks to a certain pool scene in Neon Nights. Least catty is Christine De Shaffer, who is distinguished by her benign stupidity and incompetence at sports, the latter quality immediately making her my favourite character. After the characters finish playing, griping about De Shaffer's performance (she rightfully insists that it's not about winning or losing, solidifying her position in the rankings), they go off to the showers. We get an eyeful, as does the attendant, who starts fantasizing about what can be delicately referred to as a reverse gangbang. "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Emerson, Lake and Palmer plays on the soundtrack, and one could argue that for this man, the fanfare has taken on a more tangible, not unpleasing form. For the non-prurient-minded, it's worth noting that even in the fantasy De Shaffer is terrible at raquetball.

The girls discuss plans for later in the week, which include a trip to the theatre to see Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh ("Oooh, sounds dirty"). They then split up, and we get to spend some time with Robert Kerman, playing one of their husbands. Kerman is a Yankees fan, which you can tell by him wearing a Yankees cap and shirt with his extremely unflattering yellow short shorts and eating stale pizza as a he listens to the game. Even when Kerman drifts off into fantasy, as he does when spying on an eager young couple in the act, he stays in character, ensuring that he doesn't miss the Yankees game as a result. A Humphrey Bogart poster provides some deadpan reaction shots. Unfortunately, he gets distracted by De Shaffer, who insists on chatting him up and singing "Moon River". (Quite badly, I should add, showing a lack of talent in multiple disciplines. Whatever the opposite of a polymath is, she's it.)

Next we move to Robin Byrd, sitting in bed and wolfing down popcorn next to her husband while watching a movie about a carnival, which inspires a fantasy sequence of her own where she's tag teamed by three guys in Aladdin Sane makeup and glitter while "March of the Gladiators" plays on the soundtrack. (Given that I associate this music most closely with the educational video game Math Circus, the effect is a bit jarring.) It's worth noting that one of these men is played by Ron Jeremy, who spends most of the scene sucking his own dick. Of course, when her husband suggests they get it on, she turns him down as she's not in the mood. I guess Ron Jeremy autofellatio will do that to you.

Kandi Barbour's fantasy is a bit more palatable, inspired by the bodice-ripping historical romance novel she leafs through before bed. Christine De Shaffer, treated as a punchline for much of the movie, doesn't even get her own fantasy. Rather, as she's putting on a ludicrous amount of facial cream (not like that, you preverts), her husband sneaks off to the bathroom to jerk off to a BDSM magazine and then imagines being dominated by his wife, who wears silver face paint like an extraneous member of KISS. Apparently the movie was released in a version without this scene as it was considered a bit too extreme, but honestly, without revealing anything about my viewing habits, I didn't think it was too bad. (It was also apparently Watkins' favourite scene in the movie.) Perhaps I've been desensitized by a week long Phil Prince binge, but without cataloguing the exact acts depicted, there's nothing too wild shown. The husband is played by Alan Adrian, who played Mistress Candice's willing slave in one of the more tolerable scenes in Prince's filmography. Adrian was into this kind of thing in his personal life and even suggested nailing his scrotum to the floor, which Darby thankfully shot down. Sometimes the money man is right. (Adrian is interviewed on the Vinegar Syndrome release of the movie and is unclothed without comment the entire time.) Of course, when his character approaches his wife after with the idea of trying this stuff out, she brushes him off.

The next morning, the husbands all wait for the train and see Vanessa Del Rio sitting on the other side of the tracks. Naturally, they start getting all worked up and start amusing themselves with what they'd get up to with her if they had the opportunity. Kerman's involves Del Rio as a schoolgirl, which is about as convincing as Steve Buscemi's "How do you do, fellow kids?" moment. Even Adrian, who claims that he never indulges in fantasies (he claims "they drain the life fluids", a statement that causes the other three men to immediately shift away from him on the bench), entertains the idea, although (depending on your proclivities) it's disappointingly not that distinct from the others in terms of tone or the acts featured. Del Rio's role is mostly silent, but she makes an impact in other ways (*raises eyebrows*).

We then move to a restaurant where the girls are biding their time, with Fox being especially rude to the waiter. It's then revealed that De Shaffer forgot their tickets to the The Iceman Cometh and is coldly made to walk home, which she does by crying and looking at ducks while sad music plays, finding new ways to put the audience on her side. (I too am a fan of ducks.) The rest of the ladies go to the gym to blow off steam, and Fox, angrily cycling away on an exercise bike, pictures her and the gals getting in an orgy with the other patrons of the gym, all of whom are covered in body paint and wearing goggles and swim caps. The same year that Francis Ford Coppola used "Ride of the Valkyries" to lend operatic dimensions to a helicopter siege, Watkins uses it to cheekier effect in a very different context. Lest you think this is all that's left, the final moments have the real heroine getting her revenge in a manner appropriate to the genre. High five, Ms. De Shaffer! Suck it, Mmes Fox, Byrd and Barbour.

Look, this is all very slight and I can understand why Watkins, given how dark his movies can get, didn't care for the end result, but I had a pretty good time. I think when trying to watch these movies as actual movies, lighter fare can be a bit of a challenge as they can lack the tension inherent in darker material (I imagine Her Name Was Lisa and Corruption might play better for most viewers, despite the disturbing content), but I can appreciate that this is executed with a good deal of style. It features a game cast who sink their teeth into their roles, particularly De Shaffer giving a very funny and endearing performance. (Fox and Del Rio don't quite make the same impact they did in Lisa, but are still effective in their less demanding roles.) Watkins' disregard for music rights results in some striking uses of music (he gets in Iggy Pop's "Sister Midnight" in between the aforementioned needle drops). And even between the sex scenes the movie is well visualized, translating the fantasy theme into atmosphere and finding images to match the humour.




I sadly have not, and I just realized it wasn't even on my watchlist (I guess I assumed it was already there).


It's quite possible MKS has seen it, as he's the HK expert out of the RT-expats.
It crossed my mind when Sammo Hung was recommended to you. I think you'd like it.